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Member since Dec-06-04 · Last seen Jul-10-20
Hobby player (rated 1634).

If you feel misunderstood, feel free to say it.

My favourite players are: Magnus Carlsen, Kateryna Alexandrovna Lagno and Hanna-Marie Klek!

The domination list, based on the peak rating distance to the #10 player (official lists only, distance 50+ needed to "qualify"):

Kasparov 175 Jan 90
Fischer 160 Jul 72
Karpov 130 Jan 89
Carlsen 123 Mar 14
Kramnik 110 Jan 98
Tal 105 Jan 80
Ivanchuk 105 Jul 91
Anand 105 Jul 98
Korchnoi 95 Jan 80
Topalov 84 Jul 06
Caruana 80 Oct 14
Aronian 72 Mar 14
Spassky 70 Jan 71
Shirov 65 Jul 94
Gelfand 60 Jan 91
Kamsky 60 Jan 96 Jul 96
Morozevich 57 Jul 99
Portisch 55 Jan 80
Jussupow 55 Jul 86
Timman 55 Jan 90
So 53 Feb 17
Adams 52 Oct 00
Mamedyarov 52 Nov 18 Dec 18
Ding 51 Nov 18
Bareev 50 Jul 91
Vachier-Lagrave 50 Aug 16

#1 record distances to #2 (no qualification hurdle):

Fischer 125 (1972)
Kasparov 82 (January 2000)
Carlsen 74 (October 2013)
Karpov 65 (January 1982)
Topalov 34 (July 2006, October 2006)
Anand 23 (July 2007)

Women's "domination list" since July 2000:

J. Polgar 248 (April 2007)
Hou 160 (December 2015, February 2019)
Humpy 114 (October 2007)
S. Polgar 96 (January 2005)
Xie 92 (January 2005)
Ju 92 (August 2019)
A. Muzychuk 82 (August 2012)
Stefanova 76 (January 2003)
Goryachkina 69 (March 2020)
Galliamova 65 (January 2001)
Zhao 64 (September 2013)
Kosteniuk 58 (July 2006)
Lagno 58 (February 2019)
Chiburdanidze 57 (October 2000)
Cramling 56 (April 2007)
T. Kosintseva 56 (November 2010)
Zhu 52 (April 2007)
M. Muzychuk 52 (June 2019)
N. Kosintseva 51 (November 2010)

Earliest Soviet championship with living players: USSR Championship (1948) (Averbakh)

Earliest Interzonal with living players: Stockholm Interzonal (1952) (Averbakh, Matanovic)

Earliest Candidates with living players: Zurich Candidates (1953) (Averbakh)

Earliest WC match with living players: Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966) (Spassky)

Earliest WC match with living winner: Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969) (Spassky)

Earliest WC match with both players living: Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984/85)

>> Click here to see alexmagnus's game collections. Full Member

   alexmagnus has kibitzed 11130 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jul-10-20 Chessable Masters (2020) (replies)
alexmagnus: <beatgiant> So that makes it five. In twelve years. Let's compare it to now. The latest born Candidate so far is Alekseenko (born in 1997), so let's take the years 1985-1997. The players of this patch of birth years who played in the Candidates: 1. Carlsen (born 1990, ...
   Jul-10-20 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
alexmagnus: I wonder which insults against Kramnik he means. The "[in postgame press conferences] he likes to impress the public with long variations, but they are mostly nonsense" remark? Kramnik said much worse things about Carlsen :D
   Jul-02-20 alexmagnus chessforum (replies)
alexmagnus: I always assumed there being two peaks actually, around 27 and around 37.
   May-27-20 Karpov - Timman FIDE World Championship Match (1993) (replies)
alexmagnus: Both 1993 matches featured the largest and second largest Elo difference in a WC match ever, including all the disputed matches and FIDE KO finals. Kasparov-Short: 150 points difference Karpov-Timman: 140 points difference.
   May-24-20 Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge (2020) (replies)
alexmagnus: <and regained it again by default in 1992.> Not quite by default. He didn't defeat the sitting champion, sure. But unlike in 1972, there <was> a world championship match (Karpov-Timman). For some reason that match is forgotten. There is an even bigger misconception ...
   May-09-20 AlphaZero (Computer) (replies)
alexmagnus: < In contrast, modifying Stockfish 11 seems like only a 1-line change in the types.h file to change ANY_CASTLING = WHITE_CASTLING | BLACK_CASTLING, to ANY_CASTLING = NO_CASTLING and recompiling> But would the resulting evaluations be correct? After all, some part of the ...
   Apr-15-20 World Championship Candidates (2020) (replies)
alexmagnus: I sometimes wonder - imagine, Chigorin did win that game and went on to become world champion. Would the line of champions be the same, just with Chigorin inserted between Steinitz and Lasker?
   Apr-03-20 Fischer vs Huebner, 1970 (replies)
alexmagnus: <Huebner was eliminated in the quarters in 1983 by losing the roulette spin to Smyslov. Another Candidates tiebreaker was Spassky-Portisch 1980, where the former was eliminated because his win was with White. Then there was the planned Tal-Larsen sheep bone tiebreaker in 1965 ...
   Apr-03-20 Carlsen vs Karjakin, 2016
alexmagnus: <it was with less moves> I've never understood this notion that fewer moves mean a more convincing win. It's not true. At any level. Miniatures are not crushing wins. They are opening disasters. Winning in the opening, in the middlegame or in the endgame are equally valued ...
   Apr-01-20 Boris Spassky (replies)
alexmagnus: <that Fischer-centrism leading sometimes to confused statements like saying Taimanov and Spassky were the same generation> Or to the opinion that you needed to reach the Candidates to become a GM (which in reality was quite a rare way to get this title, a way taken mostly ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 45 OF 45 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I was laughing as I read this at work, and was hoping against hope I wouldn't have to explain to someone what I was laughing at.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: I need three more to make the list length the palindromic number of 33.

