At first I thought the answer here was a no brainer.
After all Anand has dominated the chess scene for two years now. He won
his third chess Oscar last year. He also added the 2003 International
White Knights MVP award to his mantle as well. Anand climbs into the number
two rating spot. No question Anand had a great 2003 and 2004. After
all he won the following tournaments in 2004
2004 - defeating Kramnik in the final
4) Desafio de Xadrez
5) Mainz Chess Classic 2004
- Defeating Shirov by a 4-2 score.
Defeats Topalov in TV Blitz match
There is no question that Anand had an incredible year. However
Anand missed out on same major opportunities. Anand bypassed an
opportunity to play both Kramnik, Leko and Kasparov when he skipped
playing in Linares. He said he was tired from winning Corus and he needed
time to recover. Anand also missed out on another opportunity to help
further his career, unify the chess world and help promote the game around
the world, when he bypassed the 2004 Libya KO. Anand would have been
favored to win that event. The KO tournaments favor those players who excel
in rapid chess. Had Anand played and won the Libya KO, unification would
be on course now. Sponsors would have been fighting over the rights for
another Kasparov vs. Anand match. By bypassing the KO Anand passed up the
right to challenge both Kasparov and Kramnik. Victories in both of those
potential matches would have made Anand a chess immortal. Anand bypassed
the KO because he did not like Kasparov's seeding in the
unification. So with that
being said, I count not cast a first place vote for Anand for the 64 Square Chess
Oscar. Anand will get my 2nd place vote.
So I could not vote for Anand for the 2004 Chess Oscar.
So the only other player deserving was the 14th World Champion Vladimir
Kramnik. Now Kramnik also pulled out of some tournaments recently. However
the first was the 2004 Russian Championship. It started only three weeks
after the end of his tough World Championship match against Peter Leko.
This is understandable. Kramnik also declined to play in the 2005 Linares
Tournament. This is not good for chess, but it should not affect the 2004
voting. Here is why Kramnik
deserves the 2005 64-Square Chess Oscar.