Hangin responds to a reader about draws

I received this letter a few days ago: 07/12/2004

I again read your discussion on draw games.

I strongly disagree. I feel very strongly that the only way to solve the problem is to eliminate draws totally. All games to end in a winner  this is not so hard to do. one needs to only go over the rules carefully and make sure there is a way to determine a winner in all cases. for example the game can end when one player has only his king. the other must have something more than just the king so the one with more immediately wins. 

on repetition of moves. the one who does not go for more will love again. here the one to repeat a position the 3rd time or 4th time immediately will become the loser.

if the king moves into check then he loses. even if it is his only move. moving into check becomes a legal move that loses.

the spectator wants a winner. it wants blood. give it to them. a hundred years ago there were few draws. the spectators lined up in the coffee shops and saw decisive games. now the games are boring draws.

imagine the players sit down and know ahead of time only one can win. no draws. they must fight. they are forced to fight. 

at this time 2 games have been played in the FIDE championship. and Adams is down one game with 4 more to go. how much better would be these games if we knew every one of the 4 remaining games must be decisive. Probably
Kasim will strive for draws. 4 more possible draws is not championship chess.

I think it was in the 1400's that the game of chess radically changed the rules to allow the queen to move more aggressively and the pawn to move 2 squares on the first move. Today we need that kind of decisive change.
we need to make sure all games end in a winner and a loser. this is what the public wants so why do we keep trying to avoid it by saying that they cannot have a winner but must accept some other draw compromise.

The idea of a draw compromise is all an illusion of the mind. we have a contest to determine a winner not a draw. so end all draws forever. chess will become much more exciting and much more popular.




Hangin's take :

  Well Charlie, I could not disagree with you more. Its the draw that keeps the fight in the game.  You can be down material and still force a draw. A lone king can draw against a king, bishop and rook pawn. The draw can be achieved if the lone king can get to the queening square, provided the bishop is of the opposite color. Also in some  bishop of opposite color endgames the side down material can draw even though down several pawns. The draw allows a player who makes an error and gets behind in material to continue the fight. Saving or drawing a lost game, is just as enjoyable as winning a game. 

 Also perpetual check is another great drawing mechanism that can save a player when down material or facing unstoppable mate.

 Chess fans don't want to change the rules to see more wins at the expense of reducing the fight. Changing the rules to remove the draw would caused many games to end prematurely. In fact it would destroy the fight in many games.  Chess fans want to see fighting chess. Like we are seeing in the FIDE Knockout Tournament Final. Adams and Kasimdzhanov are having a very exciting match. In order to make chess exciting you need two players going for the win. You need players willing to fight for a win from both sides of the board. You need players willing to fight for the draw when down material or with positional disadvantages.

 Lets not change the rules to make winning easier, but lets try to encourage professional players to fight harder to win.   I have suggest some scoring changes to encourage more winning. I think since white has a slight but lasting advantage of first move,  we should encourage black to win more by giving black 1.2 points for winning. We should also give white more incentive for winning by giving white 1.1 points for winning.  The draw should count .5. I don't think two draw should be worth a win.

  Here are some more ideas about fixing the short draws:

     1)      Lets make use of the Fischer rule in the 1992 match against Spassky. If a game ends in under 1 hour, then switch sides and play again

2)      Maurice Ashley’s no draw offers before 50 moves

3)      Lets take a page from Don Shultz book “ChessDon”. Don likes to split out some of the prize fund into a winning pool. Each player gets money for each game they won.


 The bottom line, it's up to the players to want to fight for a win.

  Here is a great game by GM Larry Evans of Chess Life Magazine. Larry fights off GM Sammy Reshevsky vicious mating web by using  the drawing stalemate  and the perpetual check rules. In the final position Sammy is unable to take the rook that is offered by Larry, if he does stalemate occurs.  Sammy's king cannot escape the rook either, which will give perpetual check.