Adda 2113
Reyer 2092
Reer 2032

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: That's actually both impressive and funny <beatgiant>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Dragoljub M Ciric 2294
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Jorge Sabas 2229
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: April:

Post-Communist (except USSR, China):
1. Rapport 2760
2. Duda 2753
3. Topalov 2735
4-5. Navara 2719
4-5. Wojtaszek 2719
6. Le 2709
7. Almasi 2687
8. Leko 2663
9. Berkes 2661
10. Lupulescu 2656

Latin America:
1. Cori 2652
2. Bruzon Batista 2644
3-4. Granda Zuniga 2630
3-4. Pichot 2630
5. Mareco 2629
6. Delgado Ramirez 2621
7. Martinez Alcantara 2620
8. Iturrizaga Bonelli 2607
9. Henriquez Villagra 2600
10-11. Bachmann 2599
10-11. Flores 2599

Middle East:
1. Amin 2686
2. Salem 2682
3-4. Gelfand 2676
3-4. Maghsoodloo 2676
5. Ipatov 2644
6. Sutovsky 2640
7. Nabaty 2635
8. Yilmaz 2630
9. Tabatabaei 2629
10. Adly 2615

Old Guard:
1. Anand 2753
2. Topalov 2735
3. Svider 2723
4. Adams 2701
5. Sadler 2694
6. Almasi 2687
7. Ivanchuk 2678
8. Gelfand 2676
9. Kamsky 2674
10. Malakhov 2669

1. Carlsen 2863
2. Adams 2701
3. Sadler 2694
4. McShane 2680
5. Jones 2670
6. Howell 2663
7. Tari 2634
8. Short 2626
9. Christiansen 2612
10. Hammer 2608
11. Milov 2605
12. Pelletier 2581
13. Studer 2580
14. Gretarsson 2579
15. Bogner 2571

This month, I find the notorious Mr. Rausis listed between Matlakov and Jakovenko, not rated in any format, federation given as FIDE, and his profile shows he still has the titles of IM, FIDE trainer, and astoundingly, FIDE arbiter. It takes a thief to catch a thief?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: My curiosity was piqued when I found that Firouzja is not the only player whose federation is listed as FIDE. I decided to make a top 10 list of players without a country. I list here the full name, rating and title of these players.

Criterion: Players whose federation is listed as FID on the FIDE profile.

1. Firouzja, Alireza 2728 GM
2. Gonzalez Perez, Arian 2472 GM
3. Alonso Garcia, Rene Marcial 2339 IM
4. Rivera, Alberto 2322 IM
5. Castellanos, Jorge 2270
6. Nunez, Antonio 2265 FM
7. Rifai, Abdulkader 2213 CM
8. Leon, Virgilio 2184
9. Katashuk, Uladzislau 2179 FM
10. Lebedinsky, Eduard 2168

I'd be very interested to learn their stories, if anyone knows.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: All the info I found so far:

Alireza Firouzja Originally from Iran, stopped playing for Iran in 2019 after his federation ordered its players to withdraw from the World Rapid and Blitz Championship as part of that country's quasi-official ban on playing chess with Israeli players.

Arian Gonzalez Perez Originally from Cuba.

Katashuk, Uladzislau: Name suggests Belarus origin.

Eduard Lebedinsky Originally from Moldova.

Rifai, Abdulkader: Name suggests origin in the Islamic world.

