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August Rating List Recap Print E-mail
By Greg Shahade   
August 18, 2006
Kamsky tops the rating list for the second list in a row. Photo J.Okada

by Greg Shahade

This is be a bi-monthly feature in which I will do a quick profile on the top 10 rated men and top 5 rated women in the USA.

Top 10 Men:

1. Gata Kamsky2753 (Last month: 1st, Gained 17 USCF points)

Gata has proven himself to unquestionably be the top player in the nation. Gata has played 2 tournaments since the last list and finished 1st in both of them, thus boosting his already very high rating. (clear first in NYC Mayor’s Cup and tie for first in the World Open).

2.Hikaru Nakamura – 2709 (Last month: 3rd, Gained 12 USCF points)


By winning the “Nakamura Open” (I’m not joking) and a solid performance at the World Open, Nakamura managed to surpass Alexander Onischuk to move back to 2nd place on the list. It’s tough to be 2700, Hikaru went 5-0 in the tournament named after him, including a win over a GM, and only gained 6 rating points! (His other 4 opponents were much lower rated).

3. Alex Onischuk 2702 (Last month: 2nd, Lost 2 USCF points)

It’s been a quiet period for our current US Champion, as he competed only in the NYC Mayor’s Cup, and lost 2 rating points with his 3rd place finish. Due to Nakamura’s decent stretch, Onischuk slides down to number 3.

4. Gregory Kaidanov2696 (Last month: 4th, No USCF change)


Kaidanov hasn’t played since the last rating list, however he has lost over 50 points in his last 4 tournaments, including a 26 point drop at the 2006 US Championship.

5.Ildar Ibragimov – 2674 (Last month: 5th, Lost 18 USCF points)

Ildar has been active, playing in 4 major tournaments since the last list (National Open, Mayors Cup, World Open and Continental Open) and has actually tied for first in 2 of them (World Open and Continental Open) for a combined total of 14 USCF points! However his performance in the other two tournaments wasn’t up to par, thus causing his rating drop.

6. Jaan Ehlvest – 2665 (Last month: 6th, Lost 20 USCF points)

There is almost no difference between players #6-11 on the list as #6 is ranked only 5 points higher than #11. Ehlvest is the lucky one at the top of this group. The biggest blow to Ehlvest was a loss to 2300 rated Adam Maltese in a New York City action tournament. Ehlvest hopes to gain some points back with his first place finish in Curacao 06.

7. Yuri Shulman 2665 (Last Month: 9th, Gained 5 USCF points)

We have Yuri ranked below Ehlvest, as when there is a tie we look to the last rating list for a tiebreaker. Yuri has played only 2 tournaments with solid results and very modest gains. Yuri has to be happy with being over 50 points higher rated than he was last year at this time.

8. Larry Christiansen 2663 (Last Month: 8th, No USCF rating change)

Larry hasn’t played since the last rating list.

9. Alexander Ivanov2662 (Last Month: 10th, Gained 2 USCF points)

Alex has remained steady since the last rating list, playing in many tournaments but experiencing almost no rating fluctuation, his rating never went above 2670, and never below 2650. Alex gained only 5 points in his tie for first at the World Open.

10. Boris Gulko– 2661 (Last Month: 11th, Gained 2 USCF Points)

Thanks to Alexander Shabalov dropping 20 points, Gulko rejoins the top 10. Gulko played only one event, with a solid even score in the super strong NYC Mayor’s Cup.

Players to Watch:

11. Varuzhan Akobian2660 (Last Month: 14th, Gained 11 USCF Points)
12. Alexander Shabalov 2653 (Last Month: 7th, Lost 18 USCF Points)
13. Igor Novikov 2650 (Last Month 13th, No USCF Rating Change)
14. Alexander Stripunsky2641 (Last Month: 12th, Lost 18 USCF Points)
15. Joel Benjamin – 2632 (Last Month: 21st, Gained 27 USCF Points)

We’ve got an eclectic group just outside of the top 10. We have the young Akobian, who at just 23 years old, is almost a certainty to crack the top 10 very soon, especially as he is only 5 points away from the number 6 spot. Shabalov had a rough few months, but one is used to such erraticism from him, and you never know when he will catch fire and gain points in bunches. Novikov has been inactive and Stripunsky took a major blow to his rating due to his last place finish in the super strong NYC Mayors Cup.

The biggest gainer at the top of the list was new USCF Columnist GM Joel Benjamin. Joel tied for first place in the World Open, and perhaps has learned something from the research he has done answering questions from fans.

Top 5 Women:

There wasn’t much action amongst the women, aside from the reemergence of Susan Polgar. None of the woman played in more than one tournament since the last rating list.

1. Susan Polgar2597 (Last month: NR, Gained 40 USCF points)


Susan wasn’t ranked on the last list due to inactivity, but she has come back and has taken the world by storm. She gained a whopping 40 points with her very impressive 2nd place finish in the Mayor’s Cup, and showed her mettle to the world by winning the Women’s World Cup in Germany. Susan is far and away the top woman in the USA.

2. Anna Zatonskih2496 (Last month: 1st, Lost 3 USCF points)


Anna has played only one event since the last rating list, losing 3 points in a strong Round Robin in Chicago, the Spring North American FIDE invitational. The current US Woman’s Champ is ousted from the number 1 spot due to no fault of her own, as when Susan Polgar is active, no current American woman is capable of surpassing her.

3. Irina Krush2441 (Last month: 2nd, Lost 8 USCF points)


Irina also played in the Chicago Round Robin. Despite finishing with 2.5/9, Irina lost only 8 points, as the tournament was exceptionally strong. Irina drew Anna in their individual matchup.

4. Rusudan Goletiani 2407 (Last month: 3rd, Lost 5 USCF points)


Like Irina and Anna, Rusa played in the Chicago Spring Invitational. The only difference was that Rusa played in the B Group. The B group was still very strong, and she lost only 5 rating points with a 3.5/9 result.

5. Camilla Baginskaite - 2342 (Last month: 4th, No USCF Rating Change)

Camilla didn’t play this rating period.

Players to Watch:

6. Batchimeg Tuvshintugs2303 (Last month: 6th, Gained 35 USCF Points)
7. Tatev Abrahamyan– 2291 (Last month: 5th, Lost 6 USCF Points)

“Chimi” made a lot of noise at the US Championship and with a great performance at the World Open, including wins over young IM Lev Milman, New York City Legend IM Jay Bonin and IM Ron Burnett. Chimi looks poised to make a serious run at the top 5, and perhaps the 2400 rating in the near future.

Tatev has been more stagnant, but as she is only 18 years old, she could see a major improvement in her results at any moment. (Ed.Note- Tatev sweeped the Pan-American Championships 9-0!)