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Garry Kasparov vs Veselin Topalov
"Kasparov's Immortal" (game of the day Apr-13-13)
It (cat.17), Wijk aan Zee (Netherlands) (1999)  ·  Pirc Defense: General (B06)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 45 OF 45 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-02-14  crypticguns: How would white progress if black had done this? 31...Rd1#. 32. Kb2 - Ra8?
Dec-03-14  fisayo123: <sharpnova> Weird comment, since Kasparov himself said his peak level was during the 1999-2000 period.
Dec-05-14  sharpnova: How is it a weird comment? It's strange for someone who is into chess to not be familiar with chessmetrics. Google it and do some research into how intense the methodology behind the statistics has been.

His peak performance was in 1990. And it was basically equal to Fischer's performance in 1972.

I think we can put a little more faith in statistics and norming and an incredibly exhaustive analysis of the performances of these top players in a pool of games and results far more complex than any one person can "intuit" than Kasparov's assessment in this regard.

His play in 1999, as for most of his career was incredible. But he dominated the competition in 1990 more than he did in 1999.

Dec-05-14  Sally Simpson: Never understood the need for players to run an engine over a game looking for better moves, holes and what if's.

You lot see a beautiful game of chess and right away try to find flaws with a machine.

Then out comes if Black had done this, or White had done that...You might as well say if Topalov had played 1...e5 it may have been a draw.

You are taking a wonderful of music and playing it a slower speed to try and understand it.

You cannot hear the hear or feel the melody so you try to dismantle it and end up with machine noise, a number and...well there is no 'and' because I simply do not understand it at all. Did you have no toys when you were children.

I cannot figure out what you hope to learn or think you achieve by mauling masterpieces though a mangle.

If you think you have a better move or cannot see why a move was played then set it up on a board and dig in.

Feel the burn, be there, you mind will travel along the same paths the players took. Enjoy the experince of playing over it.

Don't switch on a machine and watch it shoot off in hundreds of variations nobody ever saw. You have learned nothing and missed the point entirely of why a game score has been posted.

A bunch of butchers.

Hi sharpnova,

Not sure where the lad got the Kasparov quote from but I believe him.

It is possible Kasparov meant around about 1999/2000 his chess ability started to fade. He was no longer at his peak.

Dec-06-14  FairyPromotion: <Sally Simpson: You are taking a wonderful of music and playing it a slower speed to try and understand it.>

What a neat analogy! My hat is off!! :-)

<Sally Simpson: It is possible Kasparov meant around about 1999/2000 his chess ability started to fade. He was no longer at his peak.>

Nope, I remember the quote as well, and Kasparov clearly states this period as the absolute best of his career. He mentions that he won 7 consecutive tournaments, including this one (which he won with a Wijk Aan Zee record 10/13), and the Linares tournament (where he won 5 of his Sicilians with black, finishing with 10.5/14).

His rating also peaked with 2851 in 1999.

Of course for a great like Kasparov, an argument can be made about which year was his best, but 1999 is probably the popular choice.

Dec-06-14  Sally Simpson: Hi FairyPromotion,

Thanks. I never saw the quote but I figured it be true. Kasparov should know when he was at his peak and not some number manipulating internet site.

sharpnova wants us to put more faith in 'statistics and norming' because someone had has put in 'incredibly exhaustive analysis'.

Just because someone has devoted a lot of time researching something does not make the end result correct.

sharpnova seemed surprised that Kasparov could play a game like this when chessmetrics clearly indicates that he was way past his best and therefore such a game was now beyond him.

Trying to turn performances and ability into numbers is all good fun if you have nothing better to do but it should not be taken seriously.

According to chessmetrics the 2nd best chess performance of all time was Fischer's 6-0 win over Larsen.

Of all time?

Did they look at the games?


It is based on the 4 digit number of one player v the 4 digit number of another player and nothing else.

Game 1 was brilliant but in the remaining 5 you had one player playing out of form at a venue he felt uncomfortsbale in and refusing clear draws offered to him by his opponent.

