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In the tradition of my beloved Slashdot's "Slashback", these sections will update past items and highlight useful reader comments. I'm also changing DD policy to not opening external links in a new browser. You can do that yourself by right-clicking a link and selecting 'Open in New Window'.

Fischer. The latest on Fischer's detention in Japan has him filing for asylum there (odd since he's been going on about how it's such a horrible, USA-Jew-controlled place). Several reports mention how Fischer's anti-Jewish and Holocaust-denying rants may hurt his chances on various legal fronts.

Legal eagle Rob Huntington points out that "Asylum is for refugees who are defined (in the Geneva Convention) as those 'unwilling or unable to return home due to a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, creed, political opinion, membership in a particular social group.'"

Fischer apparently doesn't qualify. Serbia-Montenegro has offered to take him, but only if the USA and Japan agree to it. You can read Fischer's side of things (many, many things) here.

SEC. Stock Exchange Chess and the draw problem ("problem"?) has stirred much debate. Yes, draws are a part of chess. But 25-move draws with all the pieces on the board will destroy the game as a sport. If you can win tournaments by only playing hard in one or two games, something has gone very wrong and the rules need to be changed. Is it unfair to blame the players for exploiting the rules in order to do less work? Perhaps. Would you pay admission (or sponsorship) to a chess event (online or in person) knowing that it could end in 30 minutes and 14 moves? (Kasparov-Kramnik, London 2000. Twice.)


25 move draws will not destroy chess, that chess it only played by two people, they agree to a draw it a draw. if your not play in the game you dont get to say. it sound like some is just upset becouse, he or she is not strong to get into that game. Nothing has gone wrong, could it be give a nother look by anti-draw players. Why do the rules need to be change becouse, no debt just talk just change the for you favor, OK. There are win in a big draw % tournament, if there was not wins then all play will be even. draws and then a big win is just as good and W and L. like a good boxing match not just a slug feast

Maybe your're right, Ramos. Maybe, if you're a strong enough chessplayer (like 2700+, maybe?), there is something profoundly interesting in seeing a 19-move draw between two top players because Black has "equalized." After all, at that level equalizing with Black is a big deal, right? So who are the "fishes" to complain?

Well, actually, they are people that the sponsors of tournaments are trying to obtain name recognition with, sell their products to, et cetera. Furthermore, even relatively strong players get annoyed at the virtual non-games which occur at the highest level (I remember Khalifman-Dreev at the Russian Championship this year, agreed draw one move beyond Khalifman's analysis in his "Opening for White According to Kramnik" series; it's very hard not to be unhappy with a game that lasted, in reality, one move).

The real problem with this "Stock Exchange" chess is that it appears to be working. Without any players clearly dominating right now, +2 in a 9-round tournament with the top players might be good enough to take (or tie for) first place. And the players who play it safe by taking the short draws, conserving energy, trying to beat up on the weakest players, etc., are winning a lot of the top tournaments. So either the chess world (and in particular the organizers of tournaments) come up with some scheme which creates an incentive for fighting chess, or the top tournaments are going to get less and less interesting even to those who are most interested in the game. Unless the latter happens, I see a time coming when the only people who find most of the games between top players interesting are the top players themselves. Well, and maybe you too, Ramos.

- Geof

Two things must be clearly separated:

1) Draws are a part of the game, and a legitimate result. And can perfectly be the outcome of a good game

2) “GM draws”, of 20 moves or less, with most or all pieces still on board, with few or no moves out of opening theory, and a lot (and I mean A LOT) still to be played, make me sick, make other fans sick, do not attract other fans, and make sponsors lose interest.

I was one of the persons who paid for a ticket to see personally a game in the Kasparov-Kramnik London 2000 match. It happened to be game 5, that ended in a GM draw. I can personally testify that I heard more than one person promising never to pay again to see a chess game. As I said above, the problem is not that the game ended up in a draw – the problem is that the game ended up in what we call “GM draw”.

Yes, a draw can be the outcome of a good game. But a GM draw is not a good game.

Yesterday I took a look at my database. I counted 1102 GM games in 2003 that ended in a draw before move 25, and only 803 that ended in a draw after move 50. It means that the draws are being agreed more to avoid a fighting game, and not as the outcome of a good game.

Yes, the players can agree to a draw whenever they want, INCLUDING one move after their opening analysis. This is legitimate, allowed by the rules. But is this what fans and sponsors would like to see?

