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Marc Lacrosse (2009-06-19)
FICGS commented on rybkachess
Quite a few comments regarding FICGS and correspondence chess opening preparation in this recent thread on rybkachess forum :
Your opinion ?
Thibault de Vassal (2009-06-22 16:41:00)
Discussion at Rybkachess
That's an interesting discussion... Once more, the confusion reigns between Freestyle chess (commonly played at classical & blitz time controls) and Correspondence Chess, particularly for centaur players who did not experience correspondence chess at a 2500+ level.
IMO (in brief) on several points :
1) All these made-for-engines books have no other interest than to "manipulate" chess engines & other made-for-engines books, actually this has almost nothing to do with correspondence chess (where they are completely useless at a high level, let's say 2300+) or even chess.
2) Many players do not realize the multitude of factors that appear to be more important that the basic strength of centaurs once the correspondence chess 2400 mark is reached and that still increases at 2500 and 2600... The higher the level, the more "opening books" depend on the recent games played by the opponent (and his level), the number of current games played, the score to reach in 8 games matches, the importance of rating, the goal in life, even the month/season for a few players and many other things according to the persons... Actually these "openings books" just live the time to use it one time, so a better term is preparation, actually opening books do not exist anymore in correspondence chess at a very high level, at most it may be useful against weaker players.
3) The previous point is enough to explain the rating changes of most 2400+ players ! In example...
- GM Farit Balabaev is a very experienced player who constantly has(had) more than 100 running correspondence chess games at several places for years, he's also a fast player, it is quite logical to me that he looks for quiet games and fast draws (or lose sometimes to very strong players who want to win more)
- Wolfgang Utesch, FICGS WCH finalist, like many players at one time in their life, decided that other things were more important and that correspondence chess was too time consuming, particularly once the 2500 mark has been reached...
- Eros Riccio obviously decided to win every correspondence chess competition at FICGS while playing a high number of games at several places AFTER having topped the FICGS rating list with the highest rating so far (which he did), so it is natural to look for a few quick draws in matches if 8 draws mean a victory for him (and a few rating points lost, that is quite inhuman anyway :))
- Michael Aigner tops most FICGS rating lists by playing only games at 40 days + 40 days / 10 moves time control, which is an enormous performance as obviously the longer the time control, the higher the rate of draws. I do not know how many current games he's playing at ICCF or IECG and other organisations but I suspect he plays a quite reasonable number of games.
- Xavier Pichelin may top the FICGS rating list this year as he's an incredibly dangerous player with White and Black and with a reasonable number of running games.
Many strong players also choose to play some tournaments for "fun" or to experiment openings and may lose some points while their real strength is over 2500 or more... so it is quite hard to make the difference between the real strength and correspondence chess ratings. So many parameters... It is likely that we'll see one day a 12 games match between Eros and Xavier (Michael do not play fast correspondence chess time control, yet I hope), we all wonder what rating could achieve Vasik Rajlich (Rybka's creator) and other very strong freestyle players but it is very hard to predict only by knowing their results in freestyle tournaments. Correspondence chess is a mirror of real life.
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