International Chess Federation
Sunday, 08 Dec 2019 13:12
Rating Analytics: Seniors case study

Kaspars Migla is the creator and founder of In his column, he analyzes monthly FIDE standard rating changes, career-high ratings, rating distribution by country, continent, region, and other rating-related statistics. This time he looks at the latest developments in seniors’ rating lists.

Extra €30,000 added by FIDE to the prize fund (which totaled to €46,000) helped to organize the biggest World Senior Championship with 366 players from 58 countries competing in four categories. Maybe this financial boost will make this championship stronger because looking from the rating standpoint only women's events can boast of the TOP players participating in it. Nona Gaprindashvili (Georgia, 2270) who tops the rating list in the W65+ category took the title. Despite winning the competition, the first woman-GM in history of chess lost five rating points. The list of entrants to the W65+ included three more players from the top 10, namely WGM Elena Fatalibekova (Russia, 2158), WIM Natalia Titorenko (Russia, 2113) un WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (Russia, 2140).

Ironically, the champion in the W50+ category WGM Elvira Berend (Luxembourg) also dropped a few rating points. Currently, she holds the fourth position (2348) among the women aged 50 years or older. The top 3 in this age category – Pia Cramling (Sweden, 2461), GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (Scotland, 2376) and GM Zhaoqin Peng (Netherlands, 2358) – opted not to play in the World Senior Championship.

On the men’s side, there was only one participant in both categories from the top 10 active players. I am referring to GM Rafael Vaganian (Armenia, 2516) who occupies the 9th position in the M65+ category. The rating favorite lived up to his status and won gold at the recent World Senior Championship. The leader in this age group is Anatoly Karpov (Russia, 2617) who would be very welcome at the World Senior Championship. The 12th World Champion has been playing rarely lately, just in matches in various leagues here and there. The last time Karpov participated in a round-robin or Swiss tournament was ten years ago in Spain. Robert Huebner (Germany, 2576) and Henrique Mecking (BRA, 2553) holding second and third positions in the M65+ rating list also skipped the last World Senior Championship.

There are nine players rated 2600+ in the M50+ rating list. Usually, having such a rating one feels comfortable and much-wanted in most of the tournaments. Most likely, that is the reason why high-rated GMs shy away from the World Senior Championship. On the top of the rating, we see infamous Igors Rausis (Czech Republic, 2685), but it is on paper only because he confessed to cheating, was imposed a 6-year ban by FIDE Ethics Commission and retired from chess. The real leader in the age group is none other than Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2684), followed by Julio Granda Zuniga (PER, 2644), Evgeny Bareev (CAN, 2638) and FIDE Vice President Nigel Short (England, 2626).

It is no secret that senior age gives many players an opportunity to spend more time on chess. With 34 games in classical chess under his belt, Aleksandar Arandjelovic (SRB, 1933) became the most active player in December.

According to, quite a few strong players reached their career high in December 2019: IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2455), IM Meri Arabidze (GEO, 2435), WGM Ulviyya Fataliyeva (AZE, 2387) and WIM Anna Sargsyan (ARM, 2382) among women and Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL, 2758), Richard Rapport (HUN, 2758), Hao Wang (CHN, 2756), Alireza Firouzja (IRI, 2723) among men.

It is worth noting that the last time Firouzja lost rating points was in July of 2018. Since then he has been steadily improving his rating except for one month.

Vadim Shishkin (UKR, 2456) made the biggest rating progress among all grandmasters in December. The Ukrainian picked up 28 points after winning the World Senior Championship in the Open 50+ category. Igor Naumkin (RUS, 2415) has a distinction of playing most games with classical time control. Aged 54, he, nonetheless, did not participate in the World Senior Championship.

Looking at the big picture, Mahdi Gholami Orimi (Iran, 2432) became the most active player in December. His busy chess schedule included 4 tournaments and 35 chess games with classical time control. Emanuel Lazic from Bosnia and Herzegovina showed the biggest progress (312 points) among all players, jumping from a 1549 to 1861 mark.

Photo: Mark Livshitz

Kaspars Migla,

Category W65+, active players
1. GM Gaprindashvili, Nona (GEO, 2270)
2. WGM Veroci, Zsuzsa (HUN, 2246)
3. WGM Fatalibekova, Elena (RUS, 2158)
4. WGM Kozlovskaya, Valentina (RUS, 2140)
5. WGM Saunina, Ludmila (RUS, 2130)
6. WIM Titorenko, Natalia (RUS, 2113)
7. WIM Sorokina, Tamara (RUS, 2062)
8. WFM Malachowski, Margrit (GER, 2061)
9. WIM Khurshudova, Lyudmila (RUS, 2046)
10. Dwars, Conchita (NED, 2032)

Category W50+, active players
1. GM Cramling, Pia (SWE, 2461)
2. GM Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (SCO, 2376)
3. GM Peng, Zhaoqin (NED, 2358)
4. WGM Berend, Elvira (LUX, 2348)
5. FM Schuurman, Petra (NED, 2346)
6. IM Schleining, Zoya (GER, 2316)
7. IM Sedina, Elena (ITA, 2299)
8. WGM Grabuzova, Tatiana (RUS, 2284)
9. IM Klinova, Masha (ISR, 2275)
10. WGM Ning, Chunhong (CHN, 2270)

Category M65+, active players
1. GM Karpov, Anatoly (RUS, 2617)
2. GM Huebner, Robert (GER, 2576)
3. GM Mecking, Henrique (BRA, 2553)
4. GM Dorfman, Iossif (FRA, 2540)
5. GM Timman, Jan (NED, 2533)
6. GM Ribli, Zoltan (HUN, 2529)
7. GM Pinter, Jozsef (HUN, 2528)
8. GM Beliavsky, Alexander (SLO, 2519)
9. GM Vaganian, Rafael A (ARM, 2516)
10. GM Andersson, Ulf (SWE, 2516)

Category M50+, active players
1. GM Gelfand, Boris (ISR, 2684)
2. GM Granda Zuniga, Julio (PER, 2644)
3. GM Bareev, Evgeny (CAN, 2638)
4. GM Short, Nigel (ENG, 2626)
5. GM Illescas Cordoba, Miguel (ESP, 2612)
6. GM Krasenkow, Michal (POL, 2611)
7. GM Khalifman, Alexander (RUS, 2608)
8. GM Smirin, Ilia (ISR, 2607)
9. GM Dautov, Rustem (GER, 2595)
10. GM Sokolov, Ivan (NED, 2595)