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There is no doubt Fischer's 20 in a row is a great and lasting record, but the fact that 12 of the games were in matches where his opponents just collapsed makes it far less of an achievement than Tal's undefeated streaks, Karpov's record of tournament wins, Kasparov's dominance of major tournaments, or Carlsen's performance against much stronger opposition over the last five years.
I did not know that Steinz won 25 in a row but these games were not in candidates matches. Fischer beat Taimanov 6 to 0 and Larsen 6 to 0. There simply is not anything that compares to this. And yes the only fair way to compare is by looking at acievement and Fischer's is by far the most compelling.
Certainly there are precisely two Candidates in which one player won all the games.
However, Tiaimanov was past his best and Larsen's creative, very agressive but unstable approach worked against him in this match.
The other side was Fisher was only at the very top for a year or so. Lots of players stayed at the very top for a lot longer. Kasparov, for example stayed at the very top for at least 15 years, arguably over twenty. I think that makes Kasparov's claim to be the best ever stronger.
But what the mass of opinion here shows is that fans of this or that great can point to this or that achievement saying it makes their favourite "clearly" best. There is no one agreed stamdard to measure who is best, we can't have them play each other, unless there is some crash hot necromancer amongst us, and the debates can go on forever.
Hear, hear !
Obviously they can't play each other but my point is that Fischer in that year he won 20 in a row was greater than any player has ever been. It has always been a controversy when evaluating the greats in any field of competition whether longevity or their prime should be the standard. But in his prime Fischer was the best.
Estragon, They collapsed because they were playing Fischer!
Adding to what Estragon has said, Fischer's 20 winning streak also include the infamous one-move game vs Oscar Panno. Panno resigned as an act of protest. The games were supposed to start at 4pm, but Fischer showed up at 7pm and the organizer allowed it. Hence, Panno protested. So that 20 winning streak isn't a good measurement of Fischer's skills. I'd say that it is pale in comparison to what Tal, Kasparov, and others have achieved.
It's worth noting that it gets exponentially harder to move up in rating as you get higher. For example, a 600 player is 300 points stronger than a 300 player, but at that level the most basic things can raise your rating right away. Even spending an hour or two doing an exercise trying not to hang pieces might be enough to raise your rating from 300 to 600. In fact the disparity in knowledge between the two players is not necessarily that high because even very basic lessons that take little time to learn can make huge differences in the result at that point.
With this in mind, it's not inconceivable that, say, Fischer's rating lead over his contemporaries, while larger than the one Carlsen has at the moment, is not necessarily a better achievement because at the 2800 level, every rating point takes a higher increase in chess knowledge to earn. At least, I'm saying the rating differences (or results differences) do not in themselves settle the issue of "who achieved more in their time period" and analogous questions.
"it's not inconceivable that, say, Fischer's rating lead over his contemporaries, while larger than the one Carlsen has at the moment, is not necessarily a better achievement"
Fischer had a lead of 30-50 points and then on one list 70 points, which is what Carlsen has now, and then on one list, just before retiring, 125 points. A great achievement of course, but not necessarily the best way to compare greatness. In that case Topalov would be a much greater player than Anand and Kramnik.
I just wanted to address that because people often self-assuredly claim that "It's not about how high your rating gets, it's about how much higher you are than the rest of the field." That's certainly one way to measure greatness, but it's by no means flawless, for at least one possible reason, the one I gave in my previous post.
According to another rating system Steinitz had the greatest distance ever down to #2 but that doesn't make him greater than Lasker by default. Kramnik said that no one since Lasker was so much stronger than #2 but that doesn't in itself make him greater than Kasparov. There are many ways to measure, longevity of dominance, results in World Championships and other top events being some of them.
Carlsen. Dead chess players have traditionally performed badly compared to alive ones. Maroczy lost to Korchnoi, remember?
Raja, You must be kidding. If winning 19(Not counting the forfeit) in a row is no big deal why has no one in the modern era ever done it?
Hmm. A tangled web we have woven...with strings attached to everyone from Capa-Kasparov (with Lasker, Karpov, Fischer intertwined).
I'd say, if hypothetically Capa in his prime were alive today...yes...with access to the same resources as Carlsen, he would lose. Not because of disparity of knowledge, experience, or talent. But mostly because of personality. Capa was extremely high-minded, ultimately confident in himself to mirror what we'd call nowadays; "lackadaisical". Which was his downfall vs Alekhine. Great as Capa was/is...self-improvement wasn't his modus-operandi. Otherwise, the "Chess Machine" could've been the most dominent player ever.
No need of Carlsen. Even Alekhine beat Capablanca at his peak
No need of Carlsen. Even Alekhine beat Capablanca at his peak
Not quite at his peak.
I believe Capablanca would win because he had no trainer and was a very gifted chess genius.
This what Alekhine said of Capablanca, "..... we have lost a very chess genius whose like we shall never see again.
Lasker said, " I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca.
Capablanca: 372 wins (ONLY 46 loses) 265 draws 803 games 73.9 % wins.
Carlsen: 395 wins 167 loses 437 draws 1549 games 61.4 % wins.
I know the post was months old but Lasker being in the elite of chess had a very skewed idea of genius. He was one himself but when your competition is Schlechter, Rubenstein (so we know right there that Capablanca wasn't the only Chess genius Lasker knew), Botvinnik, Steinitz (especially given how he revolutionized chess by introducing the scientific method to it and doing away with romanticism), and of course Alekhine, who defeated Capablanca.
Carlsen is undoubtedly a chess genius too. I think Carlsen would trounce Capablanca. No disrespect meant to Capablanca, it's just that chess has advanced so much since Capa's day. Think of whom Carlsen faces, remember Fischer's peak rating? Well he faces people who are around it and win. Nakamura surpassed Fischer's peak yet can only draw Carlsen at best!
If up to date Bobby Fischer can't beat Carlsen what chance does Capa have?
Off topic I know, but what happened to the results from the World Open??
Carlsen and Capablanca are both genuis! I think one the reason Carlsen is doing well in chess, is his style is so close to Capablanca, the way he win simple positions so much like Capablanca. I view one game of Carlsen when he played the Queen's Gambit declined and a won beautiful game; I be coming to be a big fan of Magnus.
Finally. Sheesh. :)
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