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View Full Version : Weakest World Champ Ever - NEW POLL



Arrogant-One
15-06-2006, 03:22 PM
Okay, a new poll.

I think Euwe was the weakest world champ ever, perhaps Smyslov. Anyway, you be the judge.

four four two
15-06-2006, 03:30 PM
You do realise that Morphy and Taimanov were never crowned world champions?:hmm: ;):whistle:

Ian Rout
15-06-2006, 03:32 PM
You do realise that Morphy and Taimanov were never crowned world champions?:hmm: ;):whistle:
Morphy at least was recognised as the best in the world at the time, though there was no official champion. But where does Taimanov come from???

Rincewind
15-06-2006, 04:16 PM
I was going to vote for Petrosian but alas the option was not available. :)

Edit: I added Petrosian. Hope you don't mind.

qpawn
15-06-2006, 05:35 PM
Taimanov was never world champion under and chess governing body. It would be very, very unfair to ascribe the title of "weakest" champ to Morphy; that would be like disparaging Mark Spitz for the fact that his olympic wins wouldn't qualify for the US team today.

On balance I chose Petrosian. Here is why:

He could only really succeed at one style of chess that was a closed, hypermodern brand of mystifying prohylaxis. Spassky showed in 69 that this style was vulnerable a nd beatable. Fischer also found ways of dealing with Petrosian's methods; in the 72 semis Fischer had the famous win with the Bd3 exchange caro cann. Euwe was the other contender for the weakest but I consider him stronger than Petrosian. Euwe's methods were far more reliable; austere, patient build ups that followed more convential strategic motifs. Euwe's chess writings also showed a lot of understanding in openings as varied as the muzio or the reti.

four four two
15-06-2006, 05:58 PM
Morphy at least was recognised as the best in the world at the time, though there was no official champion. But where does Taimanov come from???

This is why I used the word "crowned",Ian.;)
While Morphy was considered to be one of ,if not the strongest player of his day, he didnt play a match like Steinitz where the phrase "world championship" was attributed to the match and universally recognised.

For the record,in my opinion Steinitz was the weakest world champion.
Perhaps Taimanov should be replaced by Steinitz in the poll,RW.:hmm:

antichrist
15-06-2006, 05:58 PM
Why not include Fisher in the list as he was too pathetic to defend his title - Lasker did for 27 years. They needed a crowbar to separate it from him.

Desmond
15-06-2006, 06:06 PM
Why not include Fisher in the list as he was too pathetic to defend his title - Lasker did for 27 years. They needed a crowbar to separate it from him.

The poll should have every official world champ since Steinitz and omit all other contenders.

Kevin Bonham
15-06-2006, 07:03 PM
I would have voted for the Khalifman (etc) option but I don't recognise any winner of the FFWCs as ever having been world champion.

ElevatorEscapee
15-06-2006, 07:26 PM
The poll should have every official world champ since Steinitz and omit all other contenders.
I agree!

Please modify to add more options! :)

PS Does the "World Champion" have to be a male world champion? What about Womens' World Champions, Correspondence World Champions, Bagirandom World Champions, Junior World Champions, etc.

qpawn
15-06-2006, 07:55 PM
What about suicide chess world champions? Or the warriors of bughouse? :D

ElevatorEscapee
15-06-2006, 08:02 PM
Would a weakest "suicide world chess champion" be actually the strongest? :doh:

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:43 PM
You do realise that Morphy and Taimanov were never crowned world champions?:hmm: ;):whistle:

Actually, I thought Taimonov had it after beating that Soviet World Champ who had held the titled for about 2 decades. Perhaps I confused him with Tal.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:43 PM
I was going to vote for Petrosian but alas the option was not available. :)

Edit: I added Petrosian. Hope you don't mind.

Thats it!

When I put down Taimanov, I was thinking of Petrosian.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:46 PM
Taimanov was never world champion under and chess governing body. It would be very, very unfair to ascribe the title of "weakest" champ to Morphy; that would be like disparaging Mark Spitz for the fact that his olympic wins wouldn't qualify for the US team today.

On balance I chose Petrosian. Here is why:

He could only really succeed at one style of chess that was a closed, hypermodern brand of mystifying prohylaxis. Spassky showed in 69 that this style was vulnerable a nd beatable. Fischer also found ways of dealing with Petrosian's methods; in the 72 semis Fischer had the famous win with the Bd3 exchange caro cann. Euwe was the other contender for the weakest but I consider him stronger than Petrosian. Euwe's methods were far more reliable; austere, patient build ups that followed more convential strategic motifs. Euwe's chess writings also showed a lot of understanding in openings as varied as the muzio or the reti.

