1392: Dominant Players

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Chess players Vladimir Kramnik and  Levon Aronian, who have faced each other on multiple occasions in the 2010s, are shown as having their career paths entwined.
 
Chess players Vladimir Kramnik and  Levon Aronian, who have faced each other on multiple occasions in the 2010s, are shown as having their career paths entwined.
  
It is unknown why some NBA players were excluded from the NBA chart in favor of players with lower career and yearly efficiency ratings. Example: Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robinson, and Chris Paul should all arguably be included.
+
It is unknown why some NBA players were excluded from the NBA chart in favor of players with lower career and yearly efficiency ratings. Example: Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robinson, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul should all arguably be included.
  
 
==Transcript==
 
==Transcript==

Revision as of 14:43, 9 July 2014

Dominant Players
When Vera Menchik entered a 1929 tournament, a male competitor mocked her by suggesting that a special 'Vera Menchik Club' would be created for any player who lost to her. When the tournament began, he promptly became the first member of said club, and over the years it accumulated a large and illustrious roster.
Title text: When Vera Menchik entered a 1929 tournament, a male competitor mocked her by suggesting that a special 'Vera Menchik Club' would be created for any player who lost to her. When the tournament began, he promptly became the first member of said club, and over the years it accumulated a large and illustrious roster.

A large version of this comic is available here.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Probably needs more detail.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

The comic shows the rise and fall of players' strengths in two games, basketball and chess. For chess, there is an overall chart, and a women's chart.

For basketball, it uses a player efficiency rating.

For chess, it uses the Elo rating. It explains that since Elo is relatively new, the rating is extrapolated backwards in time.

There are several references. Some are intended to provide context (such as "Loses to Deep Blue"), while others are tangents or jokes, including:

  • Jerry West - The Guy in The NBA logo
  • Kareem Abdul Jabbar - Airplane (a comedy film he had a role in)
  • Michael Jordan - Space Jam (a comedy starring Jordan)
  • Lebron James - The Decision (a reference to a heavily hyped decision as to which team he would play for)
  • Kira Zvorykina - It says "Continued playing in tournaments into the 20th century". Wikipedia says, "she still plays chess in rated tournaments", though it does not give the last rated tournament she played in. The 20th century is the 1900's, so this is either a joke or a mistake.

The starbursts are references to a player appearing or disappearing in unusual circumstances:

  • Alexander Alekhine- Died under disputed circumstances in Portugal
  • Bobby Fischer - Text says "Vanished...". He did not actually vanish, but he did stop playing competitively for about 20 years starting in 1972. This is also probably a reference to the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, which is not actually about Fischer, but about a player who partly models his career on Fischer's. The name "Searching for Bobby Fischer" may lead people to believe Fischer literally vanished, but that is not the case.
  • Bobby Fischer "Reappeared then vanished again" is another reference to Fischer, who resumed playing competitively in 1992 for a brief time. "He had problems" is a simplistic description of issues and controversies in Fischer's later life, including an arrest warrant (because he violated a U.S. embargo against Yugoslavia), unpaid taxes, controversy about his statements (including anti-semitism). The U.S. eventually revoked his passport, and he was jailed for eight months in Japan. He then received Icelandic citizenship, and lived out the rest of his life there.
  • Vera Menchik - She died in an attack by an early guided missile (a V-1 flying bomb) launched by the Germans in World War II.

Judit Polgar, the strongest woman chess player ever, is shown rising from the gender-defined ranks of women's chess and breaking into the top 10 in the world FIDA ratings. She ranked eighth in the world in 2005.

Chess players Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian, who have faced each other on multiple occasions in the 2010s, are shown as having their career paths entwined.

It is unknown why some NBA players were excluded from the NBA chart in favor of players with lower career and yearly efficiency ratings. Example: Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robinson, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul should all arguably be included.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.


