October 2008 FIDE Rating list

Veselin Topalov at 2008 Bilboa Masters. Photo by ChessBase.

There was a lot of suspense leading up to the October 2008 rating list with many suspecting that Norwegian phenom Magnus Carlsen would vault to the number one spot and set an age record for the top rating. That moment would be short-lived. Carlsen faltered at the end of the Bilboa tournament and dropped from his temporary perch atop the list. It then appeared as if Vassily Ivanchuk would take the mantle, but when all was said and done, Veselin Topalov (pictured right) reclaimed his number one position for the first time in two years (2791, +14). Topalov gained the spot by winning the Final Masters Bilbao tournaments. Alexander Morozevich snuck in the #2 spot (2787, -1) despite losing a point. The Russian is followed by Ivanchuk (2786, +5) at #3 and Carlsen (2786, +11) at #4. Viswanathan Anand has dropped to #5 after an abysmal performance in Bilboa (2783, -15).

Vladimir Kramnik (2772, -16) continues to fall from grace heading into his match with Anand. Levon Aronian has rebounded and is inching toward the top after gaining a handsome 20 points (2757, +20) after winning the FIDE Grand Prix and finishing 50% in a strong Bilboa Masters.

A new breed is making headway into the top 20 and names such as Teimour Radjabov (2751, +7), Dmitry Jakovenko (2737, +28), Wang Yue (2736, +32), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2731, -11) and Sergey Karjakin (2730, +3) have taken the place of “normal” names like Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Alexei Shirov and Evgeny Bareev. China has soared into the upper echelons of the list by now boasting three players over 2700 (Wang Yue, Bu Xiangzhi, Ni Hua) with one on the brink (Wang Hao). Wang Yue has impressed lately and is now #11.

GM Wang Yue

GM Wang Yue is now the world’s #11 player.
Photo by ChessBase.

Perhaps one of the biggest stories of this rating list is Hikaru Nakamura’s eclipse of the 2700 barrier (2704, +7). For many years there has been question of whether he can reach such a level. His talent was never in question, but he had a penchant for playing dubious openings and experimenting in crucial situations. He has certainly rounded out his play in order to correct his opening weaknesses. He has since moved to Canada and plans to play in the European circuit.

In the categorical lists, Judit Polgar remains at the top of the women’s chart and some are calling for a “unifier” tournament featuring Polgar and another female challenger. That would have to be women’s champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (2525), but it is perhaps safe to say that she is far stronger than any female chess player. However, Humpy Koneru (2618, -4) is #2 and the rising Hou Yifan (2578, +1) represent the future. Hou is perhaps one who could challenge Polgar given her age, talent and tenacity.

In the junior list, Magnus Carlsen (2786, +11) is at a comfortable distance from Sergey Karjakin (2730, +3), but the rising star appears to be France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2716, +35), who is now the nation’s #1 player. As mentioned, Wang Hao (2696) is rising and compatriot Li Chao (2622) is also improving rapidly. These two juniors will be a part of the Chinese Olympiad team which hopes to win their first gold medal.

Rating Lists: https://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
 1  Topalov, Veselin  g  BUL  2791  10  1975
 2  Morozevich, Alexander  g  RUS  2787  9  1977
 3  Ivanchuk, Vassily  g  UKR  2786  50  1969
 4  Carlsen, Magnus  g  NOR  2786  31  1990
 5  Anand, Viswanathan  g  IND  2783  10  1969
 6  Kramnik, Vladimir  g  RUS  2772  16  1975
 7  Aronian, Levon  g  ARM  2757  23  1982
 8  Radjabov, Teimour  g  AZE  2751  23  1987
 9  Leko, Peter  g  HUN  2747  16  1979
 10  Jakovenko, Dmitry  g  RUS  2737  39  1983
 11  Wang, Yue  g  CHN  2736  23  1987
 12  Adams, Michael  g  ENG  2734  16  1971
 13  Movsesian, Sergei  g  SVK  2732  12  1978
 14  Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  g  AZE  2731  16  1985
 15  Karjakin, Sergey  g  UKR  2730  24  1990
 16  Kamsky, Gata  g  USA  2729  22  1974
 17  Svidler, Peter  g  RUS  2727  24  1976
 18  Shirov, Alexei  g  ESP  2726  34  1972
 19  Eljanov, Pavel  g  UKR  2720  26  1983
 20  Gelfand, Boris  g  ISR  2719  27  1968
 21  Dominguez Perez, Leinier  g  CUB  2719  15  1983
 22  Ponomariov, Ruslan  g  UKR  2719  14  1983
 23  Grischuk, Alexander  g  RUS  2719  13  1983
 24  Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime  g  FRA  2716  30  1990
 25  Alekseev, Evgeny  g  RUS  2715  30  1985
 26  Bu, Xiangzhi  g  CHN  2714  9  1985
 27  Polgar, Judit  g  HUN  2711  0  1976
 28  Ni, Hua  g  CHN  2710  5  1983
 29  Bacrot, Etienne  g  FRA  2705  23  1983
 30  Nakamura, Hikaru  g  USA  2704  6  1987
 31  Gashimov, Vugar  g  AZE  2703  27  1986
 32  Rublevsky, Sergei  g  RUS  2702  14  1974
 33  Cheparinov, Ivan  g  BUL  2696  28  1986
 34  Wang, Hao  g  CHN  2696  9  1989
 35  Sasikiran, Krishnan  g  IND  2694  9  1981
 36  Tiviakov, Sergei  g  NED  2686  56  1973
 37  Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter  g  ROU  2684  19  1976
 38  Najer, Evgeniy  g  RUS  2682  20  1977
 39  Bologan, Viktor  g  MDA  2682  9  1971
 40  Milov, Vadim  g  SUI  2681  9  1972
 41  Efimenko, Zahar  g  UKR  2680  10  1985
 42  Akopian, Vladimir  g  ARM  2679  5  1971
 43  Moiseenko, Alexander  g  UKR  2678  40  1980
 44  Naiditsch, Arkadij  g  GER  2678  17  1985
 45  Roiz, Michael  g  ISR  2677  32  1983
 46  Fressinet, Laurent  g  FRA  2676  12  1981
 47  Malakhov, Vladimir  g  RUS  2675  21  1980
 48  Postny, Evgeny  g  ISR  2674  40  1981
 49  Motylev, Alexander  g  RUS  2672  11  1979
 50  Kasimdzhanov, Rustam  g  UZB  2672  5  1979

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

One Comment

  1. IM Emory Tate has plummeted almost 40 points (2338, -38). GM Pontus Carlsson (2515, +1) and GM-elect Amon Simutowe (2462, +5) are steady. Simutowe had a successful outing at the Riviera dei Cedri tournament. He has actually reported that some of his unrated games would push him to 2481. Carlsson will be at the Olympiad in Dresden, but I haven’t seen confirmation for Simutowe. He is listed on the Zambian roster.

    Not much happening in the Black chess world in terms of FIDE events.

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