31 January 2008

FIDE Historical Ratings 1971-74

I added four new rating files -- 1971.zip, 1972.zip, 1973.zip, and 1974.zip -- to my directory on FIDE historical ratings. The zipped TXT files were extracted from HTML files sent by Wojciech Bartelski of OlimpBase. The HTML files contained navigation links like...

Elo FIDE 71

...(1972N02.php etc.) indicating their origin. The archive pages are no longer available on Chessmile.com, but there is a different version of the first two years on the site's Histoire : Titres et Elo FIDE.

When were the ratings published? The Chessmile page says, '1er classement : publiƩ en juillet 1971; 2e classement : publiƩ en juillet 1972', i.e. published July 1971 and 1972. According to my notes, the other files on my own page (>1975) were issued January of the year used in the file name, so there is a short period transition somewhere.

Another version of the 1971 list on 'Old in Chess' under LISTAS ELO > LISTA 1971, gives the validity dates as '01.07.1971 to 30.06.1972'. The same page says 'Jugadores [Players] 589', but the Chessmile list has 592 names.

The 1974 file is missing almost all women.

When I've had a chance to reconcile the discrepancies, I'll add links to my index page for historical ratings. The page now offers FIDE ratings from 1971 to 1999, with more recent files available from FIDE.com. Thanks, Wojtek!

17 January 2008

The Year 2007 in Review

Highlights from 2007 and links to posts from this blog:-It was a good year for FIDE and for the World Chess Championship.

09 January 2008

The Club of Eight (1938)

The Interregnum According to Fine was a synopsis by Reuben Fine of the period 1946-48. Here is a brief account by Botvinnik on the last great tournament of the pre-WWII era:
It is worth recalling that after the AVRO tournament in 1938, in which eight of the strongest players of the world participated, another attempt was made to settle the question concerning matches for the world championship. At a meeting of the participants a proposal was made to organize "the club of eight" which was to be entitled to fix regulations for the world championship, any member of the club being entitled to play a match with the world champion and admittance to the club being decided by a vote among club members. In other words, it was proposed to replace the personal dictatorship of the world champion by a dictatorship of "the eight", the right to play a match with the champion not being won by eliminatory competitions, but by winning the favors of the all-powerful members of the club. At the request of the participants in the AVRO tournament, the grandmasters R.Fine and M.Euwe some time later elaborated a project for "regulations", but the Second World War suspended for the time the decision about this question. - M. Botvinnik, 'On the World Championship', FIDE Review 1956

In the same essay, Botvinnik discussed the various rules that governed match play for the title in the post-WWII years.


The eight participants at AVRO were Alekhine, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Euwe, Fine, Flohr, Keres, and Reshevsky. Capablanca died during the war, Alekhine shortly after the war ended. The six surviving players were invited to the 1948 FIDE World Championship Title Tournament, with Smyslov replacing Flohr.

03 January 2008

Petrosian on the 1970-72 Cycle

Excerpts from 'Petrosian's Legacy' by Tigran Petrosian, on the 1970-72 Candidates Matches:

'The recent match system of competition for the World Championship was introduced [for the 1964-66 cycle]. In my opinion, it was the triumph of a more objective system. The principle of playing "one against one" is after all, the essence of our game. In addition up to 1965 the challenger passed all steps by playing only in tournaments, whereas the summit match was for 24 games against a single opponent. Not too logical.'

'The fact that these matches should be preceded by a drawing procedure was completely overlooked. [...] I could not understand why the drawing of lots for the Soccer World Championship was a crowned ceremony where reporters, TV, and film cameramen were present, while similar "events in chess" were completely passed over and neglected.'

[He attributed the 6-0 scores of Fischer against Taimanov and Larsen partially to the match venues. Both matches were played in North America, Fischer's backyard, and in both the venue was not fixed early enough in the negotations.]

'I cannot say I was glad to have Huebner as my first opponent. He was one of the most unpleasant rivals for the first round. A young and very strong player. [...] The match was extremely difficult. Especially when I got what was probably a lost position in the very first game and narrowly escaped.'

'Next was my match with Korchnoi. [...] I think Korchnoi had some good opportunities in the first half of the match, but when he failed to win the fourth game his chances went down sharply.'

'Now it was my turn to play Fischer. [...] Just look at the way in which he has been able to impose his will on the authorities, and get all his conditions. At the same time his opponents do not achieve the same results. It makes one uncomfortable to know beforehand that the town, the hall, the lighting, and even the furniture is designated by your opponent.'

'If you look attentively to the games played in the first half of our match, you will see that in almost all of them, except the first game, he was driven into schemes which had occurred but very seldom in his games. In those situations which Fischer has studied a lot and played many times, he makes errors very seldom.'

'What happened in Buenos Aires is still mysterious. Petrosian dominated in five initial games, but then "degraded" down to the level of Taimanov and Larsen. What Petrosian managed to do in games one and five was a great achievement. He demonstrated that it is possible to compete with Fischer.'