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Member since May-04-12 · Last seen Apr-23-17
I am only a butterfly dreaming of being Chuang Zhu, dreaming of being Tiggler.

Favorite WCs all time: Kasporov, Alekine, Botvinnik, Lasker, Capablanca. Best of the rest: Nimzovitch, Rubinstein, Korchnoi, Keres. Bring back the 24 game WC matches and 12+ game candidates matches so that we can have heroic champs and challengers again. Kasparov, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Lasker, Capablanca, Steinitz, Nimzovitch, Tal, Morphy, Anand, Karpov, Fischer, Rubinstein, Keres ....

Apart from actual chess, the two topics that keep me coming back to this site are the mysteries of the Elo and related ratings schemes, and the the even more strange oddities of chess search engines.

With respect to ratings, I don't mean the routine operation of the calculations, but the scale which these operations create, sui gerenis. What is the mathematical basis, and is it reduceable to a Haar measure? Is there any reality hiding behing the statistical artifact? Are there undiscovered truths about the distribution of ratings points, and do they regress to the mean?

Engines are a big mystery to us. Not so big a mystery to us as we to them, however. <DcGentle> has a zealous purpose to create an engine that understands positional chess. If he succeeds, he will also create an engine that might be mistaken for a human, and whose moves will be explicable. My interest is more prosaic: to understand the engines in their own terms. Why do they not seem to perform correct searches at the depth they advertise. Would a better search result in more "chessic truth"? They are designed to win at short(ish) time controls, and compromise their searches to do it. But CC players need the really best moves, not some practical compromise. They don't build engines for that, so how can we trick the engines that we do have into finding the best moves, and not just winning because their blunders are not awful?

These questions lack answers, so if you have the answers, please be so kind as to post them in my chessforum.

Since I first wrote my profile I have revised my all-time favorites hall-of-fame. As before, Fischer is struggling to keep a place in the top ten. The main change, of course, is to include Carlsen, who has now not only won the world title, but also defended it. I now rank him ~even with Anand, whom he has beaten twice, though Anand remains his strongest challenger (written 4/28/2015) after a very enduring career with two defenses of the uncontested title.

Here is my current list:

1. Garry Kasparov
2. Mikhael Botvinnik
3. Alexander Alekhine
4. Raoul Capablanca
5. Emmanuel Lasker
6. Anatoly Karpov
7. Wilhelm Steinitz
8/9. Vishwanath Anand/Magnus Carlsen
10-13. Robert Fischer/ Mikhail Tal/ Paul Keres/ Vasily Smyslov 14. Tigran Petrosian
15-18. Aron Nimzovitsch/ Akiba Rubinstein/ Viktor Korchnoi/ Boris Spassky 19/20. Vladimir Kramnik/ Max Euwe

The above list includes all the recognized World Champions, plus the four best who never achieved that honor. Notably absent are Morphy and Philidor, who are the claimants most difficult to classify. If I were to include Morphy, I think he might bump Fischer et al. from the top ten, and Fischer from the no 1 spot among US players.

Comments on the above are welcome, of course. Full Member

   Tiggler has kibitzed 5567 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Apr-22-17 Carlsen vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2017 (replies)
Tiggler: Caruana just blundered a piece against Aronian. Levon looks likely to put some icing on his cake.
   Apr-21-17 Gashimov Memorial (2017) (replies)
Tiggler: Horrendous blunder by So. Very surprising way for his streak to end.
   Apr-19-17 M Vachier-Lagrave vs Yifan Hou, 2017 (replies)
Tiggler: Right, it's all over. It always looked likely
   Apr-17-17 chessforum (replies)
Tiggler: <Richard Taylor: Another plan might be that players (anyone at all who has games) is given a 'site' where they put their version of their life and times etc.> We all have that on our user page. Wesley has one, here: User: Wesley So . Note that he has no bio there. Also he is a
   Apr-16-17 Biographer Bistro (replies)
Tiggler: <> <After reading the new biography and having a short chat with GM So I think the best course of action is this —> After reading the bio and the uproar, I think the best course of action is this: Wesley's bio should be restricted to the usual heading ...
   Apr-16-17 D Naroditsky vs W So, 2017
Tiggler: DN: "I'm a bit out of gas at the moment .." Remember this was the eleventh round of a tournament that only had one rest day, after the fifth round.
   Apr-15-17 US Championship (2017) (replies)
Tiggler: <jambow>:<Sounds like the Rogoff septictank is full the sewage is backing up here now. > and you can ring the bell for creating this classic post ++. Boinngg
   Apr-15-17 GRENKE Chess Classic (2017) (replies)
Tiggler: First round results are just what Grenke needed to get the full attention of the chess world.
   Apr-14-17 OhioChessFan chessforum (replies)
Tiggler: <Ohio> I posted a message supporting your position on the page and another on the <Wesley So> player page. Following your example, I repost the latter here in case the original gets deleted: <Tiggler: <Wesley So> You have the opportunity to post whatever ...
   Apr-14-17 Wesley So (replies)
Tiggler: <Wesley So> You have the opportunity to post whatever bio you want on your user profile page as <user: Wesley So>. Player pages are not the personal fiefdom of their subject players. I agree with <OhioChessFan> who is an experienced and well respected user who has ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Never kid a kidder

