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Sheroff
16-05-2011, 10:48 AM
Spent a bit of time with David Smerdon at his house last week - he left for Amsterdam last Friday to pursue further uni studies, and plans to live there for two or three years (at least at this stage). He's stopping in Peru, Argentina and playing the Commonwealth Championships in South Africa on the way over.

While trying to pack 5 suitcases worth of stuff into two suitcases, he was also simultaneously composing tactical chess problems on a nearby chessboard (and from the amazingly tricky one he showed me - which I can't share with you because it's not published yet) he is EXTREMELY good at problem composing.

I wish him well. Of course it's Australia's loss when a top player heads overseas to live for awhile (and I lose my all-time favourite blitz sparring partner), but he's pursuing his dream, knows exactly where he's headed in life, and will no doubt show those European GMs a thing or two and get some great competition. Onya, Smerds.

In other news, a great weekend was had by all at the 2011 Gold Coast Rapid on Sunday. I even managed to scrape a win ahead of Solo (on countback), Nagauchi, McClymont and Liu (Solo and I drew a Queen and Pawn ending last round). As Capa used to say, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good...

Fortunately there are still plenty of non-CAQ events in Queensland for those who prefer not to endorse the current CAQ Council leadership regime, but still want to have fun playing chess (as long as you don't care too much about ratings, and are happy with non-rated Rapids, Blitzes, etc). Indeed, I have often found better turnouts and stronger opposition in non-CAQ events in recent times. I think in last year's Gold Coast Blitz Championship, for example (a local club tournament) there were about 47 players. In last year's Queensland Blitz Championship (the state's annual CAQ-run Blitz tourney) there were about 19. So I guess I'm not the only chess player in Queensland voting with their feet...

In other equally unrelated news, I'm finding it quite interesting looking at some of these 'Chess Openings Statistics' websites. Basically they take a huge sampling of games by strong players, and then work out the percentage of White Wins, Black Wins and Draws based on the openings played. A few surprises: If you want to win with White with 1.d4, your second-best opening choice (Queen's Gambit is first, of course) statistically is the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, for highest percentage of White Wins! Also, did you know that Black's statistically best defense against 1.e4 is a 2...e6 Sicilan (Kan, Taimanov or Paulsen), and that the Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 - which I drew with against Solo with at the GC Rapid) actually has a better record of wins for White than the much more frequently played Ruy Lopez? Lastly, that the thoroughly fun to play Dutch Defense and Budapest Gambit are (statistically) horrible openings for Black? And I don't even want to talk about the Albin Counter-Gambit's abyssmal showing - too depressing...

Cheers,

Kevin Casey

machomortensen
16-05-2011, 02:15 PM
Good luck to Smurf.

Kevin Bonham
16-05-2011, 03:19 PM
If you want to win with White with 1.d4, your second-best opening choice (Queen's Gambit is first, of course) statistically is the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, for highest percentage of White Wins!

As with many database statistics, this one is probably misleading. Chances are these stats come mainly from wins by BDG experts against undersuspecting opponents who did not expect the BDG. It doesn't mean someone instantly taking it up will have such success, nor that the score will be that good if the opponent is prepared - especially not if they unleash the fearsome BDGD 2...e6.

Ditto probably for Bishop's Opening - and there are probably some openings with bad stats because they tend to be played by casually prepared opponents.

ER
16-05-2011, 03:45 PM
Spent a bit of time with David Smerdon at his house last week - he left for Amsterdam last Friday to pursue further uni studies, and plans to live there for two or three years (at least at this stage). He's stopping in Peru, Argentina and playing the Commonwealth Championships in South Africa on the way over.

While trying to pack 5 suitcases worth of stuff into two suitcases, he was also simultaneously composing tactical chess problems on a nearby chessboard (and from the amazingly tricky one he showed me - which I can't share with you because it's not published yet) he is EXTREMELY good at problem composing.

I wish him well. Of course it's Australia's loss when a top player heads overseas to live for awhile (and I lose my all-time favourite blitz sparring partner), but he's pursuing his dream, knows exactly where he's headed in life, and will no doubt show those European GMs a thing or two and get some great competition. Onya, Smerds.

....

Cheers,

Kevin Casey

Thanks for sharing the news with us Kevin, I am sure we all wish David well! He is a nice guy always having time for a chat and advice to all, a real jewel in Australia's Chess Crown! BTW apologies for leaving out the part of your report on QLD's politics and the opening statistics.
Reasons being
1) I always feel welcome in QLD by all parties
2) The more I read and study statistics the more I realise how little I understand about them. This is one of the reasons why I don't participate actively in ratings etc discussions.
I hope we 'll meet again soon to renew frienship and play some chess as well ( I really enjoyed our encounter at Sunshine Coast)! :)

Rincewind
16-05-2011, 05:14 PM
As with many database statistics, this one is probably misleading. Chances are these stats come mainly from wins by BDG experts against undersuspecting opponents who did not expect the BDG. It doesn't mean someone instantly taking it up will have such success, nor that the score will be that good if the opponent is prepared - especially not if they unleash the fearsome BDGD 2...e6.

Ditto probably for Bishop's Opening - and there are probably some openings with bad stats because they tend to be played by casually prepared opponents.

The other thing to consider is the magnitude of the "advantage". If there are a bunch of openings in the 55-57 % range saying one is better than another based on a fraction of a percent it may not be significant. Also comparing stats like number of wins is less informative than (I think) rating performance* of particular ratings which (theoretically) factors-in opposition strength. However, even that is not fool-proof to the sorts of systemic issues highlighted by Kevin.

* edit: rating performance needs to be assessed versus average rating. For example if the mean rating of players playing opening A as white is 2200 but they perform at 2400 when playing opening A, then A may be a good opening.

Garrett
16-05-2011, 05:19 PM
Congratulations Kevin on a good result yesterday.

To finish 1st in that field is very good. :clap:

I forgot it was on ! :wall: