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Stock Exchange Chess

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Garry Kasparov, no doubt with a few sour grapes underfoot, coined that term to describe the conservative, play-the-percentages chess style epitomized by the man who took away his world championship title in 2000, Vladimir Kramnik. I consider these to be the basic precepts:

1) Don't lose. That sounds obvious, but it means not risking a loss, or playing what the Russians call "for two results," win or draw only.

2) Save energy to maximize advantages. Don't tire yourself out playing for a win if you get an equal or even a better position with black. Take the draw asap so you are fresher when you have the white pieces. This combines the advantages of energy and the first move.

3) Don't press too hard. If you lose the advantage with white, offer a draw immediately. Again, maximize advantages. Don't risk overpressing just because you have white. Be pragmatic. This is contrary to the old conventional wisdom - still followed by many players - that you need to press hard to win with white even if your opening advantage is gone.

4) Play the position, never the player. Ignore factors like opponent's tournament standing or rating, etc. These can interfere with your best judgment at the board, and it's not pragmatic to waste time and energy considering them.

It doesn't take examples to realize that following these rules leads to lots and lots of draws, many of them short and without interest as chess games. GMs today make very few mistakes, so being good at avoiding mistakes and punishing errors does not guarantee tournament success. UNLESS you are in a match situation like a FIDE KO or a tournament with a format like this year's Dortmund. Then, by never losing, you win!

I should point out that I have tremendous respect for Vladimir Kramnik as a chessplayer. He has created things on the chessboard that will stand forever as brilliancies. In a way, that makes results like his current showing in Dortmund even more disappointing. Here is this massive talent drawing eight consecutive games, four of them against players he out-rates by a wide margin.

It's not just the results, it's the innocuous games themselves. Anand, Kasparov, Shirov, and Morozevich draw too, it's the nature of the high level of the modern game. But you can see from the games that they are usually making every effort to outplay their opponent and will risk to do so instead of being 100% sure that a move cannot backfire. Today nobody plays each game to the death the way Fischer and Larsen did in the 60's. Now it's all "professionalized." Do they think the profession will last long with games like these?

Peter Leko reinvented his game a few years ago, playing risky chess after years of drawishness. Lately he seems to have backslid a bit, but it's hard to tell if he's just being cautious before his match with Kramnik. Still, seeing them play a combined 16 consecutive draws in Dortmund is painful.

Kramnik, thanks to winning some blitz games, is now in the final match against Anand, starting tomorrow. If they draw both games and Kramnik wins in rapid or blitz he could become the first player ever (?) to win first prize in a tournament without winning a single game! Then get ready to hear that old refrain, "you can't criticize the winner." Join me for a beer?

[Update: I should have mentioned some previous comments on draws in chess. Related comments on Dortmund 2003 including some by Bologan.]


Would emphasizing tiebreak systems that favor wins or favor Black make players' styles more daring in the long-term?

What about the soccer idea of 1 point for a draw and 3 points for a win? Players wouldn't be more willing to take risks?

well guys, i dont know what to say. i think if you enter a tournament you should play for a win. now sometimes a draw is as good as a win. the problem becomes cloudy when guys take short draws or are friends. i feel that over the board you are pressed to play for the win. chess is a compitition if one is obliged to take draws in order be more fresh to win against another opponent then that is a strategical decision. it cant be faulted. but it still sucks for the spectator. if GM's want more money and want to live as professinal chess players then they are responsible to winning to please the croud!!!!! otherwise they do nothing but harm the institution the are trying to uphold.

How about starting with a more conservative solution: forbid the explicitly "agreed" draw, but permit a draw for 1) stalemate, 2) insufficient mating material, and 3) three-fold repetition of position?

Granted, they can "agree" with three-fold repetition, but psychologically, this can be hard to do in situations that clearly still have "play."

Better to start with smaller fixes than with huge ones.

My idea is if the players agree to a draw, black gets 1/4 point and white gets zero.

