Hou Yifan, at 16, became the youngest world champion in history when she won the women’s crown in December.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has been president of the World Chess Federation since 1995, won re-election despite a challenge from Anatoly Karpov, the former world champion. One of the stranger aspects of the campaign was that Garry Kasparov, another former champion, traveled the globe to support Karpov, his old rival.
In a first, Magnus Carlsen, the world’s top-ranked player, became a spokesman and a model, along with the actress Liv Tyler, for G-Star Raw, a Dutch clothing company.
Three men who shaped the game died: Vasily Smyslov, the seventh world champion, in March, at age 89; Andor Lilienthal, one of the 27 original grandmasters, in May, at 99; and Bent Larsen, among the most successful tournament players ever, in September, at 75.
Florencio Campomanes, who led the world federation from 1982 to 1995 â€” and made the controversial decision to stop Karpov and Kasparov’s first title match â€” died in May at 83.
In the oddest story of the year, Fischer’s body was exhumed in Iceland for a paternity test in a fight over his estate. Fischer, who died in 2008, left no will, and the test determined that he was not the father of a 9-year-old Filipino girl whose mother was seeking part of the estate.
Hikaru Nakamura, now 23, who eight years ago broke Fischer’s record as the youngest American player to become a grandmaster, began to live up to his promise and broke into the world’s top 10.
Ray Robson, in turn, broke Nakamura’s record, qualifying as a grandmaster at the age of 14 years, 11 months and 16 days.
Nakamura produced one of the year’s best games in January, when he beat Boris Gelfand at the World Team Chess Championship. In the far left diagram, Gelfand had just blundered with 24 dc7, which allowed Nakamura a series of spectacular moves as he left his queen en prise.
The game continued, 24 … Ne1 25 Qe1 (25 cd8/Q? g2!) g2 26 Kg2 Rg7 27 Kh1 Bh3 28 Bf1 (28 cd8/Q? Bg2!) Qd3 29 Ne5 (29 Bd3? Bg2!) Bf1 30 Qf1 Qc3 31 Rc1 Qe5 32 c8/Q Rc8 33 Rc8 Qe6, and Gelfand resigned, as he was down a piece.
The end of a game in the European championship between Mikhail Krasenkow of Poland and Baadur Jobava of Georgia was also a spectacle, with Jobava ensnaring Krasenkow’s king in a mating net.
In the other diagram, after 20 gf5, the game ended 20 … Nc4 21 Ncb5 ef5 22 Be2 d5 23 ed5 Bd5 24 b3 a6 25 Bc4 Qb7 26 Nc7 Bc4 27 Rc4 b5 28 Rcc1 Rd4 29 Na8 Qa8 30 Rc7 Re4 31 Rd1 Nd5 32 Rd7 Re3 33 Qg2 Bd4 34 Rd4 Re1 35 Qf1 Ne3, and Krasenkow resigned because after 36 Rd8 Kg7 37 R7d7 Kh6, White could not have avoided checkmate.