1/2/2006 - Most Sports have their magic numbers. For track and field it
was the 4-minute mile. Roger Banister broke this threshold in 1954. Since
then many world-class milers have broken this threshold. For baseball, it
was the 60-homerun threshold. Babe Ruth broke this threshold back in 1927
when he hit 60 home runs in a 154 game season. 34 years later, in 1961,
Roger Maris broke Ruthís record with 61 homers in 162 games. It took another
37 years and the use of steroids to break the 60 home run mark again. In
recent times several players have passed the 60-homerun threshold, namely
Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds. Both McGuire and Bonds broken the
70-homer threshold. However their records have been tainted with the rumor
of illegal steroids.
Chess has its own 60-homer threshold, its called the 2800
rating plateau. In 1972, a peaking Bobby Fischer approached this threshold,
when his rating hit 2785. However, Bobby retired from the game after winning
the chess world championship in 1972. It took another 20 years for a player
to approach the 2800 barrier. Garry Kasparov broke the 2800 barrier in 1990.
Garryís rating peaked at 2849. It took another 10 years for another player
to surpass the 2800 barrier. The 14th Vladimir Kramnik broke the
2800 barrier when his rating hit 2811 in 2001.
Then at the FIDE World Championship in 2005, Veselin Topalov
broke the barrier while winning the championship. Topalov won the Triple
Crown at San Luis. He won the FIDE Championship, broke the 2800 plateau, and
now holds the number one active rating spot in the world. I think itís a
foregone conclusion that Topalov will win his first Chess-64 Oscar and an
IWK-MVP award. Lets hope that
Vladimir Kramnikís offer for a world championship match. This could
significantly add to Topalovís resume by winning the true world championship.
The latest FIDE rating charts has Topalov, with a 2801
rating, sitting in the number
one active rating spot and Vishy Anand sitting in the 2nd spot,
points from the 2800 plateau. Anand has been close to the 2800 plateau quite
a few times, but he never has broken it. With Corus coming in January of
2006, Anand seems poised to finally break the 2800 barrier. Historically
Anand has done quite well at Corus. In 2004, Anand became on the 4th player
in history to win it four times. He joined other 4-time winners Victor
Kortchnoi, Lajos Portish, and Max Euwe. Recently, Anand won it in 2003.
2004, and finished 2nd in 2005. Earlier in the year, Anand said
he was going to try to
2800-plateau. At Corus 2006, the odds are good for Anand to become the 4th
player in chess history to surpass this barrier.