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Anand Wins 2004 Oscar

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It was no contest. Vishy Anand won his second consecutive "Chess Oscar" as player of the year for 2004. The voting:

1) Anand (5205), 2) Kasparov (3664), 3) Leko (3485), 4) Kramnik (3344), 5) Kazimdzhanov (2088) , 6) Topalov, 7) Ivanchuk, 8) Adams, 9) Morozevich, 10) Grischuk

There was no clear second place in my opinion and I would have been happy just to send in a ballot with one name, but they insist on ten. I prefer to emphasize classical chess and tournament wins over rapid results and many "place or show" results. E.g., Leko had a good year, but didn't win anything. Only Anand won more than one big event, plus his great Olympiad performance.

Kasparov had the best single tournament of the year in Moscow so I put him second. Kramnik won a turgid Linares and came third. Both had otherwise mediocre results. Kramnik reached the Dortmund final by drawing all his games and Kasparov was tame-to-blah in his other classical events.

It's hard to decide to reward both or punish both Kramnik and Leko for their drawn match, but Leko deserved recognition for his achievement and his good Corus showing. Kasimdzhanov could have been as high as second in my book, even though he didn't win his classical games in Tripoli. It was an amazing tale of survival. It wouldn't be good for a first-place vote, but with Anand locking that up a shout-out to Kasim is deserved.



Do you just copy stuff from the message boards and post it on the Daily Dirt ?

Yes, almost everything you see here is verbatim from the message boards. The rest is copied from the Colonel Moreau Blog of Champions.

You should have also mentioned that it is his 4th Oscar, next only to Kasparov(with 5), who received them from "64".

I think Kasparov has 12 of them, although there was no award from 89-94 and it was somewhat different in its first incarnation. It's still rather goofy, as indicated by how many votes the big names have gotten in years when they've been almost totally inactive.

Kramnik in 2000 was the only winner in the past nine years other than Kasparov and Anand.

I think Kasparov has won it 11 times and Karpov 9.Had they been awarded in 1989-94, I think the no.of wins will look like...
Kasparov-15,Karpov-10 and Anand-5 times and everyone else, including Fischer less than that.
One more--Kramnik is the only player who won it other than Kasparov and Anand in last 10 years(not 9)!

Leko had better results overall than both Kramnik and Kasparov despite not winning anything. Shared 2nd in both Corus and Linares, both times just 0.5 points from 1st, surely makes up for that. So he would have been #2 on my list.

Does anyone have any idea of the performance ratings of each of the top 10 for the year (Jeff Sonas maybe?). In absolute terms, one has to consider Anand as the best performer of the year, but that might be an interesting figure to look at. I don't think anyone would begrudge Anand this honour for having such a splendid year.

Stefan Fischl does: http://members.aon.at/sfischl/cl2004.txt

Anand is indeed in the top as the only 2800+ performer. Not that these figures say everything, but as you say, they are still interesting.

First you said GK won 5 then later 11 oscars. I am confused. Did you get wrong on the Google search?

Acirce--thanks, for the fischl cite.

Please read my mails again.Kasarov won it 5th time from "64" magazine.The format was differen and under different Organization till 1989(or 1988) and no awards between 1989-94.These Oscars were revived once again from 1995 and in new format.Kasparov and Anand have won 9 of the ten times since then.

Ok, I got it now. Thanks

"Kasparov had the best single tournament of the year"? Pardon me for asking, Mig, but how do you figure that beats out Anand's +4 in Wijk aan Zee? Kasparov's was slightly better percentage-wise, but in a much weaker field. No Vishy, Kramnik, Leko, Topalov, or Adams.

Interesting to see that though Anand won the chess oscars for the last two years fairly unanimously (even Mig voted for him), Kasparov still thinks he retired as the best player with no one even close to him (keeps repeating in all his interviews that he can beat all his challengers).

BTW, I am curious what his record has been against Kramnik Anand, Leko, and Topalov in the last two years. Greg?


Actually Kasparov was rather modest pretty recently, saying "I admit that during several last years Anand has had brilliant results that arguably make him the best in the world currently" in the interview on http://www.64.ru/2005/1/gk2.html

True, after Linares he began his serious bragging again.