Attempts to 'punish' draws (eg by changing the scoring system) have a common flaw, namely, failure to recognise that a draw is a perfectly legitimate outcome to a game of chess -- certainly no less worthy an outcome than a decisive result. On the other hand I suppose forbidding draw offers (up to a certain point?) acknowledges another primitive truth: that (in general positions) no man can play on another 30 moves without making some kind of mistake!?

Why do the great have to play like the non great do. All the weeker player are telling the great chess play how to play,ie play for a win, make that risky move and lose so I how is not playing can feel better. learning from greats play will be a better time spent then telling then how to play. If the top drawing GM ever play you, then dont fret, they will play for the win and will win. If the can draw and are still on top that me the other cant player better. Last point, player like kramnik or leko how say draw to much, the game cant be a draw if it not offered or accepted!

I'm a little hesitant about using the soccer system of scoring...the best way may be to have up-and-coming players like Nakamura who don't say "draw" until it's a draw. We need that Fischer-Larsen attitude back!

I think that the scoring system isn’t the problem. It’s the player’s appearance fees that are the problem. Why play fighting chess if you’re paid just to show up? Players should be paid extra for wins. It used to work at Linares when L. Rentro handed out cash to players who played fighting games. Any way, extra money for wins would motivate players at the bottom of the table to keep on fighting.

Mig, I think there may be something to the opinion that you have anti-Anand and especially anti-Kramnik bias ("pro-Kasparov bias" would probably be the more correct term). Kramnik is a world champion, held Kasparov to zero(0) wins in their World Championship match, has won Linares this year, is about to win Dortmund. If Kramnik actually does have more draws than Kasparov (or other "fighting" top 10 GMs) - which still has to be statistically proven- , then that is because he saves games that Kasparov would have lost.

"GMs today make very few mistakes, so being good at avoiding mistakes and punishing errors does not guarantee tournament success. UNLESS you are in a match situation like a FIDE KO or a tournament with a format like this year's Dortmund. " - Let us not forget that Kramnik also won Linares this year. Supposedly, Linares format would not be suitable for Kramnik's style. And yet he won it anyway.

Mig, you know as well as anyone that Kramnik and Leko will soon play a match that will be as important as anything that happened in the chess world in about 4 years. Obviously both Kramnik and Leko don't want to show one another what they have prepared for the match. So they hope to throw off one another preparations by playing openings and types of positions and plans that they would not normally be playing. No wonder they will not be as confortable or agressive as they would be otherwise. I think that to jump on them at this stage is not exactly a constructive criticism. Lets be happy that they are playing in the Dortmund tournament instead of thinking of idea for white on move 45 of Ruy Lopez Berlin.

If you want to see decisive games, watch a couple of 1500s play on ICC - that sure won't have a lot of draws.

"If they draw both games and Kramnik wins in rapid or blitz he could become the first player ever (?) to win first prize in a tournament without winning a single game! " - You mean without winning a single game at standard time controls. Well if the format allows rapid and blitz tiebreaks then wins at those time controls are as good as win in one of the standard games. Exactly like you said - "can't criticize the winner."

The solution is simple: A draw should be the same as a win for Black. White would play all-out, every game. Players would not need to check the scoreboard or the games at other tables to know whether they should extend themselves to try to win; they'd know what they have to do. Giving White some time odds in compensation seems reasonable. FIDE should allow such games to be rated, so that tournament organizers can experiment with this format.

Why penalize White for the draw, but not Black. If Black is playing for the draw and finds a way to force it (i.e. stalemate), why should White suffer?
If draws are a part of the game (stalemate, lack of material, etc.), how can a system where players are punished for draws be fair?

I like the idea of 1 pt. for a draw/tie and 3 for the win. Has anyone used this system to evaluate what recent tournament results would have been if that system had been in place? For instance, would Kramnik's draws have still put him in 1st vs. Kasparov's wins? If not, how much further back would he have been?

Both Kramnik and Kasparov have the same goal. To keep their rating as high as possible.

