World Champion Magnus Carlsen starts the year as number one – in classical chess, in rapid and in blitz chess. But in classical chess Fabiano Caruana is only 13 Elo points behind. Hou Yifan continues to dominate the women’s ranking list, Wei Yi is best junior, Lei Tingjie the best girl.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen retained his title against Sergey Karjakin and lost 4 points in the last year but with a rating of 2840 he is still the number one in the world. But Fabiano Caruana is uncomfortably close. In 2016 Caruana won no less than 40 rating points: in January 2016 he had 2787, now he has 2827, and is only 13 points behind Magnus Carlsen.
With a rating of 2811 Vladimir Kramnik is number three in the world. 16 years ago, in 2000, Kramnik became World Champion and at that time he had a rating of 2770. Did he get better? Or is this just an indicator of rating inflation?
Wesley So is the new number four in the world and gained 35 rating in one year. January 2016 he had a rating of 2773, now he has a rating of 2808 and became the 12th player in the history of chess to pass the Elo 2800 mark.
Ian Nepomniachtchi also made remarkable progress: he raised his rating from 2704 (January 2016) to 2767 and is currently number 11 in the world.
The youngest player in the top 100 is the American Jeffery Xiong (born 2000, Elo 2667), the oldest player in the top 100 is Nigel Short (born 1965, Elo 2675).
And an increasing number of players have higher ratings. In January 2001 Garry Kasparov led the list with a rating of 2849, Vishy Anand was second with 2790, twelve players had a rating of 2700 or more.
Ten years ago, in January 2007 Veselin Topalov was number one in the world and had a rating of 2783. Vishy Anand followed with 2779, Kramnik was third with 2766, and 21 players had a rating or 2700 or more.