Chess

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
There must be some reason why the Russians dominate chess so much though, right? There are far more Russians on this list than any other nationality, and many who aren't Russian are from elsewhere in the (former) USSR, or other once-communist countries:

It talks here about state sponsorship of chess under the Soviet regime.

Yes, it was state sponsored. They took it very seriously.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
@subvert47, you might know this. I've often wondered just how much of an advantage it is to play white. Have you got any idea how often, on average, white wins in professional matches? I'm guessing it's over 50% but is it, like, 55% or 50.1%?
 

luka

Well-known member
I can answer that one there is a general consensus among players and theorists that the player who makes the first move (White) has an inherent advantage. Since 1851, compiled statistics support this view; White consistently wins slightly more often than Black, usually scoring between 52 and 56 percent.
 

mixed_biscuits

_________________________
Yeah, but at the pro level players make moves simultaneously and all that is irrelevant.

Three, two, one, move!

Who can forget the classic footage of Alekhin and Fischer clashing hands in Casablanca.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
@subvert47, you might know this. I've often wondered just how much of an advantage it is to play white. Have you got any idea how often, on average, white wins in professional matches? I'm guessing it's over 50% but is it, like, 55% or 50.1%?

Okay, I've just done a database search: both players rated 2700+ (elite level human play), date 2004-2021:
From 21526 games, White scores 54.8%.

Alternatively, in the current Top Chess Engine Championship (both computers rated about 3600):
From 88 games, White scores 58.5%. That's 15 wins for White and 73 draws. Black has won no games at all.

In general, having the first move gives White a practical advantage. Or to put it another way, although you can't win unless someone makes a mistake, White has more leeway to make a few inferior moves and still stay within the drawing zone. Whereas a few inferior moves as Black will probably land you in serious trouble.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Okay, I've just done a database search: both players rated 2700+ (elite level human play), date 2004-2021:
From 21526 games, White scores 54.8%.

Alternatively, in the current Top Chess Engine Championship (both computers rated about 3600):
From 88 games, White scores 58.5%. That's 15 wins for White and 73 draws. Black has won no games at all.

In general, having the first move gives White a practical advantage. Or to put it another way, although you can't win unless someone makes a mistake, White has more leeway to make a few inferior moves and still stay within the drawing zone. Whereas a few inferior moves as Black will probably land you in serious trouble.
Great post, ta.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Alternatively, in the current Top Chess Engine Championship (both computers rated about 3600):
From 88 games, White scores 58.5%. That's 15 wins for White and 73 draws. Black has won no games at all.
The final score was Stockfish 53 Leela 47, with 22 wins for White and 78 draws. That's 61% for White, which is really quite high.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The idea of chess as a competitive spectator sport always makes me think of the excellent World Staring Championship cartoon in Big Train:

 

mixed_biscuits

_________________________
Some games with colour bias permit the player who goes second to swap colour with the starter after a set number of moves.
 

luka

Well-known member
In 1959, the Vostok station was the scene of a fight between two scientists over a game of chess.[8][9][10] When one of them lost the game, he became so enraged that he attacked the other with an ice axe.[10][8][9] According to some sources, it was a murder,[10][8][9] though other sources say that the attack was not fatal.[11] Afterwards, chess games were banned at Soviet/Russian Antarctic stations.[8][10]
 
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