Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
35

I think any real answer to your question will have to be statistical in nature. There's rationale behind the advantages and disadvantages of having the first move, but really, we'd be mostly guessing regarding how important these factors are. With that in mind, I quickly ran some code to check what patterns I could pick up through the million base PGN ...


33

So in the sense of holding down a job while playing he was an "amateur" player. So was Unzicker, a GM in the 70's, the last amateur GM? No. Here are 4 current British "amateur" grandmasters. English GM Matthew Turner is a teacher at Millfield School in Somerset. English GM Matthew Sadler is a computer consultant in the Netherlands. English GM ...


32

The website 2700chess.com has a database with the FIDE ratings (from May 1st, 2019). Their search form only offers the option to show the top 50 or 100 players satisfying the search results, but it's possible to modify the submit request and ask for the top 5000 instead. When I do that, I get 808 results: So the other 700 must have ratings lower than 2500 ...


27

I know a few GMs in 2500-2600 range who would be considered professional -> ie chess provides the primary means of earning income for them. It is very hard work with wages not matching the effort/skill spent: Being the primary player for medium club team (European/Middle East/Far East) Teaching (preferably within said club as it guarantees steady supply of ...


27

If you are prepared to use standard Linux command-line tools like wc and grep then I think my free PGN processor, pgn-extract, will do much of the pre-processing necessary to count games in each category. Below is a basic bash script I put together as a proof of concept. It assumes your file of games is called inputfile.pgn - adjust as necessary, or pass it ...


25

Napoleon put it succinctly: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. Just a couple of points: It is the same reason that students love getting "gold stars," and why there are so many badges on StackExchange itself. There have been volumes written on the power of peer recognition. In particular, chess titles (for the most part) are ...


25

Brilliant little data mining project! I used the wiki list of GMs and wrote a quick and dirty script to extract the data. Feel free to use and expand/alter it, if you are interested. As it turns out, the average age for reaching GM is just above 28. It is, however, skewed by "old" generation players and players from time before GM title was a thing. It was ...


23

In essence, you are asking- Can memory (or other brain functions) be improved or is it a natural trait? The answer is yes to both. While it is true that one's memory can be improved, it is also commonly observed that some people are more "gifted" when it comes to memory (and other brain functions) than others. To play blindfold chess, you need three ...


21

Keres-Arlamowski 1950, comes very close [FEN ""] [Event "Szczawno Zdroj"] [Date "1950"] [Result "1-0"] [White "Paul Keres"] [Black "Edward Arlamowski"] 1. e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qe2 Nbd7 6.Nd6# 1-0 I heard Mr Arlamovski was an IM at the time - but given Keres' level, and the fact that there were many fewer IM's back then - probably puts ...


21

As I have said before, this requires physical fitness and strong memory. In order to play blindfolded chess properly you need to master the following: Having always clear vision of the board. Properly move and capture pieces. Properly update the overall position on the board after the move is played. Now it is time to implement solutions for the above ...


17

There are actually three different distinctions in the USCF system that have to do with a 2200 rating. First is the National Master title. It is awarded to anyone who has ever had an established (not provisional) rating of over 2200. Once a player is a National Master, they have the title for life no matter what happens to their rating. The NM title has no ...


17

The economist Ken Rogoff (b. 1953) achieved the GM title in 1978, but was never a "professional" chess player. Rogoff is currently a professor of economics at Harvard University.


16

I think it has to do with just having the title "Grand Master". Would I like to be a Grand Master? YES, but it probably would never happen in a million years. Unless you are probably in the top 10, you probably won't make a living out of it. I would suspect that those who don't make a living out of it, but still highly rated and play in international ...


16

In pretty much any endeavor that requires one to develop or acquire complex sets of skills, be it chiefly intellectual or chiefly physical, starting young will generally be a huge boon simply because of the fact that younger brains are more plastic than older brains; they can more readily adapt to new sorts of tasks and information. Because of that fact, ...


16

This depends a lot on the position and cannot be answered generally. If you have a forced line, i.e. a position where there are only few candidate moves at every step, a grandmaster can calculate many moves. I am reluctant to give a concrete number because it really depends, but to give you a rough idea, let's say 20 moves. On the other hand if the position ...


