Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slight of Hand: Blowing Up a Balloon

We all know what happens when you blow up a balloon--the otherwise same mass expands, occupied by more volume, and the skin is stretched.

I have been watching the Live Chess Ratings Site since its inception, when it had that name. It was sold, performs as well or better (it always was great), and now memorably called 2700chess.com. Very simply it tracks the ratings change, progress, and performance of the top chess players.

As is well known, FIDE, the governing body of chess, is responsible for calculating and keeping track of ratings in the larger world of international chess, of course centered in Europe but no longer competitive there only (notably China as a chess super power, India as a chess power, and American always having been strong, now greater in size and strength of players), used to publish its ratings quarterly, then bi-monthly, and now monthly. Soon they will also show blitz, possibly rapid AND blitz.

Observing what I still like to call LiveRatings, you could watch the numbers of players fluctuate between 40 and 45. I cannot be certain, but seem to recall in the last two years--and might be that long, whatever--that there were a few less than 40 and noted the jump over the handle.

In the last few days, the group swelled over the high forties, numbered now at 51. Of course, chess players have gotten really good, but rating inflation exists, and is here to stay.

There has been talk of a title called Super Grandmaster, for players over 2700, as calling a 2720 the same as a 2520 does not reflect the reality of the situation.

Whether Nakamura is as good or better, armed with theory and inexplicably powerful silicon beats unpinning massive and deep chess theory, would give him a better chance to beat Fischer, were he alive today and set to play, this does not concern us. Similarly, Magnus is NOT better than Fischer, who had a lesser rating, nor as dominant as Kasparov was, when he would rampage through chess tournaments, plus 3 or 4 as they say. I love Carlsen, his greatness is beyond question.

But my point, chess ratings are not a zero sum system, but a collectivity of energy, the total energy of which keeps expanding, and reflected in what is described here, and fully reflected also, whereby seems about six years ago, but probably maybe more like eight or nine, Korchnoi was in the top hundred, into his seventy years, slightly above 2600, which he held onto one last time, or was it fell out of, and willfully kannived himself back into by beating many a younger and seemed more energetic younger opponent. Now the top hundred, of the men, bottoms out, at around 2654.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Radjabov Approaches 2800

Teimour Radjabov is now inches shy of the tremendous 2800 ELO chess rating mark. This is not new and has been long in coming.

But with his recent performance in the 2012 Chess Olympiad (biennale), his current 2796.5 makes this notable, due to his performance rating for the last four games of 3345, which is giving him this last push up to Mount Olympus. Of course, such things as the latter are short term in nature, but still.

{Monday 02 Sept, addendum:  2799.5 ELO after round five}

And now for my main point. Years ago, someone made a comment on YouTube that they thought he was very arrogant (the same has been said of Fabio Caruana) and I could not disagree more.

Let me explain. This was his explaining, not at a board, but standing with a microphone, explaining what went wrong, or in a win, how the game could have gone better. He was rattling off variation after variation... 'Ng4 then f4: f5, then Rc4, Ng6...' and so on, at lightning speed, and intricately, in detail, nesting all sorts of parenthetic thoughts, 'This could not be so. Because when a4, b5, Rc3, the Rook cannot get in time, Wht can a3...'

This is new? No. Anand can do this, Carlsen, Grischuk, all of them do it or can do it. But this guy is doing it in his, like third language, and doing it well, at breakneck speed. Fu_king genius.

This is not being a poseur. It is who he is. The speed, the detail, the force, in a third language. Amazing guy. I really respect him, these people are not normal, and I mean this in the most respecting way, or what is a better way to put it, these people are not ordinary.

Here is one more for the road, well, lets make it two fu_king geniuses: