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Kramnik-Leko at the Half

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After seven of fourteen games, the Kramnik-Leko classical world championship match in Brissago, Switzerland is tied up 3.5-3.5. Kramnik will have four whites in the second half, although his three so far have been unimpressive. Five of the seven games have been draws, four of them very short. That's no surprise and doesn't compare unfavorably to other recent matches. Kasparov-Kramnik saw only two decisive games of 15. Kasparov-Anand 95 started with eight draws and ended with 13/18 games drawn. With incredible preparation and risk-averse attitudes prevailing it's only going to get worse, at least until Morozevich gets a title shot.

Game 6 was a good illustration of today's rules. They agreed to a draw on move 20 with all the pieces and seven pawns each on the board. If there was any advantage, Leko had it with black. As I posited in my "stock exchange chess" polemic a few months ago, reaching equality with black is now a cue to offer a draw, unless you can play for a win without any risk of losing. Matches make things worse because match strategy (needing a rest, testing an opening) takes precedence. With private sponsorship I don't know why they don't insist on move minimums. If you have paying spectators you shouldn't have to risk a sham like the 11 and 14-move draws of K-K 2000. Draws are part of the game, short ones with all the pieces on the board shouldn't be.


As long as draws are allowed at any point during a game, then an 11 or 14 move draw is not necessarily more of a sham than a 20 or 21 draw. It depends on circumstances. A decisive move, even among Super GMs can still take place before move 10. An unexpected transposition in the opening or an opening that is unfamiliar to one but very familiar to another can cause a battle of time not reflected by the number of moves. It's all part of what one should expect in chess. All of this is not meant to detract from the importance of the discussion. This is a question I'm curious about: How much, proportionally, have the number of draws among top players increased since Capablanca's day?

That 14-move draw in Game 13 of Kasparov-Kramnik has always puzzled me. After games 1,3 and 9, in which Kramnik played the Berlin, Kasparov would have had to have prepared to meet the Berlin in Game 11. Kramnik played the Archangelsk, I think, in Game 11. But when he came back with the Berlin in Game 13 Garry spent tons of time thinking and frowning and then, playing the white pieces and behind in the match 2-0 with only three games to go, agreed to a 14-move draw. Mig, do you know what happened?

Big money tournament in Minneapolis in May 2005 says "NO AGREED DRAWS ALLOWEB BEFORE 30 MOVES IN LAST 4 ROUNDS" in the Open Section. Even a contract to be signed.
Should be interesting to see how this works out.

To clarify: By "at any point in the game" I mean "regardless of number", and not beyond a certain point. I congratulate Maurice Ashley who is doubtless responsible for the rule to which Russell Miller alludes, though I want to reiterate that I think the best way to reduce "grandmaster draws" is to change the point system so that wins are worth more than twice as much as draws.

About the question of how much, proportionally, the number of draws among top players of today have changed, compared to players of the past.

I just made a quick research on my database, and found the following percentages (surveying players with a positional style):

draws: 30,9 %
draws with 30 moves or less: 10,2 %
draws with 20 moves or less: 1,7 %

draws: 33,3 %
draws with 30 moves or less: 9,4 %
draws with 20 moves or less: 2,0 %

draws: 44,0 %
draws with 30 moves or less: 20,6 %
draws with 20 moves or less: 5,4 %

draws: 53,9 %
draws with 30 moves or less: 32,4 %
draws with 20 moves or less: 13,9 %

draws: 55,3 %
draws with 30 moves or less: 25,8 %
draws with 20 moves or less: 7,8 %

You can see that the percentage of draws have been increasing, and it can be attributed to a higher level of play. But the percentage of SHORT draws have also been increasing, and in my opinion it can in fact be attributed to "stock exchange chess".

In fact, the percentage of the last few years would be very higher, since those numbers reflect the whole carreer, and not the recent games, against other top players. Capablanca had a higher percentage than other top players of his time, but this was affected by a high number of draws in his later years, not in his prime years.

Surprising, at least for me, is that Leko has a higher percentage of draws than Kramnik, but Kramnik has a higher percentage of short draws than Leko.

The short draws may not be a majority of the games (yet), but they are certainly an image problem, for fans and for sponsors. Sometimes I have the impression that I heard more complains about the two short draws in Kramnik-Leko then cumpliments about the two wins.

So I subscribe to the question: draws are a legimate result, but should short draws be?

Adjournments also existed on the past and were abolished. Should short draws be?

