Chess Oscar was an international award given annually to the best chess player. The winner was selected by votes that are cast by chess journalists from across the world. The traditional voting procedure was to request hundreds of chess journalists from many countries to submit a list of the ten best players of the year. The voters were journalists who knew the game and followed it closely, and so the honor was highly prized. The award itself took the form of a bronze statuette representing a man in a boat. The prize was created and awarded in 1967 by Spanish journalist Jorge Puig, and the International Association of Chess Press (AIP). The awards were given from 1967 until 1988. Then, after a pause, they resumed in 1995, and were then organized by the Russian chess magazine 64.
64 ceased publication in 2014, and the awards have not been made since.
The statuette's final form, a man in a boat, was carved by the sculptor Alexander Smirnov. It represented a figure known as "The Fascinated Wanderer", which refers to a short story written in 1873 by 19th-century Russian author Nikolai Leskov. In this story, the title character, Ivan Flyagin, is a horse trainer and a brute of a man. From his birth his mother has promised that Ivan's life would be devoted to the church. Ivan spends many years avoiding this fate, but eventually gives in and becomes a monk, not for spiritual reasons, but due to a poverty of opportunity.
Player Country Wins Garry Kasparov Soviet Union, later Russia 11 Anatoly Karpov Soviet Union 9 Viswanathan Anand India 6 Magnus Carlsen Norway 5 Bobby Fischer United States 3 Boris Spassky Soviet Union 2 Vladimir Kramnik Russia 2 Bent Larsen Denmark 1 Viktor Korchnoi Switzerland 1 Veselin Topalov Bulgaria 1
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- Kasparov wins 2002 Chess Oscar, ChessBase News, 9-May-2003
- Anand wins Chess Oscar for third time, rediff.com, 6-May-2004
- Anand wins third Chess Oscar, ChessBase News, 8-May-2004
- Chess Oscar 2005 for Veselin Topalov, ChessBase News, 30-April-2006
- Chess Oscar 2006, The Week in Chess 654, 21-May-2007
- Anand Wins Chess Oscars for 2007, ChessBase News, 8-May-2008
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- And the 2009 Oscar goes to ... Magnus Carlsen!, Chessvibes November 17, 2010.
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- Oscar 2011 - Magnus Carlsen, ChessPro, 2 Nov 2012.
- Oscar 2012 - Magnus Carlsen, Chess-news-ru, 12 Jun 2013.
- Oscar 2013 - Magnus Carlsen, Natalia Pogonina on Twitter, 29 Nov 2014.