The list published by FIDE on March 31 lists the following top rankings:
According to calculations made by chess experts all over the world Anand should have been in the number one spot, after his superb win in Morelia/Linares (where Topalov, at the same time, shed a number of rating points).
The final games in Linares were played on March 10th, 2007, and thus the tournament could be considered ineligible for the calculations of the April list, since the deadline for submissions of tournaments for the April ratings is Feburary 28.
However, in the past FIDE has always included this key tournament in its April list. This is certainly true of the April lists for 2006 (Linares finished on March 11 that year); 2005 (finished on March 11); and for the previous years 2004, 2003 and 2002. That is as far as we have easily accessible records on the subject. Colleagues in India tell us that the practice of including Linares goes back to when the April list was first introduced.
So why was Linares excluded this time? FIDE Presidential Board member Nigel Freeman has posted a statement on the subject: "Before the conspiracy theories get out of hand, perhaps I can explain what happened to the best of my knowledge. With regards to Morelia-Linares etc., in order to be completely fair, the Ratings Committee has decided that only tournaments that finished a month before the rating list comes into effect should be rated. Once one starts to make exceptions, where does one stop? Why Morelia-Linares and not a whole host of others?"
Two points can be made here: Why, then, was Linares included in the calculations of all previous April lists? When was a change in the practical application of the guidlines for the ratings decided? Was it (and this is the key question) done before Morelia/Linares, or did the decision come after the event had been completed? We have addressed these questions to the FIDE Ratings Commission.
Important addendum on April 1st 2007
And secondly: if we are not mistaken the 2007 Asian Cities Chess Championship in Tehran, which was held entirely in March (from 1st to 9th) was included in the tournaments used to calculate the April 2007 list. At least three other events that spilled into March were used in the calculations. So Morelia/Linares would not have been the only "exception". And looking back: the 15th Asian Games tournament finished on December 14, 2006 and was rated for the January 2007 list.
There are a few other incongruities in the current FIDE list, e.g. the "Top 50 Women" list only has 20 players. In the past FIDE has issued corrections to its rating lists a few days after publication, so we will wait to see if new lists are pending. This is certainly the expectation of the following interested party.
The All India Chess Federation has taken up the rating issue of the Morelia/Linares Chess Tournament with FIDE, the World Chess Body for excluding the World's Premier event from the April 2007 rating list. The AICF has requested FIDE to follow normal norms and rate this event as was done before. Viswanathan Anand had won this event and rating it would make him the No.1 in the World Ranking list as of April 1, 2007.
FIDE had published the list of events rated for the April 2007 list and had excluded the Morelia/Linares event. The AICF has asked FIDE to rate this event as done in the past 15 or more years. The Linares Tournament has been traditionally been included in all rating lists published by FIDE in April and excluding it this time will be injustice to Indian chess and Viswanathan Anand.
Including the Morelia/Linares Tournament will pull down Veselin Topalov (who finished last at Linares) and Viswanathan Anand would be the No.1. Viswanathan Anand himself is in Germany playing the Bundesliga for defending champion Baden Baden and was not available for comment.
The AICF Secretary D.V.Sundar has taken up the issue with FIDE and expects the correction by FIDE as early as Monday.
Incidentally Anand (above right, photo Zugzwang.de) has just added a few more rating points to his FIDE account by beating Luke McShane (left) with the black pieces in the penultimate round of the German Bundesliga. Anand's team beat Werder Bremen by 6:2 and is already German Team Champion 2006/2007.
The Indian broadsheets were all out to celebrate the first Asian to become the world's number one FIDE rated player (with five predecessors in history: Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Topalov). Many newspapers have already carried articles in their weekend issues. Below is a sample, on Monday comes the backlash.