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  Study of chess player performance suggests brain peaks at 35
Posted by: WBuchanan - 27-10-2020, 11:32 PM - Forum: General Chess Chat - Replies (2)

Article below. Link: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-c...peaks.html
Paper abstract underneath. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33077581/
Link to full study: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/...53117.long (yes it's long! But fairly readable)

Article: Study of chess player performance over many years suggests brain peaks at age 35

A trio of researchers from Institut Polytechnique Paris, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat München, and Erasmus University has found evidence suggesting that cognitive abilities in humans peak at age 35 and begin to decline after age 45. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Anthony Strittmatter, Uwe Sunde and Dainis Zegners describe their study of chess player skill over a span of 125 years and what they found.
Prior research has shown that cognitive skills for most people begin to decline sometime during mid-life and continue to deteriorate for the rest of a person's life. In this new effort, the researchers have found a novel way to show such decline—by measuring the skills of professional chess players.
The work involved analyzing player performance over approximately 24,000 professional chess matches from the years 1890 to 2014. In all, they studied the moves of 4,294 players, 20 of whom were world champions—the other 4,274 were their opponents. The researchers' goal was to follow the skill level of each player over many years of their life to gage their skill level over time. They did this by comparing chess moves made by each player against optimal moves suggested by a computerized chess engine over the course of their career.
They found that performance for most players increased rapidly until they reached the age of 20—after that, their performance improvements slowed until reaching a peak at approximately age 35. Most of the players were able to maintain their peak playing abilities for approximately 10 years—after age 45, skills began to deteriorate. The researchers describe the data for a given individual as representing a "hump-shaped curve."
The researchers also found that player performance across the board has increased over the past 125 years, particularly among young people. They noted that performance rose sharply in the 1990s as chess enthusiasts gained access to computerized chess games, providing them with more accomplished opponents. They found that experience levels for most players rose, as well—in the modern age, professional chess players play a lot more matches than did those a century ago.
Paper abstract: Life cycle patterns of cognitive performance over the long run
Anthony Strittmatter  1 Uwe Sunde  2 Dainis Zegners  3

Free article
Little is known about how the age pattern in individual performance in cognitively demanding tasks changed over the past century. The main difficulty for measuring such life cycle performance patterns and their dynamics over time is related to the construction of a reliable measure that is comparable across individuals and over time and not affected by changes in technology or other environmental factors. This study presents evidence for the dynamics of life cycle patterns of cognitive performance over the past 125 y based on an analysis of data from professional chess tournaments. Individual move-by-move performance in more than 24,000 games is evaluated relative to an objective benchmark that is based on the respective optimal move suggested by a chess engine. This provides a precise and comparable measurement of individual performance for the same individual at different ages over long periods of time, exploiting the advantage of a strictly comparable task and a comparison with an identical performance benchmark. Repeated observations for the same individuals allow disentangling age patterns from idiosyncratic variation and analyzing how age patterns change over time and across birth cohorts. The findings document a hump-shaped performance profile over the life cycle and a long-run shift in the profile toward younger ages that is associated with cohort effects rather than period effects. This shift can be rationalized by greater experience, which is potentially a consequence of changes in education and training facilities related to digitization.
Keywords: age–period–cohort decomposition; artificial intelligence; cognitive performance; digitization; lifetime.

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  Sunday Post
Posted by: Jim Webster - 26-10-2020, 11:50 AM - Forum: General Chess Chat - Replies (6)

An interesting article from the Sunday Post

Chess chiefs move to defeat rise in cheating as games move online in lockdown
by Craig McDonald
October 25, 2020, 12:00 pm

The usually hushed world of chess is in uproar after a contagion of cheating during lockdown.
With more games being forced online, computer programmes are increasingly being used to find the perfect move, swing games and boost players’ rankings.
Scots chess administrators said the number caught cheating has doubled since lockdown began, but added there are stringent measures in place to catch the cheats.

John McNicoll, a council member of Chess Scotland and a qualified arbiter in the game, said: “It’s harder to catch people cheating online than it is playing in the traditional way. People think no one will ever know if they use a computer to cheat but, we have various methods to catch them.

