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Sep-06-22  chesshistoryinterest: (Continuing previous post)

Coming specifically to Keres:
Firstly, one needs to know that Sonas' source data was just the games included in 'Chessbase' at the time (so not full crosstables, so he misses out a huge amount of data). But in addition, if day and month dates for the games in Chessbase were not given, Sonas simply lumped all that years' games and tournaments at the beginning of the year (January). He could not be bothered obtaining easily available dates for even very important events such as USSR Championships or Moscow 1956.

So coming now to the year 1956 (under Keres' "career details"), we see the Alekhine Memorial, Moscow 1956 (which actually took place October - November 1956) as "January 1956" lumped together with 3 other events. So it cannot be separated out as to its effect on subsequent ratings. But we can estimate Keres' average "performance rating" over the 4 events to be about 2710. Now, here's the weird thing - although Keres' January 1956 rating is given as 2782, he loses only 2 rating points for this performance rated well under this. Perhaps this is a quirk in the way chessmetrics operates, but if so, you would expect it to be consistent. But now come to Botvinnik's "career details": Here Botvinnik has a January 1956 rating of 2756 and a performance rating for Moscow 1956 of 2778. Yet not only does Botvinnik not gain any rating points for this great performance, he actually loses one. Go figure!! So basically, the effect in chessmetrics is that Moscow 1956, in which Botvinnik came 2.5 points ahead of Keres, wasn't played. So, yeah, if chessmetrics is going to in effect not include events like Moscow 1956, it is perhaps not too surprising that Keres shows up in the chessmetrics ratings ahead of Botvinnik.

Interesting to note, too, that the 1952 USSR Championship, in which Keres performed truly disastrously, and which was held at the end of that year, was lumped in at the beginning of that year. Had it been put where it should have been, then Keres would certainly have been number 1 in the middle of that year (ie after his great performance at Budapest 1952). This was a genuine peak period of Keres' career.

Also to be noted is that after AVRO 1938 plus all Keres' great performances in 1937, he is still given as merely fifth. Behind, for example, Fine and Reshevsky, both of whom he had outperformed in the preceding two years.

Chessmetrics is complete rubbish and is effectively misinformation - it shouldn't be used for anything. It most certainly is not an "objective comparative assessment of Keres tournament results".

It is to be noted that in the period 1955-1957, Keres won no major event. Whereas in 1937, he won Semmering-Baden; in 1938, AVRO; in 1947, Parnu and the 1947 USSR Championship; in 1950, the USSR Championship; in 1951, the USSR Championship; in 1952 Budapest. Keres' peak periods were 1937-8, 1947, and 1950-1952. In my opinion, 1955-1957 was decidedly not a peak period. Same applies to 1958-1959.

You may agree or disagree with this. But at the very least, the comment "the late 1950's were a peak period in his career" is clearly a matter of opinion, not a fact (Chessmetrics results are certainly not factual or an acceptable authority). As such, I therefore suggest this comment should not be included in the Game Collection.

Sep-06-22  stone free or die: <<CHI> Some years ago, I did a considerable study of <chessmetrics>, both of its methodology and its rating results. I came to the conclusion that it is utter junk, a conclusion that I have had no reason to revise since. It pains me to see people using it as some sort of "authority".>

I've shied away from using chessmetrics much myself, somewhat due to my work mostly being on older historical games / players.

I'm just curious then, what's your opinion on EDOchess - a site I do rely on quite a bit:

I haven't really dug down to the bare metal on the technical details of his (i.e. Rod Edwards') approach, but since he's an academic, my cursory reading, and his results, all this has given me a minimum level of confidence in it.

I hope that he continues his slow trend to including more and more modern play.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I'm just curious then, what's your opinion on EDOchess - a site I do rely on quite a bit...>

<A considerably better system is Edo ratings...>

I'm not qualified to comment on the methodology but it became evident to me during the last few years that the quality/scope of the data used by Chessmetrics was seriously deficient. But for the time - the early 2000s - it was effectively the only game in town. And then practically overnight, in 2004 or 2005, Sonas apparently abandoned the project without a word of explanation. I assume he found some more lucrative but time-consuming means of employment.

