Chess

The latest Fide rating list has two British players in the world's top 20, and seven in the top 100 - a figure surpassed only by Russia and the USA. Here are the names and ratings of the top 20:

1. G Kasparov (Russia) 2825

2. V Kramnik (Russia) 2790

3. V Anand (India) 2770

4= V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 2740

4= V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2740

6. A Karpov (Russia) 2735

7. G Kamsky (USA) 2720

8. A Shirov (Spain) 2710

9= P Svidler (Russia) 2690

9= A Belyavsky (Slovenia) 2690

11. V Salov (Russia) 2680

12= B Gelfand (Belarus) 2675

12= Y Bareyev (Russia) 2675

12= K Georgiev (Bulgaria) 2675

15= M Adams (England) 2670

15= P Leko (Hungary) 2670

15= J Polgar (Hungary) 2670

18. S Rublevsky (Russia) 2665

19= N Short (England) 2660

19= A Khalifman (Russia) 2660

19= M Krasenkov (Poland) 2660

19= A Yermolinsky (USA) 2660

19= V Akopyan (Armenia) 2660

The other English names included among the top hundred are Matthew Sadler (26th place, 2650), John Nunn (54th, 2610), Jonathan Speelman (63rd, 2605), Tony Miles (77th, 2595) and Mark Hebden (98th, 2575).

Russian dominance of the higher levels of the list is not as marked as it once was, but with 21 names in the top hundred, Russia is still well ahead of any other country. Even the United States, in second place with nine representatives, is only there because of five ex-Russians now playing for America - or, in the case of Gata Kamsky, one ex-Russian who is now not playing at all.

When you get down to details, the influence of the old Soviet Union is even more marked. In addition to the 21 Russians and five American ex- Russians, there are another 10 former Soviet players now playing under western flags, and another 20 names from former Soviet republics. That adds up to a grand total of 56 players who were made-in-the-USSR.

A tournament has just begun in Groningen in the Netherlands which is even stronger than the Fide world championship that just finished. As well as Karpov, Anand and Adams, its top section of 18 players also includes Vladimir Kramnik, who refused to play in the world championship in protest at Karpov's being seeded directly into the final. Full coverage from tomorrow.

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