GM Alexander Baburin responds 
to my draw proposal 
in Chess Today
Issue CT (56) 1205 Wednesday 2/24/2004

  Offering different scoring systems in chess is nothing new, but I am one of the 'conservatives' who would oppose such changes. Let me argue my case:  First, it is not clear that White always  tries to play for a win and Black is always keen to equalize. For example, GM Adorjan will strongly disagree with that! . And there have been were many players scoring well with Black Alexander Morozevich easily  comes to mind. Many opening systems  (King's Indian, Sicilian, etc.) aim at  getting counter-play rather then neutralizing White's opening advantage. So, the reasoning for giving
Black extra incentive to fight looks weak to me. Secondly, Matthew says himself that "draw is good for chess" obviously the problem is not with draws as such, but with their depressing frequency in super-tournaments. For example, in the first 5 rounds of Linares only one (!!) out of 15 games was decisive. Draws pose no threat to club level
chess or even professional chess in general we are talking about very few events! So, why make such radical changes to stimulate 2-3 tournaments? I doubt that different scoring system will change much. It would benefit some players, but won't bring a big change. What is needed is a change in the structure of top tournaments. There players usually fight for modest prizes, while the leading players (like Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand) receive a lot more than the first prize in appearance fees. This could be one reason for stagnation. Another reason is that top tournaments are very hard to get into, so there is little new blood in them. But look at Bologan's play in Dortmund-2003 did he not make that event much more exiting?! Some chess professionals like comparing chess with tennis. But in tennis prizes are high and more players, particularly the up-and coming ones, have a chance to compete for them. I am sure that in tennis top players get appearance fees too, but this can't be several times more than the first prize in the tournament! So, this is what I would  have done:
  1. Reduce appearance fees considerably and thus increase prizes; 
  2. Stage a qualifying tournament for every 'elite' event, allowing new blood. At least 50% of the participants should come through qualifying 
3. Use knock-out formula, perhaps with 2 games classical games and 2 rapid chess games in case of a draw.

This issue is prepared by GMs M. Golubev & A. Baburin & IM M. Notkin; technical editor: R. Marconi

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Hangin's take :

  I would like to thank Alex for taking time to review my proposal. I would like to clarify my position. I am not suggesting this new scoring system (1.1 points for black's win) be used on a wide spread basis. I would not be in favor of  it in a world championship match.  I would like to see it used in certain tournaments. I think it might introduce new dynamics to tournament strategies. This scoring system would reward  players who fight for wins from both sides of the board. I am a little disappointed that Maurice Ashley's 50 moves before a draw offer idea did not take off. My scoring system might make final rounds of a tournament more interesting. Suppose we have a 3 way tie going into the last round, the player with black could steal the first place price with a win.  I think chess needs to encourage black to win.  In order to increase prize funds,  players need to fight for wins from both sides of the board.