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December FIDE Ratings: Firouzja No. 2, Aronian U.S., Nakamura Off The List

December FIDE Ratings: Firouzja No. 2, Aronian U.S., Nakamura Off The List

PeterDoggers
| 49 | Misc

The December FIDE rating list officially confirms the meteoric rise of GM Alireza Firouzja, who is the new world number-two player, 52 points behind GM Magnus Carlsen. GM Levon Aronian now represents the U.S. while GM Hikaru Nakamura was removed from the list due to inactivity.

In times of pandemic, the monthly FIDE rating lists haven't been showing too many changes but for the December 1 list, things are different. For starters, there's the official world number-two status of Firouzja, which was suddenly in slight doubt last week when GM Ding Liren played a four-game, friendly match with GM Lu Shanglei in China. Because Ding "only" scored 3-1 there, he failed to take back this second spot.

Firouzja is the only other player having a 2800 rating besides Carlsen. He broke 2800 about half a year quicker than the Norwegian GM did. These two players are the only ones who managed to achieve this feat before turning 19.

The new list has Aronian marked as an American player for the first time. He made his decision to stop representing his native country Armenia in February of this year. In a statement on Facebook, Aronian confirmed that tensions with the new government, which has been in power since May 2018, led to his decision:

"After more than a year of waiting for the fulfillment of the promises made by the current government, I realized that I had to make a breakthrough decision and leave my native country. Obviously, every year of expectation of change is a wasted year for my sports career."

Nine months later the process has been almost finalized. Aronian is already living in St. Louis, home of the Saint Louis Chess Club and also the city where GM Fabiano Caruana lives.

With Aronian as the latest addition, Team USA will be the favorite to win the 2022 Olympiad in Moscow, having four(!) players in the world's top 15. Aronian currently has the same rating (2772) as GM Wesley So, and both are 20 Elo points behind Caruana. The fourth player on the list is GM Leinier Dominguez at 2752.

Aronian's "eligibility date" (the date when a player can represent a new federation free of any fees) is set as November 8, 2023, but U.S. Chess is currently in the process of submitting an "Application for Participation in FIDE Event Prior to Eligibility Date" form that will enable Aronian to participate in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships in December.

GM Hikaru Nakamura would typically be the fifth American player with a rating of 2736. However, because he hasn't played a FIDE-rated game for two years, Nakamura has been removed from the list.

During the pandemic, FIDE has extended the period for inactivity from one year to two. Nakamura played his last official classical game on November 6, 2019, at the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg. Playing one rated game would be enough for Nakamura to return to the rating list.

FIDE Standard Ratings Per December 1, 2021 (Top 20)

# Fed Name Rating Born
    1 / 1 Carlsen, Magnus 2856 (+1) 1990
2 / 9 Firouzja, Alireza 2804 (+34) 2003
3 / 2 Ding, Liren 2799 1992
4 / 3 Caruana, Fabiano 2792 (+1) 1992
    5 / 5 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2782 1990
6 / 4 Aronian, Levon 2772 (-10) 1982
 7 / 6 Giri, Anish 2772 (-2) 1994
    8 / 8 So, Wesley 2772 1993
9 / 11 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2767 (+2) 1985
 10 / 7 Grischuk, Alexander 2764 (-9) 1983
11 / 12 Rapport, Richard 2763 1996
 12 / 10 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2761 (-5) 1990
13 / 14 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2760 (+4) 1998
 14 / 13 Radjabov, Teimour 2753 (-10) 1987
    15 / 15 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2752 1983
    16 / 16 Anand, Viswanathan 2751 1969
    17 / 17 Wang, Hao 2744 1989
    18 / 18 Karjakin, Sergey 2743 1990
19 / 20 Vitiugov, Nikita 2731 (-3) 1987
20 / 21 Topalov, Veselin 2730 1975

On the women's list we see fewer changes at the top, but another player achieved a huge gain in rating points, almost as big as Firouzja's. GM Lei Tingjie's marvelous performance at the FIDE Chess.com Women's Grand Prix was good for 30 Elo points, and she jumped from 14th to seventh place in the world.

IM Elisabeth Paehtz, who tied for second place in the same tournament, won 22 points, broke 2500, and has the world's top 10 in sight.

FIDE Standard Ratings (Women) Per December 1, 2021 (Top 20)

# Fed Title Name Rating Born
    1 / 1 GM Hou, Yifan 2658 1994
    2 / 2 GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2610 (+6) 1998
    3 / 3 GM Koneru, Humpy 2586 1987
    4 / 4 GM Ju, Wenjun 2560 1991
    5 / 5 GM Lagno, Kateryna 2550 1989
    6 / 6 GM Muzychuk, Mariya 2539 (+3) 1992
7 / 14 GM Lei, Tingjie 2535 (+30) 1997
8 / 9 GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2531 (+7) 1987
9 / 7 GM Muzychuk, Anna 2531 (-2) 1990
10 / 8 GM Tan, Zhongyi 2525 1991
11 / 12 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2517 (+6) 1991
12 / 11 IM Shuvalova, Polina 2516 (+1) 2001
13 / 10 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2516 (-2) 1984
14 / 19 IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2507 (+22) 1985
15 / 13 GM Abdumalik, Zhansaya 2491 (-16) 2000
16 / 15 GM Batsiashvili, Nino 2491 1987
17 / 21 IM Kashlinskaya, Alina 2490 (+8) 1993
18 / 17 IM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2488 1997
19 / 18 GM Zhao, Xue 2486 1985
    20 / 20 GM Khotenashvili, Bela 2485 1988
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