The January FIDE Rating list is now available for download at the FIDE website. GM Garry Kasparov added a mere point to his rating and now stands at 2831. His nearest rival is Vladimir Kramnik, a whopping 54 points back at 2777. Viswanathan Anand (2768, -2) holds the third spot, but Russia's Evgeny Bareev is replaced at #4 by Russian Champion Peter Svidler who vaulted several positions (2747, +24). Bareev fell to the 14th spot. Alexij Shirov (2736, -1) holds at #5 as does Veselin Topalov (2735) at #6. The top ten saw a number of changes which included Alexander Grischuk (2719, -14) who fell to the #12 position and since he is now 20, the strongest junior listed is Teimour Radjabov (2656, +6). The dramatic change of positions demonstrates how tough the 2700 stratosphere is.
Judit Polgar climbs to #8 and is setting records with each ELO point… she is now at a career-high (2728, +6). Xie Jun is active again after a long hiatus from maternity leave, but is a distant 164 ELO points behind Polgar. Svetlana Matveeva, Alisa Galliamova and Maia Chiburdanidze are joint 3rd on the women's list at 2502. Koneru Humpy (2498, +13) regains her position as the world's strongest in the under-20 Girls' chart after Ukraine's 13-year old Kateryna Lahno (2493, +7). Five of the top twenty juniors are from Azerbaijan with Radjabov holding the #1 position. He is joined by compatriots Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov (2646), Farhad Tahirov (2583), Gadir Guseinov (2571), Vugar Gashimov (2565). This is quite a formidable Olympiad team despite the average age being just 16.8!! Besides the Azerbaijani domination, the Ukraine has three players in the top 20. China's Bu Xiangzhi seems to have been on this list for decades (2600) and Hikaru Nakamura (2571, +6) is the top US player.
In Africa, Morocco's Hichem Hamdouchi remains at 2588. Egyptians Essam El-Gindy (2502) and Fouad El-Taher (2501, -1) holds #2 and #3 while Algeria's Aimen Rizouk dropped below the 2500-barrier (2493, -9). Amon Simutowe (2433,+9) of Zambia is improving rapidly and he estimates that he has gained an additional 30 ELO points. Watu Kobese (2403,-1) of South Africa remains steady. Kenny Solomon gained a boatload of points after winning the South African Championship and his IM performance at the African Championship (2352, +17). Robert Gwaze (2345, +5) of Zimbabwe gains as well as and his recent play in the Hastings Challengers tournament will net him at least 10 ELO points. Stanley Chumfwa of Zambia saw a slight increase (2324, +5). African Junior Champion and South African native Johannes Mabusela held steady at 2297, but will see a change in the next list.
In the Caribbean, Cuba's Lenier Domínguez (2605, -2) maintains his lead over compatriot Lázaro Bruzon (2603). Barbados' Kevin Denny (2319) remains the highest-rated player from the English-speaking Caribbean, but he has been inactive for the past year. Askari Elson of Barbados saw a hefty gain (2181, +20) after his recent performance at the Central American/Caribbean under-20 and World under-20 tournaments.
In North America, the top player of African descent is Maurice Ashley (2465). Stephen Muhammad drops a couple of (2375,-2); William Morrison drops (2364, -13); Emory Tate loses ten (2351, -10). Sweden's Pontus Carlsson (2360) recently got his FM title.
FIDE Ratings (January 2004)