If you wanna know why the general public doesn't get chess, look no further. At best I am a 1400 player and I feel messed with if a GM draws at move 20. It isn't instructive to anyone but a master at best and if you want to assure us that it is "drawish" with seven pawns a piece, then you need to understand that we, the unwashed masses, just have a tough time stomaching that all of the proper lines would have been followed. I mean, look, the thing that makes sports popular are the "if" arguments ... that is "if" the Bulls had no Pippen would Jordan have won 6 championships... "if" there is no "Hand of God" how does Britain fare in the rest of the match against Argentina... etc. I just cannot do a plausible "if" argument at move 20 -- You may be able to but "you" would be a select few at best. Certainly not enough to constitute any large population, chess fans or not.

I like the effort being made by Maurice Ashley and others to try to discourage short draws. I am not sure that enforcing a minimum number of moves condition will solve the problem, since players can still waste or repeat moves to get to the required number. In any case, it can't hurt.

There must be some kind of discouragement or disadvantage to a player offering such an early draw. One idea I had was that the player being offered the draw should be able to accept it anytime over the next few (maybe 5) moves. With this rule there would be some disadvantage to offering the draw, because your opponent can try some offensive, and still claim the draw if it does not work out. However if the position really is a dead draw then the opponent will just accept immediately. Perhaps this would reduce the draws agreed in these kind of early positions which still have much to be played out.

I have noticed that the Corsican tourney (where the likes of Anand, Shirov, Topolov, Grischuk played last year) has banned draws by mutual agreement this year.

It will be interesting to see how many of the "drawn" positions will end up as draws

What about giving 0.6 points to black and 0.4 points to white if the draw is agreed before move 20 for example?

chessisfun, giving .6 points for black would make 2 short draws worth more than a win. This would only make the problem worse as most top players already play for a draw with black, but giving 3 points for a win (1 for a draw - 0 for a loss)sounds like a good idea to me.

Please read the comments to the "stock exchange" item linked to in this item. Among other items there, GM Yermolinsky points out how effective 3-1-0 point scoring would make cheating in Swiss events. It would also punish draws when they aren't the real problem. SHORT draws are the problem. You don't want to promote bad (or unsound, to be more charitable) chess more than Swiss system events already do to a certain degree. It's more about how our current classical champion (and other top players) only shows up for half his games, the other half being drawn in fewer than 30 moves. The 14% drawn in under 20 moves is unacceptable and outrageous. Those are non-games for the most part.

Game 6 illustrated Mig's point to a tee. Fritz had Leko ahead as black by about half-a-pawn at move 20, with most of the pieces still on the board, and yet a draw was agreed with still a lot of life in the position. The only reason I can see why Leko did this was because he was exhausted from the previous day's 7-hour marathon.

Game 7's 21-move draw was legit, in the sense that I can't see how either player could have made progress. Of course, it got to that point because Leko's 13.d5 completely eliminated the pressure after the two of them traded off most of the heavy pieces. The online commentators said that Leko shouldn't trade queens--and yet he did, draining the game of its remaining suspense.

I think Chuckles idea seems really very very good
and it can even make a draw offer a very interesting and rich of suspence event for audience.

Black offers draw, White has five full moves to accept...
First move mmh lets' tray the exchange sacrifice...
Second move and now take this check!..
Third and now check again!...
Fourth and now I push my passed pawn and I win...oh my God but no, but now my queen is lost !..
Fifth ok ok let's agree this draw how you wish.

Chessisfun: If I have White and you offer me draw at move 15 I'll smile and say "Ok I agree but please let's write 5 dummy moves on the game sheet"

I totally agree with you on the short draws mig. The sponsors provide a lucrative prize fund for the players, only to have the players put forth almost no effort in many of the games. What can this possibly say to future sponsors? I'm sure not to many corporations will be lining up to sponsor future chess events.
On the bright side, the European Cup games are a breath of fresh air, with many players going balls-out in their games. Kudos to their efforts in providing fun chess in the light of a lackluster WC.