Sep-06-22  stone free or die: Ahh, sorry I missed that.
Sep-06-22  nok: <Chessmetrics is complete rubbish>


Sep-06-22  stone free or die: RE: EDOchess (2) vs chessmetrics - hypothetical games

<There is another point of similarity between the new Chessmetrics system and the Edo system: the use of hypothetical reference games (like the earlier version of the Edo system, but not the current one) to provide continuity in player ratings over time. As well as the actual match and tournament results over the 4-year period leading up to a given month, his formula includes two factors (like additional hypothetical game results), one which pulls a player's rating towards the average opponent's rating (during the simultaneous calculation) and another which pulls the rating toward a rating of 2300. The implementation of these last factors, however, gives them a much stronger effect in the Chessmetrics system than the similar factor did in the old Edo system. >

This is almost like reading a PhD thesis, requiring quite a bit of concentration to even get a grasp of what's going on.

But it seems that EDOchess isn't using them anymore ("but not the current one").

I would really like to see methodology extended all the way up to the advent of ELO ratings - if only to compare how well his system matches up with the initial data.

Sep-06-22  chesshistoryinterest: <stone free or die>

For older period ratings (pre-1890), I think chessmetrics is absolutely absurd. Sonas does not have much material available for this period and his utterly idiotic formula of losing rating points after only one month's inactivity completely distorts the ratings for a period when they necessarily played much less than they do now. That is a large part of his problem with Lasker as well.

Re Edo, I think Rod Edwards is doing a great job in collecting data. I, too, hope he can extend his work to the advent of Elo ratings, but I can see this would be an enormous amount of work.

I haven't looked at Edo in the same depth and it's some time since I did look.

I hadn't realised he had removed the hypothetical reference games. It's good to see he realised the folly of having these. They are still in chessmetrics of course.

I don't like that he includes odds games. Particularly after about 1878 when I think there are sufficient *real* games to stand alone. Perhaps odds games are necessary to flesh things out before 1878, but I'm not sure about this and dislike the concept of including them.

I believe his historical ratings are some sort of weighted average of events either side of the date in question. Thus they differ from the type of ratings that Elo are - if we applied his ratings today, we would have to wait about 3 years before we knew what today's ratings are. Thus they are not suitable for putting in as current ratings (ie without foreknowledge of what happens after) for players if covering a historical tournament, eg New York 1924.

"This is almost like reading a PhD thesis, requiring quite a bit of concentration to even get a grasp of what's going on". I agree, and I don't really understand his system or his justifications for it. I have to say I don't really trust these "weird" systems and much prefer Elo.

In general, as regards whether a system looks reliable or not, I check for absurd results. In this respect, Edo ratings do not appear to be too bad; nothing like the absurd rubbish chessmetrics produces. Nevertheless, there are one or two strange looking things:

(1) Lasker's rating is 2757 in 1899 and 2741 in 1900. Thus in the period when he had a huge victory at Paris 1900 and loses one casual exhibition game to Pillsbury, he nevertheless loses 16 points. Hard to imagine this happening if it was Elo ratings.

(2) Lasker loses a further 27(!) points to go to 2714 in 1901. This is in a period of playing exhibition games in which he scored +6-0=4. You lose 27 points for scoring 8/10?

(3) Lasker's highest rating is given as being in 1914. Personally, I don't believe Lasker was stronger in 1914 than he was in the period 1896-1900.

(4) Capablanca's rating in 1919 is given as 2832, while in 1921, it is given as 2802, with the only event Capa playing in 1920-1921 being the WC match with Lasker. You lose 30 points for beating a still high rated Lasker +4-0=10?

(5) Capablanca's peak rating seems extraordinarily high. Was he really that much better around 1919 than Lasker was in 1896-1900, or Alekhine in 1930-1931?

(6) Botvinnik is given a higher rating than Flohr for the whole period 1929-1932. But Botvinnik's drawn match with Flohr in 1933 was regarded at the time as a great achievement on Botvinnik's part - Flohr was fully expected to win. So this looks rather weird.