I think Kasparov showed in Linares that he just might be the best player again (or still?!), but the top 4 players are all so extremely close that nobody is really "clearly" #1 or "clearly" not.

Khalifman expressed a more interesting truth in an interview at http://www.chess-players.org/eng/news/viewarticle.html?id=313

"I do not like a cult of personality. Why there must be an undisputed number one? There are several players of the highest class, and the fans are free to pick their favorites basing on taste. I think this is quite a normal situation. When the general level of chess culture is high, the appearance of a genius that plays significantly better than the others is more of an exception. Does it make sense to say that Topalov is right now the best player, and in January the best was Anand – no, wait, Leko! alas, in February the Hungarian declined for some reason, etc.? Each of them has own peaks of form, strikes of luck and so on. And they all play very high level chess that is interesting to watch without any categorical assumptions."

Both by performance rating (dicey, but objective) and by quality, I think Kasparov's win in Moscow was a slightly better performance than Anand's at Corus. Morozevich, Grischuk, Bareev, Dreev, and Svidler is no band of wimps. Kasparov was a few slips away from a +7 score. (Some for him and one against him! Tseshkovsky should have beaten him.) Anand scored -1 against the top five finishers at Corus 2004, which is why his TPR was 50 points lower than Kasparov's. But no big deal, Vishy was the only player to win two supertournament, and he had several rapid titles as well.

As for "undisputed," clearly in the past two years the "best player" title has been very much disputed, as Kasparov admitted himself. Anand played better 2003-2004 and has the Oscars to prove it. But when it comes to being the best, the fact that in his last few tournaments Kasparov added points to a rating Anand has never reached must be worth something. To a degree, Kasparov was still living off his 1999-2002 explosion, rating-wise, but he showed he can still play at that level, and he did it twice and the second time with Anand in the field. So I don't think it's unreasonable to say he left at the top.

It will be interesting to see how not having a dominant figure (player and/or personality) like Kasparov around will affect the chess world in different ways. Perhaps not at all. Maybe it will open things up for the other players as Kasparov suggests.

Since you asked (sort of), I'm always happy to talk about my new Chessmetrics site...

Regarding the best single-event performance rating of 2004, my numbers say it was Kasparov at the Russian Championships, although not by much:

#1 Kasparov (2780), RUS-ch, Moscow
#2 Morozevich (2776), RUS-chT, Sochi
#3 Topalov (2775), FIDE WCh Tripoli
#4 Shirov (2775), Leon
#5 Anand (2773), Corus

To see the list, you can go to http://www.chessmetrics.com/CM2/Summary.asp?Params=200401SS0S13S000000000000111000000000000010100#BestIndividualEventPerformanceAnchor

I don't have numbers handy for actual performance rating across the entire year, but I agree that it would be very relevant to the Chess Oscar. By the way, my performance ratings are different from traditional ones. They are, to put it simply, what your rating would be if we knew nothing more than your results in just the one event. More details here: http://www.chessmetrics.com/CM2/Formulas.asp?Params=200401SS0S13S000000000000111000000000000010100

A 70% score in a dozen games against 2700-level opposition is not sufficient evidence that you really are a 2800-caliber player; that's why nobody even topped 2780 for the year. You really have to go back to 2001 to find an individual accomplishment that clearly indicated a 2800+ performance:

(top ten performances since 2000)
#1 Kramnik (2874), BGN WCh London 2000
#2 Kasparov (2825), Sarajevo 2000
#3 Kasparov (2820), Corus 2000
#4 Topalov (2815), Dortmund 2001
#5T Adams (2811), Sarajevo 2000
#5T Shirov (2811), Sarajevo 2000
#7 Kasparov (2807), Corus 2001
#8 Leko (2806), Dortmund 2002
#9 Kasparov (2806), Linares 2001
#10 Anand (2800), FIDE WCh New Delhi/Tehran 2000

I got home from work and now I can get the 2004 performance ratings. Looks like a promising topic for another article, thanks for the idea!