Short draws, rapid games to finish off long tournaments, etc., are indications of an ADD society that requires less be more, instead of cherishing the rich history of full bodied chess. It is shameful that the malaise of television sound bites is even invading the royal game. Shame on all of us for accepting these changes.

hi there, just a short remark regarding 3-1-0 point split. i am an amatheur player of both chess and soccer. there were big complaints about 0-0 results in soccer (something like short draws in chess)...and 3-1-0 helped a lot. i think chess has a lot to learn from other sports in flexibility of rules...in most cases it helps...if chess players want to collect cheques comparable to other sportsmen, they have to offer comparable efforts...i am sure that the audince can judge the amount of effort very efficiently...how would "the soccer (golf etc.)match ended after 20 min. 0-0 with equal chances for both teams?"

Which other sports have the equivalent of draw offers? I can't think of any.

I would like to see some tournaments in which draw offers weren't allowed. What are the drawbacks?

The only one I can see is the possibility of some games ending in 50 moves of aimless shuffling, but I'd rather have that than the 20 move draws.

Anyway if you want to 'offer' a draw you can just repeat moves. Of course you will only do this when your opponent cannot exploit it, i.e. when the position really is drawn.

Surely its worth an experiment?

Well, now that there are 3 decisive games out of 8, it doesn't seem fair to criticize the players for excessive draws. When was the last time we had a WC match with this high a percentage of decisive games? I think you have to give Leko and Kramnik some credit here, even if you don't like their short draws, for playing some fighting chess as well.

In my personal opinion, this match is turning out to be as exciting as any WC match in the modern era. I just wish it was going to be longer. Fourteen games is just not enough.


It's a shame Penn & Teller don't play chess. They would make a special chess edition of their hit series "BS" coz the Chess World is full of it. Why everyone is whining about short draws? Don't we deserve them?
First you blame an average GM who makes a short draw in the last round of a Swiss tournament to guarantee some money? And this is the first case of a BS. When the abovementioned GM considers a missed mortgage payment, a nagging wife and crying children in the case he loses that game or disappointed sponsor if he makes a draw then it is really a tough choice for him. Yeah right! As long as GMs have to pay for all their expenses all this blame is a BS!
OK, what about fat cats like Kramnik and Leko who don't have financial problems? They are the root of all evil, they make sponsors forget about chess,right? And this is the second case of a BS! When Shirov beat Kramnik in their match, did the sponsors throw their money to finance Shirov's match with Kasparov? No, because these days sponsors want to have only the highest rated players. You get what you are paying for! When Anand and Morozevich weren't invited to play in so called 'Dortmund Candidates tournament' and Israelis couldn't play in Tripoli what was the Chess World doing? I don't recall riots in LA or big editorial in the Wall Street Journal. So read what Lasker wrote almost 100 years ago about the responsibility of the Chess World and stop blaming chessplayers!
P.S. This 'no-draws-before-move-30' rule is another case of a BS. The Soviets tried to regulate their economy and laughed at the free market theory. Guess who is laughing now? Just like regulated economy creates black market, this stupid 30 moves rule will create more cheaters. Ask Yermo who is the only sensible person here.

To repeat (cause I like to hear it) - PAY players more for wins and draws will disappear except when they are the natual result - "Money Changes Everything!"

Geof, nice point. The excitement of the first 8 games of this match has already exceeded the entire 15 games of the 2000 match and provided much more than expected. With games like Game 1 and Game 8, I'm ok with the 20-move draws in between. You can't expect mythic-level sacrifices and combinations every time out. This match really couldn't be any better! Of course, I'm for Leko and therefore admit my bias.

Mig, you are much closer to the scene than most of us so you would know better, but I was wondering if the short draws actually enable the players to come up with the brilliance that Leko showed in 5 and 8. By that I mean that the "off" days of short draws allow them to rest longer and come up with the creative game needed to score a win. By forcing the players to play longer games, they tire and may actually lead to even more draws overall. Anyway, I may not write eloquently but I think you get the idea.

Game 8 is why Kramnik should be playing stock exchange chess. Losing as white being "better prepared" than the opponent is not exactly good news.

I agree that players should be paid more for a win. I don't think this enforced 30-move draw thing is going to work out. I think it will cause more problems than it solves. I think players will get fed up with it quickly when the problems start to appear.

Paying the players for wins has already been done at Linares for years and we've already seen the results - many beautiful games by the top players. It should just become the standard for all tournaments and matches.

I don't blame the players for exploiting the rules to their short-term advantage, but that doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with what they are doing. You can't expect them to think about something as vague as "what's good for the game" when an important paycheck or rating point is on the line. That's why we need to change the rules. The rules go back a long time, back to before last-round draws in Swiss events were a factor. Short agreed draws weren't a problem 100 years ago. They are now and the rules must change to face new problems.