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Discussion

This may be related to the recent MOBA segregation controversy: http://www.pcgamer.com/uk/2014/07/02/hearthstone-tournament/ 108.162.229.25 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What is the significance of the line colors? 108.162.215.78 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think the red lines are those players that were undisputed #1 for a significant period. 103.22.201.239 08:02, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
But Petrosian has no colored line, although he was world champion. Maybe he did not have the highest ELO rating despite being WC?Jkrstrt (talk) 09:23, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Ya, this line colouring thing is bugging me. :P Jarod997 (talk) 14:22, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The lack of explanation of the red lines bugs me too. Makes me think this comic was rushed, or never finished. 108.162.250.216 22:18, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Dashed lines are apparently for the period before ELO ratings existed, taking 1965 as a start point (midway between the point in time when ELO rating was adopted by USCF and FIDE, respectively. There seems to be an exception for Alekhine -or is that a very long dash? Jkrstrt (talk) 09:23, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Naughty Randall, always label your axes! Kaa-ching (talk) 08:00, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

The comment in the women's rankings about Kira Zvorykina is a little odd. One would hope she continued playing in tournaments into the 20th century, given that the first 81 years of her life were in the 20th century. 108.162.250.220 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

While at the time, the V-1 was called a "Flying Bomb", wikipedia indeed calls it an early pulse-jet ancestor of the modern cruise missile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb . I built a model of one in an 8th grade rocketry club, replacing the pulse jet with an Estes D-6-0. Mine took off, but sure enough, yes, the stubby wings stalled easily, the flight path was a weird s curve as the wings stalled out twice while under thrust.Seebert (talk) 09:03, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Link to the game against Deep Blue, anybody? Also, shouldn't the title text be at least mentioned? 199.27.128.71 09:13, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Kasparov-Deep Blue Games: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1014770 141.101.64.131 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The explanation says in the first sentence that for chess there's an overall rating and a woman's rating in the comic. All I see is a men's rating and a woman's rating, no overall rating, however. 108.162.254.24 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

As Judith Polgar is present in the first chart, it appears to be an overall, not specifically a men's chart.Jkrstrt (talk) 11:37, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
My impression is that the above is the Men's Chart but with Judit added (hence the note), because (although unsure because of the curse of unlabelled axes) some of the other top-ranking-women-but-not-top-ranking-overall would still earn a position on the above 'graph'.
(Also, something in me wanted a reference to Chess-Boxing, but it appears that was not the aim.) 141.101.99.233 13:16, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
There is no "woman" ranking.Chvsanchez (talk) 05:11, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Anyone knows why Viswanathan Anand is not included (or am I blind?) Marty / 141.101.104.43 I had the exact same question. It appears that this is a West and Russian centric view of the world Indianrediff (talk) 13:23, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

No. Koneru Humpy is mentioned. He's a big Carlson fan and I think he doesn't like Anand. One of his old comics suggested that. Probably never realised Anand met and beat Carlson back in 2008. 108.162.222.78 16:37, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Out of pure curiosity, could anyone please upload an image/link of how Anand's curve might look, if it was added to the graph? I'm not a huge chess fan, but I am interested in seeing the extent of Randall's possible bias in this regard. 173.245.62.62 05:21, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

For me it feels weirder to see Stefanova there, but not Topalov. Then again, for some reason Bulgarian media keep a low profile of her. 141.101.104.107 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~) It's Julius Erving not Irving. 173.245.54.151 13:27, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

The choice of basketball and chess is something to think about. This mostly is about chess, and basketball represents the physical sports. It immediately stands out that chess players have much longer careers than basketball players. Jim E (talk) 15:55, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Something else I think someone needs to look at is the line of best fit. For basketball it's basically horizontal, but for chess it tends to curve upwards. I'd add it myself, but I feel like there's more than just that and I'm missing something. Athang (talk) 16:53, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

I haven't seen any mention of this interpretation, so it might be just me, but I immediately read the juxtaposition of basketball to chess as a contrast of how skill at the top level of basketball is essentially stagnant, whereas the best chess players have been outstripping their predecessors for decades. 173.245.52.157 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The y-axis is unlabelled, that's annoying --141.101.93.222 19:53, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

