Here's my pick for the best of chess for 2008.
Best Player of 2008: Vaselin Topalov. Winner of the strongest chess tournament in history, the Bilbao Grand Slam 2008 a point and a half ahead of Aronian, Ivanchuk, and Carlsen and in the same tournament he literally crushed to pieces the current world champion Viswanathan Anand in just 25 moves. Recently he captured the title of the strongest chess tournament to be held thus far in Asia, the Nanjing Pearl Spring, a point and a half ahead of Aronian. His other major tournament for 2008 are Dos Hermanas 2008 (Rapid) and Villarrobledo 2008 (Rapid). He has an unofficial live rating of 2809, the highest ever achieved by any in 2008.
Most Improve Player : Wang Yue. Except for Anand, no other Asian player did better than the Chinese super star. From March to December 2008, Wang Yue went 85 games without a loss, one of the longest streaks on record. His unbeaten run ended during round 1 of the third FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2009 tournament. In March 2008, Wang finished shared first at the Reykjavík Open, together with compatriot Wang Hao (who won on tiebreak) and Hannes Stefansson. In his super-tournament debut in April-May 2008 at the 1st FIDE Grand Prix in Baku, he came joint first place with Vugar Gashimov and Magnus Carlsen, scoring 8.0/13 (+3,=10,-0) with a performance rating of 2806. He is the current leader of the FIDE Grand Prix with 273.3 points.
Sportsmen of the Year : Peter Leko and David Navara.
Unsportsmanlike players of the year : Vassily Ivanchuk, Victor Korchnoi
Top Junior player of 2008 : Isn't it pretty obvious? Yes, it's the wunderkid from Norway, marvelous Magnus Carlsen
Best Interview of the year (player) : Ruslan Ponomariov (HERE)
Best place to play chess for 2008: UAE.
Best English chess site of 2008 : Chessdom.com
Best chess fans of 2008 : Filipinos!