Fischer exploited his opponents refusal to accept even one draw as Larsen chased wins that were not there and that was that.

Surely even the most die hard Fischer fan (And i'm up there amongst them) will admit that this 6-0 was a freak result.

Dec-10-14  sharpnova: @Sally Simpson

Nothing you said about what I was surprised about or why I was surprised about whatever it was I actually was surprised about was true or implied by my comments. You read what you wanted into them in order to facilitate your argument.

And you should look further into chessmetrics. It's not nearly as naive as you claim.

Kasparov's peak performance was in 1990. And via a very exhaustive analysis of a ton of data, in 1990, he was, relative to his peers, what Fischer was relative to his peers in 1972.

Everything you're saying is based entirely on your lack of knowledge. So I ask that you rectify that before attempting to continue this conversation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Rookiepawn: It seems to me we should define "peak performance". It can be defined by certain criteria, but I don't see why they should be mandatory.

"Peak Performance" may refer to the level of satisfaction a player feels during their career, or achieving certain results deemed important though maybe not much more during a certain period, etc.

Stats are great, I have nothing against, but they should be read carefully. Otherwise you may conclude that every human being has one tit, or things like that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Rookiepawn: ... Otherwise you may conclude that every human being has one tit, or things like that.>

I hate when that happens.

Dec-10-14  Sally Simpson: Hi Sharpnova,

You said:

" I find it strange that the great gem of his career was crafted nine years after his peak level."

I said you seemed surprised, (not that you were) you certainly found it 'strange.'

In 1990 Kasparov was by far the best player on the planet and you don't need any mathmatical formulae to work that one out.

In 1999 the rest caught up with him, this does mean Kasparov got any worse, the rest simply got better.

And I don't care about a ton of data or how many hours some poor soul has poured into it. It is unstable (you need two humans and at least one blunder to get a positive/negative result) and the game too random for it to be of any real significance.

Kasparov himself said he peaked in 1999. I believe Kasparov, he should know, not some chess site full of numbers declaring when and when not players should be playing brilliancies.

Dec-11-14  anjyplayer: What was so special about this game ? Immortal Topalov.
Dec-12-14  sharpnova: @Sally Simpson

Well if you choose to put your faith in a human's gut over advanced statistics based on ungodly amounts of data, then that's your choice.

Dec-13-14  Sally Simpson: Hi Sharpnova,

"Well if you choose to put your faith in a human's gut over advanced statistics based on ungodly amounts of data..."

Not to sure what you mean by that.

Can the ungoldy amount of data chessmetrics has gathered measure intuition. (I assume this is what you mean by 'gut'.)

Can looking at the 1989 stats preditct Annad would be a World Champion and if one looked at the 1987 stats could you see that Nigel Short would one day be a World Chess Championpship Challenger.

I don't think so. It's a collection of old chess results dating back to the year dot being drip fed through a mathematical maze producing pie charts, graphs and things that look pretty to attract the magpies.

Yet Kasparov in 1989 and 1987 correctly predicted both these things happening. (the gut?)

This will be the same Kasparov who said he peaked in 1999/2000 and yet chessmatrics says No he is wrong....look at the numbers...the advanced statistics...they know better.

The chessmetrics site is nothing more than a curiousity. I've not yet felt the need to know who was rated No.2 in the world in August 1913 but no doubt one day I will wake up and simply thirst for this knowledge.

(It was Frank Marshall...Yes...Frank Marshall. Bless him. My 'gut' says different but you cannot argue with maths or a blinkered point of view.)

Dec-13-14  RookFile: Marshall was a terrific tournament player, so it's understandable that he would have put together a run that would have put him at #2. As Marshall himself said, he wasn't really that keen on match play, as Tarrasch, Capa, and Lasker demonstrated.
Dec-13-14  Sally Simpson: Marshall is one of my heroes, but all that time and effort using a flawed system to claim he was No.2 in August 1913.

(Just in case you are interested, Rubinstein was No.1 in August 1913.)

I suppose some find this fascinating but unlike my learned colleague Sharpnova I cannot take it too seriously nor can I 'put a little more faith in statistics.'

