Just Win Baby 

 This issue came up on Chess Today, ct-178(1327) Saturday 26, June 2004. 

Letters to the Editor

"Dear Alex,

I read with interest the following comments in CT 1325: 
"In CT we have already spoken about Nakamura's not so simple personality
In January I witnessed how, playing against Zhu Chen in Wijk aan Zee, he 
tried to win a theoretically drawn endgame for 100 moves (exchanging a 
pair of light pieces along the way) This is not exactly gentlemanly behaviour!" 
There are those who suggest outlawing draw offers. If that happens, games like this will happen more and more - long games in drawn positions. I don't think this will help chess as a spectator sport, but would turn people off, and make it less attractive to play! I much prefer the 3 points for a win, one for a draw - then one win and one loss scores more than two draws, which is more what the spectators would want to see. Stephen ."


 Hangin's take:   

   I recall watching the Nakamura vs. Zhu Chen game. I recall Zhu Chen was in time pressure. I just thought it showed Nakamuraís tenacity. Thatís why heís an exciting player to follow.  I also recall the 11th game of the Spassky vs. Fischer World Championship match in 1972. It was the famous poison pawn game. Bobby Fischer lost his queen and played on down two pieces.  Lets not forget about Victor Kortchnoi stalemating Anatoly Karpov in game 5 of the 1978 world championship match. Chess has rules to prevent play from continuing in drawn positions. 

I think there are too many no-fight, friendly draws. I think pushing another player around the board is just part of the psychological battle.   I will look forward to the rematch between Nakamura and Zhu Chen. Nakamura better be careful, Zhu Chen going to be out for revenge. I think players have too much respect for other playerís theoretical knowledge. Chess needs to become a more decisive sport. As far as fans tuning out during long drawn out games, that's much better than fans not getting a chance to tune out because of the short, no-fight, friendly draw.

    Using the soccer scoring system in chess, giving three points for the win and one for the draw would only encourage black to draw more. Vladimir Kramnik won the 2004 Linares Tournament with only two wins. I had a proposal back in February to change the chess scoring system. I have given it much thought and have a few more changes to my system. I think chess needs to reward players for winning. My new scoring system will do just that. Two draws should not equal a win. Also we must reward black more for overcoming the opening disadvantage and winning. So my new scoring system is as follows:


    *) 1.2 points for a win by black

    *) 1.1 points for a win by white

    *) 0.5 points for a draw


 I will close with a quote from Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raider football team.


 Just win baby.

  Nakamura - Zhu Chen

  Spassky vs. Fischer 

  Kortchnoi vs. Karpov