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Krasenkow Cardiogram

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While perusing the playing field of the upcoming "4th AMPLICO AIG LIFE Rapid Tournament" I noticed that Michal Krasenkow is the second seed, after Short, with a 2676 rating. A few years ago he had jumped up to the top ten, then fell out of the top 100, then back to the top 40, then out of the top 100 again. Now he's back in the top 30. The rating chart generated by ChessBase for Krasenkow looks like a healthy cardiogram.

I'm not picking on the affable Pole, whom I first met in Buenos Aires in 1998. I just find the extreme fluctuation interesting. The consensus has long been that what separates the super-elite is consistency. For a while you heard a lot about how the top-ten were top-40 players with better technique and better openings. The 1999 FIDE KO world championship, with its largely unheralded finalists, contributed to this myth.

There was much talk of how the top players exploited the system to preserve their ratings. There is some truth to this, since you can finish -1 in supertournaments and stay in the top-20 forever. But players like Krasenkow and Piket show how hard it is to score even that -1 consistently. I would love to see a more dynamic FIDE rating formula, but even with the stodgy system we have it's remarkable how stable the top 10 is. Even the top 20 is usual suspects with just a few transients from year to year. Yep, talent exists.

Of course if you have to play in open and team events in which you regularly face opponents rated 100-200 points lower than you, it's almost impossible to keep a consistent rating at any level. Still, reaching 2700 doesn't mean a free ride on the gravy train.


Talking about Krasenkow... After reaching top10 he wasn't invited to any of the supertournaments. He did appeared in Corus 2003 because of winning group B on a previous year. Ranking was't enough - he just wasn't a part of the family, I think. It was a big frustration for him (his own words) and one of the reasons for his later downfall. But he is back on course now and let's wish him well.

What I wish we could see is GMs not always getting to prepare for opponents. We amateurs have to go into each round knowing nothing about who we are facing, while players in Europe, with their one game per day tournaments, usually know in advance who they will play and can use databases to prepare for their opponents. I saw a huge difference in how chess is played the one time I got to play in such a European tournament. It was amazing to get to prepare ahead of time for an opponent. I think Americans really get hurt, at least as far as ratings and results go, by never getting to prepare for any games. I think it might make GM games more interesting if they didn't get to know ahead of time who they were playing.


I would love to see a more dynamic FIDE rating formula, but even with the stodgy system we have it's remarkable how stable the top 10 is

I am confused. Wouldnt a more dynamic rating system make the top 10 less stable?

Yes, even though the system is stodgy, it's STILL surprising how stable it is. I thought it sounded a little ambiguous when I wrote it, but it's what I meant.

It still sounds ambiguous:), but I think I get what you mean. Do correct me if I got it wrong:

"One expects stability in a stodgy system. However the current stability far exceeds this expectation thereby indicating that talent matters."

I also see this is true since K,K,A,L,Moro, Svidler, Topo, Adams and Shirov have pretty much been in the top 10 for a while now with Bareev and Ivanchuk flirting with with top 10s now and then.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 15, 2004 9:31 AM.

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