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Friday, 15 May 2020 16:30
Rating analytics: Born in the same year – five-player teams

Kaspars Migla is the creator and founder of a chess website chessratings.top. In his column, he analyzes FIDE standard rating changes, career-highs, rating distribution by country, continent, region, and other rating-related statistics. In this edition, he focuses on the particular years that produced the greatest number of chess talents. 

More than ten years have passed since Magnus Carlsen topped the world rating. When looking at the list, we see not only the World Champion’s actual rating but also the year he was born – 1990. The portal chessratings.top made an attempt to find out whether this year is a special one and focused on the results of other highest-rated players born in 1990.

In this research, we took five active players born in the same year and formed hypothetical teams by analogy with Chess Olympiads. We also compared 1990  with other years (both open and women sections) to see how players born earlier have been performing. 

Are there any other strong players born in 1990 apart from Magnus Carlsen? The answer is a definite yes! We are saying it with confidence because an average rating of the top-5 active players born in 1990 is whopping 2780.6. It means that a hypothetical “team 1990” has the highest rating compared to any other team consisting of players born in the same year. 

Below you can see the top-5 of teams comprising five players born in the same year (the first figure is the current ranking):

Team 1990
1. Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) 2863
4. Nepomniachtchi, Ian (RUS) 2784
5. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (FRA) 2778
17. Karjakin, Sergey (RUS) 2752
22. Andreikin, Dmitry (RUS) 2726
Average rating: 2780.6

Team 1987
9. Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) 2765
18. Nakamura, Hikaru (USA) 2736
25. Vitiugov, Nikita (RUS) 2722
28. Wojtaszek, Radoslaw (POL) 2719
34. Tomashevsky, Evgeny (RUS) 2706
Average rating: 2728.6

Team 1983
6. Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 2777
14. Dominguez Perez, Leinier (USA) 2758
47. Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS) 2684
53. Sargissian, Gabriel (ARM) 2682
64. Bacrot, Etienne (FRA) 2673
Average rating: 2714.8

Team 1994
10. Giri, Anish (NED, 2764)
23. Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi (IND, 2726)
33. Yu, Yangyi (CHN, 2709)
48. Predke, Alexandr (RUS, 2684)
65. Robson, Ray (USA, 2673)
Average rating: 2711.2

Team 1992
2. Caruana, Fabiano (USA) 2835
3. Ding, Liren (CHN) 2791
82. Adhiban, B. (IND) 2659
136. Heimann, Andreas (GER) 2633
143. Yilmaz, Mustafa (TUR) 2630
Average rating: 2709.6

Since the players born in 1990 reached an optimal “chess age” (30), many may take team 1990’s leading position for granted. That is not the case though. In reality the year 1990 was simply rich in chess talents. The same applies to 1983 and 1987. Looking at the same list but as of May 2010, we see the same teams in top-3 but in a different order: 1. Team 1983 2. Team 1987 3. Team 1990. 

Check out the leader as of May 1, 2010.

Team 1983

7. Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 2760
9. Eljanov, Pavel (UKR) 2751
18. Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) 2733
21. Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS) 2725
26. Jobava, Baadur (GEO) 2715
Average rating: 2736.8

Let’s rewind nine more years – Team 1969 was the best squad as of April 2001 (the ratings were not calculated in May):

3. Anand, Viswanathan (IND) 2794
7. Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 2731
18. Dreev, Alexey (RUS) 2685
56. Piket, Jeroen (NED) 2628
165. Korneev, Oleg (RUS) 2572
Average rating: 2682

Garry Kasparov (born in 1963) was the rating leader back then (2822), but "his” team 1963 stood only third, trailing team 1975 (lead by Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov) and team 1971 (headed by Michael Adams). 

In the crosstable below, you can see the top teams year by year from 2001 to 2020 with their average rating and age. Carlsen’s team 1990 has been dominating since 2013, whereas team-leaders' average rating increased by almost 100 points, from 2688.6 to 2780.6. It is also worth mentioning that nine years ago, in 2011 the chess elite was the youngest ever!  

