Friday, July 17, 2015

Pestaño: Changes among the top players

 Friday, July 17, 2015
AS OF the July 14 live ratings list, there are now five players with ratings over 2800, the first time that this has happened and the changes has been substantial.
The top five players are Magnus Carlsen (2853), Viswaathan Anand (2816), Veselin Topalov (2816), Hikaru Nakamura (2814) and Fabiano Caruana (2808). I am optimistic that Wesley So will join the 2800 club this year.
The July rating list is especially interesting as it reflects the results of the Norway Chess tournament held last month in Stavanger. One of the big changes has been Carlsen, who lost a massive 23 points in Norway. He still holds a rating better than anyone has ever had as Garry Kasparov’s highest published rating was 2851.
Anand, who defeated Carlsen in Norway, improved by 12 points and is once again considered as a serious contender to be world champion.
Topalov, who was champion in Norway, went up 18 points. The Bulgarian player significantly improved his chances to qualify for the 2016 Candidates’ Tournament.
This is the highest rating in his career and he is now 40 years old! His previous best had been 2813, both attained in 2006 and 2010.
Hikaru Nakamura had a must win over Aronian in the last round in Norway and finished tied for second with Anand behind Topalov.
Fabiano Caruana is now down to world No. 5 after being second for quite some time and as he went below 2800. However, he recovered after a brilliant win in Dortmund Sparkassen. He is followed by Dutch GM Anish Giri, who dropped to No. 10 last month but is firmly at No. 6 now after gaining 18 Elo points. Giri’s rating three months ago was over 2800.
Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian (previously 2805) both dropped two places after losing points in Norway and are at No. 10 and No. 15, respectively.
The big winners in the top 100 this month include Yu Yangyi (up from No. 35 to No. 20 after gaining 21 points) and Igor Kovalenko (up from No. 85 to No. 60 after gaining 25 points).
Last month, Wesley had a four-game match with David Navara 2751 and had a surprisingly easy result with two wins and two draws
I was expecting Wesley to reach 2800 in his last tournament at Dortmund Sparkassen last week but he had a see-saw performance. He lost to Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter (2654) and Naiditsch, Arkadij (2722) but had wins over Ian Nepomniachtchi (2720), Vladimir Kramnik (2783) and Caruana, who was the eventual winner with an incredible 1.5 point-lead over the field.
There are only two women who are over 2600 in live ratings--Judit Polgar (2675), who has already expressed her intention to retire, and current women’s champion Hou Yifan (2671). The next three women are Koneru Humpy (2585), Dzadnidze (2573) and Ju Wenjun (2550).
Mariya Nuzychuk (2528) will challenge Hou for the world championship having won the knockout tournament this year.
However after obtaining a venue in Lviv, Ukraine, the match has been moved to March 2016. The two have played only two classical chess games against each other. One game ended in a draw, the other was won by Hou, who had the black pieces.
Cepca. Our July tournament will be on the 26th at our usual venue, Handuraw Gorordo at 2 p.m. Invited are some ladies varsity players to add spice to the tournament. Also playing will be the children of members.
The winners last month in the A group was Tony Cabibil, who won over second placer Arnold Cadiz .The other early qualifiers in the “Battle of Champions” this December are Rey Flores, Peterson Sia, Rosendo Yamyamin, and Jimmy Ty Jr, the defending champion.
Romy Pialan had 4.5 points to join Regelito Hortelano, Ruel Hortelano, Jun Kidlat, Elmer Odango, and Jojo Paredes into the championship stage this December in the B group.

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