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Top 5 Russian Chess Players
Russia is still the biggest chess nation with more than 200 Grandmasters and about 500 international masters. It is also the best according to the rating average of its top 10 players.
Here are the top 5 Russian chess players according to their rating on the July 2013 FIDE list.
5. Alexander Morozevich
Alexander Morozevich is 5th on the rating list with a rating of 2739. He has many fans because he likes to play offensive games with tactical fireworks and because he doesn't mind playing unorthodox openings, starting the game with g3, b3 or even a3 (though it was against Fritz). I like to think of him as the modern Tal.
4. Peter Svidler
Peter Svidler, rated 2746, is a 6-time Russian champion. He is always looking for initiative. His recent game against Grischuk at the London candidates game (to decide the World Champion challenger) is a good example of it. Sacrificing his Queen in the opening and trying to win despite having a King in the open.
3. Sergey Karjakin
Third with a 2772 rating, Sergey Karjakin is a chess prodigy and has the record of the youngest person becoming an International Master and the youngest person becoming a Grandmaster. He was the rapid World Chess Champion in 2012, title taken by Azerbaijani Grandmaster Mamedyarov this year.
Karjakin's results at the Norway Chess 2013 tournament were impressive as he finished first, ahead of Carlsen, Anand, Svidler, etc... I would not be surprised to see him eventually go for the world champion title.
5-hour Questions and Answer DVD about the games played by Karjakin
2. Alexander Grischuk
With a 2785 rating, Alexander Grischuk is number 2 on this list. He was even number 1 but lost this ranking in the last update.
About his play style, Grischuk is an offensive player, particularly dangerous in short time controls. This is not a surprise that he won the Blitz World Championship in 2012.
1. Vladimir Kramnik
The top rated Russian player is Kramnik. He has been on this top position for a long time, only losing for a while (to Grischuk). His current rating is 2794 but for a long time he was over the 2800 barrier, being the second person in the history to do so (the first one being Kasparov).
Kramnik was the Classical World Champion from 2000 to 2006 and the undisputed one in the year 2006-2007. For more information, here is the list of Russian players who were World Champions.
Kramnik is a very solid player and he doesn't lose games that often. He likes positional chess, increasing the pressure slowly but surely.
One of his recent victories is the win of the Chess World Cup 2013 in Tromsø, Norway.
Where is Kasparov?
Many people still think about Kasparov as the strongest player. Unfortunately, Kasparov has withdrawn from the active chess scene and he no longer appears in the rating list. His latest rating was 2812.
In my opinion the best of the series as this is the period Kasparov knows the best and his view about players like Korchnoi or Karpov is very valuable.
- Paul Keres: the Eternal Second
If there is one unlucky person in the chess world, it must be Paul Keres. He was one of the best player of his era and yet failed to become World Champion. Here is more about his story.