A couple points; 1) I would interpret the Basketball vs. Chess dichotomy as a slam against basketball, with the (largely) serious comments about chess vs. pointing out movies on BB. There are a jillion things he could have chosen to comment on - why highlight the embarassing career moves of BB players? (2) The rating system for BB has an (essentially) static upper limit, whereas these chess rating systems have larger upper bounds as the player pool grows, so comparisons of upper bounds are unfair. That may be part of the point, or a dishonest comparison. Not sure of Randall's motivations. (not that I like BB anyways...) (3) No comparison to women's BB is made - so this further inclines me to think that there are two separate agendas here: (i) physical BB vs. mental chess and (ii) women's rights in chess. An honest comparison would include women's BB as well. (4) The vertical axis on the graphs do not start at zero, so the scaling could be correct... just somewhat deceiving by violating fundmental rules of creating graphs (no labels, inconsistent scales and they have non-zero bases). (5) Red lines are *generally* the top person at some point in their career for more than 5(?) years (David Robinson seems like the tell)

All in all, rather disappointed in the seemingly conflicting political agendas and poorly represented graphs. Chorb (talk) 21:36, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Also, please note that player efficiency ratings and similar "aggregate scores" are the subject of much discussion in basketball due to inherent biases, and their performance is particularly poor when comparing players from different eras. Attempts at adjusting for pace and game styles have not been too successful so far. 108.162.229.87 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Statistician Jeff Sonas produced his famous research in 2005. You can find his graph here: http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Summary.asp.Chvsanchez (talk) 05:11, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

I have more or less included all the info and thoughts above, and added data tables, and links to a graph of another sources paths. I have thus completed the comic. But feel free to improve or add more (or if still not complete enough please note why and mark it as incomplete again.) ;-) Kynde (talk) 18:31, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

This comic had the potential to be really cool, but Randall just had to go all social justice soldier and shit it up with benevolent-sexist feminism. "Here's the 'regular' graph: Chess. And here's the other graph: Chess (Women!) (They're different) (They're special) (I'm not reinforcing social inequality by doing this, I'm changing it for the better!)." Yeah, eat shit, Randall. 108.162.212.215 16:45, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Chess is divided by sex at the professional level. Because of the way that Elo is calculated, this division makes it impossible to fairly display them on the same chart. Elo is based on a comparison of players to one another, and because it's not zero-sum, the level of skill described a certain Elo lowers over time. When it was new, a thousand would have been incredible, because everyone had started out low and were competing against other low-ranked players. And since the pools of opponents are different due to the professional-level sex divide, their skills cannot be compared by Elo. Plotting women onto the mens' chart would result in the women being ranked poorly, because the meaning of a certain Elo score is different. This is also why chess is gradually climbing while basketball stays at the same maximum. 108.162.246.209 12:54, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
That's incorrect, Chess is not officially divided by sex at the professional level. There are "Open" tournaments, in which either gender is welcome to compete, and "Women's" events, in which only women are allowed to compete. Second, elo is not gender specific. It is merely a comparison of playing strength/a prediction of the likelihood player A defeats player B, and there is no "men's" elo and "women's" elo. Nor are the "pools of opponents different." At any broadly open tournament in the world, like the U.S. Open, men and women play each other. You might be mistaken by looking only at ultra high-tier tournaments, which are almost exclusively men, as many of them are by invite or placement only. But again, that is because men dominate the upper level of competition, not because women are not allowed in; it's just a plain statement of fact that a top women's player like Hou Yifan would be steamrolled at a tournament like Wijk An See. When Judit was an active player, she regularly competed in these tournaments because her skill level was on or near par with these players.
In short, your comment is just wrong. The meaning of an Elo score is not different for each sex. There is no official segregation at the professional level; there is just a nuanced appreciation that the major female players are not yet at the level of the major male players. That is why very small (in terms of number of players) round robin tournaments like Wijk An See have a women's section and an open section-without a women's section, there would be no women in the tournament at all. 108.162.216.210 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Any way to find out which NBA and ABA Randall is referring to? NBA could be National Basketball Association or Nepal Basketball Association. ABA could be Australian Basketball Association, American Basketball Association or Adriatic Basketball Association. Tharkon (talk) 21:43, 12 December 2014 (UTC)


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