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FIDE has released its list of expected rating changes for the July 2005 list. As predicted in various quarters, it looks like Anand and Topalov will be in a dead heat at 2788 for the spot of top active player. (We need an official unofficial name for this "title" since Kasparov is going to be #1 on the list for another year whether he likes it or not. I suppose after waiting for 20 years the world can handle one more before there's a new #1.)

The other top 10 news is Kramnik being passed by the streaky Ivanchuk and dropping out of the top five. (Less than a dozen points ahead of Svidler and Polgar.) Kramnik at the closing ceremony of the London 2000 world championship match where he beat Kasparov: "The only thing I can say is that I'd just like to be first on the ratings also to prove that it wasn't accidental because I'm completely sure it was not accidental. I'll just try to prove it and not just to prove I'm the best, but to be a better player."

What we know five years later is that 1) it wasn't an accident, but that 2) he's not a better player now. Anand, Topalov, and Leko have elevated their games and it's not clear exactly why Kramnik's has suffered. Based on his play it seems he has been trying to be more aggressive, to put up big scores and achieve his stated goal of becoming the #1. This reinvention hasn't gone well so far, but I hope he doesn't give up on it yet. His title and reputation guarantee he won't suffer from a lack of invitations, although Linares can be picky about these things and he'll have to watch out there if he drops further.


I've read the last two paragraphs of this article four times and STILL can't find the subtly veiled Kramnik put-down.

And where is Leko in this list?

Fourth, 25 behind Anand and Topalov.

Someone can probably easily explain this, but why is Adams expected to drop 18?

mmmh what is the rating of Ivanchuk exactly ? On the FIDE site, he's still rated 2737 in the tentative rating list and 2752 in the "expected rating changes".


French league Top 16 -6
Bundesliga -1.2
4NCL -3.1

This is the time when all the national leagues are summed up since the season's over -- can mean dramatic changes for some players.

acirce--thanks (sorry for my ignorance)

Highly notable: Aronian +31 = 2724 (and entering top-10?)

mig, can u unequivocally say that Kramnik beating Kasparov wasnt an accident???

Sure, and I've said it many times. Perhaps in a wider view from the perspective of knowing that Kramnik would drop and Kasparov would continue as #1 we can see that score as an anomaly, but that doesn't mean it was an accident. Elo isn't everything or you could call every rating upset an accident. Kramnik prepared better (not just openings, but style and positions) and made more of his chances during the match.

"Accident" implies luck or coincidence or saying that had they played the same match again (knowing the same things, not more), Kramnik wouldn't have won. But he would have. Sure, playing a match or ten matches AFTER that one is another story, but that's largely irrelevant. For that month in London Kramnik was better against Kasparov.

Perhaps a historical accident or something like that, if you stretch the definition of the word a little. You could say similar things about Euwe, since we know in hindsight (and it was largely acknowledged at the time) that Alekhine was superior in various ways. But beating Kasparov certainly wasn't an accident. It went exactly as he had planned!

ok, good points all. Btw, how about opening a debate on the weakest ever, since we have had the best ever and best never. My nominations, Euwe and Kramnik..

This rating information has been on the Fide site for a long time. You can always find the current expected rating change data on the Advanced search page:

There select
results to show: 100
sort by rating and descending

Aronian indeed rises to number 11 on the new active players list. Biggest rating improvement on the top 100 list: Tiviakov up 46 pts to 2678.

I dunno, "weakest ever" is more of of a message board hall of flame topic at this point. Most of that went around in previous items. Wouldn't want it to take over here. If new evidence comes in that might be something. But Kramnik has already been the only champion not rated #1 or #2 since the lists came into being. Being #6 instead of #5 isn't big news at this point.

Good for Aronian. Now what happened to Sadvakasov?!

