FIDE October List Sneak Peek – Topalov on Top!

Measure Up, with Hans Arild Runde (Updated on September 17th)

With Bilbao just behind us and the smoke clearing after the firework of some chess games we witnessed there, it’s clear that we’ve got a new World Number One in the October list! With a win in the final round, Topalov secured a monumental victory in Bilbao, while at the same time pulling down Ivanchuk from his temporary first place in the live ratings and entering the top spot himself.

How close it was for the top place in the October list, can be illustrated in the following way: After 8 of 10 rounds in Bilbao, 5 players could theoretically claim first after the event: Anand, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Carlsen and Topalov. One day later, with one round left, this had been reduced to Ivanchuk, Carlsen and Topalov as potential number ones. If Carlsen had beaten Anand in the last round, Carlsen would’ve been first on more played games than Topalov, but with a Carlsen win and a draw in Topalov-Ivanchuk, it would’ve been Ivanchuk on top before Carlsen, also this on more played games for the former. In the end, there are 5 points between the top 4 in the October list.

Based on the completed events currently rated in the Live Top List, the October list will look like this:

FIDE October List Sneak Peek

Rank Name Rating Games Change Born
01 Topalov 2791 10 +14 1975
02 Morozevich 2787 9 -1 1977
03 Ivanchuk 2786 50 +5 1969
04 Carlsen 2786 31 +11 1990
05 Anand 2783 10 -15 1969
06 Kramnik 2772 16 -16 1975
07 Aronian 2757 23 +20 1982
08 Radjabov 2752 23 +8 1987
09 Leko 2747 16 +6 1979
10 Jakovenko 2737 39 +28 1983
11 Wang Yue 2736 23 +32 1987
12 Adams 2734 16 -1 1971
13 Movsesian 2732 12 +9 1978
14 Mamedyarov 2731 16 -11 1985
15 Karjakin 2730 24 +3 1990
16 Kamsky 2729 22 +6 1974
17 Svidler 2727 24 -11 1976
18 Shirov 2726 34 -15 1972
19 Eljanov 2720 26 +4 1983
20 Gelfand 2719 27 -1 1968
21 Dominguez 2719 15 +11 1983
22 Ponomariov 2719 14 +1 1983
23 Grischuk 2719 13 -9 1983
24 Vachier-Lagrave 2716 30 +35 1990
25 Alekseev 2715 30 +7 1985
26 Bu 2714 9 +4 1985
27 Polgar 2711 0 0 1976
28 Ni 2710 5 +5 1983
29 Bacrot 2705 23 +14 1983
30 Gashimov 2703 27 -14 1986
31 Rublevsky 2702 14 +3 1974

Notable Changes

We’ve already mentioned most of the big changes in the top 5, where Anand’s and Kramnik’s fall to 5th and 6th place in the rankings is somewhat remarkable, in view of the soon to come World Championship match between the two of them. However, as many commentators have been pointing out for quite some time now, this very match might be the main reason why Anand and Kramnik have performed relatively poorly in their latest top events. Both a subconscious wish to save energy and a conscious wish to hide preparation or make confusion regarding one’s openings, are likely theories that might go a long way to explain their modest results.

This time, Carlsen was one win away from topping the official world rankings (1-1 instead of 0-2 aganst Topalov would’ve made Carlsen both winner of Bilbao and World Number One), but still 4th place is his best rank so far. The last notable thing in the top 10, is Wang Yue‘s brilliant 10th place, up 32 points since July. Yet another top notch Grand Prix result in addition to his amazing result in Rising Stars vs Experience (qualifying for Amber next year), must surely have made China proud.
Update 2008-09-17: It turned out that I’d missed a single game
of Jakovenko where he won, making him and Wang Yue change places, with
Jakovenko ending up in 10th and Wang Yue in 11th. China should still
be proud, though. Sorry for the mistake, everyone!

Among the newcomers and reentries to the 2700+ club, I think Vachier-Lagrave is worth special mention. By being the biggest gainer among the top hundred in FIDE’s rating list for two rating periods back to back, he’s moved confidently into 24th place with 2716, up 35 points since July. Currently this trio born in 1990, Carlsen, Karjakin and Vachier-Lagrave, occupy 4th, 15th and 24th position, and Vachier-Lagrave is currently just 14 points behind Karjakin. Of course, at this point the two most known players of these three, have a huge lead in terms of experience with playing the very best in the world, but I’m sure that many organizers now will have a thorough look at the young French-man before sending out their invitations for 2009.

After having a terrible tournament in the 36th Annual World Open in Philidelphia, Milov has dropped well out of the top 30, after his slightly surprising 2700+ debut in the July list. In the meantime “veteran” top players Bacrot and Rublevsky have made their way into the top list – Rublevsky actually seeing 2700 for the first time in his career, despite being ranked as highly as number 19 back in 2004. Despite the lesser fame associated with 2700 these days, I’m sure Rublevsky is quite pleased after stopping at 2699 in the July list.

Events Included

The events being the basis for the October Sneak Peek above, are the following:

Aerosvit 2008 Carlsen, Svidler, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Karjakin, Jakovenko, Alekseev, Eljanov
Dortmund Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Leko, Ivanchuk
Greek Teams Final 4 Bacrot]
2008 World Open Milov
Greek Premier League Movsesian
Poikovsky Shirov, Gashimov, Jakovenko, Rublevsky, Wang Hao
Politiken Cup Eljanov
Biel 2008 Carlsen, Alekseev, Dominguez, Bacrot
Paris Int Championship Vachier-Lagrave
Marx Gyorgy Memorial Vachier-Lagrave
Sochi GP Ivanchuk, Radjabov, Svidler, Aronian, Grischuk, Karjakin, Kamsky, Gelfand, Gashimov, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Cheparinov
Staunton Memorial Adams
2008 Japan League Nakamura
French Championship Bacrot, Vachier-Lagrave
Tal Memorial Kramnik, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Mamedyarov, Leko, Shirov, Kamsky, Gelfand, Ponomariov, Alekseev
Rising Stars vs Experience Wang Yue, Cheparinov
Inventi GM Tournament Bu
Montreal International Nakamura
CECLUB group 1 Shirov, Adams, Gelfand, Ponomariov, Rublevsky, Cheparinov
CECLUB group 2 Movsesian, Gashimov, Eljanov, Jakovenko, Dominguez, Ni
Bilbao Grand Slam Anand, Ivanchuk, Topalov, Carlsen, Radjabov, Aronian

Will this be how it finally looks?

The major assumption obviously is that all the events mentioned above will actually be rated for the October list, and that I haven’t missed any events that will impact the top players.

The status as of this writing (as far as I can tell from the FIDE web site), is that Bilbao isn’t submitted for rating yet (but obviously it will be), that the Spanish Team Championships (CECLUB) group 2 is neither registered nor submitted, and the latter also applies to Montreal International, played in Canada. While all events left out will have an impact on the ratings above, the possible omission of the Montreal event decides whether or not Nakamura will break 2700 for the first time. If the event is rated (as I think it should be, since it’s finished and the results are known), then Nakamura still isn’t above 2700 officially, as he lost about 9 rating points in that event, nullifying his gain from the Japan League

Of course, no matter what the October list ends up like, you can still follow further changes to the top standings day by day, by going to With the European Club Cup and the World Championship coming up, the standings at the top are likely to change shortly after October the first, and due to EU Championship being played in London, things are changing literally as we speak. Like always, if there are questions, comments or suggestions to this article or the Live Top List, I’ll be delighted to read and respond to those, either via email or in a future article. Until then, have a nice time!

(See Measure Up for all articles by Hans Arild Runde.)

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