14

Since you asked for experience apart from the higher level of plays, I can give you myself as an example, with a rating of ~1900 (FIDE rating is 1871) I've never felt at a disadvantage playing black or advantage playing white. Most openings give a lot of play for both sides and small inaccuracies will trample the advantage white might have before you'll ...


14

There are plenty of GMs that do not play professionally, e.g. GM Luke McShane is a financial trader, GM Hou Yifan is a Rhodes scholar. So if your definition of "amateur" is holding down a job while playing occasionally, Wolfgang Unzicker certainly was not the last amateur GM.


13

I would say the first move has a large advantage. I am not at the highest level (1), nor have I ever played against someone at the highest level, but I have played several GMs. I'll give two situations where I thought it was a large advantage. They relate to opening choice - which has a large impact on the rest of the game. The first I had white against GM ...


13

I don't know which person you are referring to, or if the exact word "coach" was used, but GMs like Carlsen don't really have coaches in the sense you are probably thinking of; they have seconds, who have the following functions: Opening research. This might mean performing general research, or looking for particular weapons that are likely to be useful ...


12

Coaches at that level are analysers rather than teachers. They prepare openings for a specific opponent, investigate opponent's weakness, help to analyse games during tournament after each round to find mistakes, perform official things such as registering, following results, mental encouragement ... High chess rating and practical abilities don't mean ...


12

King's Gambit: A Son, A Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game is about this. The age-old question is: Does chess make you mentally ill or are mentally ill people attracted to chess? Chess has the highest suicide rate of any sport by a long-shot. Many chess world champions were mentally ill. There's a whole bunch of other supporting facts about chess ...


12

I learned to play blindfolded chess by practicing it from 2001 to 2005. In my opinion, it is a skill that can be learned, practice will give results. What I do is to try to visualize the chess board and the pieces on the board at every moment of the game. I have to update it one or more times per second, since it keeps vanishing. It does require ...


12

This article may answer your question. If you want it short: On average, according to Natalia Pogonina (WGM), the top-3 players in the world earn 1 million / year, top 10 - over 200 000$, top 50 - over 100 000$. If you want more information, try looking around this thread.


12

Talent: Generally the role of talent in chess is vastly overrated, but for those at the very top anecdotes of impressive memory feats are quite common. (Like Carlsen learning hundred of statistics about norwegian municipalities as a four year old, or Fischer repeating a phone call in islandic verbatim, although he didn't understand a word, etc.) Early ...


11

ICC and playchess.com are definitely the top two in terms of the number of registered titled players who play actively. I was able to find metrics on how many titled players are on ICC, seen here; I couldn't find the numbers for playchess, however they are similar. Many titled players play on both.


11

Wilhelm Steinitz learned "how" to play chess at the age of 12, but it was only after attending the Vienna Polytechnic that he actually began to play serious chess (sometime during his twenties). Siegbert Tarrasch learned how to play chess when he was 15, but he was 20 when he first tried himself at a "Hauptturneier" (Chess Tournament) in 1882 at Berlin, he ...


11

It is obviously a learned skill. No-one pops into the world after gestating for 9 months able to play blindfold chess! Just as no-one arrives destined to be an International footballer, genius mathematician or Olympic athlete. The real question is, is it learned by specifically training to acquire the skills of blindfold chess, or does it develop in some ...


11

He was evicted from his New York apartment more than a year ago for non-payment of rent. The New York Times covered the case in an article March 14 2016. This section would suggest that it was willful on Lombardy's part - Mr. Lombardy did not appear for his initial June 2014 court date, nor several that followed, though on some occasions, his student ...


11

No. It may be difficult to win against a top GM who is playing for a draw, but it's by no means impossible. If GM's could always draw at will, we could stop all championship matches once either player won a game, since the outcome would be decided. But we don't do that, because the outcome is not decided after one player gets one win.


11

Using the official FIDE rating lists, there are 954 players with above 2500 ELO. Currently, FIDE has awarded 1668 players the title of "Grandmaster". Filtering out inactive players, there are 1334 GMs and 729 players with "grandmaster strength". There are GMs with a current ELO as low as 2138. Keep in mind that titles can be awarded for achieving certain ...


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