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  1. #1
    CC Grandmaster road runner's Avatar
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    Chess strength v age

    Interesting article on fivethirtyeight (from 2017):

    ...To get some insight into how chess skill might decline with age, I downloaded the most recent FIDE rating list, from the beginning of August. This lists ranks all the players registered with the game’s international governing body according to their Elo rating.1 The end result was a data set with more than 280,000 players and their respective ratings. These are all the players currently rated by FIDE, although some of them, such as Kasparov, are flagged as “inactive,” meaning that they haven’t played a rated game in a year or more. (To estimate a given player’s age, we subtracted his or her birth year from 2017.)

    The result is shaped like a large floating apostrophe of mortality. After a steep increase in players’ early years (youth is wasted on the young), the estimated trend in ratings peaks just after age 38, before beginning a long, slow, irreversible and depressing decline (kinda like real life). ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner View Post
    ...The result is shaped like a large floating apostrophe of mortality. After a steep increase in players’ early years (youth is wasted on the young), the estimated trend in ratings peaks just after age 38, before beginning a long, slow, irreversible and depressing decline (kinda like real life). ...
    The good news is that active players can retain most of their ability, even into their nineties.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster road runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    The good news is that active players can retain most of their ability, even into their nineties.
    The dataset used also contained inactive players. It's really showing the age v the rating when they were last active. For example it's showing Kasparov's current age v his rating which was then over a decade old. I suspect that the decline would be steeper than shown.

    Also there could be some self selection going on - maybe better players are likely to continue playing for longer.
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  4. #4
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    And they are ignoring the changes in the FIDE rating floor over time. A 30 year old whose lifetime peak strength is 1100 and who plays FIDE-rated chess all their life will probably have a FIDE rating while an 80 year old for whom the same is true probably won't.

    Still pretty similar to what I would expect.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 09-02-2019 at 06:37 PM.

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    Kasparov to Carlsen/other top players is not a fair comparison at all as Garry retired from chess many years ago and is not studying/preparing regularly -nor playing tournaments on regular basis.

    Korchnoi (despite failing health) was still playing fairly strongly when close to 80. With age, players are more likely to study less and to try ''less hard'' over the board. Some players - but not all!

    Re peaking at 38 - majority of the world's top players is younger than 38 but then again - Vishi is doing well at 50!
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  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster road runner's Avatar
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    Yuri Averbakh is the oldest living GM at 96, not active for a while though.
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