I still prefer Kramnik's strategy to achieve that compared to Kasaprov's - which is to play lots of games as opposed to playing very few and focusing on writing books and contributing to match reports.

Kasparov has been playing badly the last two years and he still keeps the No 1 rating because he plays very few games and because of the flaws in the rating system.

That also suits Kaspy because the only title left with him for sometime is No. 1 rating which helps him get preferencial treatment and for his cronies to justify that.

I feel that more than changing the points system, it is important to change the rating system. Results more than 2 years old should not be considered - then Kasparov and Kamsky wouldn't be rated that high.


Very few of the top players play as much now as ten years ago. As for your idea of Kramnik's strategy, he played something like four games in 2002.

As for changing the rating system to be more dynamic, Kasparov proposed this in 2002 and formed "World Chess Rating" in coordination with FIDE to develop a new, more dynamic rating formula. KasparovChess.com also maintained and published the more dynamic Thompson ("professional") rating system. That you think Kasparov would agree or disagree to accept event invitations based on maintaining his rating is silly. Plus, whenever Kasparov plays more, he wins more.

I worked on both of those rating projects and have said many times that the rating system should be more dynamic, to make it an interesting part of the sport. Right now it's more about career performance.

Russianbear, all of this "anti" crap is just crap. I'm against Kramnik's self-admitted conservative style because I think it's bad for the game in general and boring for me personally. I CAN criticize the winner, although he didn't win this time. What is good for winning a tournament is not necessarily good for promoting the game or entertaining fans. (Or me personally, which is what I usually write about.)

BTW, Kasparov has lost a lower percentage of his games in the past few years than Kramnik. He has also won more. You can also say the same about Anand recently. Obviously I don't deny Kramnik beat Kasparov in a match. I was there. His style is ideal for match play and he played a perfect match. Do we all owe him something for this, or be happy about the direction he may be (intentionally or not) moving chess?

Usually you have to win at least three games to win a tournament. The more players play stock exchange chess, the more we'll see the number of draws increase and that number get down to two, or even one. My writing is my only weapon in fighting this possibility. I will criticize the games, the players, and the organizers for allowing its proliferation. I also support changing the rating system and scoring system to reward more aggressive play.

By the way, note that "The Rules" of SEC (stock exchange chess) as I postulated are simply the description of a style. If you read them and interpret them as an insult to SEC practitioners, that rather proves my point! I believe SEC players would take them as a compliment. It can undoubtedly be an effective method, as Kramnik proved yet again in Dortmund, finishing second without winning (or losing) a game.

If you enjoy it and its results, great for you. But I don't and I don't think most fans do. Kramnik doesn't owe us anything, his style is his style and he shouldn't (and doesn't) apologize for it. That doesn't mean I have to like it or support it.

A way to reduce draws would be to make stalemate a loss for the player who can't move. Admittedly this would radically change endgame theory, e.g., by making all K+P vs K positions wins. Basically, you would not need as large an endgame advantage to win a game. The current situation of having positions where bare king against 5 queens can be a draw violates the logic of chess. Some people might applaud this "wild card" factor in chess, but it does increase the number of draws.

the rule of a win is 3 and a draw is one? Come on, in a ten round a even player, all draws will get 5 points, and a player -4, with 3W and 7L will get 6 point. The secound play played less strong. But will out place the better player!!!

Draws abuse is a problem: first for the chess image with sponsors and public, second becouse the abuse of them can false a tournament result.

I refer to my experience more in important opens more in the top closed tournament.
In the last rounds the most of games on the top boards are quick draw and often organizers are disappointed seeing their tournament not with a clear winner but with 7/8 players sharing the first prizes.
Before last round they write on tournament bulletins something like
“What a day tomorrow!…What a games!…Who will be the winner?”
giving to audience great expectation for last round and then…
And then you know, in half an hour all is over…AND THE WINNER IS….: and the winner is one of those 6/7 players, let’s wait the end on last boards games to apply Buholz and we'll know who he is.

