I recently accomplished one of my goals/resolutions that I had been working on for the last two years. I finally achieved my rating goal, which was to break 2100. For the uninitiated, in chess you receive a rating based on your prior performances. Arpad Elo created the initial framework for the chess rating system (now known as an “ELO” rating). Arpad Elo was a Hungarian-born mathematician who created a rating system to determine a player’s strength and performance. A player’s rating depends on the ratings of their opponents, and the results scored against them (Wikipedia). Using the Elo rating system my expected score against a 2400 rated player is:
- Where is my opponents rating (2432) and is my own rating (2096). Based on the formula I’m “expected” to win only 12.63% of games that we play, about one win for every eight games played.
In my last post, I mentioned that I lost quite a few rating points due to a bad performance. Chess ratings tend to fluctuate and plateau at certain points. Some people get fixated with trying to achieve a certain rating, myself included at certain points. At this point in my career, understanding chess is the most important thing to me. Any rating increase will come with better and more complete understanding. I managed to reach my current goal by defeating the strongest player in my town: FM Igor Nikolayev rated 2432 USCF. I also beat two other players but those games aren’t worth mentioning in the context of this post.
In chess, the same players tend to meet frequently throughout the year. At the club level, you end up playing the people in your geographic area over and over again (on account of the convenience factor). This tends to create some one sided match-ups because you are paired with people outside your rating class.
To give you a bit of history on my opponent before this game we had played 60 games together. To give you some understanding of what that means, in one game each side gets one hour. So:
FIVE days of us sitting across from one another playing chess. FIVE DAYS OF MY LIFE. In those five days (and 60 games), I won one, drew two and lost 57. I take some solace in knowing that when we first started playing I was a much weaker player than I am now, and he was about the same strength. Suffice to say beating him is a big deal for me, but I suppose even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally.
Without further ado, here is the game that we played with my comments: