The first rating list to be published in 2017 sees the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, topping the list closely followed by Caruana who gained an impressive 40 points over the last twelve months. Vladimir Kramnik (who had a rating of 2770 seventeen years ago!) is in third place, whilst the steadily improving Wesley So rounds out the ‘2800 club’. 1 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2840 2 Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2827 3 Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2811 4 So, Wesley g USA 2808 5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2796 6 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2786 7 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2785 8 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2785 9 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2780 10 Giri, Anish g NED 2773 Ten years ago, in January 2007 Veselin Topalov was number one in the world and had a rating of 2783. Anand followed with 2779, Kramnik was third with 2766, and 21 players had a rating or 2700 or more. In the current list 44 players have a rating of 2700 or more. The youngest player in the top 100 is the American Jeffery Xiong (born 2000, Elo 2667), the oldest player in the top 100 is, as usual, Nigel Short (born 1965, Elo 2675). Here is Short’s famous win over Timman in Tilburg 1991 -certainly one of the classic games of the modern chess era.
Short - Timman Tilburg Tilburg, 1991
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.0-0 0-0 9.h3 a5 10.a4 dxe5 11.dxe5 Nd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Re1 e6 14.Nd2 Nd5 15.Nf3 Qc5 16.Qe4 Qb4 17.Bc4 Nb6 18.b3 Nxc4 19.bxc4 (Short’s grip on the position more than compensates for his broken pawn structure) ... Re8 20.Rd1 Qc5 21.Qh4 b6 22.Be3 Qc6 23.Bh6 Bh8 24.Rd8 Bb7 25.Rad1 Bg7 26.R8d7 Rf8 27.Bxg7 Kxg7 28.R1d4 Rae8 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.h4 h5 (And it is White to play and win-some lateral thinking is required here)
31.Kh2!! (The king simply strolls up the board to assist in mating his opposite number, and Timman can do nothing about it. A most remarkable concept and one that I doubt a computer could get to grips with!) ... Rc8 32.Kg3 Rce8 33.Kf4 Bc8 34.Kg5 1-0 In our time, only when Mikhail Tal appeared did chessplayers see that there could be a different style. Tal has had a great influence on our chess; he stands out in the same way as the old champions. Probably there have been two pure geniuses in chess; Morphy and Capablanca. Tal is also a genius as a tactician, but because he makes a lot of unsound sacrifices this is not pure genius; Morphy and Capablanca hardly ever made tactical mistakes. Perhaps Rubinstein was also a genius of positional chess, and his playing style was also very pure; but he was a bad tactician.’ (Boris Spassky)