I really do believe that some kind of incentive should be made for players who prefer to keep fighting, instead of taking a “GM draw”. This is why I strongly support the soccer idea of 1 point for a draw and 3 points for a win, that I mentioned on the comments of the former article. The whole point here is to make a win and a lose more worth than two draws (or two fighting games more worth than two GM draws).

Yes, I know. This idea would mean that player A with an even score (ex.:5 wins and 5 loses in a 10-round robin) could get ahead of player B with a positive result (ex.: 1 win and 9 draws). The problem is that, as a role, the 9 draws of player B are GM draws. That is harming chess as a whole in practical terms.

Some readers mentioned that it would be some kind of “aggression” to the rules of the game. Personally, I disagree. The roles of the game would not change at all, only the scoring would. Changing the scoring, in my view, is less of a change in the rules than the change on the time control, or the abolition of adjournments.

The GM draw affect only the top level chess. Players below 2400 (99.999%) seldom uses it, unless in last round to clinch a prize.

As top players, their conditions are very different than most players. They often get appearance fees, usually higher than any prize. This leads to a safety approach (it is better to keep my place, instead of risking it for such a small reward). They also plays more Round-Robins and matches than most players.

The proposal of changing the score system (or at least use wins as tiebreak) affects differently each tournament system.

1.- Matches are unaffected, and this is the kind of tournaments most often sees GM draws. I thought than long matches would be more prone to short draws, but the short matches - rapid tiebreaks format actually had some players (and not only lower rated) trying to get easy draws every slow game.

2.- For swiss system it may have a negative effect, as SS already discourages draws, because it is often impossible to win a 9-round tournament with a +3.

3.- The effect in team tournaments is difficult to foresee.

4.- It makes sense in Round Robin tournaments, but it would need to change the allocation of money (larger prize fund, less appearance fees). Rentero in Linares got fighting chess without having to alter the score system, just the money allocation. This proves that the problem has more to do with the money than anything else.

About changing rules, most radical proposals such as stalemate winning implies a breach too large with the past. The only sound change (and well researched, by the way) is Maurice Ashley idea of prohibiting draw offers before move 50. His reasonings and possible consequences are outlined in his article at:


I think this change makes sense, but I am afraid it will not make the rules soon (not a chance in this year congress, maybe in 2 or 4 years).

Maybe 3 points for a win would help some tournaments, and lets face it we are only really talking about Super GM ones. Personally I am not convinced and have never actually seen stats to prove that it worked in soccer; I think it is one of those myths. However, I would be happy to see experiments. But the 2000 KK match would not have been changed by such a scoring method, match play never will.

Personally I think that if Kasparov wants to offer a draw on Move 14 when white and he is two games down in a limited match then sobeit. And yes I was there and had paid and unlike Edu with game 5, I did not mind and did not hear such comments. I had also seen game 4 which was fantastic entertainment, if not fantastic chess, and made up for the shorter draws that is the chance you take. Follow any sport and there are good and bad days. Plus the atmosphere of being at any event makes everything so much better. In addition with the 2000 match the organisers provided good value for money with the entertainment afterwards (and hey Mig, it was over an hour (maybe 75 minutes) not just 30 minutes so don't tell such lies or I'll accuse you of bias!). So I would definitely pay to see the chance of some great games again and am even toying with the idea of a long weekend in Switzerland to see Kramnik v Leko.

Too many chess 'fans' want to see the players kill each other over the board but would not pay to watch. Just look at all the inane and pathetic comments by ICC users who complain about the $35 per year fee; Playchess is the same. And how many complain that a draw is poor entertainment but haven't paid a penny to be watching it online? Of course we would like fighting chess but it seems half the people that watch only understand that a game is fighting if someone has sacrificed a piece.

Incidently what do the Super GM players (Go on Mig ask them - be ruthless) say about their short GM draws?

I think the simplest solution is to outlaw the "GM draw" -- however you define it. This is admittedly a judgment call, but the rules have other judgment calls. For instance, it is illegal to prolong the game with meaningless moves because your opponent is in time trouble. (See Rule 10.2.a, which requires the arbiter to determine if a player is attempting to win the game by "normal means").

Outlawing "GM draws" would cure the most egregious problem, without introducing other anomalies. There is nothing wrong with a hard-fought draw that reaches an even endgame. There is no need to change the meaning of a stalemate, an outcome that doesn't occur after 15-20 moves.

