Sun-Herald Chess Column for July 9

The latest world rankings see Gary Kasparov secure in the top position which he has occupied almost continuously on the biannual FIDE list for a decade and a half. Kasparov's main rivals have reshuffled positions, with Vladimir Kramnik overtaking Viswanathan Anand in second place thanks to the Indian's poor run in early 2000. Further down the list enough anomalies exist to confirm that the 'Burmese question' has not been solved. By organising multiple internal tournaments in Burma in recent years, Burma has suddenly acquired more high rated players than England and exposed a fundamental flaw in the FIDE rating system.

To avoid the embarrassment of having a weak Burmese player ranked in the top 10, FIDE arbitrarily decided to subtract 100 points from all Burmese players on this ranking list, but failed to address the cause of the problem. In consequence, not only will the Burmese players be able to regain the lost ground within a year or less but those lucky enough to have competed against the Burmese and gained multiple rating points are free to enjoy the benefits.

Thus Poland's Mikhail Krasenkov appears in the top 10 for the first time, thanks in part to his success in a tournament in China where the tailenders were all highly ranked and highly beatable Burmese. China, which enjoys close chess ties to Burma, has been the biggest beneficiary of Burmese rating point largesse. With Chinese players competing in Burma and Burmese players regularly invited to China, there are now six Chinese in the top 100. Veteran Ye Jiangchuan, normally a borderline top 100 player, has moved into the world's top 20.

The world body's failure to address the problems has already done severe damage to the FIDE rating and title system. Whether such damage is reparable may only become clear if and when a new FIDE administration takes over.

July FIDE World Rankings
Top 10
1.Kasparov(Rus) 2849;
2.Kramnik(Rus) 2770;
3.Anand(Ind) 2762;
4.Morozevich(Rus) 2756;
5.Adams(Eng) 2755;
6.Shirov(Spa) 2746;
7.Leko(Hun) 2743;
8.Ivanchuk(Ukr) 2719;
9.Topalov(Bul) 2707;
10.Krasenkov(Pol) 2702.

July Chess Competition

On the fifth move of a standard chess game, Black promotes his pawn to a knight, giving checkmate! What are the moves of the game?

The first five correct entries opened after July 19, the closing date, will receive a copy of the Mikhail Tal classic 'Tal-Botvinnik 1960', recently republished by Hanon Enterprises, the US firm behind the web site. The book is difficult to obtain in Australia but may be ordered via the Chess Cafe web site.

Entries to: Sun-Herald July Chess Competition, GPO Box 506, Sydney 2001 or faxed to 02-92822151.

Dortmund GM Tournament

Round 1
Anand(Ind) def Khalifman(Rus)
Kramnik(Rus) def Akopian(Arm)
Adams(Eng) def Piket(Ned)
Leko(Hun) def Hubner(Ger)
Bareev(Rus) drew with Junior(Isr)

Leading scores:
1eq. Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Adams 1.