Time Controls And The Grand Chess Tour
% scores of GCT players 2016-2018

Time Controls And The Grand Chess Tour

SmarterChess
NM SmarterChess
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65 | Fun & Trivia

In a continuation from the last article, Is Classical Chess Dead From Draws, we will be comparing different time controls in the Grand Chess Tour (GCT).  Mike Klein just wrote a recent piece highlighting the new 2019 format and the players on the invite list.

Last month we analyzed the classical chess draw rate by year when both players were rated over 2750.  In the past couple of years, that rate has increased above 70%!

Data Collection
The data for this article contains all Grand Chess Tour games from 2016-2018.  The collection includes 257 classical games, 272 rapid games, and 540 blitz games.  GM Robert Hess helped with the interpretation of the data.

Draw Rate by Format
Within the GCT data set, the overall classical draw rate was 69.3%, which matches closely to the data we used last month in the same time frame.  I hypothesized that the draw rate would decrease as the time control decreased.  Blitz would have the lowest draw rate in that case, and rapid would fall in the middle.  Surprisingly, the draw rate for rapid and blitz was 42.3% and 42.0%, respectively.  

Player Statistics by Format
Some players tend to be very consistent across all formats.  One example is Maxime Vachier Lagrave who scored 54-60% in all three formats.  At the other extreme are the specialists like Wesley So.  So scored 65.7% in rapid, 52.2% in classical, and 45.8% in blitz.  The draw rate is another interesting stat to compare across the formats.  Anand, So, and Giri have the highest combined draw rates of the bunch, all above 56%.  Topalov, Caruana, and Carlsen have the lowest combined draw rates, all below 41%.

Overall Chart
In conclusion we will look at the overall performances of these players.  Magnus Carlsen scored 65% overall, winning the 2017 GCT.  In 2016 and 2018 Carlsen was a Wild Card Player, placing 1st or 2nd in his three wild card events.  Nakamura, who gets stronger as the time control gets shorter, scored an impressive 57%.  Nakamura placed 2nd in 2016, 4th in 2017, and won the tour in 2018.  Maxime Vachier Lagrave also scored 57% in the past three years, and he consistently performs well in all formats.  Vachier Lagrave placed 7th in 2016, 2nd in 2017, and 3rd in 2018 after qualifying for the playoffs.

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