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Old March 28th 10, 07:07 PM posted to,
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Default Who could YOU beat, and when

On Mar 25, 4:00*pm, Taylor Kingston
On Mar 25, 4:51*am, Offramp wrote:

I was reading about one of the City of London Churches and it
mentioned a Rev Owen. There were plenty of those through history. But
I thought about the famous chess player.

* Well, if GM John Nunn is correct, a fair number of people
frequenting this group could have beaten Reverend Owen (1827-1901), if
we had a time machine with which to visit him back in his Hooton
vicarage. Nunn, in his comments about Carlsbad 1911 (a topic often
discussed here), estimated that Hugo Süchting (1874-1916), who placed
=14th-16th (out of 26) at that event, was at best a 2100-player by
current standards, despite the fact that Dr. Elo's estimated 5-year
peak for Süchting was 2450. Elo's estimate for Owen was 70 points
lower, 2380. If Nunn is right about Süchting, this would put Owen at
only about 2030, tops, on a rating list today. Perhaps even lower,
since Owen is from an earlier era than Süchting.

Some further musings on Nunn’s examination of the games from
Carlsbad 1911, a major 26-player tournament won by Teichmann 18-7 over
Rubinstein, Schlechter, Rotlewi, Marshall, Nimzovitch, Vidmar,
Leonhardt, Tartakower, Duras, Alekhine, Spielmann et al. In terms of
concrete Elo ratings, Nunn draws the following conclusions:

(A) The overall average rating of the tournament was 2130, and
(B) The individual rating at the time for Hugo Süchting, who scored
11½-13½ and placed =14th-16th, was at best 2100, probably lower.

However, this then raises some interesting questions about the
players a few points above and below Süchting in the final standings.
Here is the group that finished 10th through 21st:

10-11. Duras, Alekhine: 13½-11½
12. Spielmann: 13-12
13. Perlis: 12-13
14-16. Cohn, Levenfish, Süchting: 11½-13½
17-18. Burn, Salwe: 11-14
19-21. P. Johner, Rabinovich, Kostic: 10½-14½

While this group includes some lesser players (Perlis, Cohn, Salwe,
Johner) and an aging master well past his prime (Burn), there are also
a good many major figures:

• A mere two points above Süchting we see Alekhine, later champion
of the world and an indisputable all-time great.
• Also just two points ahead is Duras, then in the world’s top ten
and one of the original 27 FIDE Grandmasters.
• Just 1½ points ahead is Spielmann, already one of the top 10 or 20
players in the world.
• Equal with Süchting is Levenfish, who later won several Leningrad
Championships, played in many USSR Championships (winning two), drew a
match with Botvinnik +5 -5 =3, and became one of the original 27 GMs.
• One point below Süchting is Rabinovich, who later won the
Leningrad Championship four times, and played in nine USSR
Championships, placing high in several and co-winning once.
• Also just one point below is Kostic, another of the original 27

This raises an obvious question: if Süchting was so mediocre, a mere
expert by today’s standards, how could he have done about as well or
better than these indisputable greats and near-greats?
One can offer various ad hoc conjectures: Alekhine (then about age
19), Levenfish (22), and Rabinovich (20) were young and well short of
their primes; the same might be said of Kostic (24). Spielmann (28)
was a highly variable performer. Duras is harder to dismiss; he was
then about 29 and at his peak strength, which Elo estimated at 2580;
maybe he just had an off month.

Perhaps these off-the-cuff conjectures do explain the seeming
anomaly of so many strong players joining Süchting in mediocrity, but
IMO they should not be simply accepted without examination. It seems
to me they raise enough doubt about Nunn’s conclusions that, if
nothing else, further analysis is indicated, to see for example if the
play of the young Alekhine, Levenfish and Rabinovich was really that
far below their primes, and that the Duras and Spielmann actually
played markedly below their norms. This would require comparing not
Carlsbad 1911 to Biel 1993, as Nunn did, but comparing the quality of
these particular players' games at Carlsbad 1911 to their games from
other events and/or periods in their careers.

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Old April 4th 10, 01:49 AM posted to,
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Default Who could YOU beat, and when

On Mar 28, 1:07*pm, Taylor Kingston

I always thought the answer was simple. Historical Elos look at
player's performance relative to others in that time period. However,
Nunn is not saying Suechting's Elo would be 2100 or less then, but it
would be today if he played in "as strong" (or as weak) a manner.

In other words, "I am looking at Suechting's play. If he played that
way today, he would be lucky to have an Elo of 2100."
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