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February 2007 Chess, Chance and Conspiracy
Mark R. Segal
Statist. Sci. 22(1): 98-108 (February 2007). DOI: 10.1214/088342306000000574


Chess and chance are seemingly strange bedfellows. Luck and/or randomness have no apparent role in move selection when the game is played at the highest levels. However, when competition is at the ultimate level, that of the World Chess Championship (WCC), chess and conspiracy are not strange bedfellows, there being a long and colorful history of accusations levied between participants. One such accusation, frequently repeated, was that all the games in the 1985 WCC (Karpov vs Kasparov) were fixed and prearranged move by move. That this claim was advanced by a former World Champion, Bobby Fischer, argues that it ought be investigated. That the only published, concrete basis for this claim consists of an observed run of particular moves, allows this investigation to be performed using probabilistic and statistical methods. In particular, we employ imbedded finite Markov chains to evaluate run statistic distributions. Further, we demonstrate how both chess computers and game data bases can be brought to bear on the problem.


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Mark R. Segal. "Chess, Chance and Conspiracy." Statist. Sci. 22 (1) 98 - 108, February 2007.


Published: February 2007
First available in Project Euclid: 1 August 2007

zbMATH: 1246.91008
MathSciNet: MR2408663
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/088342306000000574

Rights: Copyright © 2007 Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Vol.22 • No. 1 • February 2007
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