October 2005 FIDE Rating list released!

With speculation that there would be a new person at the top of the FIDE rating list (excluding Kasparov due to retirement),  it came as a surprise when Viswanathan Anand  (2788, +0) opened a six-point bulge over Veselin Topalov (2782, -6) on the rating list. Topalov (pictured right) will no doubt surpass Anand on the next chart and may become the third person to eclipse the 2800 barrier.  Topalov scored a magnificent result in San Luis, Argentina in winning the FIDE World Chess Championship.

Peter Leko (2751, -12) scored a subpar result in the FIDE tournament and will stand to lose a few more ELO points.  Vassily Ivanchuk (2748, -4) has bolted to the #5 position after inspired performances in the European Team Championship. However, Ivanchuk had a poor showing in Karabakh tournament in Armenia.  Peter Svidler (2738, +2) rises a notch to the #6 position and did well in the FIDE tournament tying with Anand on +3.

Veselin Topalov.  (Photo courtesy of WCC official site)

GM Veselin Topalov, World Champion

Vladimir Kramnik continued his slide (2739, -5) and has lost most of his credibility as a champion although there is talk of a reunification match with Topalov. The latest news is both Topalov and Kasparov do not believe Kramnik deserves a shot at the title. The latest news in the 2700-club is that Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan has reached the coveted plateau for the first time by gaining a whopping 22 points (2704, +22). He joins Levon Aronian (2724, +0) and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (2707, +28) as the newest members of the club. Aronian made it on the July list and recently won the Karabakh tournament.

Judit Polgar (2735, +0) came in last place in the FIDE tournament and stands to lose about 10 ELO points. Nevertheless, she is far ahead of the next female player who happens to be her sister Susan Polgar (2577, +0). Besides Xie Jun (2573, +0) there are no other threatening the dominance of the Polgars. It will take Koneru Humpy (2540, +9) many tournaments to gain 30 ELO points and those will have to be with the strongest opposition possible. Alexandra Kosteniuk (2516, +0) had a good European Championship result and keep the #5 spot while Maia Chiburdanidze (2511, +2) has gained a bit. Kateryna Lahno's (2509, +11) has finally broken 2500 while Pia Crambling (2492, -2) continues to hold a spot among the top ten.  Women's World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova drops to #10 (2491, -4) and remains as inconsistent as ever.

Teimour Radjabov (2704, +22) is the top junior. Both Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2674, +28) and Pentala Harikrishna (2673, +28) picked up a load of points. The Ukraine's Andrei Volokitin (2666, -5) continues sliding, but he will gain after his win in the Young Masters Tournament. Hikaru Nakamura (2662, +2) has had decent results in Young Masters and Karabakh tournaments where he tied for second both times. He stands to move closer to the 2700 plateau, but 30 points is a long way off.

In Africa, Morocco's
Hichem Hamdouchi gains (2574, +8) to keep his #1 ranking in Africa safe. Egyptian Essam El-Gindy is the only other 2500-level player (2524, +4) and  Slim Belkhodja of Tunisia is 3rd at 2490. Belkhodja will attempt to get back over 2500 for the first time since 2002 at the African Championships in Lusaka, Zambia. Egyptian star Ahmed Adly (2480, -1), who earned his GM title, has fallen under 2500. Adly remains Africa's top junior, but Bassem Amin (2454, +54) is rising after a stellar GM performance in Abu Dhabi. He will probably will be in Lusaka for the African Championships in attempts to get a GM norm or title.

South of the Sahara, Amon Simutowe (2458, +23) of Zambia becomes the top player. George Michelakis (2425, -12) of South Africa lost points from the Greek Team Championships. Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe is quite active (2410), but his federation does appears to be in bad standing with FIDE and does not appear on the roster of federations. Watu Kobese (2400, +0) is steady, but will certainly be in attendance at the African Championships. Participants will be trying to win a spot in the next FIDE qualifier, but unfortunately the tournament ends only a few days before the World Cup tournament begins. (December 3rd)

IM Amon Simutowe

In the Caribbean, Cuba's Lázaro Bruzon (2677, +15) reclaimed the regional rating lead as compatriot Lenier Domínguez (2635, -4) has tumbled since reaching 2661 in January. Kevin Denny (2365, +0) won the qualifier, but did not play in the recently ended Barbados Championship.  Philip Corbin (2217, -44) lost a ton of ELO in the HB Global Chess Challenge (-26) and the Heroes Day Cup (-18).

In North America, the top player of African descent is
Maurice Ashley (2465, +0) who has taken a long hiatus to work on a  new book.  He is followed by Stephen Muhammad (2377, +43) who has gained most of the points he lost in the past several months and looks to move forward. Tactical wizard Emory Tate  (2371, +36) has been extremely active this year and seems motivated to get a couple of titles. In Europe, Sweden's Pontus Carlsson (2435, +41) has earned his IM title and promptly earned a GM norm to boot. Michael Schleifer of Canada (2340, +0) has not played much in the past two years, but with the new FIDE rule (rating per game), perhaps we will see a change.

FIDE Ratings (October 2005)

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 18 October 2005