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arosar
16-10-2006, 08:34 PM
Economists are now saying that they have mathematical proof of Soviet cheating. Two scholars from WU analysed 4,366 games from 1940 to 1964 and claim that they proved it.

Oh My God!!

AR

MichaelBaron
16-10-2006, 08:44 PM
Economists are now saying that they have mathematical proof of Soviet cheating. Two scholars from WU analysed 4,366 games from 1940 to 1964 and claim that they proved it.

Oh My God!!

AR

I am really impressed with my compatriots! How could they cheat back in 1940's? Or well, it is yet another conspiracy theory I guess. We got to be careful these days. Next time some 1200-rated player will lose to me- he may claim I am using a computer:hmm:

Vlad
16-10-2006, 11:00 PM
Economists are now saying that they have mathematical proof of Soviet cheating. Two scholars from WU analysed 4,366 games from 1940 to 1964 and claim that they proved it.

Oh My God!!

AR

I do not think these guys will publish their paper in a good place. :wall:

There are a few reasons for that.
1) The idea is not new. A few years ago there was a paper in one of the leading journals in Economics (I think that was the American Economic Review) which showed that there is a collusion in sumo. Some of the fights sumo wrestlers have could be very important for one wrestler and relatively unimportant for the other. The authors showed that the one for whom the fight was important was wining significantly more often than the one for whom it was relatively unimportant. The authors claimed that this fact implies collusion. The end of the story was dramatic. After the paper was published the Japanese who provided the authors with the data was killed.

2) Nobody finds chess interesting enough. Hard to publish even if you have a super-duper paper. I had a few ideas but they died just because of that.

3) The results are not very strong. This is what they say in the abstract “Simulations of the period’s five premier international competitions (the FIDE Candidates tournaments) suggest that the observed Soviet sweep was a 75%-probability event under collusion but only a 25%-probability event had the Soviet players not colluded.” I am not a super-duper econometrician but even I feel that there are problems in the methodology, especially when a very suspicious word "simulations" is used. I will talk to one of my friends who is big guru in econometrics tomorrow.

4) Their resumes are not that great either. One is an economic historian, who has some decent publications but they are in economic history. The other one is relatively fresh graduate with almost no publications. I am not sure why they are doing this research. It is another sad story for chess. :evil:

arosar
17-10-2006, 09:49 AM
4) Their resumes are not that great either. One is an economic historian, who has some decent publications but they are in economic history. The other one is relatively fresh graduate with almost no publications. I am not sure why they are doing this research. It is another sad story for chess. :evil:

I suspect part of the motivation to do this research was to get the graduate published. Sometimes they do that. They write some BS paper and publish in some unknown publication just so they can say that they've been published.

AR

Vlad
17-10-2006, 10:38 AM
Amiel, as usual you did not understand what I said. He got his PhD in 2000 from a very good University, North-western but he has only got 2 sort of Ok publications. I think he is in trouble getting tenure in his current department. (The standard requirement is 6 publications in 6 years.) That might explain why they created all this noise.

Anyway, it is a very poor paper. They show nothing.

Kevin Bonham
17-10-2006, 12:04 PM
The conclusions drawn by the researchers are not justified because they haven't eliminated more innocent possible explanations.

OK, so we know that games between Soviets tended to be draws and tended to be shorter draws. That doesn't prove active and illegal collusion. It could just be that players were in a more friendly and less aggressive mood when competing with their compatriots. It could be that tacit understandings developed between them without active collusion. It could be a product of their opening repertoires or playing styles. I'm not even sure the authors have controlled their study for strength of player.

MichaelBaron
17-10-2006, 02:24 PM
If you want to research chess games to see whether people have been cheating or not, I doubt if quantitative (statistical) analysis is sufficient. And in order to carry out qualitative studies of the games, you have to be a strong chess player as well as an economist. Thats why I doubt if they study could be regarded as accurate.

Vlad
17-10-2006, 02:45 PM
And again Michael I do not agree with you. You do not need to be a good chess player to write a paper about chess. I believe the authors understand all chess issues very well. What they are lacking is actually Economics. They did not address the critique made by Kevin. That is why their paper is so poor. Note that the original paper about sumo wrestlers did address the critique. What they showed was if the same two players will play again then the outcome will be the opposite. The idea is that if I need a win now I will ask my opponent to give it to me and I will repay it to him next time I meet him. That one is difficult to explain by anything else other than corruption.

One can use the same idea to see if there is a corruption in chess regarding norms. Say I am playing in competition with IM norm. I am very close to getting one. I just need to win George in the last round. I come to George and say "Please loose this one to me and I will loose the next one (or maybe even two) we play so that you do not loose any rating points."

Ian Rout
18-10-2006, 02:19 PM
The conclusions drawn by the researchers are not justified because they haven't eliminated more innocent possible explanations.

OK, so we know that games between Soviets tended to be draws and tended to be shorter draws. That doesn't prove active and illegal collusion. It could just be that players were in a more friendly and less aggressive mood when competing with their compatriots. It could be that tacit understandings developed between them without active collusion. It could be a product of their opening repertoires or playing styles. I'm not even sure the authors have controlled their study for strength of player.
I haven't read this paper, but is the explanation simply that the authors don't understand that agreeing to a draw is not illegal or unethical (and hence the same is true for going into a game with the intention of offering an early draw, or accepting one if offered), whereas in most sports it would constitute collusion?

Denis_Jessop
18-10-2006, 05:37 PM
I haven't read this paper, but is the explanation simply that the authors don't understand that agreeing to a draw is not illegal or unethical (and hence the same is true for going into a game with the intention of offering an early draw, or accepting one if offered), whereas in most sports it would constitute collusion?

But not in road cycling where actual or tacit agreements between opposing teams or individuals are often a significant part of the tactics of an event. But as has been said "cycling is chess on wheels" :D

DJ

Igor_Goldenberg
18-10-2006, 08:56 PM
When the fight which is important for one side and relatively unimportant for another ithe for which it's important will win much more often. i think it's quite obvious without cheating, as motivation significantly affect the strength and level of playing.

Denis_Jessop
18-10-2006, 09:40 PM
Part of the report in the St Louis Dispatch says:


After some statistical calculations, they observed that the average number of draws - matches that end without a winner - among Soviet players skyrocketed in international competitions. They also found that the average number of moves in those games was lower in international matches - suggesting that Soviet players agreed to stop the game early, before it was clear that there would be a stalemate.

I'm not sure whether this is the journalist's doing or not but the last sentence reveals a distinct lack of knowledge of what happens in a chess game. More importantly, it is not clear whether the researchers conducted a comparative study of non-Soviet players. My recollection without checking (not at all scientific!) is that, in the period referred to (and you have to forget about 1940 - 1948 approx. to start with), there was a tendency for there to be a very large proportion of draws in important international tournaments.

DJ