Reno Odds and Ends

by admin on October 22, 2014

A few final thoughts about the Reno tournament…

(1) The ratings went up today and I was surprised to see that my rating didn’t go up as much as I thought it would. Only from 2164 to 2182. This means that if I had won my last-round game against GM Sergey Kudrin instead of drawing, I still would have fallen short of 2200; I probably would have been at 2198.

I have to admit that, even though I’m a mathematician, I really don’t understand any more how the ratings are calculated. There used to be a simple rough-and-ready approximation that worked. But then they changed the formulas and the K numbers and the B numbers and what not, and I don’t know what’s what anymore.

(2) Mike Zaloznyy posted something interesting on Facebook. There was a player named Hamed Nouri in the open section who has somehow pulled off the feat of getting a FIDE rating of 2327 and a USCF rating of 1935. Remember, FIDE ratings are usually about 100 points less than USCF, and almost never greater. But this guy’s FIDE was 400 points greater! Of course, he entered the under-2200 section and even played the first round in that section until tournament director Jerry Weikel caught wind of the discrepancy and booted him up to the Open section with a 0-point bye for the first round. Even so, Nouri won 3½ out of his next four games. Going into the last round, I was under the impression that he was one of my two main competitors for the under-2200 prize.

Mike did some sleuthing on the USCF website and found out how Nouri got his low USCF rating. He has lost 11 games out of 48 against players between 1500 and 1900, while losing only 3 games against masters! Hmm, those tough class-C and class-B players.

Anyway, kudos to TD Weikel for catching on to this guy’s ruse. Also kudos to GM Melikset Khachiyan for beating him in the last round, so he wouldn’t have won the U2200 prize even if he had been eligible.

(3) This afternoon I had the chance to analyze my game with Kudrin. I learned something pretty amazing. Grandmasters are human! Did you know that?

Specifically, I was surprised by the way he crumbled over the last 10-12 moves of the game. This is not meant to be a criticism of him. Rather, it’s yet another testament to the power of the Bryntse Gambit (1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3 de 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4 Bg4?! 6. Qxg4!!). White sacrifices his queen and in return gets two minor pieces, plus 30 to 40 moves of non-stop initiative. This game showed that even a grandmaster like Kudrin could get frustrated playing Black in this opening. It’s like battling an army of ants that just won’t go away.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashik Uzzaman October 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Hi Dana,

USCF developed a cool online tool that I use for this. Its named as Rating Estimator (March 2014) –


Ashish October 22, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Matt October 23, 2014 at 7:12 am

Nouri is on the advanced entries list for the American Open, which also shows his rating as being 1935. Fortunately, he is entered into the Open section, so I won’t have to deal with him as I signed up for the U2200 section. I will take a look at some of his games if I get the chance. I wonder if he actually registered for the Open section or if he was placed there by the tournament organizers.

At this stage, I don’t know if there is anything untoward going on but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Some people play better against higher rated opponents. For example, on Monday I played a 1600 at my local club and he gave me a really tough game, yet he has been crushed more than once by class D and E players at the club. I did win eventually but it was the last game to finish and I thought he played well and couldn’t understand how he could have lost multiple times against players rated in the 1300’s.


Matt December 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

I observed a couple of Nouri’s games at the American Open this past weekend. I can’t explain how he could be losing to class B and C players (at least, can’t explain it legitimately) given that, at the American Open, he:

Drew with an IM
Drew with a GM
Beat a WGM
Beat two FMs
Drew another FM
Beat a high expert

At least his USCF rating is now well over 2200 as a result, ruling out him taking part in any class sections from now on.


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