Beating the Dead Horse

8/15/2004 - Here are some interesting ideas on the draw from Chess base, August 11, 2004. The reference is to MIG's Chess ninja sight Gm Yermolinsky weights in on the subject.

Here are some interesting excerpts;

There has been an interesting discussion on this topic over in the Daily Dirt and the concept of “stock exchange chess.” The inimitable American GM Alex Yermolinsky cut through the BS about how fans want GMs to dance and sing and play beautiful chess when they are trying to make a living. “Our chess heroes do not exist in an outer space void, they live, think and act according to the real world that surrounds them. It's funny how chess fans demand greater altruism from top GM's while being pragmatic, sober and responsible people themselves.”

Yermo also proposes that changing to a 3-1-0 scoring system would lead to players throwing games in the big Swiss's, which make up the majority of events. I still wish a brave organizer would shake up an elite invitational with a 50-move rule (a la Maurice Ashley’s 2003 Generations Tournament) ) or a scoring system that gave 0.4 for a draw with white and 0.6 for a draw with black

 Knockouts are actually quite cool. The only problem I have is that the clock-bangers KNOW that the blitz tie-break is coming and do nothing but kill the play in the slow games. Solution? Forget blitz, and toss a coin. We're all big boys now, we can handle a little bit of bad luck.


  Hangin's take:

 The goal should be to encourage winning. I think the 3 point scoring system will only encourages black to draw more. The soccer scoring system does not fit chess well, because with chess the sides are not equal. White with the benefit of the first move has a slight but lasting advantage. I also don't think that one win should equal 3 draws. However I don't think two draws should equal a win. With the soccer scoring system, I see black from a psychological point of view, fighting for a draw harder. Soccer is played on a level playing field, chess is not. In chess black has a lasting disadvantage.  I think changing the points for drawing a game, where you give black .6 for a draw and give white .4 for a draw will only encourage black to draw.  Since chess is a draw when played correctly, why give black more for drawing than white? I think the goal should be to encourage winning. I think the game of chess is interesting when both players try to win from the start. So the goal should be to encourage and reward winning .  Here is the scoring system that I would like to see used in tournament play: 

             1.2 points for a black win
             1.1 points for a white win
             0.5 points for a draw.

 Since black has a lasing slight disadvantage lets give black more for winning.  Since the game is a draw when played correctly, lets give white a little bit more for winning. 

      As far as the removal of the blitz playoff in knockouts and replacing it with a coin toss, this would not be very popular with chess fans.   I recall in 1983, the quarterfinal candidates match between Robert Huebner and Vassilly Smyslov, the 7th world champion, it was drawn after 12 games, with one win apiece. They played two more games, which were also drawn. So they decided to spin the roulette wheel.  Each player  chose the colors of their national flags - Smyslov red, Huebner black. Here is the spooky part, on the first spin the number zero came up, which is the color green. The great Houdini was unable to make contact from the great beyond. I believe the great champions of the past, Morphy, Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Euwe intervened. They were showing their great displeasure with how this match was being decided.  On the 2nd spin of the roulette wheel, the great champs from the past intervened again. This time Smyslov's color came up and he would challenge Kasparov for the right to play for the world championship against then champion Anatoly Karpov. Smyslov was the better choice of the two, he was a the 7th world champion. He defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in 1957. Smyslov went on to lose to Garry Kasparov in the1984 final candidate match by a score of 8.5-4.5.

     Robert Huebner was an excellent player, however he withdrew from two candidate matches. The first occurring against Petrosian in 1971, Hueber withdrew after 7 games trailing by one. He could no longer handle the stress of the match and outside street noise. Again in 1980 a stressed out Huebner with drew from the candidate final match against Kortchnoi after trailing by one after 10 games. 

   As  far as tie breakers are concerned,  most chess fans would prefer a blitz playoff. If chess is going to use another form of tie breaker, I don't think the coin toss will please the fans. I'd much rather see the cow chip toss or sumo mud wrestling instead of the coin toss.  Chess is an evolving sport. I think blitz play is a natural evolution of the game. I think chess professionals need to work on their blitz games as they do with their opening novelties. Replacing blitz with the coin toss will only hurt the game. If chess is to be considered a sport, then knockouts must be decided at the board. Blitz is exciting to watch. I think the chess world should cater more to fans. It seems to this chess fan, that the chess world has forgotten about the fans. This is especially true with what has happened to the world championship process.  This is very unfortunate because it is only recently that chess games in progress can be followed by the public at large.  

 As far as the friendly no fight draw, I would also like to see a return to the 50 move draw rule that Maurice Ashley introduced at the Legends tournament in 2003. But it is ultimately up to the chess players to change their attitudes about the game. No fight, friendly draws only hurt the game. If Chess is to be considered a sport, then its integrity  is the key to keeping the public's  interest. The key to big money in sports is its entertainment value.  In order for the big money to trickle down to all the professional chess players, then the entertainment value must be there first.

 I worked on the following formula for sponsorship.

 Great Sponsorship (big dollars)  = (Players Reliability) * (Players Ability) * (Players desire to win).

     It is in the players interest to play for a win most of the time.

  A lot of interesting ideas have been suggested, but few have been tried. We need to stop beating this dead draw horse and try to revive him. Lets breathe some fresh air into chess and try these scoring changes and drawing rules. But lets keep the coin toss to decide the kick offs in the NFL. Lets keep the spins of the roulette wheel to the gamblers. Lets decide chess knockouts by playing chess.

 more on the draw:
 Hangin cures his patient of withdrawal
 Still more
 something on the lighter side of the draw