Not only he dropped from 2 to 6, the elo loss is also huge at 60+ points.I don't know whether he beating Kasparov is an accident or not but, this drop certainly not an accident.He 'achieved' it.I believe he has the nack of winning when it really matters and loose otherwise.During this bad phase he drew with Leko,won couple of Linares .None of these victories are by any great margin or by winning more games.Inspite of its reservations, elo seems to be the best way one can say Kramnik is playing poorly.Otherwise how to explain his 3 super-tournament victories(on par with Anand), tittle defence and yet considered having poor results.
BTW Anand shoud be ranked above Topolov since he played more no. of games.

Anand might be listed higher, but "ranked" higher by number of games is weird, especially since they throw away the decimal place. You could say it means the rating is more accurate or that it rewards activity, I suppose. But a tie on points is a tie on points and they'll be equal 2-3 if they're both 2788.

It's more than just Elo with Kramnik, although the size of the drop is certainly alarming. He's been losing a lot of games, relatively speaking. One clear first with +2 versus Anand's several clear firsts with +4, plus his domination of rapid events (not to mention league play and the Olympiad).

The subtly veiled Rad Vlad put-down is there, Mr Koster, in the somewhat word-eating quote. But the blogmaster hardly needs to flame Kramnik to rouse the legion of toadying K-bashers to action, viz "how about opening a debate on the weakest [WC] ever"?!?!! Better yet, how about going outside, digging a hole and shovelling all the dirt back in?

btw Ivanchuk rocks.

The Chess world is simply holding it's breath until the inevitable return of the best player of all time...

"The Chess world is simply holding it's breath until the inevitable return of the best player of all time..."

Nah, Tal's ghost has better things to do.

I would really like to know everybody's reaction to this: the worst champion ever is Spassky. In the 1972 match, Fischer was the strongest, there is no doubt about that... only Spassky's behavior in general was very peculiar. I suspect he had many scores to settle with the Soviets and his handing over the title was his way of getting even. He feigned he was in terror of Fischer to disguise his real attitude... He was not as weak as he looked. He was Russian champion the next year. I used to like him for the same reasons everybody does but his recent antisemitic remarks proved he is mean and vindictive too. Also, I think there was talk at the time about him being part Jewish but that seems to have been erased for some reason...

I looked at the FIDE rating list, and funny,
some dude named Fischer is suddenly #3 at 2780.

haha good one Alan Ward, I concur!

RS: Fischer has always been there, only marked as "inactive" and hence not appearing the the top players list. Kamsky was in the same situation until recently, and Valery Salov still is. The inactive players get back to the active list as soon as they have played 4 rated games in a 1-year period.

Mig: Kasparov is not necessarly there for another year, someone could reach 2812 before then :)

Good to see Polgar get a few more points. Maybe we can even hope to see her in the top five in a few months?

May be I lost my mind, but I still can't find Leko in this list! Is he really missing?

Mr. Kosulin, go to the FIDE site linked above. The second paragraph has a link to "list of players", type in 'Leko'. I did not find a list of all the players in order of rating, but Bobby is still on the list of players, inactive of course!

Dear VKW,
I am talking about an expected July rating list:
and not about esteblished rarings you point me to.
May be his rating just stays the same...

I see the discussion moved from "weakest" to "worst" world champion. The worst has been, without doubt, Fischer.

Dear Vlad, the rating list I pointed out to you is the FIDE list of expected rating changes for the July 2005 list. It indicates that Leko's rating will not change on the July 2005 list. I went to the site you posted and I can't find Leko on it.

Van Wely´s again in his rollercoaster ---> -32
Timman +18, not bad

Ivanchuk was supposed to play on Open Championship of Canada (Edmonton, July 9-17), but his visa application was denied without explanation by Canadian Consulate. All other GMs, including Moiseenko (he is also Ukrainian), got visa without any problems.
I am shocked.

vlad, dont worry about it. Canada has a crazy immigration and visa policy. Ivanchuk should consider himself honoured to be refused one.

vlad, don't worry about d's post. Take it with a superfine grain of salt since he clearly knows nothing of Canada's policy in these matters and less than nothing of Ivanchuk's individual case. Moreover, whoever wishes to engage in rootless Canada-bashing on this forum can step up anytime.

