Who Were the Hardest Players to Beat?

GrandMasterNoob21

 Just saying but chessgames.com doesn't have all the games in the world of the players.

loubalch
GrandMasterNoob21 wrote:

 Just saying but chessgames.com doesn't have all the games in the world of the players.

You're right, the stats may not include smaller tournaments or those where the results were lost or not recorded. But it's safe to assume that a majority of a player's games are included, which constitutes a random sampling. Thus, the losing percentages extrapolated from the games in the database should be very close to the actual data, if complete.

loubalch
ChessPlayer0112358 wrote:

Another player who could be added to this list is Ulf Andersson. According to chessgames.com he had a W-L-D record of 601-237-1483 for a loss percentage of only 10.21%.

ChessPlayer, to compile this list I had to first select the grandmasters to include. Doubtless, I missed a few good players. I've amended the OP and included him on the list. Thanks.

gmngana29

Do these numbers have anything to do with openings? For example Karpov played the Caro and that is a rather defensive opening.

chamo2074

Morphy though wasn't WC, the WC match was still unofficial at his time

tlay80
loubalch wrote:
GrandMasterNoob21 wrote:

 Just saying but chessgames.com doesn't have all the games in the world of the players.

You're right, the stats may not include smaller tournaments or those where the results were lost or not recorded. But it's safe to assume that a majority of a player's games are included, which constitutes a random sampling. Thus, the losing percentages extrapolated from the games in the database should be very close to the actual data, if complete.

The sample may not be so random though for older players, where it’s less complete. in many cases, what we know of their games — and especially their early ones — depends to at least some extent on what they published (or made available to others to publish) in collections of their games — which skews heavily toward their successes. For their mature years, we may have most of their serious games, but for their early years, we may only have the greatest hits. Whereas for the classical games of today’s players, we have almost everything. 

loubalch
chamo2074 wrote:

Morphy though wasn't WC, the WC match was still unofficial at his time

I know Morphy wasn't an official world champion, but he so dominated all the players of his day, he might as well have been. So we can put an asterisk next to his name and add "consensus world champion."

loubalch
tlay80 wrote:
GrandMasterNoob21 wrote:

The sample may not be so random though for older players, where it’s less complete. in many cases, what we know of their games — and especially their early ones — depends to at least some extent on what they published (or made available to others to publish) in collections of their games — which skews heavily toward their successes. For their mature years, we may have most of their serious games, but for their early years, we may only have the greatest hits. Whereas for the classical games of today’s players, we have almost everything. 

I'm not sure how the games included in the Chessgame.com database were selected, or what sources they were taken from. But the games included are random is the sense that they weren't cherry-picked (they seemed to have included all the games they could find). You have to recall that the masters of the past weren't playing in chess tournaments when they were teens and preteens. By the time they began their chess careers they were already playing at high level. Whereas Carlsen began his ascent with an ELO under 2100.

It's unfair to compare the masters of today with those of yesteryear based on these statistics, as there are just too many variables. Like comparing baseball players to today with those from the 1920s through the 1950s.

But we can extract general information that is relevant. Is it any surprise that 80% of the players with the lowest percentage of losses were world champions? I think not.

quietheathen1st
loubalch wrote:
chamo2074 wrote:

Morphy though wasn't WC, the WC match was still unofficial at his time

I know Morphy wasn't an official world champion, but he so dominated all the players of his day, he might as well have been. So we can put an asterisk next to his name and add "consensus world champion."

if thats the case, then i can think of like, 4 other people u missed. staunton, anderssen, von der lassa, the two french guys, all come to mind as they all dominated at one point or another.

loubalch
chamo2074 wrote:

Morphy though wasn't WC, the WC match was still unofficial at his time

I know Morphy wasn't an official world champion, but he so dominated all the players of his day, he might as well have been. So we can put an asterisk next to his name and add "consensus world champion."

if thats the case, then i can think of like, 4 other people u missed. staunton, anderssen, von der lassa, the two french guys, all come to mind as they all dominated at one point or another.

I didn't forget them, they just didn't make the cut. Percent losses as follows:

Howard Staunton - 26.3%

Adolf Anderssen - 39.1%

Von der Lassa - not in Chessgames.com database