Is rating deflation a thing?

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Keith Arkell
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Keith Arkell » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:38 am

Daniel Gormally wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 10:33 am
According to my limited research you had 2545 in 1997, not 1999.

Is this directly comparing strength? so if you do so I suggest comparing all your games played in 1997 to the ones played in 2019. So it's quality of play index right?

And how do you actually measure that?
My playing strength hasn't wildly fluctuated just because my rating has. We agreed on 1999 and I think we should stick to that for 2 reasons:

1) 20 years is a nice round number, and 2) I had similar ratings 20 years ago as today, so we will learn about much more than just myself. However, adding 1989 to the mix ( ie 30 years ago) might also be interesting.

RobWillmoth
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by RobWillmoth » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:51 pm

I read an interesting book called talent is overrated a while ago. In that book there was a section about age. It basically said as long as you are doing your deliberate practice that you can maintain your strength regardless of age. So my expectation of Keiths playing strength as someone who plays a lot is that his overall playing strength in about the same and not weaker regardless of grade. Clearly there is an expiration date to age however at 58 I think there are still many years left before a decline .

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:04 pm

I think it partly depends on what your "talent" actually is too.

Chess players who don't overly rely on heavy tactics and/or memorising lots of sharp opening lines will tend to "age" better.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:12 pm

In sport its becoming a more common for people to carry on into their late thirties and early 40's. In boxing Vladimir Klitschko was the best he'd been in years at 41 when he lost to Anthony Joshua. Bernard Hopkins defied belief winning and defending a light-heavyweight title at 49 years old. I suppose there are some parallels to chess in that they always tried to play to their strengths, and did their best to avoid firefights with young upstarts. Physiologically for older sports people the key is training consistently and looking to limit muscular deterioration. Apparently the absolute worst thing to do is to have a prolonged period out of training, where deterioration is likely to be much more rapid, and the loss in ability is unlikely to be ever fully made up again. It really takes the best, most obsessive of individuals to be able to pull the trick off well. Probably this fits the profile of a number of chess players to a large degree, where family life and jobs outside of chess have never slowed them down.
Last edited by Matt Bridgeman on Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

John McKenna
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by John McKenna » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:28 pm

A few are just built to last -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Moore
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:38 pm

Yes, definitely Archie Moore too. I was just picking a few recent examples from my other favourite sport. With Moore again there were a lot of motivational factors pushing him to excel in his 40’s. Being denied title shots early in his career being a big factor.

Brian Valentine
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:55 pm

We Brits can do better than that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Rhodes

Keith Arkell
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Keith Arkell » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:27 am

Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:12 pm
It really takes the best, most obsessive of individuals to be able to pull the trick off well. Probably this fits the profile of a number of chess players to a large degree, where family life and jobs outside of chess have never slowed them down.
I probably wouldn't go as far as describing my association with chess as obsessive, but what I can say is that I have always felt lucky to be able to do something which I thoroughly enjoy, and am passionate about, for a living. And the enthusiasm and thrill and motivation I experience before each event has pretty much not waned in 44 years.

I have steadily improved at the game - though never really in leaps and bounds, and had my best ever period, by quite some distance, in the 3 months leading up to my 54th birthday, when I made 3 completely correct 'GM norms' in a row - at the Isle of Man, the World Senior Ch and Hastings. I backed that up 8 month later with what was almost certainly my best ever performance in a 9 round International Open, when I came joint first at the Vienna Open, with 7.5/9.

There are a number of personal reasons why I have been able to continually improve, but there are also some general reasons. Some of the personal reasons are hardly a secret given that I wrote about them in my autobiography, but to name one of these, I suffered from panic attacks for most of my life, until the age of 40 or 41.

More generally, I have a more (though still far from ideal!) sensible approach to alcohol - for example I used to play horrifically in the Sunday games at the 4NCL. I understand my energy levels better these days, so I know that I must combine grinding down long endings with either some quick draws or perhaps even a bye. I also understand that weekend tournaments are more testing as you get past a certain age. 2 games a day, with morning games on both the Saturday and the Sunday are great equalisers of playing strength, so that if you are in reality 300 rating points stronger than your opponents then that gap will be reduced because of these factors. In the last 6 months weekenders have cost me 15 rating points, and so I understand that to get back above 2500 I'll have to resist playing in rated weekenders. My play in the longer tournaments is of a higher standard.

So those are some of the measures I have to consider in order to to neutralise the physical aspects of getting older, but meanwhile I feel that I am constantly learning about how to play different types of positions and different pawn structures. Of course I am still annoyed at the number of mistakes I make today, but I cringe at some of my positional misunderstandings from a decade or 2 decades ago, just as a Carlsen would probably wince at some of my positional ignorance today.