Best Performers of 2004:
#1 Viswanathan Anand: 2829 performance: 28.5/43 (66%) vs 2691
#2 Alexander Morozevich: 2799 performance: 25.5/39 (65%) vs 2669
#3 Peter Leko: 2789 performance: 30.5/55 (55%) vs 2725
#4 Garry Kasparov: 2776 performance: 20.5/34 (60%) vs 2689
#5 Michael Adams: 2770 performance: 38/59 (64%) vs 2633
#6 Veselin Topalov: 2766 performance: 25/42 (60%) vs 2677
#7 Vladimir Kramnik: 2764 performance: 26.5/50 (53%) vs 2721
#8 Alexey Dreev: 2760 performance: 55/82 (67%) vs 2593
#9 Alexei Shirov: 2759 performance: 43.5/73 (60%) vs 2655
#10 Rafael Vaganian: 2754 performance: 24/35 (69%) vs 2601
#11 Peter Svidler: 2753 performance: 34/61 (56%) vs 2683
#12 Alexander Grischuk: 2747 performance: 33.5/55 (61%) vs 2638
#13 Rustam Kasimdzhanov: 2738 performance: 30/47 (64%) vs 2610
#14 Boris Gelfand: 2734 performance: 23.5/41 (57%) vs 2661
#15 Lenier Dominguez: 2733 performance: 32/48 (67%) vs 2582
#16 Mikhail Gurevich: 2727 performance: 52.5/74 (71%) vs 2530
#17 Viktor Bologan: 2727 performance: 43.5/76 (57%) vs 2640
#18 Etienne Bacrot: 2726 performance: 25.5/43 (59%) vs 2636
#19 Loek van Wely: 2724 performance: 51/83 (61%) vs 2602
#20 Evgeny Bareev: 2724 performance: 16.5/31 (53%) vs 2689

and the #1 performers in each of the past ten years:
2004 Viswanathan Anand: 2829 performance: 28.5/43 (66%) vs 2691
2003 Viswanathan Anand: 2807 performance: 27/43 (63%) vs 2694
2002 Garry Kasparov: 2856 performance: 15.5/21 (74%) vs 2704
2001 Garry Kasparov: 2880 performance: 25.5/37 (69%) vs 2731
2000 Vladimir Kramnik: 2874 performance: 28.5/47 (61%) vs 2779
1999 Garry Kasparov: 2917 performance: 27.5/37 (74%) vs 2729
1998 Viswanathan Anand: 2845 performance: 43/67 (64%) vs 2710
1997 Garry Kasparov: 2882 performance: 23/32 (72%) vs 2718
1996 Garry Kasparov: 2879 performance: 25.5/37 (69%) vs 2730
1995 Anatoly Karpov: 2863 performance: 44/63 (70%) vs 2685

Obviously this could be extrapolated out through all the Chessmetrics ratings. Hmm...

Hi Jeff,
Great to hear from you. I'd like to stake my claim for co-authorship of your next article :)
It is interesting, from your second post, how well the 1 year performance does as a predictor of who'll win the Oscar. Only 2 misses, (Kasparov in 1995, when Karpov did so well; and Anand in '97, when Kaspy did so well) . Whilst I doubt that the Voters had access to your data, it seems that peoples' perceptions are usually not too far off the mark.
Finally, I am amazed by Kaspy's >2900 performance for the year of 1999. What was Fischer's PR for 1972?

Actually Fischer didn't even win 1972 (!); he was barely beaten (2798 to 2796) by Tal; remember that Fischer's 1972 performance against Spassky was actually below expectation. But 1971, on the other hand... Fischer has by far the best single year ever, with a 2979 performance across his three candidates' matches (Kasparov's 1999 is second, followed closely by Kasparov's 1988, Kasparov's 1992, and Kasparov's 1989!). This is one distinctive feature of my own performance rating formula; you can have a "combined" performance rating across multiple events that is higher than any of the individual ones. That's because the performance rating is an attempt to estimate a player's strength, based only on the evidence of those games, and a larger number provides additional evidence that you really are that good, and so our "best guess" at your strength is more aggressive.

