Kasparov: Fischer’s 1972 rating 'much more significant' than Carlsen’s current rating

0 | Chess Event Coverage

In a telephone interview Garry Kasparov expressed the opinion that Bobby Fischer’s 1972 rating was 'much more significant' than Carlsen’s current rating. The 13th World Champion said this yesterday to Viktoria Korpan for Estonian newspaper Postimees.

Kasparov, who turns 49 today, is going to appear with the Estonian President at the Pärnu Finance Conference on April 19th. They will talk about "the role of innovation in the modern world".

On this occasion, Postimees spoke with Kasparov yesterday and published a lengthy interview about Russian politics, Chess in Schools and his new book. The following part was probably of most interest to chess fans. Asked 'who stands out among the young chess players', Kasparov answered:

The most talented is Carlsen, who is of course a star of the first order. In contrast to the situation in athletics, chess records depend on “inflation”. When I was climbing to the top you’d count one or two people with a 2700 rating and that was that, while now it’s at least 45 people.

In fact, due to the increase in those playing chess the base of the pyramid has grown, and that adds points at every level. Fischer’s rating was 2785 in 1972, but that’s of course much more significant than Carlsen’s higher rating now. It can be compared to my 2851 in 1999. The evolutionary factor is having an impact, so despite the mathematical basis of ratings I nevertheless wouldn’t attribute such historical importance to them.

When Fischer was climbing to the top he’d score +6, I’d score +6-7, while Carlsen scores +3-4. That's simply enough, as the pyramid really has grown, and today’s super-tournaments are now rated above 2750. The only tournament with a similar rating was in 1996. At the tournament in Las Palmas, which featured myself, Karpov, Kramnik, Anand, Ivanchuk and Topalov, the top six were all playing. That tournament was unique, although by current standards the ratings of the top players weren’t the highest. So you have to take that into account if you want to carry out a historical analysis.

Translation by Colin McGourty


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