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Old 03-15-2010, 05:04 PM   #1
AffleckKGB
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Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Just saw Allen Cunningham at the Western Class tournament this weekend. Supposedly, he has a prop bet with Howard Lederer that he has to get to 2100 within a year.

I'd say his chances are roughly 0%.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:10 PM   #2
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

any details on this? 2100 USCF or FIDE? Does he have any background in chess etc.?

just by the way, 2100 USCF in a year is achievable even if he doesn't have any background in chess if he puts a required effort in - that is he will have to pretty much forget poker..
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:28 PM   #3
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

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any details on this? 2100 USCF or FIDE? Does he have any background in chess etc.?

just by the way, 2100 USCF in a year is achievable even if he doesn't have any background in chess if he puts a required effort in - that is he will have to pretty much forget poker..
2100 USCF and FIDE are almost identical right now. Maybe 30 points difference on average. Also, we discussed this in McLovin's 'Chess Master' thread and while I claimed a true beginner could get to 2000 USCF in 1 year, I was largely disagreed with.

It looks like Allen tied for 3rd in the Western Class, Class D section and his current provisional rating (p9) is 1239. He also won a solid $225!! Do we know when the year ends?
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

I think it is impossible. Even Carlsen could not get that high in one year.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

I'm certain it would be 2100 USCF.

It appears he has no ratings history prior to this year. You can look up player ratings and history here.

Allen did well in the Class D Western Class Championships. He won four games out of five, finishing tied for 3rd out of 30 players.

His lone loss was in the first round to an opponent with a rating of 1308. He won games against opponents rated 1358, 1297, 1306, and 1348.

Allen's provisional rating was 875(p4) before the tournament and 1239(p9) aftewards.


I hope Allen got great odds. It's difficult to go from relative beginner to 2100. Doing it in just a year is extremely rare.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

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2100 USCF and FIDE are almost identical right now. Maybe 30 points difference on average. Also, we discussed this in McLovin's 'Chess Master' thread and while I claimed a true beginner could get to 2000 USCF in 1 year, I was largely disagreed with.

It looks like Allen tied for 3rd in the Western Class, Class D section and his current provisional rating (p9) is 1239. He also won a solid $225!! Do we know when the year ends?
I agree about the playing strength, but my point was that it is much easier to log in a LOT of USCF rated games while in U.S, while it is quite hard to play a lot of FIDE rated games.

For example, the chess club in my area has tournaments like 4 or 5 nights a week, they are all rapid, but it still counts towards your USCF. While it only has one or two tournaments a month that are FIDE rated.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:48 PM   #7
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Oooh, gotcha. I completely missed your point. After thinking about it, a FIDE rating would be kinda easy to angle shoot because of the way initial FIDE ratings are calculated. You could just set up 3 round RR tournaments where all your opponents were at least 2150 so any time you luckbox a win you get a performance rating of at least 2100 and all the 0-3 and 0-2-1 get thrown out.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:37 PM   #8
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Well I just tuned into the 2+2 chess forum due to my bet and look what pops up on the front page! Allow me to set the record strait to get the discussion along the right lines.

My bet is to beat Howard in a single chess game in one year and his maximum rating was over 2100 uscf. However, he hasn't played seriously in over a decade (maybe way over) and intends to spend 0.00 hours on chess over the next year. I plan to play and study about 6 hours a day.

How do you like my chances now? How rusty do you think one's game gets with that kind of lay off? I'd say my current strength is to beat those class D kids about 7/8.

btw/btw: its not even a huge bet, i'm just doing it for the same reason you climb a mountain
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

I am still betting you will lose.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:35 PM   #10
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Howard's peak rating may have been over 2100, but it was 1951 at the end of his playing days (USCF says Howard's membership expired on 3/31/87).

I say we give Howard credit for a playing strength of 1900 right now. It's not much below his last official rating but still 200+ below his peak. To prepare Allen well, I don't think we should assume Howard's playing strength is much lower. We want to be cautious here.

