September 2009 FIDE rating list released!

GM Vassily Ivanchuk
Photo from ChessBase.

The September FIDE rating list has been out for a couple of weeks and there was a little movement. However, the list is accented by Vassily Ivanchuk’s sudden ascent back up to #8 from #30. Ivanchuk (2756, +53) maintains the model of either determination or inconsistency… however one views it. Looking at his FIDE graph one can see sharp patterns. How does an elite player gain a whopping 53 points in two months?? Incredible! How long can he continue this… no one knows.

Veselin Topalov maintains the lead at (2813) with World Champion Viswanthan Anand trailing by 25 ELO points at 2788. Neither had played any rated games since the last list was released in July. FIDE now releases rating every two months. Incidentally, Topalov and Anand are preparing for an anticipated match in 2010 and bidding has begun.

The rest of the top 10 is stable. Levon Aronian (2773, +5) switched places 3rd-4th positions with Magnus Carlsen (2772) and Vladimir Kramnik (2772, +13) gained a handsome thirteen points after winning Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Germany. Dmitri Jakovenko (2742, -18) dropped six places and Kramnik, Peter Leko (2762, +6) and Teimour Radjabov (2757 +1) moved up a spot for 5th-7th.

Hikaru Nakamura moved up to 16th position on world rankings.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Another story is that Hikaru Nakamura edged into the top 20 by gaining 25 points after a winning streak of six tournaments. Nakamura (2735, +25) recently landed back on the planet with a disappointing result in the Rising Stars match versus Experienced Masters. Nakamura fell ill and stated in an interview that after his bout with nausea and a trip to the doctor, he was unable to play with the energy that is required with his style. He will lose few points, but will no doubt maintain his top 20 standing before the busy month of December when he plays in three strong tournaments.

Nigel Short (2706, +22) is another player to make news on the top list. There are 32 players over 2700, but perhaps Short is the oldest player to lose a 2700 rating and then regain it. However, the British prodigy is more keen on reclaiming his #1 status in England. In a recent interview, he stated, “I must say that I am delighted to be the British number one again. It means much more to me than my Elo. I shall enjoy it while it lasts.”

There were no new entrants into the 2700 club, but Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2718, +15) claimed the #1 position in France over longtime ace Etienne Bacrot (2709, -12). Rustam Kasimjanov (2702, +30) bolted back into the 2700-club with a solid performance in the FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk, Armenia.

Chinese star Hou Yifan coming of age!
Photo by Fred Lucas.

In the women’s category, Judit Polgar (2687) is so far ahead that her record of highest woman is assumed. With the recent collapse of Humpy Koneru (2595, -28), Hou Yifan (2585) appears the be the best hope in catching Polgar. She has age and determination on her side. Humpy seems to have lost some drive while Hou continues to climb. We will see a new Hou sans le barrette (pictured right) as she transitions from girl and young lady. We will also watch her grow into a world champion!

Nothing new to report in the boys section as Carlsen still holds the lead. Hou holds the crown on the girls’ list. What is telling is the young Chinese talent dotting the girl’s list. Out of the top ten, four are Chinese. There is no such domination on the boy’s list. In the top 20 positions, 14 countries are represented and only Russia has more than two (3).

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