Incidentally, I think you can calculate better the more experience you gain not because you are thinking more quickly (to believe that really would be delusional!), but because you have a better idea of which moves to reject.To put this numerically, if, at each ply, you reject all but 3 candidate moves, you will more easily see 4 moves ahead than if you are left with 5 candidate moves at each ply.

I don't pretend to know the science, but I am aware that research in brain plasticity is uncovering strong evidence that the brain grows - develops more pathways and connections - when it is exercised, just as is the case physically with muscles - and that the aging process needn't hamper this.

Maybe this touches on what Rob Wilmoth said earlier in the thread.

Daniel Gormally
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Daniel Gormally » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:07 am

Most chess players who are fairly active maintain their strength. Hebden, Flear, for example also playing at Hastings and they are also doing fairly well rating wise. Ok Heb has had a bit more of a drop off of late as he's reached his sixties, but is still fairly strong. Emms is still active and doing well. It's more players who don't really play, like Chris Ward, who drop off.

It's not like Sports where you can drop off a cliff, as it's physical. Marion Tinsley was still the best draughts player around into his sixties. Yes some drop off in chess but most maintain a fairly decent level.

I still don't buy this Keith improving thing though. Yes I feel he's maintained his strength fairly well, but it goes against logic to think a 58 year old should be stronger than a 34 year old in my view. And i'm made my arguments in this thread so have no desire to repeat them again, but just to say that I played Keith 20 years ago and I've played him more recently, and in my view he was about the same strength then than he is now, perhaps he was a little bit stronger then in fact. That's just my view and happy to be contradicted (as I'm sure I will be.)

I can't help feel there's a whiff of emperors new clothes about this.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Keith Arkell » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:44 am

Well, I'm looking forward to proving you wrong, when my games are examined :P

Remember that although a part of my claim is personal to my own development, it is mainly because of increasing standards worldwide, so that to maintain your level is by definition to improve. This is why Tal rightly said, in the 80s, when he was still near the top and holding his own against the likes of Kasparov and Karpov, that he would have crushed his younger self.

And the moment you say that the likes of Hebden and Flear are maintaining their strength, you are in real terms saying that they must also be improving. Or do you disagree that standards are continually rising, so that you must become stronger to maintain your rating or national ranking? That would be a strange state of affairs, given that we are constantly learning more about the game, and that this has accelerated due to computers!

NickFaulks
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:42 pm

Keith Arkell wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:44 am
Well, I'm looking forward to proving you wrong, when my games are examined :P
That may be of interest, but will in my view prove nothing about the subject of the thread. Chess isn't like, say, diving, where you get marks for style. It is solely about beating the guy sitting opposite you. In an actual game, particularly if it gets chaotic, playing a move that the engine says is -0.4 instead of +0.4 ( whatever those mean ) is neither here nor there. My observation is that this is true not only ay my level but also at yours, and even at the very top. Of course, -4 is better avoided, and +4 is good, provided you can work out why it is +4 - not always a trivial task.

In any case, whatever I think, that is what the rating system thinks. It makes no attempt to assess a player's level of skill, merely their ability to achive results against other players. If the Earth went though a meteor shower or something and everyone woke up much better at chess, their ratings would not be affected one jot.
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Keith Arkell
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Keith Arkell » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:00 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:42 pm
If the Earth went though a meteor shower or something and everyone woke up much better at chess, their ratings would not be affected one jot.


This is my point. Ratings cannot reflect that standards worldwide improve constantly.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Keith Arkell » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:05 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:42 pm
Chess isn't like, say, diving, where you get marks for style. It is solely about beating the guy sitting opposite you. In an actual game, particularly if it gets chaotic, playing a move that the engine says is -0.4 instead of +0.4 ( whatever those mean ) is neither here nor there. My observation is that this is true not only ay my level but also at yours, and even at the very top. Of course, -4 is better avoided, and +4 is good, provided you can work out why it is +4 - not always a trivial task.
Surely an engine can tell which of 2 players is the stronger if you shove 100s of their games at it. And in this case those 2 players are Arkell mark 1999 and Arkell mark 2019. My argument is that it requires a higher level of chess today to beat, say, a 2400, than it required to beat a 2400 20 (or 30) years ago.
Last edited by Keith Arkell on Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

E Michael White
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by E Michael White » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:50 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:42 pm
If the Earth went though a meteor shower or something and everyone woke up much better at chess, their ratings would not be affected one jot.
There are lots of reasons why this would not be true. If you mean everyone improved so that their strength should be say 10 rating points higher then the expected score between any two players pre and post meteorite would be the same however some of the actuals would likely deviate.

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Is rating deflation a thing?

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:21 pm

The helpfulness of Chessable showing today at Hastings sadly. I thought Danny's opponent was playing a line from a Chessable French book. It turns out she's Chessable's Content and Quality Assurance person; https://www.chessable.com/about-us/ Game of her life!

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