23 November 2013

Finding Top ICC Chess960 Players

In my previous post, Carlsen's First Chess960 Move?, I mentioned a resource titled Highest ICC ratings, which includes a section on chess960. Since ICC attracts many of the top players in chess, a 'highest ratings' looks like a good way to identify top players in chess960. This is in spite of the warnings by the author of the page (Juha Kivijärvi of Finland): 'These lists are meant for personal use. Nothing is guaranteed to be correct. I am not affiliated with ICC in any way.'.

Like the other sections on the page, chess960 is split into 'Current' and 'Best' lists. The 'Best' list, identifies the top-20 chess960 ratings of all time. It currently looks like this.

The columns are for ICC handle, player (title / name / elo / age / country), rating, number games. More info on the players can be found using the ICC 'finger' command. For example, the command for the first entry in the list is Finger: Smallville

Information about Smallville(GM) (Last disconnected ...

              rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Wild            2232  [6]   200   132     7   339   2321 
Chess960        2410  [8]    75     3     4    82   2480

The difference here between 'Wild' and 'Chess960' isn't completely clear to me. The ICC help page, Playing "Wild" Chess Variants, says

Fischer Random Chess -- Wild 22 • This is also a type of shuffle chess, and was invented by Bobby Fischer. [...] See help Fischer-random.

That 'Fischer-random' page starts,

Fischer Random Chess (wild 22 on ICC) is a chess variant invented by Bobby Fischer. To play a game of Fischer Random Wild on the ICC, type "seek w22" to issue a seek, or "match Fred w22" to offer a game to a specific player.

After looking at many finger pages, I'm sure that the 'Wild' line includes counts for Wild 22 (aka 'Fischer-random', aka chess960), plus other 'Wild' variants. Why the separate data for chess960? Again, I haven't figured it out yet.

There's one more thing before I sign off for today. The 'Highest ICC ratings' page says it is updated daily, but there appears to be no archive of previous pages. As with so much information lost from the web, Archive.org comes to the rescue: Saved 22 times between April 27, 2006 and ....

Now that I know a little more about who plays chess960 on ICC, I'll come back to the top players in a future post. There are some well known names on both the 'Current' and 'Best' lists.

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