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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

True Chess

That’s the name of a fascinating web site I just came across. It’s “Dedicated to the discovery of new facets of famous chess positions, games, and books.”

Most interesting is probably the site’s ranking, based on computer analysis, of past world champions in an attempt to determine who was the best. The author took into consideration many factors which he explains in his analysis, but I like to keep things simple. So for me the best indicator is to consider the longest time frame given of 15 years and what seems to me to be the most reliable indicator, “blunders per 1000 moves", you have the following:

Smyslov......4.03
Botvinnik....4.45
Capa..........4.86
Karpov......5.07
Alekhine ....6.23
Fischer.......6.71
Lasker.......7.31
Petrosian...7.31
Kramnik....7.33
Kasparov..7.66
Spassky....8.37
Anand.......8.90
Tahl..........10.15
Euwe........11.11
Steinitz......21.93

That’s surprising! And, of course, everybody will have their own idea when it comes to interpreting the data. Still, I never expected to see Smyslov ranked so highly. Tahl's low ranking is not really surprising because he was known to play a lot of questionable sacrifices. Personally, I would have thought Kasparov would be ranked higher. Same for Petrosian because it was always said he was almost impossible to beat at his best. In any case, it's interesting stuff.

The author also analyzed some classic chess books to see how many errors in analysis there were. Also interesting.

Visit the site: Truechess

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