So in general, the Edo ratings look reasonably reliable, and I think would be more so if the odds games were taken out. But not really understanding how they work, I'm not sure I would trust them completely, and there are some strange results.

Personally, I think a better system would be to have retrospective Elo ratings. Start them off in the 1850's and move forward from there. With a suitable formula to deal with inflation and perhaps a considered intervention for the periods of the two World Wars. Plus one or two other improvements. I think this would be basically doable and would produce much more reliable and interesting detail results - and we would have some idea what we're dealing with.

Sep-06-22  chesshistoryinterest: "But for the time - the early 2000s - it was effectively the only game in town". Unfortunately, past 1935, it still is. And because this is the case, people use it as the "authority", not realising how bad it is.

"And then practically overnight, in 2004 or 2005, Sonas apparently abandoned the project without a word of explanation. I assume he found some more lucrative but time-consuming means of employment". Sonas did combine up with Keene to produce in 2006 a second edition of Keene and Divinsky's equally absurd "Warriors of the Mind", called "Who was the Strongest - Warriors of the Mind II". A book of two equally rubbish systems - birds of a feather flock together and all that, I guess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: It's possible he joined NASA and helped design their climate models.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Chessmetrics = pure poppycock.
Sep-07-22  stone free or die: <CHI> thanks for that detailed, but readable, response.

Obviously a lot to chew on, and it appears a few observations worthy of mulling over.

I'm not sure how much weight is put on odds games in the EDO system. I had always assumed (perhaps through laziness) not much.

I'm almost afraid to comment on your last idea, as this is just off the top of my head, but how would you put error estimates into a pure ELO type system?

(There's also the complication of the k-factor to consider.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <chesshistoryinterest> I have revised the games collections along the lines of your suggestions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: May I nominate

Game Collection: Lasker - Janowski Exhibition Match

for a vote to become an official game collection.

Also awaiting review are:

Game Collection: Ostend 1906, a completion of one of the late User: Phony Benoni 's projects.


Game Collection: Charousek - Maroczy

Please visit:

Game Collection Voting

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: In re: Game Collection: Ostend 1906

"The guys at Ostend did things in the grand style."

I would change <guys> to <organizers>. The former is a very informal word and best left to casual conversation and not the introductory text to an event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <jnpope> I too thought about changing the introductory sentence. I kept it as Phony Benoni originally wrote it as I wanted to retain his mark and his personality in the work.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Understandable to leave things as he left them.

For future reference, should I pass away unexpectedly and leave behind any unfinished work, please feel free to correct/improve any of my text.

Sep-15-22  stone free or die: <<jnpope> ... For future reference, should I pass away unexpectedly and leave behind any unfinished work, please feel free to correct/improve any of my text.>

Funny you should mention that.

Have you managed to ensure <> has safe harbor after such an unfortunate (but inevitable) event?

Sep-28-22  Honest Adin Reviews: what topics do we talk about here?
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: This is a good thread to post questions regarding various aspects of chess history, i.e. players or events, and to point out any oversights or mistakes in CG player/event bios as a number of members with an interest in chess history, and editorial access, frequent this thread.

It has been a little slow around here this summer, but it may pick-up as autumn/winter rolls through the northern hemisphere.

Sep-29-22  stone free or die: Biographer Bistro (kibitz #25105)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Which is correct? K Lepge vs A Saalbach, 1860 or Lepge vs Saalbad, 1906
Oct-01-22  ZoboBear 000000001: Not not.

As in not either, and not that hard to find:

More time researching, and less time ...

Oct-03-22  Jean Defuse: ...

Karl Lepge = <Carl Christian F. Lepge>


Oct-03-22  zanzibar: <Jean Defuse> do we have a source for that info?

I'm pretty sure I spotted "K. Lepge" a few times in the contemporaneous chess literature.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Uploaded two games between Marshall and Lipschutz from a mini-match contested in 1898: Lipschutz vs Marshall, 1898, Marshall vs Lipschutz, 1898

Scores from the <BDE>. That of the third game, another victory for Lipschutz eludes me. Who has it?

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