This is the best answer in this thread. I wish I could correct the error and change Taimanov's name with Petrosian's, as was my original intent.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:48 PM
I was going to vote for Petrosian but alas the option was not available. :)

Edit: I added Petrosian. Hope you don't mind.

Not at all, but you could also take down Taimanov as I confused him to be Petrosian.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:53 PM
Why not include Fisher in the list as he was too pathetic to defend his title - Lasker did for 27 years. They needed a crowbar to separate it from him.

As for 442's suggestion to add Steinitz, we can't. Why? Because Fischer said he found Steiniz's games to be the biggest influence on his early chess development, and he regarded him very highly.

As for adding Fischer we need to get real. If the poll was who was the strongest world champ ever then we could add Fischer, as he probably was the greatest chess mind ever created.

Keep in mind that even Karpov has conceded that in 75, when he was to play Fischer, that Fischer was the stronger player (but not by much as Karpov said).

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 12:55 PM
I agree!

Please modify to add more options! :)

PS Does the "World Champion" have to be a male world champion? What about Womens' World Champions, Correspondence World Champions, Bagirandom World Champions, Junior World Champions, etc.

I am unable to edit the poll in this way. If you can convince Rincewind I am amenable though.

Also, women world champs are not the subject of this poll. Obviously Xie Jun would win the strongest WWC title.

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 01:08 PM
Please vote again...

I hope I've included all FIDE Classical, Knockout and PCA world champions. If I've missed anyone, let me know.

Igor_Goldenberg
16-06-2006, 01:43 PM
So difficult to choose between Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 02:00 PM
So difficult to choose between Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov

You're lucky you don't have to choose from a list containing Nigel Short.

But then again, at least he won one game against Kasparov after crushing Karpov to get there.

Rincewind
16-06-2006, 02:46 PM
Also, women world champs are not the subject of this poll. Obviously Xie Jun would win the strongest WWC title.

You think? I think Vera Menchik with Judit as the strongest woman never to become the WWCC.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 02:58 PM
You think? I think Vera Menchik with Judit as the strongest woman never to become the WWC.

Its a very tough call with Judit as she may well have been stronger than Xie. But the chicken never proved it, and Xie did crush Judit's sister Sophie in the WWC one year - quite convincingly too!

qpawn
16-06-2006, 03:17 PM
It should be remembered that Vera Menchik was murdered in a Nazi air raid. So we will never know how strong she would have been after that, or indeed whether she would have become the women's world champion again.

I al also wary of voting for any player who is still active in the chess scene as being the weakest world champ. Until someone's career has, at least, declined well past its prime how can a true assessment be made?

bergil
16-06-2006, 03:20 PM
I voted Fischer, without doubt the weakest world champion ever. 0 wins!! :hand:

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 03:26 PM
I voted Fischer, without doubt the weakest world champion ever. 0 wins!! :hand:

Bergil, the reason no one takes you seriously is because you do foolish things - like voting for Fischer and then announcing it.

bergil
16-06-2006, 03:28 PM
Bergil, the reason no one takes you seriously is because you do foolish things - like voting for Fischer and then announcing it.
No your thinking of the scared little boy Bobby. :whistle:

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 03:33 PM
It should be remembered that Vera Menchik was murdered in a Nazi air raid. So we will never know how strong she would have been after that, or indeed whether she would have become the women's world champion again.

I am also wary of voting for any player who is still active in the chess scene as being the weakest world champ. Until someone's career has, at least, declined well past its prime how can a true assessment be made?

Your second point is valid. As for Vera, I've never heard of her, but there's no way she can be considered as strong a Judit or Xie who are among the best male Grandmasters in the world.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 04:11 PM
This thread - as mentioned I ignore recent recipients of FIDE crowns so I think it has to be between Steinitz and Euwe. Steinitz never defeated another player of World Champion standard in a match (unless you count Anderssen while Morphy was inactive - since Anderssen was walloped so heavily by Morphy I don't) while Euwe's win was partly attributable to Alekhine drinking. Both lost their titles by heavy margins but since Steinitz was 58 years old when he lost his I don't think that should be held against him. I also think Steinitz's advances in understanding of the game and number of successful defences need to be taken into account so I've gone with the (lately much-challenged) conventional wisdom and voted for Euwe.

