by ChessBase
8/26/2003 – In this week's ChessBase Workshop, Steve Lopez eats a very large and bony crow, correcting the unfortunate mathematical errors he made in last week's column with the kind help of some of our readers. Let's not waste any more time and we'll get right to the public humiliation portion of our programme! Pass the ketchup?

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by Steve Lopez

I haven't blundered often in my years of writing this column (I wish I could say the same of my performance over the chessboard), but I was apparently just "saving them up" to commit a whole pile of blunders all at once. Last week's column was my "blunder Waterloo". Several readers have sent e-mails pointing out errors and inaccuracies in the column -- so let's not waste any more time and we'll get right to the public humiliation portion of our programme!

Dennis Monokroussos wrote in to let me know that I screwed up the date of the founding of FIDE:

...FIDE was around in the 1920s; it's just that they didn't have control over the World Championships until after Alekhine's death in 1946.

You're absolutely right, Dennis; I was obviously thinking of the latter event. Dennis goes on to point out:

...the figures against the stats between a player and his opponents. The first number, as you say, gives the player's total points over the number of total games played, that's correct. The second number, however, gives that person's +/- score, not the total number of wins.

And another correspondent, Maxim Devereaux, also points this out:

...the +13 shows not that he has scored 13 wins, but that his 'plus score' against Van Wely is 13 i.e. wins-losses= 13.

You guys are absolutely correct. And here's the weird part -- I actually counted by hand the Shirov wins against van Wely while writing the article and somehow came up with 13, which is why I wrote the article that way. But I just now went back and recounted -- the actual number is 15. The only thing I can say in my own defense is that I'm an American and we have problems with proper tallying -- for evidence, just look at our presidential election back in 2000.

Maxim discovered some other problems in the article. Regarding the tournament box in that same display:

The same comment applies here - +11 being the wins minus losses. No information can be inferred from this as to whether Shirov actually won 11 games and lost 0, or 13 games and lost 2, or what exactly.

Again, you're right. And, regarding the openings display:

There is no decimal point in these supposed percentages. They are in fact number of games (first figure) and percentage (second figure), so Shirov has 45 games as White in A90, scoring 60% and 16 games as Black, scoring 50%.

To this, I can only plead bad eyesight. And finally:

Based on the previous comment, we can now see that the 'White' and 'Black' buttons do not sort by percentage scored, but by number of games played in that ECO code, so it is possible to identify the most frequently played lines with each colour for a player, and then see how they fare with that line.

Again correct and, as Maxim indicated, this is just the logical next step from the previous error.

So for the next seven days I will be deservedly wearing a hair shirt; however, I draw the line at self-flagellation. Thanks to both of these gentlemen for correcting my mistakes, and my sincere apologies go out to you, the reader, for my having made those mistakes in the first place.

Until next week, have fun!

© 2003, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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