I don’t know if Anand enjoys chocolate eggs but if he does he’ll be munching away this Easter happy in the knowledge he’s just be declared the highest rated chess player in the world. Again.
For those of you who don’t familiar with the arcane (feel free to substitute Byzantine if you prefer) FIDE decision making process, it happened like this …
Anand, won the recent Linares tournament and, perhaps helped by Topalov’s rather disastrous performance, gained sufficient rating points for the chess press to work out he’d be declared world number one in the new rating list that was due out at the end of March. The only problem was that when the list was eventually published, Anand was still in second place.
It turns out that Linares finished after the end of February deadline for results to count in the new list. A slightly strange decision you might have thought. At least it seems odd to me that the governing body of a professional sporting organisation is going out of its way to avoid keeping its rating system as up to date as possible.
However, rules are rules and should apply equally to everybody. If that leaves Topalov at world number one then so be it. Hard luck Vishy.
Unfortunately for FIDE, those more cynical than your humble correspondent immediately began to kick up a fuss. True, they said, Linares did finish after the deadline but that’s never stopped it being counted before. Alas for FIDE, the agitators could also point to events that ended after Linares but were included nevertheless.
It is not for me to speculate on exactly what FIDE thought they were doing or what they hoped to achieve. I shall merely reflect on IM Malcolm Pein’s recent statement in the Daily Telegraph that Topalov is the “darling” of FIDE officials.
In any event, FIDE finally relented and included the Linares results so Vishy Anand is officially world number one after all. The only question that remains is whether our game’s governing body might try to restore its credibility by attempting to organise a night of vigorous alcoholic drinking inside a brewery. I fear it might be beyond them.