Given where Allen is right now, I think reaching a USCF rating of 1700 is very reasonable. And, if he actually spends six hours a day, all year, practicing and studying chess, he could certainly go higher.

Based on the ELO system, a player with a rating 200 points higher than his opponent is expected to achieve a score of 0.75.

So, Allen's chances would seem to be about 25% to beat Howard.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:35 PM   #11
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Okay, this bet is more interesting. 2100 who hasn't played in a decade is probably ... 1700? I only know a couple people who took that kind of time off and were over 2000 before the layoff. They both instantly hit their floors but it seems like they were 400-500 points weaker when they started back. Terrible sample size. Anybody have a better guess there?

Scoring 7/8 against 1200-1400 players would put Allen around mid-1500 strength. So he only needs 400 points to be a favorite to win. Seems reasonable if he can keep up a year of 30h/wk chess study. That's obv a big assumption about Howard's strength though.

Anyway, Good luck, Allen!
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:41 PM   #12
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Allen,

The advice you're going to get from this forum now until at least the fall is 'Tactics, Tactics, Tactics'. Study tactics until you see massive improvement in your game.

I'll go a little further. Buy this book and solve all 1,154 problems in it.

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Old 03-15-2010, 10:41 PM   #13
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

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Originally Posted by Dynasty View Post
Based on the ELO system, a player with a rating 200 points higher than his opponent is expected to achieve a score of 0.75.

So, Allen's chances would seem to be about 25% to beat Howard.
1900 does seem like a safer estimate of Howard's strength. Just remember that an expected score of 25% probably doesn't mean he's 25% to beat his opponent. 1900 is close enough to being good that you're probably able to draw some of those games on the bad side of variance. So maybe 20% draws, 15% lower player wins, 65% higher rated player wins.

Actually, as I'm typing this it strikes me that a higher rated player attempting to keep the game drawish could make it really difficult. It never works the other way around because the higher rated player is normally so much better at endgames.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:49 PM   #14
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

We could use a few more details on the rules of the bet.

Are you playing precisely one game against Howard? Or, will you play several and only have to win once?
Are you playing the white or black pieces? Or, will it be randomly chosen?
If the game is drawn, what does that mean to the bet?
What is the time control of the game?
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:29 PM   #15
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

He should have studied a lot harder before playing tournies, much easier to get a high rating provisionally

edit* Just now saw the actual bet and I like his chances better by a lot because who knows what howard's real strength is at the moment, and getting to 2100 in 1 yr is not easy

Last edited by mc4chess; 03-15-2010 at 11:31 PM. Reason: just read OP before posting
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:00 AM   #16
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Any specifications? Are you playing exactly one game for the prop? If you're playing several games against him that makes the bet vastly easier. If he plans to play 'normal' chess against you and hasn't played in a decade then the bet would be pretty easy - get yourself to a decent level tactically and then book up like crazy in some trap openings such as the BDG, stonewall (as white), etc. But if he's going to play 1. b3 or 1. .. b6 type stuff then this bet is going to be really tough as even if he's lost a ton off his peak ability, playing slow maneuvering chess is going to be damn tough to learn in a year. I suppose it's also actually most likely that he does play some off beat stuff exactly for this reason.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:07 AM   #17
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

If someone with 1950 strength does not work on his chess for more than 20 years, it must fall at least 100 points. So I´d say Howard Lederer IF he hasnt done any ´secret training´in the past two decades (like keep following chess closely, looking through some middlegame books, practising tactics, playing regularly over the internet), he should be regarded as a player with a rating of maximally 1850, probably leaning towrds 1800.

Now Allen seems to be close to 1400 so there is about a 400 elo point gap to close. That is doable in one year, but not easy. Howard will have the strength of a decent club player, nothing more, but nothing less (certainly not a Master-strenght player as was sometimes suggested on TV).