I read about many ideas (no draw before 30 moves, 3 points for a win 1 for a draw).
But despite I said I understand the problem those ideas in my opinion are too “radical” and in some way innatural.

I’d like to know chess world opinions about my following idea (I think it is mine only becouse I never read about it before)

In a ranking, between players with same points, apply Buholz or Berger methods MUST be ONLY secondary to the number of wins.

I mean that in a 9 rounds tournament player MIG with 6.5 (+6 =1 -2) is in any case ahead player LANTINI with 6.5 (+4 =5 -0) even if Buholz is for Lantini.
Normally top players in opens start with a row of full results and finish with a row of draws...In this way they got in any case higher Buholz than players who lost one or two games and win remaining…
With “my” rule I think top players have to manage the risk to let some of best prizes to the “last rounds winners”, the underdogs coming from the middle of the rank.

I easily understand also that Buholz is a more scientific way to share ranking than “my” rule but if draws are a problem I think “my” rule is more “soft” and less ”chess players shocking” than the 30 moves or the 3 points a win rules, and at the same time could give an appreciable result.

Money changes everything! Forget about changing the rules and thus doing violence to a game that has such a fine balance of factors. Why penalize a result that is perfectly natural; let players draw when they want to or must - just adjust the prizes to reward those who play longer games with fewer draws. If organizers would consistently do this then we might be able to see an end to these knock-out tournaments that are almost always decided by blitz games of low quality and doubtful value. Bring back the round-robin that really determines skill at chessplay not clock punching and get over draw death by paying for chess.

If the problem is abundance of draws and shortage of winnings, the problem may be one of wrong incentives. I think it would help changing the reward system, like giving 1.5 point to a win.

Excuse me, Ramos. About the idea of 1 point for a draw and 3 points for a win.
In a ten round, a player who draws all the games will get 10 (and not 5) points.
And a player with 3 wins and 7 loses will get 9 (and not 6) points, still below the former.
If a player wants to surpass the one with 10 draws, he will have to win 4 games (and get 12 points).
So, 4 wins would worth more than 10 draws? Yes, and that’s exactly what the idea wants to make happen. Have a fight for 4 wins, instead of taking 10 (possibly short) draws.
I would love to see this.

Can someone tell us how bad the Drawing problem has grown over the years? Can someone help us with the information on top 20 or 30 players's games for the decades 1960,70,80,90,00 and say how much the drawing percentages are/were for each of those decades?

That will probably give an indication of how much drawing is going on than just complaining that there are lots of draws. Chess inherently is a drawing game. Draw rulez

I like marcolantini's idea for encouraging decise games by using number of wins as a first tiebreak. Unlike many of the other suggestions, it doesn't artificially alter the point schemes or excessively punish fighting draws. However, it makes a win and a loss better than two draws, which is what is needed to promote fighting chess at the top level.

Perhaps you would also need to alter the normal prize distribution so that the player who wins using such a tiebreak gets significantly more money then the players with fewer wins but the same number of points. The end result would be probably be something similar to having a Rentero handing out bonuses for decisive games.

I don't see any downside to marcolantini's idea at all. What do other people think?


Regarding "stock exchange chess", I remember well the undignified whining by Kasparov following his defeat in 2000.

Compare this to the words of Portugal's coach Scolari after his creative, attacking side were beaten at Euro 2004 by a calculating, absorptive Greek team.

It is not for us to complain about the other side's tactics, Mr. Scolari said. We simply have to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to beat their system next time.

That's sportsmanship.

There was a time when Kasparov could be counted on to pull a rabbit out of a hat when defeat was staring him in the face, such as before the final game in his world championship match against Karpov in Seville.

His "miracle years" past him, it will be interesting to see Kasparov react when he loses the top spot in the ELO rankings.

Personally I felt that K was never the same after his loss to Deep Blue in their second match. For some reason this loss affected him worse than any loss to a human opponent.