Year

Top team year

Av.rating

Av.age

2001   

1969   

2688.6   

32

2002   

1975   

2682.6   

27

2003   

1969   

2683   

34

2004   

1975   

2679.4   

29

2005   

1969   

2692.8   

36

2006   

1983   

2701   

23

2007   

1983   

2707.4   

24

2008   

1983   

2711   

25

2009   

1983   

2735.8   

26

2010   

1983   

2736.8   

27

2011   

1990   

2744   

21

2012   

1987   

2743.4   

25

2013   

1990   

2757.4   

23

2014   

1990   

2773.4   

24

2015   

1990   

2766.8   

25

2016   

1990   

2771.4   

26

2017   

1990   

2776.8   

27

2018   

1990   

2773.4   

28

2019   

1990   

2777.6   

29

2020   

1990   

2780.6   

30


When it comes to women there is no such a gap between the youngest age group and all the others. Interestingly enough, the team of the current rating leader Hou Yifan (CHN, 2658), who was born in 1994, did not "qualify" for the top-3.



Team 1991
4. Ju, Wenjun (CHN) 2560
9. Harika, Dronavalli (IND) 2515
10. Tan, Zhongyi (CHN) 2510
21. Girya, Olga (RUS) 2469
42. Ding, Yixin (CHN) 2422
Average rating: 2495.2

Team 1987
2. Koneru, Humpy (IND) 2586
8. Dzagnidze, Nana (GEO) 2524
26. Batsiashvili, Nino (GEO) 2457
38.  Munguntuul, Batkhuyag (MGL) 2428
47. Zawadzka, Jolanta (POL) 2419
Average rating: 2482.8

Team 1985
15.  Zhao, Xue (CHN) 2486
18. Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) 2475
19. Paehtz, Elisabeth (GER) 2473
50. Ushenina, Anna (UKR) 2416
117. Lujan, Carolina (ARG) 2346
Average rating: 2439.2

In May 2010, when legendary Judit Polgar was still active, two teams (see below) had an average rating of 2500+. None of the current team-leaders managed to climb that high.

Team 1976
1. Polgar, Judit (HUN) 2682
22. Xu, Yuhua (CHN) 2484
27. Zhu, Chen (QAT) 2476
35. Gaponenko, Inna (UKR) 2465
36. Skripchenko, Almira (FRA) 2464
Average rating: 2514.2

Team 1985
5. Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS) 2553
14. Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) 2501
17. Zhao, Xue (CHN) 2493
20. Paehtz, Elisabeth (GER) 2485
32. Ushenina, Anna (UKR) 2468
Average rating: 2500

Team 1976 was the best in 2001 with an average rating exceeding a 2500 mark:

1. Polgar, Judit (HUN) 2676
4. Zhu, Chen (CHN) 2538
7. Xu, Yuhua (CHN) 2501
24. Skripchenko, Almira (MDA) 2441
61. Gaponenko, Inna (UKR) 2373
Average rating: 2505.8.

It is time to apply the same principle to various countries. Probably chess historians know whether there was a team at Chess Olympiad with all players born in the same year. It is highly unlikely but not impossible, at least theoretically. Moreover, one such hypothetical team would have a chance to be in a contest for medals. We are talking about the country replete with talented players born in 1990, namely, Russia. 

Russia 1990
Nepomniachtchi, Ian (RUS) 2784
Karjakin, Sergey (RUS) 2752
Andreikin, Dmitry (RUS) 2726
Popov, Ivan (RUS) 2636
Lintchevski, Daniil (RUS) 2559

With an average rating of 2691.4, this team would have been ranked seventh before the start of the last Olympiad! Teams Ukraine 1986 and China 1999 that are right behind Russia 1990 also would have had something to bring to the table:

Ukraine 1986
Kryvoruchko, Yuriy (UKR) 2682
Areshchenko, Alexander (UKR) 2678
Volokitin, Andrei (UKR) 2650
Oleksiyenko, Mykhaylo (UKR) 2585
Blednov, Stanislav (UKR) 2465
Average rating: 2612

China 1999
Wei, Yi (CHN) 2732
Bai, Jinshi (CHN) 2618
Xu, Xiangyu (CHN) 2573
Li, Di (CHN) 2561
Dai, Changren (CHN) 2503
Average rating: 2597.4

The #1 in the world Magnus Carlsen did not play in Olympiad in Batumi (2018), but his hypothetic Norway 1990 would have hardly repeated the success of team Norway in Baku 2016 where it finished fifth. Indeed, there is a real rating abyss between Magnus and his potential teammates, especially board three, four and a reserve player: 

Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) 2863
Hammer, Jon Ludvig (NOR) 2608
Kvisla, Johannes Luangtep (NOR) 2225
Hagen, Anders Gjerdrum (NOR) 2179
Hamre, Kenneth (NOR) 2038
Average rating: 2382,6.

