This issue came up during Chess FM's broadcast with Tony Rook and Mark
Diesen. It was during game 5 of the Kramnik vs. Leko world championship.
There was a suggestion for changes to the stalemate rules. The suggestion
was to change the scoring in chess to award ĺ points for a stalemate and
ľ for being stalemated. The reasoning is that if you canít make a legal
move you should be penalized. So lets award the player giving stalemate ĺ
points. Under the current rules, the stalemate is considered a draw. Both
players split the point and are award .5.
The point that people are missing is, they seem to focus on the
scoring of the game, the end result. Was it a win, loss, or draw? In my
opinion, itís not the result that makes chess entertaining. Itís the
moves, the position, and the fight that keeps us entertained. Itís the
suspense of knowing a player has a pawn advantage and not knowing if
itís a win. The end result
is the CHERRY on top. I think this suggestion is the kind of back woods
proposal that Yermolinsky warned us about on MIGís www.chessninja.com
Under this stalemate rule, game 5 of the world championship would
probably have ended on move 23 in a stalemate agreement. Both players probably
would probably agree to a stalemate decision with Leko gaining ĺ points
and Kramnik gaining 1/4. This game, if played out correctly will certainly
end in a stalemate. Most king
and pawns vs. king and pawns endgames would probably end in stalemate
agreements. This would probably be the same for all rook endgames as well.
Iíd have to throw out all my endgame books.
The stalemate rule
would drive the concept of gaining the opposition to near extinction. Why
should players with the advantage of a pawn in an endgame, play a long
endgame for a ľ point more. If they know at worst itís a stalemate and
ĺ of a point. Why work hard for that ľ point. Single pawn advantage endgames require fine technique, that
technique would rarely be necessary any longer. The result of this
rule change would be either a win, loss , or stalemate. Fans would grow
behind the trend to Ēend the stalemateĒ. Lets leave the basic rules of
chess alone. Let us try to remember that itís the moves, the positions,
and the players behind this creativity that make chess exciting.
Lets reward winning chess games. Give white 1.1 for winning, black 1.2 for
winning and lets leave the stalemate as a draw and score all draws as .5.
Stalemate is a defensive strategy and not luck. How many points does
Larry Evans deserve for this game?
Larry Evans proving my point.
Leko vs. Kramnik game
5 - 2004 world championship. Change the stalemate rules and we might
have missed this grind.