General Sep 1, 2017 | 1:34 AMby Colin McGourty

September FIDE rating list: MVL & So swap places

Magnus Carlsen remains world no. 1 on the September 2017 FIDE rating list, topping the official rankings for the 75th time and the 69th in a row in a streak stretching back to July 2011. His 2827 rating gives him a 23-point lead over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, whose +3 in the Sinquefield Cup catapulted him from 8th place to 2nd. Wesley So completed the same journey in reverse, scoring -3 and dropping 18 points to fall from 2nd to 8th. High climbers include Bassem Amin, Nigel Short and Hou Yifan, while Garry Kasparov has active official ratings for the first time since 2005.

It was hard to imagine that when Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Wesley So in Round 1 of the Sinquefield Cup it was the start of a complete reversal of fortunes | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

The September 2017 FIDE rating list is official confirmation of the damage done to the Top 10 by the Sinquefield Cup. As well as MVL and So swapping places we also saw US stars Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura drop three places, to 5th and 10th respectively. The changes in and on the edge of the 2700 club were as follows:

Wesley So’s drop was the heaviest out of the Top 100 players, with only David Navara (-17) and Anton Korobov (-16) suffering almost as much. Among the rising stars Abu Dhabi Masters winner Bassem Amin stands out for having climbed 19 points to 2699, putting the Egyptian on the brink of becoming the first African grandmaster to enter the 2700 club. The man he drew with in the final round in Abu Dhabi, Nigel Short, is himself just two points short of rejoining that club at the venerable age of 52:

The biggest climber is Ukraine’s Yuriy Kuzubov, who added a whopping 36 points with his performance in the Turkish and Spanish leagues. That means that with his new 2688 rating he’s suddenly become a clear favourite to win his World Cup first round tie against Sergei Zhigalko (2642). The same goes for Hou Yifan, whose brilliant display in Biel saw her climb 26 players and 18 rating points to 2670. 

Hou Yifan's triumph in Biel was one of the greatest results ever by a female player. She'll get another chance to shine in the World Cup, where if she defeats Piorun she faces Levon Aronian in Round 2! | photo: Biel International Chess Festival

In Round 1 of the World Cup she faces reigning Polish Champion Kacper Piorun (2644). It’s worth noting that the seeding for the World Cup is based on the August FIDE rating list, so e.g. Wesley So remains 2nd seed and could only face Magnus Carlsen in the final.

It was also a memorable month for Vidit, who crossed 2700 for the first time:

He did it in style, beating Alexander Areshchenko in the final round of the Spanish League with a memorable tactic:

34.Rb8!, and if the rook is captured 35.Qa1+ is mate-in-3. There was no defence, and after 34...f3+ 35.Kh1 Black resigned. 

A decade younger, 12-year-old Praggnanandhaa may have missed out on scoring GM norms in recent tournaments, but just after his birthday he's become the youngest ever player to reach 2500. We say reach, not cross, since he hit the mark exactly!

Praggnanandhaa's FIDE rating profile

Anna Muzychuk moves up to women’s no. 2

Hou Yifan’s lead at the top of the women’s list has grown to 94 points, with Anna Muzychuk edging out Ju Wenjun to become no. 2 after a good display in the Turkish League. 20-year-old Lei Tingjie’s performance in the Cellavision Chess Cup and Riga Technical University Open have propelled her into the Top 10 with a 20-point rating gain:

 1 Hou, Yifan g CHN 2670 9 1994
 2 Muzychuk, Anna g UKR 2576 12 1990
 3 Ju, Wenjun g CHN 2574 4 1991
 4 Koneru, Humpy g IND 2557 0 1987
 5 Kosteniuk, Alexandra g RUS 2552 0 1984
 6 Muzychuk, Mariya g UKR 2544 0 1992
 7 Cmilyte, Viktorija g LTU 2542 0 1983
 8 Lagno, Kateryna g RUS 2541 4 1989
 9 Lei, Tingjie g CHN 2534 17 1997
 10 Harika, Dronavalli g IND 2528 9 1991

The Chinese Grandmaster has also now opened up a 56-point lead over Aleksandra Goryachkina at the top of the Girls FIDE rating list, which is good enough for 43rd place on the overall Junior list. 

Wei Yi has had a relatively quiet time since winning the Danzhou Supertournament - could he electrify the chess world again by qualifying for the Candidates through the World Cup? | photo:

The Juniors Top 10 is only altered by Sam Sevian and Grigoriy Oparin changing places, though it’s noteworthy that Jan-Krzysztof Duda has slipped back under 2700 to leave Wei Yi out on his own for now:

 1 Wei, Yi g CHN 2748 4 1999
 2 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof g POL 2698 7 1998
 3 Artemiev, Vladislav g RUS 2692 0 1998
 4 Bluebaum, Matthias g GER 2633 7 1997
 5 Xiong, Jeffery g USA 2633 0 2000
 6 Oparin, Grigoriy g RUS 2616 4 1997
 7 Sevian, Samuel g USA 2610 9 2000
 8 Van Foreest, Jorden g NED 2607 9 1999
 9 Gledura, Benjamin g HUN 2600 9 1999
 10 Svane, Rasmus g GER 2595 7 1997

Kasparov is back

Garry Kasparov has retained his 2812 classical FIDE rating since his retirement in 2005, but on that list he remains “inactive”. Now, however, his appearance in the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz means he has official FIDE ratings as an active player in those disciplines. 

In Rapid he’s 13th on 2783, while in Blitz he’s world no. 9 with a 2801 rating:

 1 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2948 0 1990
 2 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2889 18 1990
 3 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2863 18 1982
 4 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2857 18 1987
 5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2853 0 1990
 6 Shkuro, Iuri g UKR 2828 0 1982
 7 Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2815 0 1990
 8 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2810 18 1990
 9 Kasparov, Garry g RUS 2801 18 1963
 10 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2801 0 1983

The big question in terms of ratings in September is going to be how keen the star players are to preserve or improve their ratings during the World Cup. Will the likes of Magnus Carlsen feel obliged to go all-out to win every classical game against much weaker opposition, or will they be happy to accept a rating penalty if it means they progress comfortably to the next round of the knockout? We’ll soon find out!

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