Game score errors and discrepancies

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Post Reply
Tim Harding
Posts: 2001
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Game score errors and discrepancies

Post by Tim Harding » Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:57 pm

I have just posted the first in what is planned to be a new series of articles about errors and discrepancies in 19th century games as published in some databases and books.

http://www.chessmail.com/history/Fix-da ... intro.html

introduces the general problem and links to the substantive article (HTML, PDF and PGN) concerning issues in games between Steinitz and Lasker.

This would not have been possible without the help of Thomas Niessen and his Chess Suite which is available at https://thomastonk.jimdofree.com/

I have prepared a lot more material about Steinitz and Blackburne games in Word/ ChessBase but it will take a while to get it up on the Web.

I hope to have another article about Steinitz games by next weekend but now it's time for Ireland v Wales on the rugby pitch...
Tim Harding
Historian and FIDE Arbiter

Author of 'Steinitz in London,' British Chess Literature to 1914', 'Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Neil Blackburn
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: Game score errors and discrepancies

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:53 pm

Thanks Tim👍

Neil Blackburn
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: Game score errors and discrepancies

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:36 pm

Just looked at your material on the Wisker - Macdonnell match. The early part of game ten is rather interesting!!😁👍. For some reason I had never spotted that game in Westminster Papers. 🤔

User avatar
Christopher Kreuzer
Posts: 7627
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:34 am
Location: London

Re: Game score errors and discrepancies

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:20 am

Agree entirely with what Tim Harding says:
Moreover, those who edit, post or sell databases must reform their procedures.
But how can effective change be promoted in practice?

Maybe what is needed is the adoption of a standard way to include in pgns a way of flagging the recording of an incorrect move, so that errors can be tracked, if that makes sense? In other words, once an error has become persistent enough that it appears in multiple databases and printed sources, it is not enough just to publish a corrected score, but to also highlight the errors that have propagated, so others can realise that the source they have may be wrong.

Or would that approach be wrong? And what Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should database maintainers adopt? Are there any standard procedures for 'cleaning up' a database that preserves the provenance of the data (or do most databases not even record where the games are from)?

Tim Harding
Posts: 2001
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Game score errors and discrepancies

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Feb 08, 2021 4:43 pm

The single most useful thing would be if ChessBase employed somebody full-time to fix mistakes in their databases, because so many people use them and they make so much money out of them.
Such an employee, who should have historical training and a real desire to do the job properly, would need to track all the historical books that come out and forums like this one and sites like Britbase in order to fix any problems that people point out.

There was a man who died 2-3 years ago (I forget his name alas) who was working on improving their historical stuff using his own library, but I am not sure is anyone doing that job now.
He wasn't perfect either because sometimes he cited the source for a game (a book or magazine) but when you checked the source it actually gave something different. I can't recall an example right now but can probably find a few later.

I will give one case they have fixed and one they have not.
Just now I Iooked at a file I created a while back containing games that were wrong in ChessBase Mega Database 2017 (the last version I bought) and found they had fixed a problem in the second game from 1851 between Bird and Horwitz from London 1851, probably because Ziegler had pointed it out in his book and/or Hans Renette had the right score in his book on Bird.



For years, to 2017 at least, ChessBase had 25...Qb2 but now in their online database they do have the correct 25...Qf2.
At least they had some excuse.
Staunton's tournament book had a misprint 25...Q to QB7 (which would be illegal) but the errata page had Q to KB7.

Here is a mistake they still have not fixed in their online database which I pointed out in my Steinitz book some months ago.
This is their incorrect version.



The correct game score appeared many years ago in Forster's book on Amos Burn so ChessBase have no excuse for continuing to publish a howler at move 55 in Amos Burn's most important win from his greatest tournament victory.
Stuff like this is one reason I don't fork out for annual updates to Mega Database.
Tim Harding
Historian and FIDE Arbiter

Author of 'Steinitz in London,' British Chess Literature to 1914', 'Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Post Reply