Who was the most talented chess player ever?

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michiguel
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by michiguel » Sat May 23, 2009 2:59 am

james uselton wrote:
michiguel wrote:
james uselton wrote:
michiguel wrote:
M ANSARI wrote:To me talent is when you can do something without training hard for it. In tennis Mc Enroe was an amazing talent and drove other competing tennis players nuts because he could get away with not training and still play world class tennis. In chess Capablanca is the same, a natural talent who seems to have been born with chess abilities. Remember talent does not mean the strongest chess player ever, that would have to go to Fischer or Kasparov.

By the way, I also think Carlsen is an exceptionally talented player ... in a few years he might surpass everyone.
I think Ilie Nastase would be a good example of amazing talent too.

I do not believe that talent is when you can do something without trainiing hard for it. I think that is a consequence of it. To me, talent is to have a superior understanding and mastery, linked to skills that allow you to do things that fewer can do. Talent is potential. As a consequence, most talented players may be able to perform well with less effort.

I chose Rubinstein for those reasons. He mastered all levels of the game, despite he started to play relatively late. Only a handful of players in history may compare to his endgame skills. His games were symphonies at a time that most players were just hackers. He was only shadowed by his occasional blunders, his mental problems, and that his prime was by WWI. I witnessed Najdorf telling some stories that he and other players visit him when he was hospitalized. They could no beat Rubinstein at blitz, and the man was completely insane.

Miguel
Well, Rubinstein was certainly a talented player, but the most talented? I think he was known as the most blunder prone of all the elite Grandmasters.
Capablanca, Fischer and Kasparov are obvious choices but they have other attributes that made them succeed. Nerves of steel, competitive edge, etc. etc. Rubinstein was a loner made of only 100% talent and a philosophical approach to chess.

You are making my point with the blunders. His overall chess was like Michelangelo's Moses. A Masterpiece full of talent with a blunder on the knee.
You say---"They could no beat Rubinstein at blitz, and the man was completely insane." One could almost say that about Fischer---No one could beat him at blitz and he was almost completely insane!
And yet I dont think you feel very highly of Fischer.
We are talking about someone that was in a mental institution for years. No, the comparison is not the same.

Where the heck did you come up with the idea I do not feel highly of Fischer?!?!?

What about Capablanca? Somebody said that he was quoted in 1907 as having said he had never opened a book on openings. Of course, no one knew who he was in 1907--- He was a student at Columbia. He was champion for 6 years (he never played anyone) and on his first defence he loses to a player who had never beaten him ever! Thats reminiscent of Spassky v Fischer isnt it.

Lasker who was champion the longest---never played anybody! Steinitz was an old man. Marshall was a terrible match player. Lasker handled him like a baby. Ditto Janowsky. The drawing master, Schlechter, put up a good fight---too bad he didnt play like that all the time.

Its fun to speculate but you can punch holes in almost everyone! Dont all of these elite GMs of the past come up short when tested by computer programs? How talented can you be with all those mistakes!?
Rubinstein shoudl have been WC from ~1910 to 1921. Capablanca should have beaten Rubinstein then, not Lasker. That would have been a match 20 years ahead of his time!
That would have make Capablanca an ever better Champion.

Other options in modern times are Tal and Spassky. Tal was clearly held by poor health, and Spassky just did not love chess. Spassky was one of the few who could play any style. He could play like Petrosian or could be an attacking beast. He told Panno once: "Why do I want to win this match?" (He was playing Portisch in Switzerland at that time). If I win, I will have to prepare for the finals, and then against Karpov, and if I regain the title, it will be more and more problems.

Another name that shoud consider among the top talented players is Harry Pillsbury. Withouth disease, Lasker would not have been a Champion in the XX century.

Miguel
Miguel, I seem to recall several derogatory remarks about Fischer in your recent posts. Maybe I mis-read your remarks.
Maybe on RJF's attitude, never on his chess abilities.

You said "Rubinstein was a loner made of only 100% talent and a philosophical approach to chess."
Let me change the wording around slightly and we will have a nice description of Fischer and Rubinstein---They were extraordinary loners made of 100% talent and a maniacal approach to chess.
So you are saying that Rubinstein's talent is comparable to Fischers? What are you arguing about then?