The rest have names that suggest origin in the Spanish-speaking world. My first guess would be Cuba, as a country that is Spanish-speaking, has a lot of good chess players, and has a lot of exiles.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: European Union:

1. Vachier-Lagrave 2778
2. Giri 2764
3. Rapport 2760
4. Duda 2753
5. Topalov 2735
6-7. Navara 2719
6-7. Wojtaszek 2719
8. Vallejo 2710
9. Anton 2703
10. Almasi 2687

Former Soviet Union:

1. Nepomniachtchi 2784
2. Grischuk 2777
3. Aronian 2773
4. Radjabov 2765
5. Mamedyarov 2764
6. Karjakin 2752
7. Andreikin 2726
8. Svidler 2723
9. Vitiugov 2722
10. Artemiev 2716

Former British Empire:

1. Caruana 2835
2. So 2770
3. Dominguez 2758
4. Anand 2753
5. Nakamura 2736
6. Vidit 2726
7. Harikrishna 2719
8. Xiong 2709
9. Adams 2701
10. Sadler 2694


1. Ding 2791
2. Wang 2763
3. Anand 2753
4. Wei 2732
5. Vidit 2726
6. Harikrishna 2719
7-8. Le 2709
7-8. Yu 2709
9. Bu 2705
10. Li 2683

Born later than the world champion:

1. Caruana 2835
2. Ding 2791
3. So 2770
4. Giri 2764
5. Rapport 2760
6. Duda 2753
7. Wei 2732
8. Firouzja 2728
9. Vidit 2726
10. Artemiev 2716

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Due to Covid-19 there are no changes on the May rating list, so the lists are the same.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Since there's no change in ratings this month, I won't contribute my usual lists, although I might post a specialty list if I think of a good idea and if time permits.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Inspired by the "Rest of World" team in FIDE Online Nations Cup (2020), I decided to make a "Rest of World" list.

To qualify, the player must be from a national federation which is not in the EU or Semi-EU, not Nordic/Baltic, not former USSR, not post-Communist, not former British empire, not Asia, not Latin America, and not Middle East.

So what's left? A few small Western European countries that are outside the European Single Market, a few places in the Caribbean and South America that are not former British, Spanish or Portuguese colonies, African countries that are not former British possessions, and Oceania.

For the purposes of the list, I defined Indonesia as a part of Oceania, and as always, I defined Egypt as Middle East while African countries to the west of it are not.

I wasn't able to check my work carefully this time, so any corrections are welcome.

1. Adianto 2566 Indonesia
2. Hamdouchi 2561 Morocco
3. Megaranto 2550 Indonesia
4. Priasmoro 2502 Indonesia
5. Bellahcene 2501 Algeria
6. Norwood 2494 Andorra
7. Arab 2487 Algeria
8. Haddouche 2483 Algeria
9. Damogalad 2480 Indonesia
10. De La Riva Aguado 2466 Andorra

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Again no events this month, but I've started another special project and I'll post a few results as time permits.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: And now I'll post a little from my latest project: generational timelines around top players of the past.

This time, I will provide some data on the question, "Were there noticeably fewer top GMs born in the USSR during WWII than before and after?" It's often said that the demographic impact of WWII included a birth dearth in the USSR which was felt in chess in the 1970's when that missing generation would have reached the peak chess playing age.

It sounds very plausible, but like the man said, "Without data, you're just another person with an opinion."

For my methodology, I looked for top Soviet GMs born in every year from 1929 to 1950. I used chessmetrics rankings and defined a top GM as anyone who had ever been in the top 30 on chessmetrics.

Here is what I found: (year of birth, name, top chessmetrics ranking ever achieved)

1929, Petrosian, #1
1930, Krogius, #17
1931, Korchnoi #1, *Nei #21
1932, none found
1933, Vasiukov, #11
1934, Polugaevsky, #2
1935, A. Zaitsev, #21
1936, *Tal, #1, Gufeld, #30
1937, Spassky #1, *Gipslis #20
1938, none found
1939, none found
1940, Savon, #7
1941, none found
1942, none found
1943, Sosonko, #21
1944, Tseshkovsky, #7, Dzindzichashvili, #15
1945, Alburt, #28
1946, Kuzmin, #12
1947, Gulko, #8, Dvoretsky, #29
1948, none found
1949, Balashov, #11
1950, Lerner #17, Sveshnikov #20

*Nei, Tal and Gipslis were brought under the Soviet system since the 1940 annexation of the Baltics.

And now, my conclusions.

The USSR was reliably turning out about 1 top GM per year over the period.

We see a cluster of years (1938, 1939, 1941, 1942) when I found none born, but it only partially overlaps WWII. So if it's true that there was a "chess birth dearth," I don't think the explanation can be as simple as "They weren't born because the guys who could have been their fathers were on the front lines fighting Germans." It could also be something like "The NKVD purged the medical profession in 1937, and kids born in the following few years received poor prenatal and post-natal care, impacting their cognitive abilities and thus limiting their ability to become top chess players."

