For the first time in history, there are four 2800s. It seems not so long ago that 2700 was the standard for “super GM”. Twenty years ago, there were only a handful of 2700 players. Ten years ago, only Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik eclipsed 2800. Now Kramnik (2800) has rejoined the list for the first time since 2003 and all four 2800s will be on stage at the London Chess Classic in December 2011.
Surprisingly, veterans have held their strength of the last ten years. Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand (2811, -6), Vassily Ivanchuk (2775, +10), Veselin Topalov (2768) and Alexander Morozevich (2762, +25) were in the top 10 in 2001 and are there in 2011. Remarkable.
Magnus Carlsen (2826, +3) is still in the top position after winning yet another tournament in the recent Sao Paulo/Bilbao Masters. Anand maintains the second position while Levon Aronian (2802, -5) holds steady at third. After Kramnik’s 4th position, Teimour Radjabov (2781, +29) vaulted up to the fifth position with an impressive string of strong results.
There is not much changed in the remaining top ten with Ivanchuk, Topalov, Sergey Karjakin (2763, -9) Morozevich and Hikaru Nakamura (2758, +5). While Morozevich’s return to grace has been highlighted in the chess media, Nakamura’s alliance with Kasparov is the latest buzz.
Judit Polgar remains atop the list and has opened up a 110-point bulge over inactive Humpy Koneru (2600) who is preparing for her match against Hou Yifan (2578). Hou is coming off of a dominating win at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Szechen with 8/11. Her compatriot Zhao Xue gained a whopping 44 points (2541, +44) after winning the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Nalchik with 9.5/11.
Fabiano Caruana (2727, +15) is still the top junior followed by the resurgent Lê Quang Liêm (2714, -3) who just won the SPICE Cup in Lubbock, Texas. Lê will regain points, but in the time being, is tied with Anish Giri (2714, -8). China’s National Champion Ding Liren (2660, +1) is the newest star from the “Land of the Dragon” and is edging his way up the federation’s chart at #5.
Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun (2533, -3) top the girl’s chart. Ju scored well in the Nalchik Grand Prix placing second behind Zhao’s torrid score. Dronavali Harika, a newly-minted Grandmaster, is third on the list after a small gain (2513, +8).