THE Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in chess.

Elo is not that reliable. Let’s take a Look at what Arpad Elo (the inventor of this system) said about his own creation.

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He said it was futile to attempt to use ratings to compare players from different eras and in his view, they could only possibly measure the strength of a player compared to his or her contemporaries.

He also said the process of rating players was in any case rather approximate; Elo is not absolutely correct and must be adjusted over time. He compared it to “the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which is swaying in the wind”!

The Fide rating list for July has just been released and Magnus Carlsen remains world No. 1 at 2826. Veselin Topalov lost some points in his world title match against Viswanathan Anand and is second with 2803.

Anand moved to No. 3 and these three players are rated 2800 and above. In addition, there are 37 players over 2700 and all players in the top 100 are 2639 and higher.

Wesley So is rated 2674 and is at No. 60.

Only one player in history has ever been rated higher than Magnus: Garry Kasparov, who peaked at 2851 11 years ago.

Here are the Elo ratings of the world top 20 players and the year they acquired them.

You will notice that only Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov are included. The great players of the past like Capablanca, Lasker, Tal ,Spassky, Botvinnik are nowhere near.

Gary Kasparov (Russia, 2851,1999), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2826, 2010) Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2813, 2006), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2811, 2002), Viswanathan Anand (India, 2803, 2006), Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2788, 2008), Ivanchuk Vassily (Ukraine, 2787, 2007), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786, 2009), Robert Fischer (USA, 2785, 1972), Anatoly Karpov ( Russia, 2780, 1994), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2765, 2006), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2763, 2005), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ( Azerbaijan, 2763, 2010), Radjabov Teimour (Azerbaijan, 2761, 2009), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2761, 2010), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, 2760,2009), Alex Grischuk (Russia, 2760, 2010), Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan, 2759, 2010), Michael Adams (England, 2755, 2000), Alexei Shirov ( Spain, 2755,2008).

Ratings inflation is a real thing over time and it is a scandal that the ratings required to get titles have not moved with it.

The highest title a player can reach is the grandmaster and once awarded, it is good for life. There is only one title higher than that and it is world champion.

My proposal is to increase the minimum rating of a grandmaster from 2500 to 2620 and an IM from 2400 to 2520.

A GM title should carry some measure of respect from the lesser rated players but that is not what is happening now. Beating a GM is relatively easier and once achieved, it does not merit news coverage.

MARATHON. The country’s bid to break the world record for the biggest chess simultaneous exhibition is scheduled on July 31 to Aug. 1 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales will face 600 opponents—mostly varsity players from public schools of the nation capital—and needs at least an 80 percent score to qualify for the record.

The current record-holder is Iranian GM Morteza Mahjoob, who faced 500 opponents simultaneously last Aug. 13, 2009 in Tehran, Iran.

PLDT, Shell and other supporters will cover the bulk of the operating expenses including the preparation expenses of Gonzales. Registration is free.