Or it could simply be random chance. I don't think we have enough data here to make a strong statistical statement.

Of course, it's also possible I simply overlooked some people. If so, as always, I welcome any corrections.

I also found none born in 1932 and 1948. 1932 was a year of famine, but I don't have any explanation for 1948 beyond random chance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: (One minor correction to the above already, Dvoretsky's top chessmetrics ranking was #20, not #29.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <but I don't have any explanation for 1948 beyond random chance.>

Another famine? There was a famine in the USSR in 194<7> (the post-war famine, which was also the last famine in the Soviet Union at all - and which, unlike the 1932-33 famine, was not kept secret from the popuation pre-perestroika).

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As for 1938-39, while the birth years do not overlap with WW2, the chess learning years needed to become a top player do. Spassky, born in 1937, learned chess on an evacuation train...
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <alexmagnus>
Good points. Then, it seems all the gaps have a neat explanation. Interestingly, it seems Savon, the sole example I found of a top Soviet GM born in the 1938-1942 years, learned to play only at age 13.

The next case I'm working on is WWI. I've seen it claimed that the top players in the 1930's were older than usual because of some kind of effect of WWI.

Does it mean we expect to see fewer top players from European belligerent countries who were born in years that would make them eligible for conscription from 1914 to 1918? It sounds like lots of work to investigate that, so it may be a while before I post anything.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: I start with an obvious theory: there was a big drop in the birth rate in Europe during WWI, and it's relatively easy to investigate its effect on top chess.

This time, I looked for top players born in WWI belligerent countries from 1910 to 1922, listing anyone who had ever been in the top 30 on chessmetrics. Here's what I found. Again I give year, name and highest chessmetrics ranking achieved.

1910: Najdorf #2, Tolush #10, Konstantinopolsky #11, Mikenas #12, Trifunovic #12, Book #24

1911: Botvinnik #1, Reshevsky #1, Lilienthal #6, Barcza #16, Novotelnov #20, O'Kelly #27

1912: Nezhmetdinov, #21, Veresov #21

1913: Kotov #3, Eliskases #7, Bondarevsky #13, Bely#25

1914: Pilnik #12

1915: none found

1916: Keres #2

1917: Szabo #6

1918: Katetov #16

1919: Boleslavsky #3, Simagin #21

1920: Furman #11, Aronin #18

1921: Smyslov #1, Ilivitsky #29

1922: Averbakh #8

Until 1913, Europe was producing about 5 top players per year, most of them in the Russian empire. It fell to about 1 a year in 1914-1918, and then partially recovered to about 2 a year in 1919-1922. So yeah, it does look like WWI had a big impact on top chess players. But considering typical peak playing ages, I think this would affect chess in the 1940's more than the 1930's.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: < think this would affect chess in the 1940's more than the 1930's.>

1940s were too overshadowed by WW2. I mean, how many tournaments during the war have left any mark in chess history?

It goes as far as when the first 27 grandmasters were awarded their titles in 1950, almost none of them got it to their achievements during the war. The batch of honorary grandmasters in 1977 and another one in 1993 was created to compensate for this omission - many of those honorary GMs peaked during the war.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <alexmagnus>
Yes, as far as I can determine, not a single player born in the USSR between 1938 and 1950 ever made it to the Candidates, stark evidence of a lost generation in a country that was generally producing one world champion per decade over a long period of time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Again no events this month, but I will post some more findings about the WWI lost generation effects, if time permits.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: My next step was to try to quantify what we mean by <peak playing age>.

First, I assumed that the typical "growth, peak, decline" pattern in chess skill must be biological in nature, so it should remain constant across historical eras, even though we have the cultural phenomenon of children starting to master chess younger and younger.

Based on that assumption, I then looked at the peak ages of the top 30 players in the chessmetrics 1-year peak list. I found that the minimum is 20 (Kamsky), the first quartile is 28 (Anand, Fischer, Pillsbury), the median is 32 (Spassky, Tarrasch), the third quartile is 36 (Janowsky, Najdorf), and the maximum is 49 (Steinitz).

The data does show some trend toward the peak age getting younger and younger through history, which challenges my assumption above. But that's a project for another month.

Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to me to take ages 28-36, spanning the second and third quartiles, as a model of <peak playing age>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: I always assumed there being two peaks actually, around 27 and around 37.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <alexmagnus>
<two peaks>
That's another interesting question which I could tackle in another month.

But I don't think it will change my current analysis much. My next step was to look at the number of 28 through 36 year olds among the top players during the 1920's and 1930's to find post-WWI evidence of a lost generation. If 27 and 37 are the real peaks, it might shift the period of the effect by a year or two at most.

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