But whatever the facts of the unfortunate event, it is a great pity that he cannot attend.

what are the odds on the next player to top 2800? I'm rooting for Anand, cos he seems to be playing very strong chess, even tho he was 2nd nto topy recently.

clubfoot, how do you know what d knows of Canada's immigration policy? every country gets weird when it comes to letting people through their borders.

This is a cut-and-paste from Chesstalk, a Canadian bulletin board, on June 15th:

"This story is false.

"Ivanchuk has NOT been refused a Canadian visa. He is simply going through the normal process to get a Canadian visa, that every person from Eastern Europe goes through. There is no reason for him to be refused a visa, and we do not anticipate any problems.

"In fact I was in email contact with GM Ivanchuk TODAY. Here is what he wrote: 'Today one woman from Canadian ambassada called me and explane, that they not refused me and Oksana (his wife)with visa.' Vassily Ivanchuk

"Also, he bought his airplane tickets yesterday.

"Micah Hughey
"Canadian Open "

RIGHT ON. We'll see you all in Edmonton.

I agree that Fischer is the "worst" World Champion and add that there are TWO very different reasons for this ranking:

#1: He didn't play a single public game of chess his entire reign. Complain all you want that Kramnik didn't play much, but at least he played more than zero.

#2: He personifies the public perception (especially in the U.S.) that chess players are crazy, weird people with his very public statements.

Help a fellow Canadian out... what makes our immigration and visa policy so crazy?

All other fellow Canadian blog-slaves:
Check out the +14 for Pascal Charbonneau, putting him only a hair away from 2500, while Kevin Spraggett is closing on 2600. Mark Bluvshtein is climbing as well!

Agreed abt Fischer as a champion,he was mentally unstable. However you ought to edit (especially in the United States) to maybe only in the United States.In India and Eastern Europe I am sure nobody percieves chess players as wild people who make strange statements,and I doubt there is such a belief in Western Europe or other parts of Asia either.

The American culture has undergone much "dumbing down" in recent years,and in a culture where efforts are made to suppress most important issues and to present most issues in a grossly oversimplified manner, it is no surprise that a complicated intellectual game is looked down upon as being nerdy. In the tradition of self-fulfilling prophecies, since the game is percieved as being nerdy,most smart people avoid it and therefore perhaps many of the people playing chess in America ARE nerds,which reinforces that stereotype etc.

Recent years? An anti-intellectual federal administration doesn't mean the overall culture is any dumber, although it doesn't help. Chess has better status in the US now than it has had since the Fischer years. Far more kids play now than then.

Americans love winners. If the US produces another world champion, chess will boom again, probably just as briefly.

Just to toss in a thought on the American culture issue...

Chess is a recurring theme on the American television drama, "The West Wing." The President (the main character) enjoys the game and it has also become a positive diagnostic with regard to his MS.

This show debuted in 1999. Not only was it a critical success from the beginning (it won the Emmy for best drama 4 years in a row), but it has also frequently been a top 10 show in the weekly television ratings.

Ratings fell after the show became LESS intellectual in its fifth season with the departure of producer/writer Sorkin, but when the more intellectual storylines returned in the sixth season, the show moved back into the top 20 if not the top 10.

As others have remarked, what America does have a lot of is public speeches about what appeals to "the common man." But then American tends to have a lot of everything, being a pluralistic society of near 300 million people.

When you look at what people actually do and buy on their own, the picture changes. About 12 million Americans a week watch The West Wing. The top 5 paperback bestsellers this week are all intellectual books (the #1 author got his start on NPR, the #2 writes for NEW YORKER magazine, and the list includes READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, hardly an insular book).

Granted, the top 5 fiction paperback bestsellers are of a different quality, including Sheldon and Fern Michaels, but even there THE KITE RUNNER came in at #2.

As I've mentioned before, I've done several media studies over my career. Chess is used frequently in American advertising as a positive symbol of decisiveness and cool strategy under pressure. It wouldn't be chosen if it didn't have positive associations.


Oops, that should have been "the top five nonfiction bestsellers," not top 5 overall.

My apologies for any confusion.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 16, 2005 12:18 PM.

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