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The new, up-to-the-minute PCA rating list, taking into account results up to last week's Novgorod tournament, produces some surprises. Garry Kasparov is still the world number one, as he has been for the past ten years, but the gap is not as large as it used to be, and the pursuing pack is getting larger, with three names now within striking distance. And Anatoly Karpov is no longer number two. Here are the top 15, with their rating numbers.

1. Garry Kasparov 2796

2. Vishy Anand 2772

3. Vassily Ivanchuk 2769

4. Anatoly Karpov 2758

5. Gata Kamsky 2756

6. Vladimir Kramnik 2723

7. Veselin Topalov 2706

8= Jaan Ehlvest 2664

8= Alexei Shirov 2664

10. Nigel Short 2662

11. Valery Salov 2661

12. Boris Gelfand 2656

13. Sergei Tiviakov 2655

14. Joel Lautier 2654

15. Artur Yusupov 2650

That's five Russians and one each from India, Ukraine, USA, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, England, Belarus, France and Germany. Or, looked at another way, 11 born in the USSR and four not.

Nigel Short's reappearance in the top ten is a welcome confirmation that he has recovered from his match against Kasparov two years ago. He had slumped to 28th place last time.

Other English names among the world's top 50 include Jonathan Speelman (in 24th place), Michael Adams (26th) and John Nunn (42nd). Apart from Russia, who have 16 players in the top 50, only the United States - also with four - have as many as England. Next come the Ukraine, Netherlands, Estonia, Germany, Israel and Hungary, with two each.

And the best Hungarian? That's Judit Polgar, in 20th place, the first woman to reach the top 20.

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