Stats and illusions

I picked up the King’s Indian defense about 18 months ago.

It’s the kind of hypertheoretical stuff I’ve avoided for three decades, so imagine my suprise when I started scoring left and right (I thought).

Made for each other, the KID and I (I thought).

Won 4 of my first five attempts and, despite a couple of subsequent mishaps, just kept rolling along since then (I thought).

My rating is now at an all-time high of 2173, and clearly my new defense is playing a key role (I thought).

Hm. For kicks, feed just my KID results into the USCF performance estimator – lo and behold – 2130.

Wait. That can’t be right. (But it is.)

Maybe my results against 1.d4 were even worse before. (But I’ll never take the time to check.)

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10 thoughts on “Stats and illusions

  1. I am fairly happy with my current repertoire but there are a couple of lines I’m not overly comfortable with and have been considering swapping out.

    I checked my stats and it turns out that they’re the lines for which I have the highest performance rating.

  2. Derek, Don’t be silly. Point #1: The great trainers say that a very important reason to learn new openings is to experience and understand new types of positions. These new types of positions (somehow) give your whole game a boost. Point #2: You can beat ten 1500 players in a row, to produce only a 1900 performance, but increase your rating in the process.

    It seems like you’ve been playing the KID vs. lower-rated players. Are you man enough to try it vs. masters? Trying a new opening vs. higher-rated players should provide a metric to how well prepared you are.

    I, too, have been expanding my repertoire. I find it a time-consuming, tough, and scary process. I mean, how do I know when I’m ready? The only way to find out is to start playing new openings vs. strong opponents and then filling the holes, one by one, one bad move at a time (preferably in blitz). As I’m learning new openings, I’m realizing that at my level my understanding of the openings I’ve been playing for a long time also has holes. I’m realizing that the holes in my new openings, however, tend to be smaller and more fixable than the ones in my old openings, because my old openings carry along the baggage of being learned while I was at a lower rating; thus, these old openings carry with them the risk of falling into a bad habit, performing a bad thought processes, etc., if I’m not careful.

    There’s tons of literature out there explaining why opening knowledge is only a small component of chess strength. Dan Heisman has written extensively on this topic.

    -Howard

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