H.E.Atkins

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:37 pm

Well the very best players of ye olden days also tend to do the latter quite well tbf.

(one reason why I have never bought the "Lasker and Capa were only 2400 players by today's standards" schtick)
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John Moore
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by John Moore » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:04 pm

Nick Burrows wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:17 am
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:55 am

I think Blackburne was probably better than me. But I am not absolutely sure. His best games are fantastic, his worst poor. I suspect I would get good positions against him and then get blown away tactically.

Atkins is the first player I am sure was better than me, based on maybe 10 hours playing through his games with the computer running and thinking "could I have found that?". Although for a given value of sure. Nunn's point that to know how well someone plays you need to know how strong their opponents were means I am not absolutely sure. I would need help from AlphaZero.

(PS when I started I thought I might be better than Alexander. I'd like to apologise to his ghost for my hubris...)
Very interesting post Paul, thanks.

Similarly, in the intro to Quality Chess' excellent version of 'My System', Aagaard says that Nimzowitsch was definitely better than him.
Yes, good stuff, Paul. Did your research include Amos Burn - not a British champion, of course, but I have always thought that he was a fairly useful performer. Of course, he might struggle without being able to smoke his pipe.

John McKenna
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by John McKenna » Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:12 pm

And don't forget Fred Yates...

Déjà vu - the forum has discussed the question - of the standard of chess in the good old days - once before (in 2009, see pp. 6-8 in the link below) -

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=726&start=90#p9463

From p. 8 (John Moore should note that p. 9 goes into football banter and a certain person - no name no pack drill - indulges in a bit of black comedy proving he does possess a dry sense of humour) -
Keith Arkell wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:44 pm
You get a better idea of Alekhine's playing strength if you select eg 10 of his games at random,rather than his very best efforts.I have never denied that he was talented.He just didn't have the information of today.
Of course those players gave all of us inspiration in our youth.I enjoyed Capa's best games and eg Rubenstein's R+P endings.

However,I don't think it unreasonable to suggest that,in the context of a world which is speeding up all the time,and in which we are advancing so rapidly in other areas,the level of play in chess has risen...

It's also easy to see just by playing through the games that something magical happened to chess soon after the days of Alekhine and Capablanca.Capa was saying that chess had become sterile,or words to that effect,and along came the likes of Botvinnik,then Keres and then Bronstein,and introduced rich new ideas in eg the Kings Indian.

Anyway,I already rested my case. It is obviously unfair to measure the overall strength of past players with today's players.There is no comparison objectively speaking.This games of this Suechting,rated 28 in the World prove that.Call him 2559 if you like,but if he played like he did back then today he would get slaughtered.I strongly doubt that he would even maintain 2100...except one detail:He would of course improve! He would quickly learn from us.You see this debate isn't about talent,it is about information and knowledge. :wink:
In the thread linked to above there's mention of using the matching of the moves in old games with those of the best modern computer engines, but it was said to be too early to come to any real conclusions. Well more than 10 years have elapsed since then so go figure.

John DM Nunn's critique of the play of a certain participant of the 1911 Karsbad tournament that has been gone over, once again, in this thread is in that thread...

Hugo Suechting/Süchting (1874-1916) was given a "best 5-yr. average of 2450 by Prof. A. Elo in 1978. Edo Chess gives him a peak historical rating of 2483 in the year 1911. (Chessmetrics evaluation of him seems way too high - 100+ points on his Prof. Elo 5-yr. average and about 180 on his Edo Chess peak rating.)

John Nunn is a hard taskmaster, and may have come down a bit too hard on Hugo Suechting/Süchting who was certainly a German master and possibly/probably had the ability to play to the standard of International Master in terms of, say, the 1950s-60s.

In the 1964 Interzonal Larsen demolished Bela Berger, who he called, "the inexperienced Australian master" (at the time about 33 y.o.) in only 25 moves, but Berger (now a 90 y.o.) seems to have made IM at some point in time!?

Here's Nunn taking on an experienced IM -

Last edited by John McKenna on Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:22 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:06 pm

John McKenna wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:12 pm
In the 1964 Interzonal Larsen demolished Bela Berger, who he called, "the inexperienced Australian master" (at the time about 33 y.o.) in only 25 moves, but Berger (now a 90 y.o.) seems to have made IM at some point in time!?
Berger was playing in the Interzonal by virtue of winning the qualification place from the south east Asia zone. Qualifying for the Interzonal was one of the routes to an IM title. In 1969 even a high score in a European Zonal was enough for that title as David Levy demonstrated.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:13 pm

I didn't play 21...Qxf4 to be recorded as NN, you know.

John McKenna
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by John McKenna » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:14 pm

Apologies, Jack.

I'm sure you saw what was in store and saw it through like a proper gent.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Sedgwick
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:35 pm

"It is quite clear that the Karlsbad [1911] players were far more prone to severe errors than contemporary players."

Compare and contrast the following two blunders:

W: Kf3, Ra4; B: Kg6, Rf5, Pf6: 1. Rf4??, Kg5; 0-1 Spielmann v Duras, Karlsbad 1907

W: Kg3, Rg4: B: Kg6, Rg5, Pf6: 1.Rxg5??, Kxg5; 2. Kf3, Kf5; 3. Kf2, Kf4; 0-1 Vachier-Lagrave v Radjabov, Opera Euro Rapid 2021

John McKenna
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:58 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:35 pm
"It is quite clear that the Karlsbad [1911] players were far more prone to severe errors than contemporary players."

Compare and contrast the following two blunders:

W: Kf3, Ra4; B: Kg6, Rf5, Pf6: 1. Rf4??, Kg5; 0-1 Spielmann v Duras, Karlsbad 1907

W: Kg3, Rg4: B: Kg6, Rg5, Pf6: 1.Rxg5??, Kxg5; 2. Kf3, Kf5; 3. Kf2, Kf4; 0-1 Vachier-Lagrave v Radjabov, Opera Euro Rapid 2021




Thank you, David.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Sedgwick
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:07 pm

John McKenna wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:58 pm
Thank you, David.
Thank you for the diagrams, John.

John McKenna
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by John McKenna » Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:33 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:07 pm
John McKenna wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:58 pm
Thank you, David.
Thank you for the diagrams, John.
OK, might as well include what GM Matt Turner had to say about them in the thread "Re: Opera Euro Rapid..."
Matthew Turner wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:08 pm
Whilst these look similar, I think the Karlsbad mistake is much more understandable.
Spielmann (the player a pawn down) initiated an exchange of Rooks which would have led to the simple draw and just missed the King move
In the MVL example, it is the player who is a pawn ahead who initiates the exchange, so what did MVL think Radjabov was up to? With 19 minutes left you would have thought he would give it some consideration and even a moment's thought leads to the conclusion that the immediate exchange loses.
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11502&start=15#p260920
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Geoff Chandler
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Re: H.E.Atkins

Post by Geoff Chandler » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:47 am

I noticed that someone at ChessBomb was trying to defend MVL by saying it was a mouse slip.
Of course these things must always be considered in an online game but in this case that is not really an option.



You cannot 'mouse slip' the Rook to anywhere but Rxg5.

It was just an online boo-boo by MVL. It happens, the coincidence in the position from Carlsbad 1907 makes it entertaining. Good spot.

The good news regarding MVL's 'mouse slip', this is becoming so notorious somebody somewhere will not (or should not) make the same mistake.

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