January 2009 FIDE Rating list

GM Veselin Topalov enroute to winning Pearl Spring.
Photo by Sina Sport.

Veselin Topalov (2796, +5) remains atop the FIDE rating list at 2796. Many project that he will vault back over 2800 in the next list. At the FIDE General Assembly, it was voted that these lists be produced every two months instead of every three months. Topalov played well in the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden as well as winning the recently-ended Pearl Spring Super-GM tournament.

Viswanathan Anand (2791, +8) gained eight points from the World Championship against Vladimir Kramnik. Vassily Ivanchuk (2779, -7) and Magnus Carlsen (2776, -10) maintained the #3 and #4 positions despite losing points. Alexander Morozevich (2771, -16) dropped a gaudy sixteen points after a mediocre performance at the Russian Championship and the Dresden Olympiad.

Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov (2761, +9) inches closer to the top and is on the #6 position after gaining. He as well as the surging Russia’s Dmitri Jakovenko (2760, +23) will gain more points given their joint victory at the FIDE Grand Prix. Jakovenko played very well at the Olympiad winning a board prize. Vladimir Kramnik (2759, -13) continues his gradual descent from the top losing points in the match against Anand and at the Dresden Olympiad. Peter Leko (2751, +4) and Sergei Movsesian (2751, +19) round out the top 10 with identical ratings. Movsesian will gain more points from the FIDE Grand Prix.

One controversy is why the Pearl Spring was not included in the rating list while the FIDE Grand Prix (which ended later) was. Francisco Vallejo Pons (2702, +38) of Spain is the newest entrant in the 2700 after gaining a whopping 38 points. Nikita Vitiugov (2687, +49) of Russia had the largest gain in the top 100 players with 49 points.

In the women’s section, nothing much has changed. Judit Polgar (2693, -18) dipped under 2700, but still hold a commanding lead over Humpy Koneru (2621, +3). At least now both have the same prefix of “26”. Newly-minted Grandmaster Hou Yifan (2571, -7) represents perhaps the best chance of reaching the elite levels of chess. The mixture of youth, talent and strong backing give her a chance to eclipse the strongest female player ever.

Hou Yifan

GM Hou Yifan of China
Photo by Frederic Friedel.

In the junior, section Carlsen is leading the pack with a cadre of promising young players. The balance is evident given that the top ten junior players come from eight different countries… China and the Ukraine have two each. The region of Asia has a number of junior players in the top 20.

Sergey Karjakin seems to have been on the junior list for ages. He is #2 on the list and French sensation Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is on 2696. Wang Hao is #4 and Maxim Rodshtein (2650) had a spectacular result in Dresden. Fabiano Caruana (2646) of Italy will continue to rise given his recent victory in the Italian Championship and the Pamplona Open.

WIM Oleiny Linares-Napoles of Cuba wins silver medal for 9/10 performance on board #4! Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Among players of African descent, Sweden’s GM Pontus Carlsson (2509, -6) lost a few points at the Dresden Olympiad while GM-elect Amon Simutowe of Zambia gained (2485, +22) for a career-high rating. Fellow Zambian Daniel Jere (2267, +27) gained a mass of points at the Dresden Olympiad scoring 8.5/10. Other big gains were seen by Moses Kawuma (2204, +20) who scored 9/10 at the Olympiad. Adebayo Adegboyega of Nigeria gained a boatload of points (2285, +19) and Jamaica’s Jomo Pitterson scored 6.5/9 at the Olympiad earned his FM title.

WIM Oleiny Linares-Napoles (2304, +40) of Cuba who gained a whopping 40 points! She scored 9/10 at the Olympiad and won a silver medal for her accomplishment. In other news, IM Emory Tate (2333, -6) lost a handful of points mostly due to his participation in the North American FIDE events. Hopefully, he will earn more chances to play in GM tournaments.

FIDE: https://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml

Rank Name Title Country Rating Games B-Year
 1  Topalov, Veselin  g  BUL  2796  8  1975
 2  Anand, Viswanathan  g  IND  2791  11  1969
 3  Ivanchuk, Vassily  g  UKR  2779  19  1969
 4  Carlsen, Magnus  g  NOR  2776  17  1990
 5  Morozevich, Alexander  g  RUS  2771  20  1977
 6  Radjabov, Teimour  g  AZE  2761  27  1987
 7  Jakovenko, Dmitry  g  RUS  2760  40  1983
 8  Kramnik, Vladimir  g  RUS  2759  20  1975
 9  Leko, Peter  g  HUN  2751  23  1979
 10  Movsesian, Sergei  g  SVK  2751  16  1978
 11  Aronian, Levon  g  ARM  2750  16  1982
 12  Shirov, Alexei  g  ESP  2745  19  1972
 13  Wang, Yue  g  CHN  2739  28  1987
 14  Grischuk, Alexander  g  RUS  2733  28  1983
 15  Gelfand, Boris  g  ISR  2733  17  1968
 16  Ponomariov, Ruslan  g  UKR  2726  9  1983
 17  Kamsky, Gata  g  USA  2725  16  1974
 18  Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  g  AZE  2724  29  1985
 19  Gashimov, Vugar  g  AZE  2723  28  1986
 20  Svidler, Peter  g  RUS  2723  27  1976
 21  Bacrot, Etienne  g  FRA  2722  40  1983
 22  Alekseev, Evgeny  g  RUS  2718  33  1985
 23  Dominguez Perez, Leinier  g  CUB  2717  10  1983
 24  Adams, Michael  g  ENG  2712  29  1971
 25  Sasikiran, Krishnan  g  IND  2711  24  1981
 26  Ni, Hua  g  CHN  2709  15  1983
 27  Karjakin, Sergey  g  UKR  2706  17  1990
 28  Vallejo Pons, Francisco  g  ESP  2702  34  1982
 29  Bu, Xiangzhi  g  CHN  2702  9  1985
 30  Rublevsky, Sergei  g  RUS  2702  0  1974
 31  Akopian, Vladimir  g  ARM  2700  33  1971
 32  Nakamura, Hikaru  g  USA  2699  19  1987
 33  Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime  g  FRA  2696  28  1990
 34  Eljanov, Pavel  g  UKR  2693  29  1983
 35  Naiditsch, Arkadij  g  GER  2693  17  1985
 36  Polgar, Judit  g  HUN  2693  8  1976
 37  Malakhov, Vladimir  g  RUS  2692  18  1980
 38  Wang, Hao  g  CHN  2691  7  1989
 39  Dreev, Alexey  g  RUS  2688  24  1969
 40  Efimenko, Zahar  g  UKR  2688  15  1985
 41  Vitiugov, Nikita  g  RUS  2687  28  1987
 42  Kasimdzhanov, Rustam  g  UZB  2687  22  1979
 43  Bologan, Viktor  g  MDA  2687  15  1971
 44  Tiviakov, Sergei  g  NED  2684  10  1973
 45  Almasi, Zoltan  g  HUN  2680  27  1976
 46  Cheparinov, Ivan  g  BUL  2679  31  1986
 47  Sargissian, Gabriel  g  ARM  2678  20  1983
 48  Moiseenko, Alexander  g  UKR  2676  9  1980
 49  Motylev, Alexander  g  RUS  2676  6  1979
 50  Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter  g  ROU  2675  25  1976

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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