That chess has other problems with sponsorship doesn't mean it can afford another one. Eliminating short draws won't solve the chess world's woes but it's an obvious step in the right direction. You do what you can instead of throwing your hands up because there's no magic bullet.

You can say short draws give the players rest to play brilliancies except when they don't. There's no correlation between the number of short draws and the number of subsequent brilliant games. Dortmund 2002 saw slugfest after slugfest, Dortmund 2004 draw after draw. The idea behind SEC (stock exchage chess) is to accumulate energy to exploit small advantages. But the nature of small advantages is that they evaporate, especially when both players are cautious. Then you end up with draw after draw, many of them short.

It's the same story with rest days. A few years ago I looked at the length of the games before and after rest days at Corus and there was no pattern of difference. Chess is chess. You play the positions you get with the attitude you have. Topalov plays longer games because he's Topalov. Players like him, Moro, and Kasparov blow holes in the "you can't blame the players". Look at the average number of moves in their drawn games. 41,40,39, seven or eight moves higher than Kramnik and Anand (!?) at 33.

It's a strawman to say we are attacking the players when we say the rules must be changed. It wasn't an attack on the players when the shot-clock was introduced to basketball, or the 3-1-0 scoring system to football.

Top and Moro also seem to be on the verge of storming into the top tier of super-GMs as a consequence of their fighting chess, so maybe they don't necessarily need more encouragement to play this way. And after game 8 in Brissago I hardly think we're in a position to wring our hands about one or two questionable short draws--Leko, at least, has been going for broke and been rewarded for it.

MIG: You refer to Yermolinsky, and how effective 3-1-0 point scoring would make cheating in Swiss events; and at the same time state that draws are not the problem but "SHORT draws are the problem"

Then my question must be, if the assumption is rational economic decisions (e.g. cheating in swiss), why oh why do you believe that there can be implemented a system stopping short draws (i.e. before move 30 or whatever) that will not be cheated with to the same extent?

I believe that a system (attempting) to stop short draws may succeede to prolong the games, but without actually adding anything of value. This leads me to the conclusion that punishing only short draws is not possible, and we must therefore ask the difficult question: Would we rather punish also the hard-fought draws, or keep the short boring ones of SEC?

In my view 3-1-0 is the solution, the problem with swiss is a problem because this system was not created for 3-1-0. The answer to this is simple (or extremely complex); we cant use swiss. Simple: All play all, group all players inn small all play all groups and winner goes through to next group, knock-outs.
Complex: build a new system to replace swiss.

Don't understand your post, quely. Stopping cheating isn't the point, nor is it a major problem now. I consider short, non-game draws a major problem in the game today, from a sporting, commercial, and personal perspective. Draws are a natural part of good chess. Attempts like 3-1-0 scoring to make more "exciting" chess just means bad chess, even apart from the potential for cheating. I don't want to see playing throwing pieces around like crazy.

What would be of value? You don't state any goals. What do you want to achieve and why?

I don't say cheating is a major problem now, I say: If you believe cheating will be a problem if introducing 3-1-0 In Swiss, why don't you believe it will be a problem with a minimum move limit? Since you have already dismissed 3-1-0 as a solution this may be the wrong end to start in for you, but this is what you state as the first problem with 3-1-0 higher up in this thread.

To your question “what would be of value”, let me answer this: a repetition of moves back and forth to reach the minimum move limit would not be of value. Hence “prolong the games, but without actually adding anything of value”. What is actually worse than an agreed draw in move 15, is the same with 10-20-30 extra repetition moves solely to achieve the minimum limit. And if someone doesn't believe this is what is going to happen, you better look back to Yermolinskys letter and Migs comments on chess players also being humans, trying to make rational economic decisions.

Then if you accept the point that cheating will be a problem, you need to find other solutions; which leads to the question on whether it is
possible to do something about the only the short draws, and if not you have a choice: Punish all draws, or leave the system as it is.

As to my goals, they are: Make SEC less profitable (money and points). (And thereby making chess more accesible, etc. etc.)
However I believe that this is not possible to achieve with a minimum move limit. And then I end up answering my own question: I would rather punish all draws, than keeping the status quo.

Ah, now I understand. You don't see why 3-1-0 would lead to more cheating. It's because giving that many points for a win would make big jumps up the table easier and more tempting for players to throw games in the final rounds. The prize money difference between a draw and a win would be huge, so players would agree to lose and split a prize instead of playing.

