Rankings tell tale of Russian decline
Saturday July 28, 2012 9:08 AM

The July World Chess Federation ratings, as usual, reflect historical change as well as individual achievement.

Russian domination has gradually eroded during the past two decades. Only two bona fide Russian players — Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Morozevich — are listed among the top 10. The third listed Russian, Sergey Karjakin, is a recent transplant from Ukraine.

Not long ago, as many as six of the top 10 players were Russian. But political and economic changes have eroded the monolith. Without the massive state support of the Soviet days, Russian chess is a pale semblance of its former self.

The mass exodus of grandmasters since the breakup of the Soviet Union has contributed immensely to the worldwide spread of chess expertise.

The development of computer chess technology — particularly databases, 24-hour Internet play and instant reporting of thousands of top-level games — has also had an effect.

Among the major benefactors have been top-rated Magnus Carlsen of Norway; 24-year-old American Hikaru Nakamura, ranked seventh; and 20-year-old Fabiano Caruana, who has dual American- Italian citizenship and is rated eighth.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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