Let me clarify: Philosophical was meant as, "AR tried to play the best move for a given position, regardless of opponents or circumstances."

You say---"We are talking about someone that was in a mental institution for years. No, the comparison is not the same."

Maybe, maybe not. I think everyone agrees Fischer was mentally ill. Maybe his life was more difficult because he was not in a mental institution. Anyhow, I doubt if Rubinstein played the class of blitz players Fischer did---No, the comparison is not the same.
Fischer in his prime was worried that Russians were after him. Rubinstein in his prime thought he had a fly in his head buzzing during the game. Later in his life, Fischer was paranoid, whereas Rubinstein was completely schizophrenic. The difference is big.

There are many similarites regarding chess between AR and BF. Except the competitive edge, nerves etc. who faver BF and not AR. AR did to his opponents in ~1912 what Fischer did in the handful of years before 1972.

Both had clean chess, with a purpose from the beginning to the endgame, only understood by the opponents in retrospective. However, AR was the first one to come up with this type of beauty. At least Fischer had Capablanca as model, Rubinstein had a clumsy imperfect Steinitz to learn from.
Fischer chess was superb, but what AR achieved in terms of positional understanding is remarkable for his time. BF had several gigantic shoulders to stand on. AR had a couple of old shoulders from Steinitz. Not very firm if you ask me :-).
Miguel, you said---"Rubinstein shoudl have been WC from ~1910 to 1921."
Thats your opinion and welcome to it. Kasparov has said that had there been a match between Lasker and Rubinstein at this time, Rubinstein would have lost due to his psychological weaknesses. Amigo, I have to side with Kasparov on this one!
Thanks! You are making my point! Kasparov did not think AR would lose based on talent!
Besides, AR never lost a match, AFAIK. AR beat Marshall, Bogoljubov, and Schechler, all previous and future WC contenders.
You say---"Another name that shoud consider among the top talented players is Harry Pillsbury. Withouth disease, Lasker would not have been a Champion in the XX century.

maybe, maybe not---Pillsbury, in his prime, before his illness, still had a minus score against Lasker. Correct me if I'm wrong. So, one could conclude, even without Pillsbury's illness---Lasker would still have been world champ.
The overall score was even. In fact, in St. Petersbourg 1896 he beat Lasker in the individiual match, despite he started to suffer the impact of syphilis in the second half of the tournament.

Miguel

Salud!

james uselton

Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by james uselton » Sat May 23, 2009 6:22 am

Miguel, I'll be quick as I dont want to hog this thread with petty squabbles.

Rubinstein and Fischer were similar in several ways but Fischer had the superior talent.

You said---"Let me clarify: Philosophical was meant as, "AR tried to play the best move for a given position, regardless of opponents or circumstances."

OK, thats definitely a distinction. I believe Fischer looked for a good move and made a good move---almost always! Fischer never had time problems. In the great blitz tournament of 1968 he used (on average)
2 1/2 mins per game. Most of the other great blitz players had several losses on time. I guess they were searching for the best move.

I am not a doctor, but in pure laymans terms---Schizophrenia and paranoia have similarities. I wouldnt be surprised to learn that most schzophrenics suffer from some form of paranoia.

there is no comparison between Rubinstein in 1912 and Fischer in 72, or 71, or 70 or a number of years in the 60's. I hope you dont think Rubinstein beating Marshall in a match is impressive. Ditto for Bogo. Schlechter would have been impressive had Schlechter been eating regular---he died of starvation shortly after their match.

I think the syphilis thing is pure speculation. Maybe its true and maybe it an't. But it sure didnt take effect in 1895, or 96, or 97 etc.
As late as 1902 Pillsbury was travelling the world playing in gruelling tournaments. Take Hanover 1902---In between rounds at the Hanover 1902 tournament, Pillsbury played simultaneously and blindfolded 21 games, his opponents being 18 competitors from the Haupt tournament and the best three from Section B. The seance lasted from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and then from 6:30 p.m. until past 2:00 a.m. Pillsbury generously allowed consultation and the moving of pieces.

