30 April 2008

Index of FIDE Rating Lists

Some early FIDE rating lists published by Informant (incomplete)

InformantRating List
151973H1The Rating System in National Applications by Arpad Elo (w/ references) 
161973H2FIDE International Rating List A/B/C 
181974H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women 
201975H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1976-01-01
221976H2FIDE International Rating List Men1977-01-01
231977H1FIDE International Rating List Women1977-01-01
241977H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1978-01-01
251978H1Revised Rating List for 1978 
261978H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1979-01-01; sorted by descending rating
271979H1FIDE Supplementary Rating List Men/Women1979-07-01
281979H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1980-01-01
291980H1FIDE Supplementary Rating List Men/Women1980-07-01
301980H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1981-01-01
311981H1FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1981-07-01
321981H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1982-01-01
331982H1FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1982-07-01
341982H2FIDE International Rating List Men/Women1983-01-01
371984H1International Rating List Men/Women1984-07-01
381984H2International Rating List Men/Women1985-01-01
391985H1International Rating List Men/Women1985-07-01
401985H2International Rating List Men/Women1986-01-01

24 April 2008

Thoughts on the Grand Prix

I updated my World Chess Championship page on the 2008-2009 Grand Prix to include the logos and links published in the last week. I decided to carry all six events on the same page rather than have a separate page for each event.


I have had my doubts about the viability of the format since it was first announced. These were confirmed when the list of participants turned out to be missing five of the world's top-10 players. Here, as I see it, are the weaknesses of the current Grand Prix format as a qualifier for the World Championship.

  • Its Objective: The six tournaments are designed to produce a single challenger for a match against the winner of the World Cup. The interzonals of yesteryear generally promoted at least six players to the following stage, the candidates event. Eliminating 20 out of 21 players is better than 127 out of 128 for the World Cup, but it still leaves a lot to chance.

  • Its Length: The time lag between the first event in Baku and the last event in Karlovy Vary is about 20 months. In the 1970s and 1980s, when bloated interzonals were gradually split into three separate events, they were organized to take place within 3-4 months of each other. Can the chess public's attention be held for 20 months?

    Also worth mentioning is the possibility for manipulating the outcome. Ten players will play in one of the last two events, nine will play in both, and two won't play at all. The nine who play in both can follow a different strategy than the others.

  • Its Participants: The 21 players are a mixture of the world's elite chess players and a large group invited for political reasons. In the GMA World Cup, a prototype for the Grand Prix, the organizers of the six events were allowed to invite one participant, who played only in the one event. His games were not counted in the calculations to determine the overall winner. That was a more sensible approach than the current format. How many of the six host nominees will finish in the top-10 players overall?

    Four of the 21 players are 'Presidential Nominees'. Three of these were replacements for Anand, Kramnik, and Topalov, who declined to play. This gave FIDE leadership substantial opportunity to peddle its influence with national federations: bend to FIDE's will and your boy gets to play. The three replacements should have been chosen by some neutral criterion like rating.

Chessbase.com posted an article about Morozevich's reasons for not playing -- Morozevich drops out of FIDE Grand Prix -- where he mentioned another weakness: 'The players are being required to sign a contract to take part in four tournaments, without having any definite information about where or when they will be held. I do not think it is right that I should agree in advance to play wherever they might tell me.'

The Grand Prix was designed and organized in a short period of time. It shows. Let's hope its architects use the next two years to improve it.

16 April 2008

The 1st and 2nd GMA World Cups

A few weeks ago, in Kamsky - Topalov Update, a quote from Roustam (Rustam) Kamsky caught my attention:
In 1989 Gata, only 15 years old, wins 2-nd place in Palma de Mayorka, competing against 160 grandmasters from around the world. That qualified him to play in world championship qualifier held in Moscow but Kamsky was not invited.

I knew that he was referring to the GMA World Cup, rather than the World Championship, but I wasn't sure which events he meant. I decided to investigate. The 1st World Cup was a series of six tournaments that brought together the best players in the world.

  • Brussels, April 1988
  • Belfort, June 1988
  • Reykjavik, October 1988
  • Barcelona, April 1989
  • Rotterdam, June 1989
  • Skelleftea, August 1989

The 2008-9 Grand Prix that starts in a few days was modelled after the GMA World Cup. The 2nd World Cup began with three qualifying tournaments, called GMA Opens.

  • Belgrade, December 1988
  • Moscow, May 1989
  • Palma de Mallorca, December 1989

Gata Kamsky finished tied for 2nd/3rd at Palma. A final qualifying tournament was held

  • Moscow, May-June 1990
bringing together the eight best finishers from each of the three GMA Opens plus 19 players qualified by rating. Of the 43 qualified players, 42 assembled in Moscow. Kamsky, who in March 1989 had stayed in the U.S. with his father after playing in the New York Open, was missing. Reports mentioned that the Kamskys were afraid to visit Russia for fear of political repercussions. This was despite the fact that Boris Gulko, another Soviet-era dissident living in the U.S., managed to obtain a visa and play.

10 April 2008

Women's World Championship 2008

The next Women's World Championship is beset with organizational problems.
Women's World Championship in Istanbul? • 'The Women's World Chess Championship was scheduled to be held in Argentina from June 18 to July 11 this year. It is a knock-out event with 64 participants. Unfortunately the Argentinian bid has been retracted, after FIDE extended the deadline a number of times. Now it was too late to find a new sponsor – until the Turkish Chess Federation stepped in and made an informal bid. However the time constraints were most severe and nobody was sure that the estimated $500,000 staging costs could be found at such short notice. Ali Nihat Yazici and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov discussed the matter with Minister Basesgioglu, who spontaneously offered the full support of his government. The TCF and IsBankas can now spring into action. We estimate (based on past exprience) that they will pull it off.' [25 March 2008; Chessbase.com]

A Turkish news source mentioned an additional difficulty.

Turkey solves chess headscarf crisis • 'Initially it was Argentina that was picked as the host country for the championship, but it later announced that it would not be able to host the event and Iran stepped in instead. However problems arose during initial meetings between FIDE and Iranian representatives, when Iran set conditions like wearing headscarves and preventing men from entering the championship arena. Furthermore it said Israeli players would not be allowed into the country. Turkey will host the event in Istanbul in December.' [29 March 2008; turkishdailynews.com.tr]

According to FIDE documents, which are not currently available since Fide.com was redesigned, Argentina was not the first choice.

Presidential Board Meeting, January 26-28th, 2007 • 'The Presidential Board reviewed preparations and decided on bids regarding the following chess tournaments: [...] Women’s World Chess Championship 2008 will be held on March 8-25th, 2008 in Prague, Czech Republic'

The next mention of the event was the agenda for the 78th FIDE Congress in November. The agenda and minutes have also gone AWOL.

78th FIDE Congress 14-16 November 2007 Antalya, Turkey • '30. Women’s World Chess Championship 2008. The event shall be held in San Luis, Argentina. Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to report.'

Prague -> San Luis -> Iran -> Istanbul • Regulations for the Women`s World Chess Championship Cycle.


Later: I discovered that the old FIDE site is available at Thanks, FIDE!

02 April 2008

Resources for Historical Ratings

Thanks to OlimpBase, here are two more resources related to ratings.

The rgc post (groups.google.com) points to Benoni.de which in turn points to more resources.