On the other hand, in the women’s competition in Batumi 2018, Russia 1989 team would have felt very comfortable being ranked tenth:

Lagno, Kateryna (RUS) 2546
Gunina, Valentina (RUS) 2431
Ambartsumova, Karina (RUS) 2371
Nebolsina, Vera (RUS) 2237
Kim, Aleksandra V. (RUS) 2179

When preparing this article and analyzing women’s ratings we came across a couple of surprises. Currently, among all hypothetical national teams consisting of the players born in the same year, Russia 2001 is second, whereas the USA 2002 occupies the third position! It means that a young generation in women’s chess is catching up!

Russia 2001
Shuvalova, Polina (RUS) 2454
Obolentseva, Alexandra (RUS) 2305
Shafigullina, Zarina (RUS) 2296
Afonasieva, Anna (RUS) 2274
Nosacheva, Mariya (RUS) 2243
Average rating: 2314.4



USA 2002
Wang, Annie (USA) 2384
Yu, Jennifer (USA) 2315
Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia (USA) 2311
Nguyen, Emily (USA) 2280
Gorti, Akshita (USA) 2242
Average rating: 2306.4

The second surprise is the team China 1991. Although the first three boards have ratings 2560, 2510, and 2422 respectively, this team does not make it even to the top-10. You can find the answer here.

As a conclusion, let's look at the best teams consisting of the players born in the same year in every part of the world.

Open

Africa 1988
Amin, Bassem (EGY) 2686
Bwalya, Gillan (ZAM) 2406
Ssegwanyi, Arthur (UGA) 2395
Kayonde, Andrew (ZAM) 2390
Zaibi, Amir (TUN) 2383
Average rating: 2452

America 1992
Caruana, Fabiano (USA) 2835
Hansen, Eric (CAN) 2606
Cruz, Cristhian (PER) 2568
Quesada Perez, Yasser (CUB) 2565
Krysa, Leandro (ARG) 2531
Average rating: 2621

Asia 1989
Wang, Hao (CHN) 2763
Li, Chao b (CHN) 2683
Jumabayev, Rinat (KAZ) 2654
Gupta, Abhijeet (IND) 2612
Gopal G.N. (IND) 2593
Average rating: 2661

Europe 1990
1. Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) 2863
4. Nepomniachtchi, Ian (RUS) 2784
5. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (FRA) 2778
17. Karjakin, Sergey (RUS) 2752
22. Andreikin, Dmitry (RUS) 2726
Average rating: 2780.6

Women

Africa 1997
Wafa, Shrook (EGY) 2182
Moaataz, Ayah (EGY) 2028
Ogbiyoyo, Perpetual Eloho (NGR) 1880
Abdelmenaem, Sohayla (EGY) 1832
February, Jesse Nikki (RSA) 1824
Average rating: 1949.2

America 2002
Wang, Annie (USA) 2384
Yu, Jennifer (USA) 2315
Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia (USA) 2311
Nguyen, Emily (USA) 2280
Ouellet, Maili-Jade (CAN) 2257
Average rating: 2309.4

Asia 1991
Ju, Wenjun (CHN) 2560
Harika, Dronavalli (IND) 2515
Tan, Zhongyi (CHN) 2510
Ding, Yixin (CHN) 2422
Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan (KAZ) 2328
Average rating: 2467

Europe 1987
Dzagnidze, Nana (GEO) 2524
Batsiashvili, Nino (GEO) 2457
Zawadzka, Jolanta (POL) 2419
Cyfka, Karina (POL) 2411
Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina (ESP) 2380
Average rating: 2438.2