Topalov Tops Ranking List

Topalov Tops Ranking List

| 5 | Chess Event Coverage

As the dust settles in Bilbao at the end of the Grand Slam Final, the former FIDE World Champion, Veselin Topalov (pictured) has emerged at the top of the live ranking list.  It's incredibly tight at the top - before Ivanchuk's last round loss to Topalov, HE was number 1.  No more major tournaments are due before the official list is published on 1 October, so it looks like Topalov will be the new official number 1.

The full results in the final round were:

Topalov, Veselin - Ivanchuk, Vassily 1-0 43 D47 Queens Gambit Meran
Aronian, Levon - Radjabov, Teimour 0-1 49 A15 English counter King's Fianchetto
Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 29 D13 Slav Exchange

Anand equalised quickly against Carlsen's strange choice of the Exchange Slav, and a draw soon resulted.  Aronian had a strong position against Radjabov but blew it to hand Radjabov his only win of the tournament.

The final standings:

Players Games Win Draw  Loss POINTS
Veselin Topalov 10 4 5 1 17
Magnus Carlsen 10 3 4 3
Levon Aronian 10 3 4 3 13
Vassily Ivanchuk 10 2 6 2 12
Teimour Radjabov 10 1 7 2 10
Viswanathan Anand 10 0 8 2 8

Carlsen finishes second ahead of Aronian by virtue of beating him 2-0 in their head-to-head games.  Carlsen should be pleased with his performance - he fought hard and it's difficult to believe he is still only 17 years of age.

Aronian blew hot and cold but overall achieved a respectable result.  His two losses to Carlsen proved very costly.

Ivanchuk's play wasn't helped by the fact that the time control for the tournament did not include a per-move increment; something he actually forgot entirely in the first round and was lucky that a sporting and gracious Anand agreed to a draw.  At 39 years of age, Chucky is as brilliant and infuriating as ever.  If he could find a way to cure his nerves and time-trouble addiction then he could still yet be the World Champion.

What to say about the current World Champion, Vishy Anand?  Even if this tournament was simply a warm-up for his world championship match in October against Kramnik, it's a hugely disappointing result.  No wins, and not much fight in his play either.  He may have been trying to avoid revealing his opening preparation, but that doesn't explain his insipid play in the other phases of the game.

Let's hope that both Anand and Kramnik will show their true abilities in their match and provide some memorable games and a great contest worthy of the title.

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