I don't see why people are so convinced that Kasparov is a bad loser. Of course, nobody likes to lose but in this case he is simply characterizing the way Kramnik plays chess.(2nd place in Dortmund with 10/10 draws in classical chess.) 2 or 3 wins in Linares and 1 win in Dortmund 2003. Of course Kasparov did not win that many games either in Linares but that was different he was showing some rust. He had at least 4 or 5 winning positions that he failed to convert(sometimes even wins in 2 moves.In anycase, I don't see how anyone who has seen his games versus Grischuk and Jobava from the Euro Cup could think he has gone down hill too much...

SingSing, since you "remember well" Kasparov's whining, I'm sure you'll post some quotes or provide some links, right? I was there in London and he was quite gracious throughout the closing. Indeed it was Kramnik, when giving his speech at the closing ceremony, who thanked Kasparov for behaving so magnanimously. Kramnik, bizarrely, then failed to say anything about his predecessor's 15 years as world champion, but Vlad's a nervous speaker.

Kasparov's later criticism was about not getting a rematch and, later, Kramnik's style being bad for chess. What I would call whining was were his comments about the many very strong players Kramnik had recruited to help him, as if that were a crime.

Kasparov's incredible supertournament winning streak was well after his loss to Deep Blue.

Hi Mig,

I was referring to an Open Letter from Boris Gelfand (November 2000) -- see http://www.chessib.com/gelfandol.html --, at the end of which he quotes from an interview that Kasparov gave to the Russian periodical "Sport-Express":

"The time of pragmatical market has come. What is your company worth? How much do your stocks cost? … And now to chess world came champion who symbolizes this cynical and pragmatical approach. … Many don't like style of Kramnik's games which give no pleasure to people."

Perhaps "whining" is too strong a word, but Kasparov's comments are hardly gracious.

By the way, comparing Kasparov's reaction to his loss with the reaction of Coach Scolari may not have been entirely fair of me. A soccer coach is one step removed from the "action", whereas soccer players and chess grandmasters are themselves the protagonists.

I remember that interview. As I said at the start of the SEC item, there were no doubt sour grapes in Kasparov's "whine"! Losing sucks, as we all know around here.

But that it's coming from Kasparov shouldn't invalidate the thoughts. A tournament with Kasparov, Anand, Morozevich, and Shirov is going to be much better for fans and sponsors than one with Kramnik, Leko, and well, I don't want to hurt any more feelings! (Even Leko is hard to mention here because he did so much to play more aggressively in 2002 and played great chess.

Again, players have a right to their styles. My thoughts are more on the lines of making changes in the sport (rating, scoring, etc.) to promote it as a commercial success.

Dear Edu
Your Excused, you pointed it out one player will get 10 point and the other 9, very even when the are not even the secound player with 9 was not as strong. A -4 give you almost as much as a =. math a litte off. lso a +4 and -6 is a -2(40%),that is greater then a =(50%). Ya that work out. then I will give you 40% of $100 and you share half of your$100 and you will get more by your math. let cound the days that the current point syst is until you get your way. If you play chess you have to fight for a draw to but you cant understand that. keep looking for it

Hi guys. My first time here. A few points to make.
Marco, your suggestion is fine for Round Robins, but the absolute majority of 9-round tournaments are Swisses. Who's going to get more wins, a guy who played on Board One throughout the event or somebody who raised to the top at the last moment? Do you want to reward the winners of mismatched games or worse yet the cheaters of pre-arranged encounters? It's no secret how people act when facing a last round situation when draw gives no prize. Is that the kind of "fighting chess" you want to encourage? Same goes for the 3 point soccer scoring system. People will just dump games, period.
Secondly, the problem with abundance of draws in top-level chess runs deep and cannot be fixed unless you break up the entire system of invitational tournaments. Linares, yawn...
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.
Thirdly, I'm not even going to reply to proposals of changing the scoring system. Every issue of Chess Lies magazine has yet another letter from a backwood nutso full of "abolish the stalemate rule" ravings. Enough.
And finally, a sociological comment. Our chess heroes do not exist in 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.


