This thread put me in mind of an IM I have played three times (lost all three times) and you have played once, Roger (at the most recent Hastings).Roger de Coverly wrote:Ten years ago, this guy was a "proper" IM, in other words above 2400
Then his rating collapsed and he was even eligible to play in the Gibraltar Challengers. Perhaps Western players are not as good as those in the former Soviet Union, as he has now recovered to FM level at least.
I hasten to add that I'm mentioning him not in the sense of how weak a player can get (it would be offensive to say that about any player), but in the sense of age-related decline. I hope the player in question (if he ever reads this) won't mind me saying that he is no longer young (70+), and I've wondered how age affects chess players. Korchnoi is the obvious counter-example. But really, you need to look at a player's rating over the entire career, and not just the past 10-11 years from the FIDE website. You need to include the ELO ratings from the 70s onwards as well. Indeed, it is probably only now, some 40 years after the FIDE ratings were introduced, that it is possible to do serious studies of how ratings vary with age. I do hope someone does (or has done) such a study. It would be fascinating to see the results.
Having said that, Richard's one-sentence riposte to the whole thread says it all really.