Each to own I guess.

Dec-14-14  sharpnova: @Sally Simpson

You sound like a religious nut. I think this conversation is past any possibility of being constructive.

If you hate statistics then get gone because it's far more relevant to this issue than you have any idea of.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Rookiepawn: sharpnova: I think the problem is not <SS> hating stats, but you loving them so much to the point of believing they say more than they actually say.

Chess strength is always relative, relative to that of other players I mean. So when you talk about "strength" you always talk about a relative measure.

In practical terms, a chess player may theoretically show a clear dominancy over a certain period, and then losing that dominancy over the next period despite playing better chess.

This means the player has objectively improved his/her chess, from an absoulte point of view he/she is <stronger> than before. But if the rest of the players improved more, then from a relative point of view the player is <weaker> than before.

So stats are great, but they must be read carefully.

Dec-14-14  Sally Simpson: Hi sharpnova,

I disagree that the statistics on chessmatrics are important and should be viewed with a very jaundiced eye. As I said, alright as a curiosity but nothing more.

So this makes me a religious nut! (I was wondering how long it would take before the insults started.)

It appears to be you who religously believes in these serioulsy flawed numbers. I am a grading/rating athiest.

You are trying to convert me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Sally Simpson: ...

So this makes me a religious nut! (I was wondering how long it would take before the insults started.)>

Too bad that no one ever takes it as a compliment.

Dec-14-14  Sally Simpson: 'Nut' I'll take as a compliment. I am nuts.

But not religious. (They are the real crazy ones.)

Chessmatrics includes games that did use clocks. Chessmatrics uses games that had adjournments. There are mistakes in recording who won games. Known thrown games are in there. pre game agreed draws are in there.

One v one matches should be not be included in any rating system (sorry Bob).

The whole lot are mixed up and rolled out in an effort to turn games of chess into a number.

It's full of chaotic data.

Nobody should take it seriously.

Dec-17-14  KeyanChess: Very beautiful game. 24. Rxd4!!! was so shocking and brilliant, it looked like a blatant error when I first saw the move! Topalov played a great game as well, but Kasparov prevailed by finding and making brilliant moves one after another.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Rookiepawn: <SS> made a good point about another potential weak point of stats: data quality. You should believe in stats as strongly as in their data quality. Stats are really tricky.
Jan-16-15  Poulsen: <Rookiepawn><Stats are really tricky>

You are off course right: stats ARE tricky - not only because of data quality (a point Jeff Sonas' Chessmetrics is well aware of), but also because of the way stats are or can be used and interpreted.

For example <sharpnova> in his above arguements CHOOSES to use Kasparov's peak performance at Tilburg 1989 to argue, that around this time Kasparov was strongest. This victory (among others) leads to a rating of 2885 on the april 1990 ratinglist - according to Chessmetric.

However in may 1993 Kasparov goes to 2886 - following his performance at Linares - and in june 1999 Kasparov reaches 2884 - once again following a great performance at Linares.

These 3 peaks are visible on the graph shown on Chessmetrics, but over all Kasparov is clearly the no. 1 player throughout the 90'es and beyond - with Anand, Karpov and Kramnik as the closest contenders.

Thus - contrary to what <sharpnova> believes - I don't think, that Chessmetrics supports the claim, that he was stronger in 1990 than in other periods.

To compare: Bent Larsen's peak performance came at Buenos Aires 1979 at a point when his career had long been in decline.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kinghunt: What a long way engines have come. At d=25, Stockfish has 24. Rxd4 as its first choice move. (It considers black better due to the response 24...Kb6!)

Stockfish cannot, however, find 27. b4+, for whatever reason, at least not at d=29. However, as soon as I set PV=2, it finds it and picks it as clearly best almost instantly. Must be some weird super aggressive pruning going on. (Stockfish actually believes itself to be losing until b4 is found/forced.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kinghunt: I take back the second part of my previous comment. I was using the old version of Stockfish before. I just installed Stockfish 6, and it finds 27. b4+ at d=24 (~5 seconds).
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Kasparov on Kasparov: Part I
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