Move minimums would have no impact on cheating at all. It has nothing to do with cheating, which I don't consider a serious problem now.

Yes, I agree with quely. Although a draw is natural result I still see a high number of draws as a major problem - commercially. People want to see winners. Once you consider chess a sport, the ultimate goal should be a win and a win should be properly rewarded. I would not call the 3-1-0 system a punishment of draws but rewarding of wins. Regarding possible cheating encouragement - fixed results all banned in all sports and whoever is caught cheating should be punished...it has nothing to do with point distribution system...it is about people involved.

Sorry for symplyfying, but I have a feeling that in chess people just compete in who invents more complex solutions. NO solution is perfect, but given the present commercial situation of chess...something probably should be changed.

Mig: I'm afraid you don't. I can see clearly why 3-1-0 would lead to more cheating. What surpises me is that you se this clearly, and at the same time do not believe that chessplayers would treat move minimum rules the same way, i.e. agreeing a draw early, and simply repeating moves until the minimum moves are reached. Rational people considering money and so forth would do this.

Maybe you wont call that cheating, but it definately would be avoiding the rules...


Thank you for the informed response. The statistical analysis you have done is telling. However, I would like take issue with you on one point. Your argument implies that "decisive" chess is better chess. If there is a winner and a loser that is inherently better than a draw; and a 65-move draw is better than a 20-move draw. I can understand the "decisive" chess argument, but only to a point. As for draws, I would prefer a Game 7 type draw than the 114-move Karpov-Anand marathon from a few years ago. The longer the game lasts, the more painful a draw becomes for the spectators. Hopefully, that makes some degree of sense.

Being from the US I don't get to see much high-level chess outside of the Internet, so when Kasparov-Deep Junior was shown on ESPN2 I was pretty psyched. As you likely remember, Kasparov employed a rook sac in Game 6 (the last game) and then offered a draw around move 23. The draw was refused by Junior only to be re-offered by Junior on move 27. Although I was disappointed Garry didn't go for the win, the game was still very exciting and it gave hope that chess can find a TV niche even with draws. I can't speak for Europe, but in the US if you don't have TV coverage, you don't exist.

I know this is a huge hypothetical, but do you think there is any chance if Leko wins he will play Kasparov in New York? (I don't think the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match will happen.) The question is asked b/c if the title match is played in the US, ESPN might pick it up.

Actually, I keep saying that draws are part of the game. While I prefer decisive games and complain about boring draws, I understand that you cannot legislate style, or try. My suggestion for move minimums are about short draws exclusively. I want to leave the game alone.

As for game six of Kasparov-Junior, I was one of the commentators. It was a bitter disappointment that they didn't continue to play in a position that was still full of life. Nobody from beginners to Grandmasters could have been happy about that. That's just the sort of game in which move minimums would be a huge help. Outside (match, tournament, sporting) conditions have become more important than game conditions, so we need to remove those factors as much as possible before the game disintegrates. Already a third of all games in top events barely leave theory before being agreed drawn.

Leko/Kramnik winner isn't going to play anybody anywhere in a unification match without 1: big money 2) major arm twisting and 3) FIDE getting their act together.

I wonder what is wrong with simply aboloshing the agreed draw. Aren't stalemate, threefold repetition, the fifty move rule and insufficient material to mate sufficient options for determining a game drawn? I'm not a soccer fan, but I can't imagine that sport would have its massive popularity if the best teams could play a scoreless half of a game then agree that both had equal chances and call it a draw, cancelling the second half of the game. Then they use their saved energy to go and pound weaker teams to ensure that their win/loss ratio stays good. That may or may not be fair, but it totally misses the point of a spectator sport. It's the play that's important, not the end result. Rather than changing the scoring system to punish perfect play (decisive games mean someone messed up), just require each game to be played to its end, whether that be mate or the fulfillment of one of the drawing conditions.

It would have the drawback of making chess more of a marathon sport, but shorter time controls help with that. There is no reason time management should not be part of the competitive enviroment in chess if we are regarding chess as a sport. Clock management is critical in several sports, American football prominent among them. What is the problem with making players actually play games to the end? It would be more interesting, more instructive for casual players and fans and ultimately could eventually bolster the reputation of chess as a legitimate sport.