Here are names of some of the notable players who took part in this remarkable exhibition: O. S. Bernstein; C. Carls; E. Cohn; F. Englund; H. Fahrni; L. Fleischmann; W. John & J. Moller. Against these 8 players, Pillsbury drew 6 and beat H. Fahrni and J. Moller. This does not sound like an ill man.

Vaya con Dios Senior!

james uselton

Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by james uselton » Sat May 23, 2009 7:33 am

Sorry, I meant to say Vaya con Dios Senor!

Albert Silver
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by Albert Silver » Sat May 23, 2009 6:25 pm

Graham Banks wrote:
Albert Silver wrote: In terms of pure raw talent, I would go with Capablanca, Mecking, Kasparov, Anand, and Fischer. Caruana is more than a little astonishing too.

Albert
I had a feeling that you might include Mecking. Is Caruana Brazilian also? :wink: :lol:
Mecking completely deserves the mention in the list of raw talent. He was state champion at the age of 7, national champion in front of 5 IMs at the age of 12, and had NO trainer of any kind, little to no reading material, much less access to top level competition to hone his skills then.

Actually, now that I think of it, Reschevsky was also a fantastic child prodigy so should be included.

As to Caruana, he is 16, and is American/Italian. His rise has been nothing short of meteoric, and he must be considered a phenomenon. Consider this: in January 2005 he was rated a modest 2219, one year later was at 2409, then 2492, 2598, and then 2646 in January this year. We've all seen big leaps here and there, but this kid just doesn't stop!

He won the Wijk an Zee B tournament this year with a fantastic last round win against GM Nigel Short, qualifying for the main Super GM event next year, and just now was the best performer by far in the MitropaCup.

Albert
"Tactics are the bricks and sticks that make up a game, but positional play is the architectural blueprint."

Marc Lacrosse
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by Marc Lacrosse » Sat May 23, 2009 7:21 pm

Albert Silver wrote:
As to Caruana, he is 16, (...)
He won the Wijk an Zee B tournament this year with a fantastic last round win against GM Nigel Short (...)
Albert
If I remember correctly Short blundered horribly in the late phase of the game after having completely dominated the young guy (I could be wrong, because I did not check the game since I followed it live)

Marc

PS IMHO Nigel Short is another immensely gifted underestimated chess talent. He was one of the very few people who were able to crush Kasparov in the eighties.

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Graham Banks
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by Graham Banks » Sat May 23, 2009 7:30 pm

Albert Silver wrote:
Graham Banks wrote:
Albert Silver wrote: In terms of pure raw talent, I would go with Capablanca, Mecking, Kasparov, Anand, and Fischer. Caruana is more than a little astonishing too.

Albert
I had a feeling that you might include Mecking. Is Caruana Brazilian also? :wink: :lol:
Mecking completely deserves the mention in the list of raw talent. He was state champion at the age of 7, national champion in front of 5 IMs at the age of 12, and had NO trainer of any kind, little to no reading material, much less access to top level competition to hone his skills then.

Actually, now that I think of it, Reschevsky was also a fantastic child prodigy so should be included.

As to Caruana, he is 16, and is American/Italian. His rise has been nothing short of meteoric, and he must be considered a phenomenon. Consider this: in January 2005 he was rated a modest 2219, one year later was at 2409, then 2492, 2598, and then 2646 in January this year. We've all seen big leaps here and there, but this kid just doesn't stop!

He won the Wijk an Zee B tournament this year with a fantastic last round win against GM Nigel Short, qualifying for the main Super GM event next year, and just now was the best performer by far in the MitropaCup.

Albert
I was just ribbing you of course. :)
Both Mecking and Reshevsky were certainly considered prodigies.
Hadn't heard of Caruana though. His progress should be interesting to follow.

Cheers,
Graham.
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gbanksnz at yahoo.co.nz

Fguy64
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by Fguy64 » Sat May 23, 2009 7:53 pm

Yes, Caruana could easily be top ten material in a few years, if he keeps it up. There is another kid, Wesley So from the Philipines, who is worth keeping an eye on.

