CHESS

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT - Mark Ru­bery

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)

SEE DI­A­GRAM

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)

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