MIG: Maybe it would be interesting to have a little poll on how to approach the "too many draws - particularly short ones" issue on your page? (excellent job of yours btw)

my vote: let the arbiters decide whether there is live in a game or if its dead and the players are ALLOWED to draw.
perhaps the arbiters are sometimes not able to assess the position properly. so what? let the players play until the position is clear.


Yes, I remember your Kasparov-Junior commentary on the net, but didn't get a chance to hear you on ESPN. When I watched, the commentators were Jeremy Schaap, Maurice Ashley and Yaz. Although I was disappointed not to hear you, it was, IMO, a very good mix with Schaap being an informed non-chess player, Ashley a GM and very articulate, and Yaz a higher-level GM. You mentioned money, and TV adds money to the mix.

Regarding the FIDE champion v Kasparov, I think last year demonstrated that's not going to work. The two sides won't agree on key issues. If Leko can finish Kramnik (I know its early, but psychologically Kramnik looks beat) and then play Kasparov who is #1 in the world for 20 years, then that's the best "unification" we can hope for. I think a Leko-Kasparov match in NY could potentially garner the sponsorship needed to make it happen.

Jim your arrogance is truly New York size.
By what logic should Kasparov be chosen? Because he's rich and famous? What about Kasim, who beat 127 guys in a sporting contest?

just read whatever's comment. Cool

The solution is simple: ALL DRAWS, (of any kind: short, long, stalemates, agreed, forced, etc) should require a playoff game at a fraction of the time control. Perhaps a 15 minute playoff, followed, if necessary, byt several 5 minute games until a decisive result is achieved. Similar to basketball.

That will bring the excitement back.

My suggestion for how to reduce boring draws in the world championship match is to space out the games by greater margins. Give a week's rest in between every game. From Leko and Kramnik's press conferences, I get that the number one reason they agree to short draws is because they are pooped from playing the day before. Would spacing the games out this way make it harder on spectators? I don't think so: Having weekly football games doesn't make spectators less interested. If anything, it makes them more interested because they too can get tired.

The problem I have with rapid/blitz playoffs, as Irvin suggests, is that this actually may produce more short draws. In just about any pair of players, one will prefer fast games, and will just try to draw the long games. I think this was some players' strategy in the FIDE knockout.

It is always important to consider that changes often have the opposite effect to their intention. For example, some of the ideas here are to increase the value of wins, by paying players for wins or by giving 3 points. A possible problem is that this encourages people to play over-aggressively, so the correct strategy is to play *defensively*, and wait for your opponents to start an unsound, over-aggressive attack.

Just a thought.


You say I have a "New York sized ego". I mention these possibilities (Kasparov - Leko in NY) only b/c I want to see a WCC played in the US. I don't have the money to travel to Europe, but if they played here I might get to see them either on TV or in person. That's all I'm hoping for. Is that such a bad thing, to want to see a championship played in your country? I think your comments are unfair. You are using your status as a GM merely to insult me.

Regarding Kasparov, there are several reasons he s/ at least be considered.

1. He is #1 in the world. Already mentioned above.

2. Garry will agree to the rules of classical chess. The FIDE winner will not - and therefore, the FIDE winner and the classical chess champion will never play for any so-called championship. Didn't I already mention this?

3. Garry is the biggest draw in chess (read Mig's quote above about big money). Of course, everyone gives huge respect to Kasim for his FIDE win, but Kasim doesn't have the potential to get sponsorship that Garry does. Though that doesn't matter again b/c of #2 above.

Those might not convince anyone Garry s/ be chosen, but he s/ be in the conversation.


To further address your point about Kasim, Kramnik has stated repeatedly that his title is the only title with any meaning in chess. Not everyone agrees with that, but the winner of Kramnik-Leko is going to think he is the champion regardless of what anyone else thinks. Contrast this with the winner of the annual FIDE tournament. When Pono won it, he considered himself to be world champion. Now Kasim thinks the same. Kasim is not going to let Kramnik or Leko set the terms of a unification match and the same can be said for the latter. Leko or Kramnik will want classical time controls and no blitz playoff in case of a tie. Kasim will want FIDE time controls and FIDE tiebreaker method. Neither side will give on those differences (and possibly others) so the match will never happen. Forget about what has been said and written and signed, when it comes time for both sides to agree to something meaningful it's not going to happen.

Kasparov-Kasim will not happen for the same reasons as stated above. Kasparov will not agree to FIDE time controls and tiebreakers and doesn't feel the FIDE tournament winner is a "world champion." The FIDE tournament winner won't stand for it and therefore won't play Garry.