“We have caught people and have punished them by banning them. It has risen a lot since lockdown. Before, we considered about two accusations of cheating in three or four years. Since lockdown, we’ve had five or six.”
It’s estimated there are around 2,500 people in Scotland who play at a serious level. Cheats use computer programmes to work out optimum moves which only the very best players would know. But authorities have their own software which can analyse a player’s moves and detect suspicious patterns.
Mr McNicoll said: “We have seen low-graded players suddenly playing like the world champion. We have caught one adult, with an investigation into another adult ongoing, and the rest have been younger players.”
Andy Howie, executive director of Chess Scotland, who chairs its anti-cheating committee, said: “There has been quite an increase since lockdown and since we went online. However, it has not affected Scotland as much as elsewhere.
“We have made it clear we will have measures in place to catch cheats and we will be on the front foot on this issue.”
Experts agree there has been a surge in what’s been referred to as “computer-doping” since games went online following lockdown.
Chess.com, the world’s biggest site for online play, said it had 12 million new users this year, up from 6.5 million last year. The cheating rate had jumped from between 5,000 and 6,000 players banned per month last year to almost 17,000 in August.
Gerard Le-Marechal, head of the site’s fair play team, said: “It’s just so easy to do and it’s without doubt creating a crisis.”
International Chess Federation boss Arkady Dvorkovich described cheating as a “plague” within the game.
Professor Ken Regan, who has devised a computer programme to scan games and detect cheating, said: “The pandemic has brought me as much work in a single day as I had in a year previously.”

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  Scottish National Online Chess League (SNOCL)
Posted by: Ianbrownlee - 09-10-2020, 09:57 AM - Forum: General Chess Chat - Replies (32)

Hi Guys

I have been in contact with a few woodpushers and we're in active discussion with a view of setting up a Scottish National Online Chess league this year (SNOCL), probably on chess.com If any chess  clubs or Leagues are interested please contact me on either ian.brownlee@systemsit.co.uk or admindirector@chessscotland.com , or even phone me on 07899 832770. It will probably be a much shorter time control than the SNCL. This is not a replacement for the SNCL but a stopgap until OTB chess is up and running. We also looking at setting up teams of four or five depending on the wishes of who wishes to play. Some games may also be played on LiChess as well but as you guess this would complicate things a bit.

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Posted by: George Neave - 04-10-2020, 06:56 PM - Forum: General Chess Chat - Replies (1)

When will this be and how will it be run this year? 

I was thinking perhaps a better year for finances with fees as normal but limited outlay as result of all OTB events being cancelled?

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  hoow to stop glasses misting up by facemasks
Posted by: Ianbrownlee - 28-09-2020, 02:51 PM - Forum: General Chess Chat - No Replies

Hi Guys
for those of us who have glasses and dont want them kisted up by face masks


face masks are going to be past of our life for a while and part of the new normal

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  Lanarkshire Chess League invitational Tournament
Posted by: Ianbrownlee - 21-09-2020, 09:59 AM - Forum: Tournaments and Events - No Replies

Hi Guys
This is the link for tonight’s tournament on chess.com
The tournament is an arena tournaments which means you can play as many or as few games as you like . If you have a free chess.com account , the only other stipulation is that you join the Lanarkshire Chess Club invitational on chess.com which I or the other admin’s can facilitate. Please contact me on 07899 832770 if you have any queries

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  Lanarkshire Chess League Invitational
Posted by: Ianbrownlee - 14-09-2020, 10:54 AM - Forum: General Chess Chat - No Replies

Tonight the Lanarkshire Chess League invitational is holding a 10 minute + 5 sec incremental tournament ( which we try to un every week). Its being held on chess.com
Click on this link https://www.chess.com/live#r=478427  if you are not at member already on the Lanarkshire Chess League invitational , please join and I’ll make sure I process your membership ( try and do this before 7.00 pm if you can)
As its an arena tournament you can play as many or as few games as you wish The tournament  starts at 7.30pm and finishes at 9.00 pm (90 minutes). You can enter or leave at any point if you wish
I hope you can make it!
Ian Brownlee

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  Richardson Cup 2019-2020
Posted by: Ianbrownlee - 09-09-2020, 06:13 PM - Forum: Tournaments and Events - No Replies

Reluctantly, I am afraid we have to cancel the rest of the Richardson Cup 2019-2020. I have tried my best at keeping the tournament going but I feel we have run out of time. The Spens Cup was already cancelled as per the temporary rule which was put in place (i.e Captains group decision) The feeling three months ago was to see how this would pan out. We are all hoping the the Richardson and Spens cups may take place over the board much later on in the year with a clean slate. Presently there are no plans to replicate these tournaments online , although i would be happy to run  similar tournaments either on Lichess or Chess.com if there was sufficient interest. Such tournaments would probably not be graded and would only be used as fun. I've also had interest from four regional leagues to run a regional chess league , again if sufficient interest warranted such a tournament.
From a purely personal view, I think clubs will have to find out for themselves if they can secure premises in the current climate (and also be aware that the new norm may include new procedures such as tracking and protecting home and away members as well as shorter time controls ) before OTB chess can safely return

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  5th Scottish Chess tour events
Posted by: JMcNicoll - 03-09-2020, 10:12 AM - Forum: Tournaments and Events - Replies (1)

On this weekend, not very many people looking to play yet.

Please enter if you can.

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  NEW Junior Congress - 13th Sept
Posted by: harrymarron - 02-09-2020, 11:23 AM - Forum: Tournaments and Events - No Replies


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