Strongest WWC - Vera Menchik won every Women's World Championship she ever played in and defeated leading male players including Euwe and Reshevsky. Xie Jun didn't even consistently defend her title, losing crushingly to Zsuzsa Polgar in 1996, who probably would have beaten her again had not FIDE taken Zsuzsa's title away in a fashion for which FIDE was successfully sued.

Chessmetrics (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/Introduction.asp?Params=192805SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100) does suggest though that Menchik was really not that strong and benefited from the relative weakness of female competition in those days. It gives her a peak rating of 2525 compared with 2619 for Xie Jun.

I would argue that Chiburdanidze at her peak in the mid-80s was stronger than either and chessmetrics agrees giving her a peak rating of 2661. Chiburdanidze won the women's world title at 16 and defended it four times before losing to Xie Jun. That Chiburdanidze has not really threatened to win the title since is irrelevant because there is a tendency for strong female players to peak earlier than male players, frequently because family life disrupts the career of a female player far more than it does a male player.

Of course since Judith Polgar is the strongest female player of all time by far this is all irrelevant.

Arrogant-One
16-06-2006, 04:14 PM
You have analysed it far more than I imagined.

As such I will concur with your opinion that Judit was probably the best woman player of all time.

Carl Gorka
16-06-2006, 04:19 PM
Steinitz never defeated another player of World Champion standard in a match



Steinitz beat Zukertort, Blackburne, Chigorin all of whom were World class. He defeated Andersson which means he took out all the other best players in the World during his period. His match record over long matches was incredible but his tournament results were not 100% convincing, although no worse than Botvinnik's, for example.

This whole thread is pointless. All the players mentioned were the best player on their day and that's all that counts.

four four two
16-06-2006, 04:28 PM
This whole thread is pointless. All the players mentioned were the best player on their day and that's all that counts.

This thread is like a pub argument or bet Fireeater...any attempt at serious scholarly discussion will be farcical.:lol: ;)

Carl Gorka
16-06-2006, 04:30 PM
This thread is like a pub argument or bet Fireeater...any attempt at serious scholarly discussion will be farcical.:lol: ;)

You could choose any one of them and have a valid point to back it up:rolleyes:

I'll just accept they'd all have beaten me:)

qpawn
16-06-2006, 05:35 PM
Wasn't Steinitz given a retrospective ELO of over 2700?

But it is hard to get a definitive answer to the thread's question.

Desmond
16-06-2006, 06:01 PM
But it is hard to get a definitive answer to the thread's question.

Not if you take the view of comparing the world champs to their relative contemporaries.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2006, 06:05 PM
Chessmetrics results for Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Tal, Smyslov, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik (rest don't count!) :

In order of best to worst

1 year peak: Fischer, Kasparov, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine, Karpov, Kramnik, Steinitz, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky (#27 of all time). Euwe (#38 of all time).

3 year peak: Kasparov, Fischer, Capablanca, Lasker, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Karpov, Kramnik, Steinitz, Smyslov, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky (#26), Euwe (#40).

5 year peak: Kasparov, Lasker, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Fischer, Karpov, Alekhine, Kramnik, Steinitiz, Smyslov, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky (#24), Euwe (#46)

10 year peak: Kasparov, Lasker, Karpov, Capablanca, Fischer, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Kramnik, Smyslov, Petrosian, Steinitz, Tal, Spassky (#20), Euwe (#41).

15 year peak: Kasparov, Karpov, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Smyslov, Kramnik, Petrosian, Steinitz, Spassky, Tal (#17), Euwe (#32)

Chessmetrics attempts to rate players by the standard of their day. Pretty clearcut really.

For those interested in how the FIDE champs stack up, I'll use the 5-year figures: Anand #8, Topalov #42, Ponomariov #65, Khalifman #74, Kasimdzhanov not in top 100. On the 1-year figures Anand is the same, Topalov #28, Ponomariov #52, Khalifman #85. Kasimdzhanov again not in top 100. However the chessmetrics lists only go up to Jan 2005 so Topalov and Kasimdzhanov would probably be higher on these figures now.

qpawn
17-06-2006, 12:43 PM
OK, that is pretty convincing. From a quantitative measurement Euwe is clearly the weakest world champ.

But I still think that other factors have to be considered such as Euwe's amateur status as a player. The fact that Euwe got anywhere near winning the title at all, let alone winning it, was a fantastic achievemnt.

I was not surprised that Steinitz did relatively well.