Therefore your suggestion that Kasim be selected might be right, but unfortunately it won't work. So then, if you are Leko and you beat Kramnik, what do you do? You can repeat what Kramnik did and give no one a shot for 4 years. Or you can make an attempt to further consolidate your title. This could be done by giving Kramnik a rematch or by going after someone else. A rematch is better than nothing, but all you are doing is proving you can beat the same person you just beat. The FIDE winner isn't an option for reasons stated above, so that means you have to pick someone else who will agree to classical time controls and that he loses on a tie.

If Kramnik wins, all of this is moot. He will be perfectly comfortable talking about how no one has proven they can beat him and therefore no one deserves a chance. We'll go another 4 years or more waiting for a WCC. Let's hope Leko gives us something different from this, even if it isn't perfect.

the problem is simple. DRAWS.

the solution is simple. NO DRAWS.

make rules that eliminate all draws. for example allow the king to be captured. etc. the rules to eliminate all draws can be super simple. the draw rule is a mistake fix it by eliminating it.

with all games ending with a winner and a loser the entire strategy of the game will change. it will always become exciting. it will always be a fight to the death. no fooling around when the draw is impossible.

there will be a big change to endgame strategy with the draw missing but this will be good for chess. I really hope that people will recognize that all attempts to patch up the problem will never succeed when the best strategy will always be for the GM's to take draws.

make chess a game where once the game starts the participants play to the end with always their being a winner and loser.

I read through all this and SEC chess and I still don't see the problem with a move minimum. I remember Anand has said that the positions can lose thier life fast and no one wants to just "plod along" when its a dead drawn position. Sort of like continuing on bishop and King versus King. But nevertheless Anand mentioned the posibility of a move minimum. (I forgot whether he said 40 or 30 moves)

So sure some players may say "hey if I have to continue playign dead positions I deserve more pay." If short draws are really costing sponsors money, they should be willing to pay more to avoid them. This is simple economics. Move minimums seems like an obvious answer. So what exactly are the drawbacks of move minimums?

I agree with Yermo in that I am *really* tired of reading about changing the game to a 3-1-0 system. Why not make the least inturusive correction first. Only if that doesn't work go for more dramatic changes.


I fully agree with Yermo and your logic for picking Kasparov is so ludicrous that even Kasparov may not agree.

- Kasparov's #1 rating doesn't mean much given his form for over a year. Kasparov (and Mig) have agreed that the rating system is too static - takes into account really old results, higher wightage not given for recent results, and doesn't punish inactivity (look at Kamsky's rating).

- What does Kasparov's ability to draw money have to do with fairness? In no way, does it justify seeding him to a final? He is not the classical or the FIDE champion and, as Yermo mentioned, not done anything else to justify a place in the final. If money instead of fairness becomes the sole consideration, then it will hurt chess in the long term.


I agree that presently there is not a good reason why to put Kasparov directly into finals...but, just to provoke the defenders of traditions: i rememer reading that in history it was the challenger responsible for attracting the prize money (and that this was the reason why Nimcovic did not ever play for the title)...according to this tradition (if it is true), kasparov would be the best possible challenger :-)

my least favorite tradition: 1.0-0.5-0.0 distribution system...it has become increasingly difficult to win a game at the top level...reward the wins! :-)))


Will you guys please give up this idea of the FIDE champion playing the Leko-Kramnik winner. Regardless of what has been said, written, etc. in the past, neither side will agree to terms and that's the end of it. Again, it may be the right choice, but it can't be implemented.

So now that the FIDE champ isn't a choice, what does the Kramnik-Leko winner do? Do nothing the way Kramnik has for the past 4 years? Hopefully not. You have to play somebody - who's it going to be? As Mig said, the challenger has to be able to attract big money or it won't happen.

I never said Kasparov was fair. Who can arbitrate such a term anyway. Certainly not Yermo as his anti-Kasparov proclivities are clear from his posts. You say that money s/ not be the primary consideration. But answer me this - don't professional chess players play for money? Wouldn't they be doing something else if they weren't paid for their chess? So then why shouldn't money be a factor, in fact a very significant factor.

Ultimately money is a factor and that's not going to change. If you have a suggestion for the Kramnik-Leko winner that is workable, let's hear it. Enlighten us with a scenario that can actually happen and not just something you would like to see happen.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 6, 2004 5:28 PM.

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