Personally I'd like Mig to get rich and famous enough to institutionalize the ol' Chicken Factor (CF). That is: probably need a dedicated (paid) njerd to write some code and crunch some databases but the results would be... well, I was going to say a stunning condemnation of certain dull GMs making a living at the game today, but really the whole idea begs the question of real consequences. Could we include a hyphenated CF in the top 100 FIDE ratings? Like that's going to cut down on Kramnik's Nike endorsements. But, Mig, as long as you're soliciting input from the community on other topics, why not ask your fanbase for some chicken code? Or perhaps it already exists; any road I think CF ratings deserve their own website. Come to think of it, you could set it to update on a move-by-move real-time basis, a live tournament feed if you will. Of course you'd have to come up with a catchy name...

Great comments from everyone! However, not one addressed the darkest issue: Chess, as a game. Frankly, we are getting very close to "solved" status for Chess, as we know it. Thus, when a known position is reached by a Super-GM which leads, with best play, to a Draw result (no matter how many moves have taken place), why risk (Chicken Factor) being the one to make the mistake? Unless, of course, you have worked very hard (with a computer) to discover a novelty in that particular line.

Regarding "changing rules": Remember, we all play by the same rules. Chess, as a viable game, depends on it. Anyone who has ever played in a tournament at any level with any amount of success will acknowledge the necessity of a "tournament strategy" as well as a "game strategy". Thus, the "t-strategy" may call for Drawing a game against a particular opponent, should an even position be reached, even though in "g-strategy" the game could continue.
We saw this illustrated very starkly in both Tripoli and Dortmund. One must answer the very real question (as a GM): Is the "GM-job" to win the individual game or the tournament?" In match play the question revolves around wins, but in tournaments this is a real strategy. Thus, Anand plays for a draw against Polgar in Corus assuring 1st place (even so, it was a great game thanks to Judit and Vishy!).

Regarding the "Fan Quotient", are we not sophisticated enough to figure this out? And if we are having a problem selling it, maybe it's our responsibilty to educate the "general public/consumer/paying spectator". I believe sponsorship $$'s is more an issue with the current international chess leadership than "unforced draws".

What's the answer to "unforced draws"? Hey, I'm just a poor patzer, you guys figure it out. I can tell you changing the "point system" or "minimum move system", or any other "tweak" to any "system" isn't going to change the outcome. These guys aren't "your average Bear (as in, Yogi)" and will find a way to work around any rule. Meanwhile, us patzers looking for a profit on our $15.00 local tournament entry fee are going to get ground up in the process.

Ultimately, I believe Chess, as a game, must evolve. It's happened before and maybe it's time again. The addition of a larger board and/or more pieces will dramatically change the game and, maybe, in the long run, that's the only way the "Game of Kings" will survive into the next century.
Bye Ninjas!

I despise GM draws. I will not watch tournament games online for that reason. Actually, I wouldn't watch them in any case as they are too long and boring. The top players are all Russians and interest in top-level chess in America is pretty close to zero. .6 for a draw as black and .4 for a draw is white is like having draw odds for black.
A 50 move draw rule would do little, players could just move their pieces back and forth until they hit it or go for 3 move rep.

Again, why not just PAY MORE for wins - let the trophy winner be the guy who collects 8 draws from 10 games. Let the guy who won 3 games win MORE money. After a few years of this how many people will believe that the professional game is all about winning tournaments? I don't think the style was refered to as "Stock Exchange Chess" because of a lust for shiny trophies! If you want fights - pay for them!

Fischer's anti-Jewish and Holocaust-denying rants plus anti USA rants are a sign of a desperate manchild trying to reclaim his badboy image to make millions. To Fischer, it's all about the benjamins'. Oh yeah, and marrying 19 year old girls to remain in various countries because his country is disgusted with him is another way he manipulates the world on his dais. The thing that Fischer does have: is my right to defend his commnents whether right or wrong. Eventhough they are paranoia induced with a sprinkle of schizophrenia(sp). The only value that fischer has given this world was lost with his mental depression in 1972 when he fell down his own created abyss. I feel sorry for those around this sick man who have been swept in by his manipulative ways for they are even more lost than this sick SOB.

submitted with respect,


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 3, 2004 3:08 PM.

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