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Rated X

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X for canceled, that is. The long, troubled tale of worldchessrating.ru (and .com) seems to be over, and this time for good. The site and the concept behind it was a Garry Kasparov initiative, fruit of his newfound association with FIDE in 2002. The rating system would be revamped, computerized, brought down to the amateur level, and include rapid and blitz games in the same rating.

Funding, which came indirectly from FIDE when it came, was always a problem, as documented hereabouts here and here. Now Ilya Gorodetsky posted below that the WCR doors were closed for good on May 6.

Most of WCR staff were former employees of the Moscow office of KasparovChess.com (and ClubKasparov.ru before that). Denis Bilunov, Ilya Gorodetsky, Mark Gluchovsky, Denis Grigoriev, Julia Galiamina, Gene Venable, and Eugeni Grigorian were the core of KC.ru and were joined by analysts like GMs Sergey Shipov and Andrei Bezgodov and IMs Maxim Notkin and Nikolai Vlassov. Trainer Valery Tsaturian was another valuable contributor.

It's ironic that Anand and Kramnik are currently complaining that Kasparov retains his hefty lead on the rating list despite two years of below-average results. Kasparov's PCA implemented the use of Ken Thompson's far more dynamic rating system a decade ago and KC preserved it for many years. The WCR system would have given Kramnik and Anand (and fans) what they want: more movement in a list weighted more toward recent results and including rapid games in the same number.

The current list is as much a measure of historical strength than of performance. Regular list movement to reward good results would make the list an attraction. Now that rapid chess is so prevalent it is silly not to factor it in. (Purists would still be able to see the "classical only" list.) Having amateurs worldwide on the same list as Kasparov and Anand would also be a great marketing tool for the game. Will anyone pick up the remnants, and the mantle, of WCR?

In August, 2002 I went to Moscow to meet with the guys and some mathematicians and rating experts, with the prospect of taking over what was intended to be a major web project and company. Funding uncertainties, borne out multiple times, precluded my continued involvement. (I.e. it wasn't clear how and when I'd be paid, so I bailed out.) Here's a pic of me, Denis Bilunov and rating experts Jeff Sonas and Alexander Matros in Moscow on August 6, 2002. We're posing with the various test rating sheets and formulas we'd been working on.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 6, 2004 6:48 PM.

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