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-31-15  yskid: <Mar-31-15 Nickster: That's it for now. Everything is moving slowly ... ever so slowly. Anyway I continue to follow this story. Hey it's not costing me anything ...>I agree, cost nothing to follow. I periodically check only Vortex. Last I saw that Rossi's patent application was rejected. This Airbus news is worth to take a note of IMHO, although nothing will mean much until some hard facts are supplied (and proven) about where the energy comes from (like what Kubre requested).
Mar-31-15  Nickster: <yskid> Yes the Airbus news is intriguing. Airbus is a VERY big company:

It would seem that Airbus has been interested in LENR for quite some time now. A few months ago on Jan. 10/11 a LENR-Cities conference was held at Magdelene College at Oxford University, UK. Airbus Group Innovations Vice-President and Chief Scientist Jean-François Geneste gave a presentation. Jean-François Geneste seems to be some kind of genius and has an impressive bio:

One of the attendees, Mika Helsingius, Senior Scientist at the Finnish Defense Research Agency wrote this on LinkedIn:

"It was interesting event and there was a wide range of different people there. After the presentations it came even more clear, that using "nanoscale" instead of "nuclear" in LENR is justified as there might lie a whole world of different phenomena and not just anomalous heat effects. I had many interesting discussions, and one is always learning something new. LENR seems to be gaining momentum, even though it is not so visible in public.

"The talk by Airbus was very good, it made it more clear why they wanted to be in. It seems that many companies are interested, but LENR is still a delicate topic. I got the impression, that the energy sector seems to be more active than they say openly."

A few months later Airbus Files a Patent for LENR ‘Power-Generating Device‘.

LENR-Cities will be hosting another conference in Milano this 10th of April. Airbus Group Chief Scientist, Jean-Francois Geneste will be attending. It should be interesting ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <Nickster> Thanks for the updates. I'm still a believer in "buy the rumor, sell the news." The rumor is getting a bit long in the tooth now, so I'm not buying.
Apr-09-15  yskid: <Mar-31-15 Nickster: <yskid> Yes the Airbus news is intriguing. Airbus is a VERY big company:


Jean-François Geneste seems to be some kind of genius and has an impressive bio:

One of the attendees, Mika Helsingius, Senior Scientist at the Finnish Defense Research Agency wrote this on LinkedIn:

"It was interesting event and there was a wide range of different people there. After the presentations it came even more clear, that using "nanoscale" instead of "nuclear" in LENR is justified as there might lie a whole world of different phenomena and not just anomalous heat effects. I had many interesting discussions, and one is always learning something new. LENR seems to be gaining momentum, even though it is not so visible in public

.....>In his book, A Different Universe (2005), Prof. Robert B. Laughlin ( ), more specifically in chapter 9, The Nuclear Family, especially P. 111, although more or less throughout whole book, writes about indications of "certain uncertainties" in connection with matter and how "things might work". Observing from the sides, IMO, it is important to keep an open mind and realize that "science is NOT settled", not even in basics.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: I recently installed Turingkibitzer on my systems. It responds to posts addressed to any of my usernames, generates new comments at fora that my usernames might frequent, creates new threads on topics of interest and generally maintains the active presence of all persona associated with me.

In order to maintain control I merely have to make a few posts a week that the system uses for learning.

So far it has gone undetected, which is the criterion implied by the name of the product.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Tiggler> <AylerKupp> How come you want to make this personal?

<Have you read the FIDE Laws of Chess? If you haven't I suggest that you do so.>

If you want to post insults again do it on my forum>

Sorry for the belated response (I don't look at my forum very often). That was not meant to be either personal or an insult. If it appeared that way to you (and I now see how it could) I apologize, that was not my intent. There were many posts from many people on this seemingly emotional subject that indicated to me that they apparently had not read the FIDE Laws of Chess, and I suggested to most of them that they do so, just to educate themselves.

I took your comment that "My guess is that it was because of Rich's previous threat. He painted himself into that corner." in error as indication that you were not familiar with the FIDE Laws of Chess (and hence were guessing) which indicate (section 12.8) that a player who repeatedly refuses to comply with the Laws of Chess be penalized by the loss of the game. So I didn't think that Rich has painted himself into a corner, he was just doing his job (section 13.1) and strictly following the FIDE Laws of Chess. And that just to make sure that So was aware of the consequences, he told So what they would be if there was another laws violation.

Again, sorry that this happened, I didn't mean it the way it came across.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <I took your comment that "My guess is that it was because of Rich's previous threat. He painted himself into that corner." in error as indication that you were not familiar with the FIDE Laws of Chess>

No, I don't think the FIDE Laws are perfect, but they are not bad enough to justify this particular travesty. If the FIDE Laws were to blame, then it would be more depressing, but we all know that officious arbiters and unsporting players are part of the game.

If I had been arbiter I would have confiscated So's notes, added 5 minutes to Akobian's clock, and told the latter to sit his fat ass down and play chess. How would that decision not have been in accordance with FIDE Laws? (omit the "his fat ass" part from the official record - I did not really say that).

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Tiggler> I kind of agree with you, except that I think that the arbiter should have done that on So’s <second> violation instead of giving So another warning. The concept of progressive discipline is well established, and it might have made So wake up and take notice, or at least ask for a clarification of the rules. Giving him two warnings might have made So thought that the threat of a forfeit on a third violation was not a serious one. It might have avoided what happened next.

It was an unfortunate incident and I don’t think that there was any malice on So’s part. Still, I think that So was the guiltier (or, perhaps, the more “remiss” of the two), particularly since apparently several of So’s friends and teammates had mentioned to him in the past that he was doing was against the Laws of Chess. I don’t know about you but if I think that what I’m doing is fine but several people whose opinion I trust tell me otherwise, I would wonder a little bit and double check to make sure that what I was doing was not in error. And I certainly would have asked the arbiter for a clarification of the rules after being told that I was violating them a second time. Besides, it is the player’s responsibility to be aware of the FIDE Laws of Chess and ask for clarification in any areas that he/she is unsure about, not the arbiter or any member of the tournament committee to explain them to the players.

One think that I am not sure about is Akobian’s knowledge of So’s previous violations. Most everyone seems to think that he was aware of them because of his position in the appeals committee in this tournament and therefore he was looking for a free win. But I am not sure about that. Unless the arbiter had stopped So’s clock during each game and publicly admonished him about his violations, So’s previous violations would not have been public. And as an arbiter I would not have done that; I would have taken So aside during one of the times that he left the table or, at worst, stopped the clock, pulled him aside, and admonished him privately. And the subject would not have been brought up before the appeals committee and Akobian would not have known either about So’s 2 previous violations or that the arbiter had told So that he would forfeit his game on his 3rd violation.

Of course, I wasn’t the arbiter and I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what really happened. Hopefully this incident is all behind us and So can concentrate on playing chess and resolving his family situation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <Hopefully this incident is all behind us>

Since no one can point to a similar incident in living memory, one can be pretty sure it will not be forgotten. One hopes the St. Louis Chess Club has learned something.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I guess that we will just have to agree to disagree. I fail to see what the St. Louis Chess Club might have learned from this incident other than, by following the FIDE Laws of Chess when a player that violates them is supported by a lot of his fans, that they should expect a lot of vitriol and not be surprised by it. Vitriol which, IMO, is entirely uncalled for. Oh well, live and learn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <AylerKupp> I had in mind that they will not be able to appoint Rich as Chief Arbiter next year, and that they must not put playing participants on the appeals panel. Nor should persons on the appeals panel be giving video interviews about matters that they will have to rule on.

You may think that is unfair to Rich, but I say that does not matter: the tournament should not be about him, and he will only be a distraction if appointed again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I guess we still disagree. I see no reason why the St. Louis Chess Club would not be able to appoint Rich as Chief Arbiter next year since the only thing that he was "guilty" of was doing the job that he was required to do. As far as putting playing participants on the appeals panel I believe that this is common practice, but I am not sure. I think that it is a good idea to have a player on the appeals panel since that way there is a better chance of the players' viewpoint to be represented. And putting a playing player on the appeals committee seems more cost effective than bringing in a non-playing player, paying him/her transportation, lodging, meals, etc.

I do not recall any mention of Akobian being on the appeals panel as influencing his decision to inform Rich that So's note writing/usage was distracting him. And, unless the warnings to So were made in public , he would not have been aware that previous warnings had been issued nor of Rich informing So that he would be forfeited after a third violation. If the warnings were made in private (which is what I would have done in order to avoid embarassing the offending player and distracting the other players), there is no way that Akobian would have known about them unless either So or Rich told him. And I would doubt that either of them would have. And even if Akobian was a member of the appeals board he would not have found out about anything until an appeal was made.

