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The new FIDE rating list is out. Nothing too interesting, although France's Bacrot crashed the 2700 club with a huge leap. He took the French #1 spot from Lautier by a wide margin and will likely play board one in the Olympiad. The former youngest-ever GM is finally showing the promise already displayed by fellow prodigies Leko and Ponomariov.

Speaking of prodigies, Teimour Radjabov dropped a little on the list and has been playing very unambitious chess. His semifinal appearance in the FIDE KO, where he lost game one to Adams today, actually proves this theory. Advancing is really all that matters, but when you look only at the first two games of each match, the only ones that will be rated, he is seeking draws and actually playing well below his rating. Last month Garry Kasparov expounded to me that we would soon see Magnus Carlsen surpass Radjabov on the rating list. "Carlsen knows how to win. Radjabov is playing in Linares and other top events where drawing is a good result for him. He's never won a tournament!"

It's a little early to write off Timmmaaay!, of course. He shows flashes of brilliance when pushed up against the wall, usually when he has black. It's not a coincidence that he has wins against Anand and Kasparov with black. But his rocket to the top has clearly stalled. He gave up draw after draw in the recent European Championship. Many thought he would be top-10 by 18 years old.

1 Comment

Hello, Mig! Nice to meet you! :-)

I cannot speculate on Radjabov's earlier performance, but I read at the Chessbase website that he is deliverately trying to draw so that he can win in the playoffs, which have rapid and blitz time controls. He appears to be confident in his ability under (time) pressure. The problem is that even though this strategy has worked up until now, he is now facing Michael Adams of the UK, and he is a very cool customer! This strategy may indeed backfire on Radjabov if he is not careful...! Personally, I think he is still too young to seriously take on Kasparov and win at this point, even if he managed to defeat both Adams and Topalov and win the knockout event...as it is, I say it will be a Topalov-Adams final...but I cannot say right now who will win it all for the right to play Kasparov...whoever is "hottest" at the time will likely win...and Topalov has been in fire in the playoff! Can Mickey "cool him down"? ;-)



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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 1, 2004 11:10 PM.

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