Arrogant-One
20-06-2006, 04:42 PM
Welcome to my thread Mephistopheles. Please don't forget to vote. ;)

queenspawn
20-06-2006, 06:08 PM
Its a very tough call with Judit as she may well have been stronger than Xie. But the chicken never proved it, and Xie did crush Judit's sister Sophie in the WWC one year - quite convincingly too!

Somebody's sister is not necessarily representative of the person themself! For example, my brother is a mountain climber, and fell runner. If one of his extreme sports colleagues beat me in a mountain marathon, I doubt they would brag, "can't beat Joseph, but that sister of his is a push over..." :whistle:

queenspawn
20-06-2006, 06:19 PM
I voted Fischer because you can't seperate somebody's intellect from their personality. Fishcer was probably one of the "strongest" world champions ever, but his fear of failure was such that he never defended his title. This means that he sabotaged himself and his own growth as a chess player in an unprecedented fashion. I would have loved to see him beat Karpov, face Kasparov, and prove his worth. But he ran away.

That's weak, however strong he was, and however stronger he might have become. Such a shame.

bergil
20-06-2006, 06:28 PM
3 votes for Fischer. :whistle: Who was the monkey who voted for Kasparov, maybe they were thinking of Toparrov? :P

Arrogant-One
21-06-2006, 03:10 PM
I voted Fischer because you can't seperate somebody's intellect from their personality. Fishcer was probably one of the "strongest" world champions ever, but his fear of failure was such that he never defended his title. This means that he sabotaged himself and his own growth as a chess player in an unprecedented fashion. I would have loved to see him beat Karpov, face Kasparov, and prove his worth. But he ran away.

That's weak, however strong he was, and however stronger he might have become. Such a shame.

I agree that it was a shame, but clearly he was the strongest world champ ever. He individually defeated the entire Soviet Union which, after its fall, admitted they tried rigging the match to increase the likelihood of winning. Thats why Fischer never played Korchnoi in his run up to Spassky.

So voting for him is kind of against the grain. The poll isn't 'which world champ had the crappiest attitude ever' in which case your vote would have been better placed.

PHAT
21-06-2006, 04:51 PM
Who was the monkey who voted for Kasparov


Me. It was a vote for the contary view, without which, there is naught but Borg.

Arrogant-One
21-06-2006, 06:43 PM
Me. It was a vote for the contary view, without which, there is naught but Borg.
Well put my good friend, well put! :clap:

queenspawn
21-06-2006, 08:15 PM
I'm just being contrary. It will be the female thing, of judging "strength" differently from blokes. ;)

Capablanca-Fan
11-10-2007, 07:48 PM
I would have voted for the Khalifman (etc) option but I don't recognise any winner of the FFWCs as ever having been world champion.
Me neither. The line of real world champs went from Steinitz to Kasparov then Kramnik.

Someone can't be serious naming Kasparov as weakest champ!

Bill Gletsos
11-10-2007, 08:09 PM
Someone can't be serious naming Kasparov as weakest champ!Just check out post #43 in this thread to see which clown voted that way and you will wonder no more. :whistle:

Duff McKagan
11-10-2007, 11:03 PM
How do we see who voted for whom, and secondly, who would you have voted for Jono? :)

eclectic
11-10-2007, 11:04 PM
How do we see who voted for whom, and secondly, who would you have voted for Jono? :)

the option of making it a public poll was not taken up by its creator

Intuition
12-10-2007, 10:17 AM
The first world champion was clearly the weakest..he would have only been playing at around 2100 level if that....:eh:

Basil
12-10-2007, 11:03 AM
The first world champion was clearly the weakest..he would have only been playing at around 2100 level if that....:eh:
That seems reasonable enough. Perhaps a better (or intended) question would be 'Who was the weakest World Champion ever - in respect to comparative strength of the day'.

Capablanca-Fan
12-10-2007, 02:59 PM
Just check out post #43 in this thread to see which clown voted that way and you will wonder no more. :whistle:
Thanx Bill. I don't think I've encountered this PHAT person before though; seems to have disappeared from this site before I started posting regularly.

Capablanca-Fan
12-10-2007, 03:11 PM
The first world champion was clearly the weakest..he would have only been playing at around 2100 level if that....:eh:
You think so? I wonder how many 2100 players could have played games like these great victories over Chigorin (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1036342)and Lasker (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1132744), for example.

Intuition
12-10-2007, 03:18 PM
You think so? I wonder how many 2100 players could have played games like these great victories over Chigorin (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1036342)and Lasker (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1132744), for example.

probably quite a few....guess we will never know ;)

Capablanca-Fan
12-10-2007, 03:29 PM
Chessmetrics results for Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Tal, Smyslov, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik (rest don't count!) :

In order of best to worst

1 year peak: Fischer, Kasparov, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine, Karpov, Kramnik, Steinitz, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky (#27 of all time). Euwe (#38 of all time).

