As Magnus Carlsen prepares for his World Championship showdown in a few days, he is certainly not worried about his ELO status. However, the rankings are bound to become tighter as he will most likely concede ELO point in this match. Holding a 95-point advantage means each draw would cost a few points.
Currently three points from a career high, Carlsen is 69 points ahead of his nearest rival Levon Aronian (2801, +6) while Vladimir Kramnik (2793, -3) and Hikaru Nakamura (2786, +3) follow. Nakamura has inched into the #4 spot, his highest ranking to date and tying his rating high. Few would have predicted that Nakamura would be ranked so high years ago and he now stands at the precipice of 2800. Continuing his ascent, he gained three ELO from the FIDE Grand Prix in Paris, France which was won by #6-ranked Fabiano Caruana (2783, +3) on 7/11.
The top just got a bit more crowded.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Alexander Grischuk is at #5 gaining a net one point. Rounding out the top ten are Boris Gelfand (2777, +12) who tied with Caruana in the Paris Grand Prix, Viswanathan Anand (2775) who is preparing to meet Carlsen, Veselin Topalov (2774, +3) who won the overall Grand Prix Series and Shakriyar Mamedyarov (2757, -2) who came in second in the Grand Prix. Both Topalov and Mamedyarov qualified for the Candidates Tournament as a result of securing the top two spots.
After reclaiming the Women’s World Championship from Anna Ushenina, Hou Yifan gained ten points and another eight in the European Cup. This pushes her ELO rating to a career-high and within 60 points of Judit Polgar. This is the closest any woman has ever been to Polgar in many years. Of course there is buzz circulating about a match between Polgar and Hou Yifan as a sort of unofficial World Championship. Of course Polgar has been focusing more on publishing and organizing than playing. Humpy Koneru (2618, +11) gained after winning the Women’s Grand Prix in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with 8/11. Anna Muzychuk (2566, +6) is far behind and Zhao Xue (2566, -14) struggled in the Tashkent Grand Prix.
Anish Giri still sits atop the junior list (2732, -17) plummeted after carrying the “wooden spoon” in the FIDE Grand Prix. His last-place finish was a disappointment as he attempts to join the shortlist of young aspirants who seek a shot at the world title. Wesley So (2719, +13) just won the Unive tournmaent in Hoogeveen and gained a healthy cache of points. The Webster University sophomore continues to set new standards in Filipino chess.
Photo by Frits Agterdenbos, ChessVista.
Richard Rapport (2680, +4) holds steady at #3 and Parimarjan Negi (2671) will most likely be in Chennai for the World Championship match. He won the Politken Cup back in September with 9/10, a career victory. After approaching 2700, Yu Yangyi (2668, -13) took another plummet after a poor performance in the strong Chinese League.
Hou Yifan (2629) is 178 points ahead of her compatriot Guo Qi (2451, +8) with Russian phenom Aleksandra Gorychkina (2438, +2) at #3.