December of 2019 was marked by three key chess events: the final leg of FIDE Grand Prix in Jerusalem, Women’s Grand Prix in Monaco and of course the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Moscow. Consequently, those who did well in those competitions became the main rating beneficiaries in the last month of the year.
Magnus Carlsen – 2872 (0)
Fabiano Caruana – 2822 (0)
Ding Liren – 2805 (+4)
Alexander Grischuk – 2777 (0)
Ian Nepomniachtchi – 2774 (+7)
Levon Aronian – 2773 (-2)
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – 2770 (-2)
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – 2770 (-10)
Anish Giri – 2768 (-1)
Teimour Radjabov – 2765 (0)
The triumphant of FIDE Grand Prix Ian Nepomniachtchi not only qualified for the Candidates but also returned to the top 5 after a two-month absence. The top 3 remains intact with Carlsen still holding the top spot followed by Fabiano Caruana and Ding Liren, whereas Alexander Grischuk moved one step up and found himself in the fourth position in the rating list.
Anton Korobov – 2685 (+17)
David Navara – 2717 (+10)
Yuriy Kryvoruchko – 2685 (+10)
Etienne Bacrot – 2679 (+10)
Sanan Sjugirov – 2674 (+9)
David Anton Guijarro – 2694 (+9)
Alexandr Predke – 2684 (+8)
Vassily Ivanchuk – 2698 (+8)
Wei Yi – 2732 (+7)
A.R. Saleh Salem – 2682 (+7)
Ian Nepomniachtchi – 2774 (+7)
Anton Korobov became the winner of a traditional Sitges Chess Festival in Spain with an excellent score 8.5/10 which translated into extra 11 rating points. Vassily Ivanchuk scored fewer points compared to his compatriot but his +4 was good enough to get 10 points. David Navara did not make it to the Grand Prix Jerusalem final, but his performance netted him 10 points. David Anton from Spain did not participate in tournaments but showed good results in Czech League and Bundesliga and subsequently earned 9 points.
Welcome to top 100
We have only three newcomers this month, namely Andrei Volokitin, Andrey Esipenko and Constantin Lupulescu. Volokiting turned in a decent performance at the Ukrainian Championship in Lutsk, whereas Esipenko picked a few rating points in the Russia - China match.
Humpy Konery and Alexandra Goryachkina tied for the first place at Grand Prix Monaco with Alexandra Kosteniuk and got closer to Ju Wenjun, who is still sitting on the second position in the rating list. Meanwhile, Alexandra Kosteniuk, who won the title in Monaco thanks to better tiebreaks, picked up whole 23 points and soared to the 12th spot. Dinara Saduakassova scored +3 in a very strong open section at Sitges Open and as a result, broke into women’s top 10 for the first time in her career.
Magnus Carlsen ruled supreme in Moscow at the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championship. The World Champion in all three categories took two titles but did not manage to return to the top position in the blitz rating – Hikaru Nakamura finished with an equal amount of points, losing only on the tiebreak, and preserved his #1 spot.
Several GMs made huge leaps in the blitz rating list, namely Maxim Matlakov (+50), Vladimir Kramnik (+49), Alexey Dreev (+57), David Navara (+49), Evgeny Tomashevsky (+61)and Alexey Sarana (+49), but Bartosz Socko and Alizera Firouzja really stand out – both improved their rating by more than 100 points! The Iranian playing under FIDE’s banner also made a splash in rapid rating, adding 89 points to his tally. Putting that into context, we just mention that his closest competitors in biggest gains category (in rapid chess) Wei Yi (+34), Ian Nepomniachtchi (+33) and Ding Liren (+33) picked up almost the same amount altogether.
By the way, Alizera Firouzja became the top junior in the standard junior rating list, but due to natural reasons – the former #1 Wei Yi (born in 1999) is not a junior anymore.