Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Rating of Chess Players Past and Present

I was doing a little online book browsing when I cam across a listing for "The Rating of Chessplayers Past and Present" by Arpad Elo. First published in 1978, it has been out of print for a number of years, and copies were quite scarce. In fact my last reading of it was way back in 1986 during a visit to the Victorian State Library.
The edition that I purchased was a 2008 reprint from Ishi Press. For those who vaguely recognise the name, Ishi Press is run by Sam Sloan, who is one of the more 'colourful' characters on the United States chess scene. And the reprint has a typical Sloan touch, in the shape of 12 page introduction to the new edition. However the rest of the book is a faithful reprint of the 1978 edition, so you can treat Sloan's comments as an added bonus.
Of additional interest is the historical ranking of chess masters. Elo did this by collating historical results and calculating ratings back to the 1850's. In terms of rating his top 4 players (up to 1978) were Fischer, Capablanca, Botvinnik and Lasker. In terms of statistical dominance the top 2 were Fischer and Morphy.
So if you are interested in seeing the mechanics of the Elo system, as well as a detailed history of its development, do a search on the net and I'm sure you'll be able to buy a copy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was an expanded Second Edition of Elo's book published in 1986.