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By the Numbers

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Chess stats man Jeff Sonas posted some these and other numbers from his ChessMetrics site to the Anand Oscar thread.

Top 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

We all love numbers, but their immutability is a danger. It would be sad to award the Oscar on performance rating since you would have someone like Leko, who didn't win a tournament, finishing ahead of Kramnik and Kasparov, who both won supertournaments. Morozevich did his usual job of pounding <2700 players and tanking in elite events (although he won Melody Amber).

Jeff also posts some of the top single event performances of recent years and the top performers going back ten years. There are several great statistical performances that were only good for second place, or even third. This leads me to a topic I've touched on before, great second-bests. How many players have had their best-ever performance and not won the event? Anand's phenomenal +6 at Corus 1999 comes to mind in modern chess.


Well, there's Kere's 2nd place finish at the 1959 Yugoslavia candidates tournament: 18.5 points out of 28 including 15 wins! That would have been enough in earlier years..but top honors of course went to Tal with 20/28. Keres even won 3 of 4 from Tal in their personal matchup.

Hey, look at Morozevich! I don't remember him popping up much this year, but there he is at #2.

PS to Mig: "immutability" is an odd word choice.

"It would be sad to award the Oscar on performance rating since you would have someone like Leko, who didn't win a tournament, finishing ahead of Kramnik and Kasparov, who both won supertournaments."

There's just too much sadness in the chess world without our having to deal with Leko finishing ahead of Kasparov (and Kramnik) in the Oscar race without having won a tournament.

I've got it! Call Kramnik-Leko 2004 a "tournament". By finishing +2,-2,=10, Leko tied for first place in the Brissago Category 21 tournament and thus justified his standing in the Oscar race. Now I feel better.

Vaganian is the big shocker for me. I know he was really strong at one time(someone once said that if he studied he could have been world champion) but is he experiencing a revival?

Although considering he lost 39 rating points between January and April this year, maybe not.

Top performers race.

As I posted in the Chess Oscar Thread, in response to Jeff Sonas' figures on "best full year performance" for each of the last 10 years, this is an excellent predictor of who's going to win the Oscar. Two misses in 10 years, not bad. Maybe we do the internal calculation before ticking the voting card. See the Oscar thread for Sonas' posts.


Vaganian is known as "Mr Bundesliga" http://www.chesscafe.com/text/mueller30.pdf and is be a top performer in team events. A great person to have in your team, and seemingly able to peak at several weekends every year but hedoesn't seem to have had many top performances in tournaments these days.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 11, 2005 11:15 PM.

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