The tournament was not about Rich, it was about the players. It was So that violated the FIDE Laws of Chess, not Rich, and it was So that brought attention to the incident. The tournament will be remembered because So repeatedly violated the FIDE Laws of Chess and was therefore forfeited, not because of the actions that Rich took.

As far as Rich being a distraction, I wouldn't know; I am not a player. Only the players would know whether his presence would be a distraction. And So seems to have accepted the situation and seems to be OK with the penalties that were issued. If So seems OK with it, I don't see why it should be a distraction to other players but, again, what I think is not relevant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <I see no reason why the St. Louis Chess Club would not be able to appoint Rich as Chief Arbiter next year>

Of course they could: it just would not be very smart. Just as Rich's choice was not, though of course he could.

Aug-13-15  morfishine: Good Evening <Tiggler>

I hope you don't mind me dropping by your forum here for the first time.

For sure, Fischer cannot be out of your top-10

This cannot be possible

Best, morf


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <morf> Welcome, of course. Fischer has no shortage of admirers, but I am not one of them.
Aug-19-15  morfishine: <Tiggler> FWIW: I am no big admirer of Fischer myself, but from an objective point of view, IMHO, he has to be placed in the top 5

It all depends on what metrics one subscribes to and how objective one can be, all things considered


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <It all depends on what metrics one subscribes to>. I don't think anyone succeeds in defining these <from an objective point of view>, and I don't try. I do place great weight on cumulative accomplishments over a career and on contributions to the development and history of chess. That might explain the reason for some of my selections. Botvinnik, for example.
Aug-21-15  morfishine: <Tiggler> Its a great testament to Botvinnik's character and fighting spirit that he could lose then regain the title not once, but twice

The reason I include Fischer is his 20 consecutive wins vs Masters. I don't think this feat will ever be matched

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: Topalov has to be considered as one of the best players never to win the uncontested WC. I'd like to see him in a match v Carlsen.
Sep-15-15  DanLanglois: Fischer's winning streak as a world champion candidate seems incredible to me, to the extent of being unique. I'm not insisting that he's the greatest ever, but there is that..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: Well Hi, Dan! I never see you post anywhere except the correspondence match pages, but you are a welcome visitor here.

You are right about the Fischer streak. My problem with him is that his dominance was so brief. Dereliction of duty as WC, IMO.

Dec-12-15  thegoodanarchist: <Tiggler: <offramp: Listen fellas. When I hear the word haiku I reach for a gun...>

That one gets my vote for best haiku so far.>

Needs 1 more syllable:

Listen fellas. When
I hear the word haiku I
reach for a pistol.

Dec-12-15  thegoodanarchist: Even better (IMO) is

Listen up fellas.
When I hear the word haiku
I reach for a gun.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: I think I found the origin of the mysterious differences between the FIDE tables for ratings based expected scores and the cumulative normal distribution with sd = 400.

The wiki article on the ELO system states:

" FIDE continues to use the rating difference table as proposed by Elo. The table is calculated with expectation 0, and standard deviation 2000 / 7."

If so, then it appears that Elo used the approximation 1/sqrt(2) = 0.7 .

For a difference in scores the corresponding distribution has sd multiplied by sqrt(2), so instead of getting sd = 400, as I had previously assumed, we get 404.061 .

So now the expected score (per game) is given by

=ERF(ratings difference/404.061)*0.5+0.5

This formula does match the tables in section 8.1 of the FIDE handbook.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: In an interesting post on the WC Candidates forum, <AylerKupp> mentioned that Arpad Elo suggested the use of a t-distribution:

World Championship Candidates (2016)

The t-distribution (Student's t) is used to find the distribution of the differences between pairs of values drawn INDEPENDENTLY from the same normal distribution (my emphasis).

Elo's underlying assumption is that the performance of a player in a single game is distributed normally about his expected value, and that the standard deviation of the distribution is the same for all players.

So when two players come to the board the difference in their performance is based on their two independent random samples from their individual distributions. Hence the t-distribution.

This seems to me to be extremely contrived, though of course Dr. Elo can make whatever ad hoc assumptions he choses in his system.

I prefer the following argument, however. When two players come to the board, the distribution of the differences in their performance is the fundamental one, and the most parsimonious (in the Occam sense) description of this is the normal distribution.

We cannot say that in a single game the deviation of player A's performance from his expectation is independent of the deviation of player B's performance from his expectation. On the face of it that is absurd.

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