I agree SEC chess is boring and what Kramnik is
doing in not good for chess or chessfans. I see the following reasons:

- Kramnik's style is not conducive to risk taking and too much tactical stuff. He is a better match player than a tounament and SEC works for him there.

- Also, because of the upcoming match with Leko, he seems to be keeping new tricks/preparations to himself.

- He is not in a great form and is thus playing safe and wants to avoid losing. Better the draws at Dortmund than the losses at Corus for him. He's already slipped to third and doesn't want to slip any lower. However, if he keeps drawing with lower rated players, his rating is bound to fall, albeit gradually.

The two steps I think will counter SEC (and many other problems like flawed ratings, player inactivity, unification crisis etc.):

- Effective steps to deal with short draws as many have suggested. I don't think the soccer rule is fair to long hard-fought games where a draw is the logical conclusion.

- Move to a tennis (or golf) kind of system to determine ratings and world championship. Drop results that are more than one (or two) years old and older the result, lesser the weightage. The player with the higher rating at the end of the year is the world champion (like Federer or Tiger Woods). This encourages more activity and discourages SEC style play as it is better for match play than tournament play.

I have added the world championship tie-in because the SEC is more of a super GM problem and also because of the confusion over the unified champion over the last so many years.


In any particular opening, the fans and the chess theory buffs want to know whether White has anything. Often, what White has is a chance to mix things up, but at considerable risk of losing. So he settles for the safe draw instead, and we don't get to find out what would have happened if he'd tried it. The beauty of draw odds (a.k.a. Armageddon games) is that White will go all-out, and we get to see what happens! Such games, if well-played, bring us a bit closer to answering the grand theoretical question of Chess: is Chess a win for White, or a draw? Well, we'll never actually know that, but at least for particular opening lines, we can try to gather some evidence. It's also good for the theory buffs to have Black playing for simple draws when they're available, because often that will demonstrate the clearest refutation of White's opening. I have no problem with putting the entire onus on White to play for a win.

Anyway, with two players, having more than two possible outcomes will inevitably lead to strange situations. E.g. if you go 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, you may get some players who reach drawish positions flipping a coin to decide which of them will resign!

Many interesting points and suggestions have been presented here, and some initial thoughts (which I'll have to ponder for a future article):

1) Since a draw is one of the fundamental results of a chess game, using a system other than 1-0, 0.5-0.5, 0-1 seems unfair. A player who as white fights hard to win a game that ultimately ends in a draw after 75+ moves shouldn't be punished by a 0.4 when a 19 move draw offer gets the same weight. Changing the result on a sliding scale (a novel concept I thought of) of 0.3 for draws in the 0-30 move range, 0.4 for 31-60 move range, and 0.5 for 61+ moves, though interesting, can't account for real perpetuals and stalemates that could occur before move 60. Using a 3pt win system might have some merit, since its been tried before in soccer. If used, it should probably only be used in classical time control games (ones of the 40/2 - 20/1 - SD/30 type, or something better like a 150 minute + 60 second inc/move).

Redistribution of prize money based on more wins over more draws for players with the same score would be interesting, but at the top levels of chess, is this type of money significant after appearence fees and what they'd normally get for their place in the event? Not sure, but doubtful enough to discourage "GM draws". And again, it has the inherent problem of punishing someone who fights out a draw vs accepting an early one.

Another possibility which has been alluded to is changing the rating system. Maybe a more dynamic approach is necessary to shake up some of the top ratings, but specifically it can target draws. If the change in a players rating due to a draw were to change more dramatically (adding in an extra K-factor), some of the higher rated players would experience a bigger drop in rating due to many draws. (This does "punish" draws, a natural part of the game, but not moneywise or placewise in a tournament, just their standing in the pecking order which could affect invitations to tournaments). It's a thought, but again, probably would not dramtically reduce the number of draws.

