How weak can a player get?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:55 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Ten years ago, this guy was a "proper" IM, in other words above 2400
http://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?event=4104544

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.
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).

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=4107926

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.

Paul Cooksey

Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:01 pm

Is this the right room for an argument?
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Korchnoi is the obvious counter-example.
This recieved wisdom winds me up every time! Korchnoi is 300 points lower than his peak. He just looks like an exception, because he was so strong and he is still playing.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:04 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Korchnoi is the obvious counter-example.
This recieved wisdom winds me up every time! Korchnoi is 300 points lower than his peak. He just looks like an exception, because he was so strong and he is still playing.
Good point. Makes me realise that we won't ever see how low Kasparov could get. Maybe time for another piece of received wisdom: to bow out at the top of your game. Though how low now is Karpov compared to his peak? (Both Karpov and Korchnoi have shipped around 80-100 ELO rating points over the past 11 years).

Richard Bates
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:10 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Korchnoi is the obvious counter-example.
This recieved wisdom winds me up every time! Korchnoi is 300 points lower than his peak. He just looks like an exception, because he was so strong and he is still playing.
Good point. Makes me realise that we won't ever see how low Kasparov could get. Maybe time for another piece of received wisdom: to bow out at the top of your game. Though how low now is Karpov compared to his peak? (Both Karpov and Korchnoi have shipped around 80-100 ELO rating points over the past 11 years).
300pts is pushing it a bit, isn't it? His peak was mid-high 2600s wasn't it? Of course very difficult to compare ratings from different eras considering the dramatic accelerated increases among top players in recent times.

Paul Cooksey

Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:14 pm

Richard Bates wrote:300pts is pushing it a bit, isn't it? His peak was mid-high 2600s wasn't it? Of course very difficult to compare ratings from different eras considering the dramatic accelerated increases among top players in recent times.
2695. Agree is difficult, but I was deliberately claiming the peak Korchnoi would be 2850 in today's money :)

Richard Bates
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:22 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:300pts is pushing it a bit, isn't it? His peak was mid-high 2600s wasn't it? Of course very difficult to compare ratings from different eras considering the dramatic accelerated increases among top players in recent times.
2695. Agree is difficult, but I was deliberately claiming the peak Korchnoi would be 2850 in today's money :)
The real problem with the debate is that in chess it is necessary to improve to stand still. Ultimately FIDE ratings are a measure of relative strength, so one who fails to improve will appear to decline in strength. Objectively Smyslov must have been a stronger player to reach the candidates final in 1984 than to become World Champion in 1954. But obviously most people would describe the latter period as his "peak".

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:48 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: 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).

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=4107926
.
At Hastings I think he drew 8 and won 1. If you look up his historic games, you find him playing the really famous people in the Soviet Union.

Still as I was somewhat worse after five moves, I imagine he decided to go for a win


Craig Pritchett
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Craig Pritchett » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:55 pm

This is a fascinating thread ... it's surprising that so many people seem to think that the rating system is all that reliable an indicator of "strength". It's particularly skewed by "historical" performance. Say you start a given rating period on 2300 and you have a series of results in (FIDE) rated events of around 2400+ over say about 30 games.

If you've previously been over 2400 (say you were an "oldie" IM/ GM who gave up the game / was bogged down by work / family / a bout of ill-health / whatever and had "slipped"), you will have the largest "drag" on your rating change possible (in the jargon K=10) and at the end of the rating period (say it's a year), you probably won't end the year as high as 2350 beacuse of that. Yet you actually "performed" for that year at 2400 +. So what's your strength. If you were my opponent, I'd think you were 2400+. Wouldn't you?

