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One of the most extraordinary books ever written about chess and chessplayers, this authoritative study goes well beyond a lucid explanation of how todays chessmasters and tournament players are rated. Twenty years' research and practice produce a wealth of thought-provoking and hitherto unpublished material on the nature and development of high-level talent:Just what constitutes an ""exceptional performance"" at the chessboard? Can you really profit from chess lessons? What is the lifetime pattern of Grandmaster development? Where are the masters born? Does your child have master potential?The step-by-step rating system exposition should enable any reader to become an expert on it. For some it may suggest fresh approaches to performance measurement and handicapping in bowling, bridge, golf and elsewhere. 43 charts, diagrams and maps supplement the text.How and why are chessmasters statistically remarkable? How much will your rating rise if you work with the devotion of a Steinitz? At what age should study begin? What toll does age take, and when does it begin?Development of the performance data, covering hundreds of years and thousands of players, has revealed a fresh and exciting version of chess history. One of the many tables identifies 500 all-time chess greatpersonal data and top lifetime performance ratings.Just what does government assistance do for chess? What is the Soviet secret? What can we learn from the Icelanders? Why did the small city of Plovdiv produce three Grandmasters in only ten years? Who are the untitled dead? Did Euwe take the championship from Alekhine on a fluke? How would Fischer fare against Morphy in a ten-wins match?1t was inevitable that this fascinating story be written,' asserts FIDE President Max Euwe, who introduces the book and recognizes the major part played by ratings in today's burgeoning international activity. Although this is the definitive ratings work, with statistics alone sufficient to place it in every reference lib ..."