Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

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Neville Twitchell
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Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Neville Twitchell » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:00 pm

This may have been covered before but does anyone know what the record is for the greatest act of giant-killing in chess, measured objectively in terms of ECF grading or ELO rating?
Of course there are many examples of players beating much stronger opposition at all levels of the game and in all forms of the game, but statistically speaking what is the greatest grading difference (or rating difference) between the stronger (losing) and weaker (winning) player?
I am referring only to over the board chess, not postal chess or online chess, and only to "proper" games, ie not blitz, though rapid-play may be acceptable.
What are the records for domestic (English) play, and for international tournaments/matches respectively?
This could be at any level of play, whether it be a "100" beating a "200", for example, or a "150" beating a "250", or whatever.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:44 pm

One example I know of is Glenn Flear winning the GLC Chess Challenge in 1986. This event followed the previous three events in 1980, 1982 and 1984 (sponsored by Phillips & Drew and organised with the GLC). The 1986 event was just the GLC. Flear, an IM at the time (he became a GM the following year), was a last-minute substitute for Karpov, and won the event ahead of a strong field. I'm not sure what the exact TPR and ELO differential was, but it is considered to be one of the big upsets in tournament history, and it got a lot of coverage because he got married during the event!

Or are you referring to single games only?

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby David Sedgwick » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:03 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Flear, an IM at the time (he became a GM the following year), was a last-minute substitute for Karpov

I think it was actually Dorfman who dropped out. That doesn't of course affect the substance of your post.

Two other examples which occur to me took place in successive years: Alexei Suetin winning the Hastings Challengers in 1990-91 and Colin Crouch winning the same event in 1991-92.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:13 pm

Neither of those were *that* startling, IMO.......

And anyway, I'm pretty sure the thread starter had individual games in mind :wink:

So, any suggestions there??

I vaguely recall then WC Karpov losing (with White!) to an untitled player at a German tournament in the early 1980s. If correct, then that must rank pretty high?
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Geoff Chandler » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:24 pm

If you are doing it by grade then Kasparov at Banja Luka 1978 is up there.

At the time Kasparov did NOT have a FIDE grade when he finished 2 clear points
ahead after a 15 round all play all with a field containing 14 Grandmasters.

That is going to take some beating.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:58 pm

Yes, but that was because FIDE awarded ratings with almost glacial slowness in those days (ONE rating list A YEAR!!)

Kasparov had scored 50% in the USSR Championship at the end of 1978, having *won* one of the SFs to qualify. He wasn't, actually, a complete unknown.

But yeah, it's still mighty impressive - though it was actually in 1979, not '78 :)

(oh, and any other suggestions for individual games - please??)
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Geoff Chandler » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:10 am

Yup, correction, it's 1979. in 1978 he qualified for the event.

I wonder what is the largest ever gap in grades.
I've seen an (800 something) beat a 1600 but we really need
a GM (or an IM) losing to a 1600 for guffaw value.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Jon D'Souza-Eva » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:33 am

Andy Dunn (Hackney) beating Andrew Whiteley (King's Head) as black in six moves was quite impressive:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1243649

I guess Andy Dunn's grade must have been around 160 at the time and Whiteley's something like 210 (and he's an IM).

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Neville Twitchell » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:41 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:One example I know of is Glenn Flear winning the GLC Chess Challenge in 1986. This event followed the previous three events in 1980, 1982 and 1984 (sponsored by Phillips & Drew and organised with the GLC). The 1986 event was just the GLC. Flear, an IM at the time (he became a GM the following year), was a last-minute substitute for Karpov, and won the event ahead of a strong field. I'm not sure what the exact TPR and ELO differential was, but it is considered to be one of the big upsets in tournament history, and it got a lot of coverage because he got married during the event!

Or are you referring to single games only?


That was certainly remarkable, but scarcely in the major giant-killing stakes, since Flear was soon to be a GM and probably not that much lower rated than most of his opponents. But, as you say, I am really talking about individual games rather than overall tournament performances, and I had in mind more a non-titled and very low rated player defeating a GM say.

Incidentally, though I didn't specify this in my original post, I of course discount simultaneous games where naturally many an upset has occurred. Also I suppose a very low rated player drawing with a much higher rated player would count as a giant-killing of sorts - a giant-levelling perhaps?

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Neville Twitchell » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:47 am

Geoff Chandler wrote:If you are doing it by grade then Kasparov at Banja Luka 1978 is up there.

At the time Kasparov did NOT have a FIDE grade when he finished 2 clear points
ahead after a 15 round all play all with a field containing 14 Grandmasters.

That is going to take some beating.


Again very remarkable although it doesn't really count because as pointed out by Matt Kasparov was already immensely strong and didn't have a rating simply because of the slowness of the system in those days and the fact that he had never before played outside the USSR, having been deliberately held back to intensify the impact of his eventiual emergence onto the scene.

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:29 am

I will volunteer one of mine. In 1981 I was graded 169 and lost to Richard Plaw who was J72 (so I guess in those days that counted as 82). He was about 14 years old and gave up playing a couple of years later. I sacrificed a pawn for play and he played really well, it wasn't a one move blunder by me.
In 1992 I (graded 185) beat Graham Lee (226) in a rather wild game and then a couple of days later lost to Roger Barnett (140), and it certainly wasn't a case of me thinking that I could then beat any one...
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Ian Thompson » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:46 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:In 1992 I (graded 185) beat Graham Lee (226) in a rather wild game and then a couple of days later lost to Roger Barnett (140), and it certainly wasn't a case of me thinking that I could then beat any one...

I can beat that. Lido degli Estensi Open, 2003, when I was graded 195. Round 1 - lost to a player rated 1692. Round 4 - beat a GM rated 2516.

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby LozCooper » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:52 pm

Last season one of the players I coach, who was graded 124 at the time, beat a 160 the week before I lost (my grade was 209) to the same 160! :oops:

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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Alex Holowczak » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:39 pm

LozCooper wrote:Last season one of the players I coach, who was graded 124 at the time, beat a 160 the week before I lost (my grade was 209) to the same 160! :oops:


It could be worse; last season I lost to the aforementioned 124... :oops:

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Greatest act of giant-killing in chess

Postby Rob Thompson » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:52 pm

Jon D'Souza-Eva wrote:Andy Dunn (Hackney) beating Andrew Whiteley (King's Head) as black in six moves was quite impressive:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1243649

I guess Andy Dunn's grade must have been around 160 at the time and Whiteley's something like 210 (and he's an IM).


Andy now plays in Torquay, and his style hasn't changed. I went 1-1 with him last season, neither game lasting much longer than 20 moves. In fact, i'm not even sure they reached move 20...
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