But, with multiple tweaks to the system like changes in prize money for co-equals and the rating system on draws, maybe more competitive chess would result. Would the 3-1-0 idea also contribute? Maybe. It would take a cumulative effect of changes to make any difference, not just any one thing without radically affecting the game.

The most obvious flaw with the '3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw' suggestion is that in big open tournaments like the Politiken Cup (http://www.politikencup.dk/) a player can end up in the middle of the table if he in the first rounds wins all his games, then meets stronger opposition and lose and draw the rest of his games. Another player of equal strength may loose his first games and then meets weaker opposition and cashes in some easy wins in the end giving him more points than the other player of equal strength. This tournament strategy may not be intentional, but it sure is a flaw to the '3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw' suggestion.

My suggestion in how to stop the success of these SEC players is : 1) Agreed draws before move 40 are prohibited, and if they happen anyway then both players get 0 points. 2) On agreed draws after move 40 the white player is getting 0.4 points and the black player 0.5 points.

I would hate to see the scoring system changed as it would punish a hard fought draw as much as the <20 move draws.

How about this idea: If a player offers a draw, then the opponent can accept at any time later in the game.

The result of this would be that you would only offer/accept a draw when you haven't got a hope of winning the game, which is how it should be!

Just an addition to the "toss a coin" KO suggestion of Yermo: toss a coin to determine who gets white in a rest-day tiebreak *classical time control* game where white gets thru with a win and black gets thru otherwise. Also reduce black's time somewhat (but still keep it around 2 hrs), in order to avoid getting the game rated as a classical game, which would be unfair in a white must win situation. (It would even be fun to have a separate "white must win" rating.) Big boys can handle a little bit of bad luck and try to beat their opponents with white...

Funny that the first three "principles" of Kasparov's "theory" are:

1) Don't lose. That sounds obvious, but it means not risking a loss, or playing what the Russians call "for two results," win or draw only.

2) Save energy to maximize advantages. Don't tire yourself out playing for a win if you get an equal or even a better position with black. Take the draw asap so you are fresher when you have the white pieces. This combines the advantages of energy and the first move.

3) Don't press too hard. If you lose the advantage with white, offer a draw immediately. Again, maximize advantages. Don't risk overpressing just because you have white. Be pragmatic. This is contrary to the old conventional wisdom - still followed by many players - that you need to press hard to win with white even if your opening advantage is gone.


Isn't that the EXACT SAME strategy he employed when down 5-0 to Karpov in their first match? Remember how the string of draws was THEN perceived as Kasparov's GREAT "achievement"?

For how long are professional chess players and organizers going to put up with Kasparov's shameless dishonesty?

He's as much a great player as he is a despicable person. I have no respect for his persona; his moves, though, are a different story!

The principles of the theory are mine, not Kasparov's. He coined the name for the style. I'm the one who wrote the article.

But if you play all the time the way you'd play when a single loss would cost you a world championship match, you certainly deserve criticism.

When was the last time Kramnik had had as many draws in a row as Kasparov had in his match vs. Karpov in 1984?

And as for direction Kramnik is moving chess to, I bet its a better direction than Kasparov was moving chess to when he was a world champ. Kasparov destroyed the old system of world championship cycles and he created nothing new in its place. Every signle one of his organizational ideas has failed miserably. He also brought disunity that will be hard to overcome. But I think Kramnik is moving chess in the right direction - he clearly intends to unify the chess world. Let's hope he will clean up the mess Kasparov has created.

Russianbear --

"But I think Kramnik is moving chess in the right direction - he clearly intends to unify the chess world."

Either Kramnik is the most subtle operator I've ever seen, or you are engaging in wishful thinking.

Moving chess? Seems to me that Kramnik's "movement" is, I'll be the winningest chess player and collect nice $$$ as my due, but little else. Which is a perfectably respectable "movement", but not what you suggest.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 30, 2004 6:56 PM.

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