The structure of the bet is a bit weird though. You guys should just play a match over say eight or ten semi-rapid games or something. One game of chess is a little like playing one hand of poker. You can make great progress in a years time, but the best advice is to get a coach to have a session with say once a week who reviews what you are working on, looks at some of your speedchess games and identifies where you need to concentrate your effort. Hell, this Forum´s International Master Curtains (Greg Shahade, rated at about 2450) would be an ideal coach. Poker pro, very strong chess player and hey, the forum might get some inside info and get to make sidebets. GL in your venture, chess is a rich and beautiful game.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:08 AM   #18
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

I agree that this should be a brief match.

One game can be pretty high variance and not prove much. Blunders do happen.

A 5 game or 7 game match where the time control is G/45 or G/60 would be a lot better than just one game.

Also like other people asked, who chooses color (random?) and what happens to the bet if the game is a draw?

Welcome to the chess forum Allen, and all the best with your journey up the mountain of chess!

Writing that, makes me think of this book cover art:




Disclaimer: not a book to get you ready for the match, this one is probably for 2000+ (or really ambitious 1800+) but I think it fits the "climbing the ranks of chess" image pretty well.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:59 AM   #19
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Seems like Allen has a good shot of making this provided he keeps training and playing for the whole year. As already stated, the match rules also matter. IF Howard is as rusty as speculated, I think rapid-ish time controls should favor Allen right?

edit: amusing timing with the Carlsen thread by the way. maybe he'd exchange poker lessons for chess lessons

Last edited by smilingbill; 03-16-2010 at 11:15 AM. Reason: now with more useless
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:11 PM   #20
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

6 hrs a day for a year? I would bet on you. Any reasonably intelligent person spending that amount of time studying (not just playing blitz chess) and working on their game should get well above 2000. Similar to poker I think. Some people play a lot and study a little to get better, whereas others spend vast amounts of time with poker theory, concepts, analyzing past play, making adjustments, etc... A coach/trainer in chess would increase your chances. Just playing against Rybka alone isn't enough because you'll not understand why some moves are rated better than others until you get a deep understanding of the game. After 9 months, Rybka should be your best friend for the next 3 months. Howard should have little chance if he truly doesn't play/study between now and then.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:18 PM   #21
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

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6 hrs a day for a year? I would bet on you. Any reasonably intelligent person spending that amount of time studying (not just playing blitz chess) and working on their game should get well above 2000.
Yeah and then just another year and another 800 points and he is a worldchampion. It took 5 years for Karjakin to get to 2200 and I bet he studied hard.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:29 PM   #22
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

holla, there is a big difference in playing and learning as a young kid and spending 2000 hours as an adult studying in a very structured way. The second part of your post is comical. It's a lot easier to go from 1200 to 2000 than from 2000 to 2400. I didn't suggest that anyone can gain 800 a year every year. It only happens once. It isn't a linear scale. If you don't understand that, then this whole discussion is pointless. I passed the 2000 rating point in much less than 2000 hours of study. I really doubt many people here have put in that amount of time studying, including me. Most people just play to get better.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #23
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

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Yeah and then just another year and another 800 points and he is a worldchampion. It took 5 years for Karjakin to get to 2200 and I bet he studied hard.
kids are dumb.

kind of funny since it goes against stereotypes for chess in particular but I'm also very serious at the same time. the reason adults typically don't experience much improvement is they don't have the time and/or motivation to spend so much time on a board game. a successful poker pro in a prop bet happens to have both.

I mean a kid who learns and starts studying the game at 6 years old (as many do) and makes 2100 at 10 years old is generally going to be considered pretty much a prodigy. If a guy learned chess at 20 years old, studied it constantly and was 'only' 2100 after 4 years (at 24) you'd probably consider him completely hopeless.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:57 PM   #24
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Dire nailed it. Intelligence plus hard work equals results. If you have put in over 2000 hours and haven't vastly improved, you either didn't work hard or ....
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:57 PM   #25
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Re: Cunningham Prop bet to get to 2100

Children have more brain cells. I think for that reason they are more creative. Olders just use their few cells left better which has become with experience.
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