Most ever games by a single chess player

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Most ever games by a single chess player

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:48 am

It's not really English or British chess (sorry about that), but I was idling flicking through chessgames.com (as I don't have any big databases myself) and seeing how many games there are in that database by each world champion. I didn't note them down, but I did notice that Karpov has a ridiculously high number (over 3000) and Botvinnik has a surprisingly low number (only 1200).

What I was wondering was, if you try and use the most reliable databases possible, which player has the most number of games in those databases? Does anyone beat the 3000+ that Karpov has played? OK, I answered my own question, it seems to be Korchnoi (not that surprising). So does anyone beat Korchnoi?

Korchnoi: 4345 games
Karpov: 3454 games
Tal: 2827 games
Ivanchuk: 2635 games

Those four seem to be the ones with the most published (i.e. in databases) games.

My second question is whether there are reliable figures for number of classical games played by these players (the figures above seem to include random other games and rapidplays as well).

The third question is whether it is possible to pick out the number of classical games each world champion played while they were reigning world champion, and thus come up with a figure for the total number of games played by the generic figure of the "reigning world champion". And then play through all the games (obviously). :D

Ian Thompson
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Re: Most ever games by a single chess player

Post by Ian Thompson » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:07 am

ChessBase have the following most active players:

Korchnoi (4827 games)
Farago (3827 games)
Karpov (3723 games)

then

Timman
Uhlmann
Hort
Westerinen
Jansa
Gligoric
Portisch
Van Wely
Beliavsky
Romanishin
Ivkov

are the others they have with more than 3000 games.
Last edited by Ian Thompson on Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Most ever games by a single chess player

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:49 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:ChessBase have the following most active players:

Korchnoi (4827 games)
Farago (3827 games)
Karpov (3723 games)
Thanks! I had never heard of Farago before (though I had heard of most of the others you gave with over 3000 games). I presume you mean the Ivan Farago (from Hungary) here:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=12209

Chessgames only has 655 of his games. Either it is a different Farago, or there are big discrepancies between databases. At this point, I probably need to ask what is the most reliable way to get a definitive figure for the number of games played by a player during their career (see definition below). I've seen some massive collected games of world champions where people try and produce a definitive list of all the games they ever played, but I'm looking for something a bit less ambitious.

What would be a reasonable approach here when trying to get a rough idea of how many games each world champion played at the classical level in tournament play and matchplay? I would limit the games to competitive classical OTB games that you would hope would all be in the best available databases (i.e. exclude correspondence chess, simuls, blitz, rapidplays, blindfold, offhand games and thematic games). Are there databases that allow you to focus in on just the tournament and matchplay games?

Ian Thompson
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Re: Most ever games by a single chess player

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:30 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Thanks! I had never heard of Farago before (though I had heard of most of the others you gave with over 3000 games). I presume you mean the Ivan Farago (from Hungary) here:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=12209
Yes.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Chessgames only has 655 of his games. Either it is a different Farago, or there are big discrepancies between databases.
Chessgames is a small database as these things go. Only just over half a million games, compared with just over 4.5 million in ChessBase's database, of which about 1.3 million are what they call 'good' games (e.g. at least one of the players is a reasonably good player).
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:At this point, I probably need to ask what is the most reliable way to get a definitive figure for the number of games played by a player during their career (see definition below).
No idea. Probably a commercial database is the best source.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Most ever games by a single chess player

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:13 am

Ian Thompson wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Chessgames only has 655 of his games. Either it is a different Farago, or there are big discrepancies between databases.
Chessgames is a small database as these things go. Only just over half a million games, compared with just over 4.5 million in ChessBase's database, of which about 1.3 million are what they call 'good' games (e.g. at least one of the players is a reasonably good player).
OK. That helps me get an idea of where chessgames stands in respect to other databases (I do like the comments you can read on some of the games, though, with some from Ray Keene, I see!). I was slightly less impressed to see that six of my games are on there, though given the event I can understand why they are there.
Ian Thompson wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:At this point, I probably need to ask what is the most reliable way to get a definitive figure for the number of games played by a player during their career (see definition below).
No idea. Probably a commercial database is the best source.
I'll wait a bit and see if anyone does a run down of which databases are best for this sort of thing. I think for some players (the ones dead or no longer active) the definitive answer will be in one of the books about their career. But it would be nice to know whether others have attempted this and how they approach it (and whether there is a way to get a rough estimate, as opposed to a definitive figure).

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