3 year peak: Kasparov, Fischer, Capablanca, Lasker, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Karpov, Kramnik, Steinitz, Smyslov, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky (#26), Euwe (#40).

5 year peak: Kasparov, Lasker, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Fischer, Karpov, Alekhine, Kramnik, Steinitiz, Smyslov, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky (#24), Euwe (#46)

10 year peak: Kasparov, Lasker, Karpov, Capablanca, Fischer, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Kramnik, Smyslov, Petrosian, Steinitz, Tal, Spassky (#20), Euwe (#41).

15 year peak: Kasparov, Karpov, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Smyslov, Kramnik, Petrosian, Steinitz, Spassky, Tal (#17), Euwe (#32)

Chessmetrics attempts to rate players by the standard of their day. Pretty clearcut really.

For those interested in how the FIDE champs stack up, I'll use the 5-year figures: Anand #8, Topalov #42, Ponomariov #65, Khalifman #74, Kasimdzhanov not in top 100. On the 1-year figures Anand is the same, Topalov #28, Ponomariov #52, Khalifman #85. Kasimdzhanov again not in top 100. However the chessmetrics lists only go up to Jan 2005 so Topalov and Kasimdzhanov would probably be higher on these figures now.
Also worth noting how long anyone was at the top. As for deciding the weakest, note that Petrosyan was #1 for most of 1961 to 1964 where he dropped below Fischer (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/MonthlyLists.asp?Params=196010SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100), while Spassky was #1 for part of 1966, while Euwe was #1 for much of 1936 and 1937 (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/MonthlyLists.asp?Params=193010SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100), so he was a worthy champ as well. Smyslow was #1 for many more years than his brief official reign shows (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/MonthlyLists.asp?Params=195010SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100), and Botvinnik's greatness was most marked in the decade before he became champ when he was #1 (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/MonthlyLists.asp?Params=194010SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100), rather than his reign where he described himself as "first among equals" (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/MonthlyLists.asp?Params=195010SSSSS3S0000000000001 11000000000000010100). Thus there is no need for conspiracy theories about Keres and the 1948 match-tourney; Botvinnik was the clear favorite to win on merit.

Denis_Jessop
12-10-2007, 03:36 PM
The first world champion was clearly the weakest..he would have only been playing at around 2100 level if that....:eh:


You'd have to be joking. The fact alone that modern players have the combined experience of all their predecessors (including Steinitz) to draw on makes off-the-cuff comparisons like this meaningless. I think the whole exercise is fairly pointless but serious attempts at comparative strength assessments have been made, including one by Professor Elo (see Fox & James - TEMCCA; pp.118 ff) Elo rated Steinitz at 2660.

DJ

Basil
12-10-2007, 05:10 PM
You'd have to be joking.
Another McEnroe moment? ;)

Capablanca-Fan
13-10-2007, 12:34 PM
And if we are talking about the best of all time, KB's post from Chessmetrics shows that we should restrict it to Fischer, Kasparov, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine, and Karpov, because these names recur consistently in the peaks over various periods. Interestingly, Irving Chernev's The Golden Dozen, written in 1976 before Karpov had really shown what a consistently great player he was, listed the above five pre-KK champs as the top five, in the order Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker, Fischer, Botvinnik.

Denis_Jessop
13-10-2007, 08:11 PM
I just came across the following comment on e3-e5 by Mark Dvoretsky in his comments on the Mexico World Championship that I think are instructive as he was merely referring to a contest among contemporaries let alone a need to allow for the passing of time.


Attempts of some journalists and many habitants of guestbooks to determine the strongest player on the whole and to demand that exactly him was bearing the world title are absurd and ridiculous ('don't make an idol...'). A world champion is 'simply' a winner of a next official world championship. This is the case in any sport, and one should not look for something else in chess. Great champions appear sometimes who demonstrate their superiority for several years but it does change the main point. Even the great champion can lose sometimes including world championships, and it is not unusual or unacceptable.

DJ

WhiteElephant
13-10-2007, 08:36 PM
But it's fun to compare players and remember each of their strengths/ weaknesses. No one knows for sure who was the strongest or weakest but being right isn't really the point, is it?

Intuition
14-10-2007, 06:18 PM
Another McEnroe moment? ;)


lol....:D