October 01, 2009 14:15

Olimpbase, now also for historical ratings

OlimpbaseWhat was Fischer's rating on July 1972? Was Judit Polgar ever a top 10 player? Was Ivanchuk already a top 5 player in 1989? Olimpbase is a website dedicated to the collection of results and other data of team chess. Recently a new tool was added that answers questions like these.

"Unfortunately there is no place on the web where past Elo ratings back from 1970s could be found. Our project aims at filling this gap." Olimpbase recently added a new, and very cool tool for "fast and easy browsing of all historical lists and legible, comfortable player cards documenting all past ratings, placings, spellings and other data." We invite you to check it out.

Wojtek Bartelski, who runs Olimpbase, tells us that he started his website in September 2003. "But the website went online only in April 2004. In the beginning I only re-typed final crosstables from European Team Championships. For the sake of readers' curiosity, please have a look at this file, which is historically the very first one produced while working on OlimpBase!"

So why did he start the project? "Hard to tell. I always had sort of inner feeling that this is kind of effort that had never been done, and should be done one day. I noticed that history of individual tournamens was documented far better than team events. Many interesting tournaments like, say, continental team events, Clare Benedict Cup, or Student Olympiads, were never thoroughly analyzed."

It's an arduous task to collect such a massive, and continually growing amount of data, which cannot be done by just one person. Bartelski: "This is an open project, so many people (close to 400) contributed sending me data. People do send archival bulletins, old book, photocopies or scans. There are some who send specific data only once in their life, but there are many who are regular contributors. It must be stressed that despite huge numbers, nobody ever claimed money refund for photocopy/dispatch costs. We are all people who love the game and do it for the game."

Tal data

"The main idea behind the project," Bartelski explains, "is to collect most complete, comprehensive and reliable information on all international team events ever played. It is to be put online, free of charge, forever. The biggest satisfaction I get is when I know that something that I have made publicly available had never been available to the people, simply because bulletins or tournament book were not accessible on the market."

"OlimpBase provides tons of in-depth analysis in the user-friendly (I hope) enviroment. You can browse details, year by year, round by round, game by game of virtually every tournament. You can scan overall record of every player too. We provide coverage for almost 500 tournaments, many of them were completely unknown to the public before. No matter how much time you spent on scanning our archives, I bet you may still find plenty of fresh stuff."

What are the future plans of Olimpbase? "I am receiving new materials every week, so you can never know what future brings. Apart from current additions I have been preparing two big projects and ChessVibes readers will be the first to know what they are: the first one is coverage of all editions of Bundesliga starting from 1981; another one is the history of Soviet team events. This one is very exciting: there were some extremely strong tournaments played in the 1960s through 1980s where virtually all top Soviet players took part, and almost nobody have heard of them until now!"

OlimpbaseWojtek Bartelski is Polish. He was born in 1977 and I has "two little princesses", Teresa (4) and Klara (2). He used to play club chess in early 1990s but I gave up in 1993. Since 1993 he only took part in one over-the-board event in 2003 when he came 4th in the Polish Championship for politicians with a rating performance of 2057. Bartelski is economist by profession and since 2006 he's been working full time as mayor of Srodmiescie - the central disctrict of Warsaw.

Before we finish this article, thanks to Wojtek and all other volunteers of Olimpbase we can tell you that Bobby Fischer's rating on July 1972 was 2785, 125(!) points more than the no. 2, Boris Spassky. Judit Polgar was never a top 10 player - her highest world rank ever was #11 the world's 10th player on the January 1996 list but Olimpbase puts her on 11th and Bobby Fischer on 1st... Vassily Ivanchuk was the world's number 4 on the July 1989 list.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Coco Loco's picture

The rating freaks going nuts again...

Jan's picture

I also noticed that Van Wely has been a top 10 player! Wow what has happened to that talent...

Jan's picture

What a great exercise, thank you for this Chessvibes. It would be fascinating to have the NL KNSB ratings published there too. I am not sure where to find the old paper rating lists though.

Jan's picture

Ranglijst Januari 1982, 1.Karpov 2.TIMMAN 3.Korchnoi 4.Kasparov 5.Portisch dat waren nog eens tijden!!

me's picture

"Judit Polgar was never a top 10 player – her highest world rank ever was #11, on the January 1996 list."

Blunder! Judit was in top 10 for exactly two years!!! From January 2004 to January 2006.

me's picture
me's picture

P.P.S.: And by the way, Judt was #10 in January 1996 (look who was supposed to be #1 ;))

Peter Doggers's picture

Aha, interesting. A list like this one should be double-checked apparently.

Castro's picture

Can a dead man be cloned? ;-) THAT would put many people going nuts!

Castro's picture

One of the greatest phenomena in sports is Simen Adgestein (Carlsen's mentor), who was once in the chess top 20 while also belonging to world class football, playing for the Norwegian main team!

OlimpBase's picture

Hi guys,
sorry for that. We are still in beta phase. Please excuse possible errors and ommissions. We have been scanning manually rating records list by list so one day there will be bug-free final version online.

I just thought you guys would focus more on what the website has to offer, and not only the rating tool.


me's picture

Could you please fix the game zip files for "Mens" Olympiads 1990-2006 inclusive? They are corrupted.

CsGy 721115's picture

My opinion is that an id_number must be unique - but now the deceased players' id go to a new player. That is nonsense... I do not understand the FIDE-system.
An identifyer is not a number (you do not want to calculate with them, but only to sort and search). So you could use not only numbers but letters even some other signs eg. "+" for deceased players with their original identifyer. This would be a better method. But the correct method would be to leave the identifyer as it was. You have minimum 10^8=ten millions id_number with digits only and much more with applicating letters. Let a new player have a new id !

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