Jeff, you ARE an early riser! I went to your site and looked some of this up. I guess Fischer did himself an injustice with the forfeited second game (did this count for rating purposes?) and the astonishing Bxh2 in the first. I like the 160 year longtitudinal view of monthly ratings, with each player appearing and disappearing like a comet, each in turn.

Jeff, thx a lot: great stuff as always. Just one question: what is the weight of rapid games in your computations ?

Hopefully zero, if I can find them.

"It's hard to decide to reward both or punish both Kramnik and Leko for their drawn match...."

In defending his title in 1987 against Karpov, Garry won the final game to draw the match. Should he have been rewarded or punished?

Garry's views:
"And Seville-1987, again game 24, when I won against Karpov ‘’on demand’’ to retain my title. First thing that I shouted then: ‘’Three years!’’ That was the time that was given to me to enjoy the title. In my subconscious I understood that this victory gives the authentic status, until then all I had were the stepping stones. [Sport Express interview 3/14/05]

Kasparov seems awfully happy, but one could argue that both Kasparov AND Karpov should be rewarded for that match. Or both punished.

The margin of the four completed Kasparov-Karpov matches could hardly have been thinner: a last-game win by Karpov in any of those contests would have drawn or won the match for him. If we're wondering whether to reward or punish Kramnik and Leko for their drawn match, we might also wonder how much credit to give Kasparov for one drawn and three nearly-drawn matches with Karpov.

And then there's Botvinnik-Bronstein, Botvinnik-Smyslov. Lasker-Schlechter. Hmm. Reward or punish?

Hi Jeff:

Is it possible to extrapolate the annual best performances data to 1989-94 when the Oscars were not awarded. That way, we can get an indication who would have got the Oscars in those years.


It was Kasparov every single year from 1988 through 1994. This was the longest such streak in chess history (seven straight years). Karpov once did it five straight years (1973 through 1977), and nobody else has ever managed more than three in a row.

"The margin of the four completed Kasparov-Karpov matches could hardly have been thinner: a last-game win by Karpov in any of those contests would have drawn or won the match for him. If we're wondering whether to reward or punish Kramnik and Leko for their drawn match, we might also wonder how much credit to give Kasparov for one drawn and three nearly-drawn matches with Karpov."

I agree that the 1987 match casts a shadow on Kasparov's record: as far as I am concerned he should have had no draw odds and the match should have continued. But the fact is, he won the 1985 match +5-3, and also won the 1991 match. Still 2.5-0.5. And Karpov was without a doubt No. 2 at the time.

What has Kramnik done? Beat Kasparov in 2000 +2=0 and drew Leko (No. 5) in 2004. Hardly comparable.


At issue is the significance of drawn or near-drawn matches between players close in ability. Whether Kasparov/Karpov were better players than Kramnik/Leko is irrelevant to this issue.

I repeat my offer to desist from commenting upon each other's posts. Disagreement is always fine. But you don't appear to understand my posts, and I know I don't often understand yours.

"we might also wonder how much credit to give Kasparov for one drawn and three nearly-drawn matches with Karpov"

I give him a lot: Kasparov did win three matches and draw one. Most statistical models will state this is likely due to Kasparov being significantly superior.

Switching to a different topic and back to the topic of this thread: I was looking at the chessmetrics website, and I noticed that even back in the day of Kasparov-Karpov matches Kasparov maintained a performance rating edge over Karpov. In 1985 they were about equal, but in 1986 Kasparov kept a consistent edge that persisted despite their drawn 1987 match. I would have expected that match to reduce the gap so I believe Kasparov was only able to keep the edge by outperforming Karpov in tournaments.

The point was whether to give one or both of Kramnik and Leko credit in the Oscar voting as a result of their drawn match. In a (boring) match without a winner, do you credit the challenger, the champion, both, or neither? Nothing to do with whether or not they are good or bad, just where the Oscar voting is concerned.

One of the things that made the Kasparov-Karpov matches so dramatic was that it was clear that nobody else could have put up much of a fight against either of them. Battling to a near standstill seemed momentous and appropriate.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 10, 2005 6:21 PM.

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