In regards to these young prodigies. So much more is known now about proper learning and training methods, compared to when I was a kid. I never followed any kind of structured learning plan for chess, as a kid, if I had I'm sure I'd be much better than I am.

For these reasons, I'd have to put Reshevsky above guys like Caruana and Carlson and So when it comes to talent. Not sure how Mecking fits in all of this, though.

james uselton

Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by james uselton » Sun May 24, 2009 12:06 am

Marc Lacrosse wrote:
Albert Silver wrote:
As to Caruana, he is 16, (...)
He won the Wijk an Zee B tournament this year with a fantastic last round win against GM Nigel Short (...)
Albert
If I remember correctly Short blundered horribly in the late phase of the game after having completely dominated the young guy (I could be wrong, because I did not check the game since I followed it live)

Marc

PS IMHO Nigel Short is another immensely gifted underestimated chess talent. He was one of the very few people who were able to crush Kasparov in the eighties.
I seem to recall just the opposite---My own feeling was---Nigel wasnt qualified to carry Kasparov's Shorts! In the 80's 90's or whenever.

When asked who would be his opponent in the 93 championship kasparov replied "it will be Short." When asked how will the match go Kasparov replied "it will be Short."---Man, was he ever right!!!

Kasparov was a strong prodigy but he didnt get a lot of publicity. The facts about Reshevsky could be misleading. I read there was some doubt about his birth date. He may have been 2 or 3 yrs older than his stated age. When your family is living off you and you are a young chess prodigy---its beneficial to be as young as possible.

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michiguel
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Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by michiguel » Sun May 24, 2009 1:17 am

james uselton wrote:Miguel, I'll be quick as I dont want to hog this thread with petty squabbles.

Rubinstein and Fischer were similar in several ways but Fischer had the superior talent.

You said---"Let me clarify: Philosophical was meant as, "AR tried to play the best move for a given position, regardless of opponents or circumstances."

OK, thats definitely a distinction. I believe Fischer looked for a good move and made a good move---almost always! Fischer never had time problems. In the great blitz tournament of 1968 he used (on average)
2 1/2 mins per game. Most of the other great blitz players had several losses on time. I guess they were searching for the best move.

I am not a doctor, but in pure laymans terms---Schizophrenia and paranoia have similarities. I wouldnt be surprised to learn that most schzophrenics suffer from some form of paranoia.

there is no comparison between Rubinstein in 1912 and Fischer in 72, or 71, or 70 or a number of years in the 60's. I hope you dont think Rubinstein beating Marshall in a match is impressive. Ditto for Bogo. Schlechter would have been impressive had Schlechter been eating regular---he died of starvation shortly after their match.

I think the syphilis thing is pure speculation. Maybe its true and maybe it an't. But it sure didnt take effect in 1895, or 96, or 97 etc.
As late as 1902 Pillsbury was travelling the world playing in gruelling tournaments. Take Hanover 1902---In between rounds at the Hanover 1902 tournament, Pillsbury played simultaneously and blindfolded 21 games, his opponents being 18 competitors from the Haupt tournament and the best three from Section B. The seance lasted from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and then from 6:30 p.m. until past 2:00 a.m. Pillsbury generously allowed consultation and the moving of pieces.

Here are names of some of the notable players who took part in this remarkable exhibition: O. S. Bernstein; C. Carls; E. Cohn; F. Englund; H. Fahrni; L. Fleischmann; W. John & J. Moller. Against these 8 players, Pillsbury drew 6 and beat H. Fahrni and J. Moller. This does not sound like an ill man.
It sounds like he died in 06 of a serious case of speculation ;-)

Miguel

Vaya con Dios Senior!

james uselton

Re: Who was the most talented chess player ever?

Post by james uselton » Sun May 24, 2009 2:29 am

Well, he could have died from any number of reasons---some were put forward in the book "American Chess Art" by Walter Korn. None of the reasons Korn listed were the results of syphilis.
It may or may not have been the results of syphilis but I'm waiting for definite proof---like a photo-copy of the death certificate. Why dont somebody publish that? :wink:

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