Calcutta: A light wind of change has visited the normally static atmosphere at the top-most rung of world chess. In a departure from trend, the top two — Garri Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik — have lost Elo rating points.
Kramnik has lost 18 points to slip below 2800, but stays second in the world at 2789. Kasparov stays on top at 2830, but has lost 17 points. It’s assumed that both have suffered because of their below par showing at Linares and considering their standards, the dip is huge and significant.
Viswanathan Anand has consolidated his position at third spot by moving up 11 points to 2764. Linares champion Peter Leko has gained ten points to move to fourth with 2746, followed by Alexei Shirov at 2735.
At Linares, Kasparov suffered a rare defeat in the classical format, against Azerbaijan sensation Teimour Radjabov, and finished fourth — a dismal performance, considering his lofty standards. The Azerbaijan 16-year-old has gained 20 points and climbed 22 places to advance to 46th in world rankings with 2644 points.
The amount of points lost by Kasparov and Kramnik is unusual. Once sparring partners turned fierce rivals, the two are so strong and belong to such a level that their scope to lose or gain points is far less as compared to lesser mortals.
Going by his recent form and his steady climb after falling from a career-best rating of 2797, Anand stands an excellent chance of recapturing the second spot which he had held for a brief while in the mid-Nineties.
The Indian angle
According to the latest rating list released by Fide this month, GM Krishnan Sasikiran — the only other Indian in the top 100 — has lost six points to slip to 36th from 32nd. His rating is still a formidable 2658.
There has not been any other significant change or movement for other Indians. GM Koneru Humpy stays fifth among women at 2496. GM P. Harikrishna has gained a healthy 24 points to climb to 2563 — third among Indians behind Anand and Sasikiran.
Bengal’s Neelotpal Das’ good showing in recent months has been rewarded by his elevation to 2468. He is tenth among Indians. Other Bengal players in India’s top ten are GMs Dibyendu Barua (fourth at 2545), Surya Sekhar Ganguly (fifth, 2542) and Sandipan Chanda (eighth, 2478).
TOP TEN (WORLD)
1. Garri Kasparov (Rus, 2830). 2. Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2789). 3. Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 2764). 4. Peter Leko (Hun, 2746). 5. Alexei Shirov (Spa, 2735). 6. Vasselin Topalov (Bul, 2753). 7. Evgeny Bareev (Rus, 2734). 8. Michael Adams (Eng, 2723). 9. Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr, 2718). 10. Judit Polgar (Hun, 2715).