Saturday, December 20, 2003


Degrees of Separation - Beating a World Champ

None of my games appear in Chessbase Mega Database 2003. But, there are games of people that I have played, including some that I have played and beaten. So, along the lines of an Erdos number or the Kevin Bacon Degrees of Separation game, I was wondering if I could document a chain of winning chess games, based on games in Mega 2003, leading to beating some famous chess player. Except, of course, for the first game as none of my games are in Chessbase.

Well, in 1975 in Milan, Walter Browne beat (ex) World Champ Mikhail Tal. Walter Browne was beaten in 1996 in the Dallas Pinfork Open by Michael Calogridis. Excellent! Calogridis used to live in Houston and we played quite a few times. Unfortunately, he always beat me (but I got a great position against his French once using a line from Keres -- but I managed to lose that game...but I digress). But, in 1996 Calogridis lost a game to Robert Chalker in the Texas Open in Austin. All of those games mentioned above are in Mega 2003.

I have played Mr. Chalker many times, and, although Chalker has a positive score against me, I have beaten Mr. Chalker several times in rated tournament games. So, Wilson beat Chalker who beat Calogridis who beat Browne who beat Tal. So my "Tal number" is 4. Yeah, I know its silly. But it is fun.

UPDATE: Is Walter Browne the Kevin Bacon of Chess? Via Browne's wins over Tal, Smyslov (Hastings 1972), Reshevsky (Skopje 1970) and Miles (Las Palmas 1977) I can construct this list of my "degrees of separation" from beating the following World Champions: Capablanca (5; Reshevsky, Margate 1935), Alekhine (5; Reshevsky, Nottingham 1936), Euwe (5; Reshevsky, AVRO 1938), Botvinnik (5; Reshevsky; World Championship 1948), Smyslov (4), Tal (4), Petrosian (5; Smyslov, Moscow 1949), Spassky (5; Smyslov, Alekhine Memorial 1959), Fischer (5; Smyslov, Candidates Tournament 1959), Karpov (5; Smyslov, Leningrad 1971), Kasparov (5; Smyslov, Team GM / Young Pioneers 1975), Kramnik (5; Miles, Moscow 1989), and Anand (5; Miles, Rome 1990). I guess it is a small (chess) world.
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