There are lots of other anomolies in the rating system, too. Why do we never hear of the statistical "margins of error" in the system? It's as if no one wants to believe that they exist. Believe in yourself, work hard, of course, if you want to increase your "number" ... and just fight!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:02 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:At Hastings I think he drew 8 and won 1. If you look up his historic games, you find him playing the really famous people in the Soviet Union.
Indeed. Can you remember any of them? He is my best chance at connecting to a famous player, as in Morphy numbers (but for different players, obviously). Or could you point me to where to look it up (preferably not a database I can't access). Of course, the stories you get from talking to someone about the people they played are even better.
Roger de Coverly wrote:Still as I was somewhat worse after five moves, I imagine he decided to go for a win

Heh. You seem to have missed out the rest of the game, for some reason. :wink:

Andrew Stone
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Andrew Stone » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:18 pm

David Robertson wrote:
Andrew Stone wrote:I suspect IM would be beyond my capabilities even with a fair wind and massive amounts of hard work
I (need to) know nothing about you, Andrew, except four numbers: your current Elo rating; your ECF grades for 1994 & 2011; and your age. Recalling the graphs I refer to above, and the trajectories illustrated therein, I would predict from your 'numbers' that you will never reach IM now under any conditions. I'd guess you could make a norm with a good run of form. And I'd predict that you'll remain a strong amateur player for another 25 years, maybe 30, if your health and enthusiasm hold up - as I hope they will. Any rating rise from where you are is likely to be slight - unless you were significantly higher graded before 1994. But any decline will be slow too, everything else being equal until 35 years time - when your rating will fall off a cliff :-)

Apologies for 'picking' on you. But your numbers provide a good basis for illustrating performance trajectories over time, and for commenting on factors that can, or more likely cannot, influence long-term performance.
I'm sure your right. Many players seem quite happy with a gentle decline and I am sure I will also be happy enough. At least my chess is holding up better than my running- tried to run a 7 minute mile at the gym recently. I almost succeeded- back at my peak a could run a whole half marathon of sub 7 minute miles. The only thing that would give my chess any hope would be that I find it very boring to do any serious study. If somehow I acquired the ability for hard work at chess, perhaps I could make some small strides forward still. I don't see any reason why I would suddenly acquire this capacity though.

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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:54 pm

Jack's list narrowly fails to include the following character:

Thomas Oparaugo.

He is a German resident and regularly has German national ratings (DWZ) below 2000, his latest being 2019 and he regularly plays in the "B" sub-2000 section of tournaments there.

He is completely open about how he managed to achieve the IM title. Let's say that it was not via the normal route.

Edit: use official Deustcher Schachbund DWZ database record, listing Oparaugo's DWZ from 1993 - strangely enough his DWZ has never exceeded 2148 and has been below 1800 on several occasions, with a low tide mark of 1728.
Last edited by Paul McKeown on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Niall Doran
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Niall Doran » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:05 am

Paul McKeown wrote:Jack's list narrowly fails to include the following character:

Thomas Oparaugo.

He is a German resident and regularly has German national ratings (DWZ) below 2000, his latest being 2019 and he regularly plays in the "B" sub-2000 section of tournaments there.

He is completely open about how he managed to achieve the IM title. Let's say that it was not via the normal route.
So how, and maybe more to the point, why did he do it?

Louise Sinclair
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Louise Sinclair » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:10 am

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
my husband now in his forties has reached his highest grade having played since he was in his teens. Age is only one factor in decline or improvement. Other points to consider are factors including health, lifestyle, hormones including pregnenolone, testosterone, DHEA and melatonin,low income and bad stress factors.
An over abundance of cortisol will make a player too edgy to produce best performance and low testosterone and DHEA cause a lack of killer instinct.
Hormones decline with age but can be judiciously supplemented.
Players cannot avoid getting older but ageing badly is often avoidable and I recommend Thierry Hertoghe's book hormone solution (Amazon) for those with an open mind who wish to improve ther health and chess prospects.
Medication including anti depressants and statins also have an adverse reaction on the thought processes due to the decimation of testosterone.
We might ask how many older players are using these medications without realising that they do not improve their game.
Louise
You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment.
' you turn if you want. The lady's not for turning'

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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:36 am

Niall Doran wrote:why did he do it?
He says that he loves bringing joy to the world, giving relatively weak chess players the opportunity to beat an International Master!
Niall Doran wrote:So how [...] did he do it?
I would answer by way of suggesting that not every FIDE official is believed to maintain the highest standards of probity.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: How weak can a player get?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:12 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:GMs rated below 2300
Of the players in that list, it would appear that Alexander Panchenko died two years ago.

It may or may not be relevant that there is another player with a very similar name......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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