The May FIDE rating list has GM Ding Liren back as the world’s number-two player, 58 points behind World Champion Magnus Carlsen and just two points ahead of GM Alireza Firouzja, who had been in second place before. Meanwhile, the list reflects that a lot of young players are on the rise.
Ding completed no fewer than 28 games in one month in several events in China, which helped him to become eligible to replace GM Sergey Karjakin in the FIDE Candidates Tournament in case the appeal from the Russian Chess Federation is denied by the Ethics & Disciplinary Commission. Ding won 7.2 rating points, is back above 2800 and back as the number-two player. Consequently, if he plays in the Candidates, he will be the top seed.
Except for Ding and GM Fabiano Caruana, who won five points in The American Cup, the other top 10 players who were active in this period all lost rating points. As a result, GM Richard Rapport, one of the FIDE Candidates, has reached his career’s highest position as the new world number five.
The biggest change at the top is a 20-point drop for GM Levon Aronian. Another American player is much better: GM Hikaru Nakamura has won 10 points, also qualified for the Candidates, and is now in the 11th position, just one point behind number-10 GM Anish Giri.
A bit further down the list we see GM Jorden van Foreest reaching his career’s highest rating so far (2715), although he was coming from 2714 after a gain of 12 points in March. GM Sam Sevian has broken 2700 for the first time and now sits on 2703, having won nine points for the April list and another 10 last month.
The biggest gain is for GM Matthias Bluebaum, who won 26 points that include the 20.4 points he gained for winning the European Individual Championship.
Other young players who reached career highs are GMs Arjun Erigaisi (2675), Vincent Keymer (2667), Narayanan S.L. (2662), Gukesh D. (2659), Hans Niemann (2656), Haik Martirosyan (2652), Alan Pichot (2652), Jules Moussard (2651), and Amin Tabatabaei (2650). The final six have entered the world’s top-100 for the first time.
Gukesh particularly stands out. The 15-year-old Indian player won two open tournaments back-to-back in Spain: first the La Roda Open and then the Menorca Open. With his second place in the Reykjavik Open just before those, Gukesh gained 45 points in the last two months. It will be exciting to see him play on India’s B team at the Olympiad, where GM Viswanathan Anand sadly has decided not to participate.