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Cash Carrots

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With all the talk of changing rules and scoring systems to discourage draws and encourage fighting chess, it looks like putting up some cash works pretty well. Jim Roberts, one of the founders of America's Foundation for Chess, created a $5,000 "Bent Larsen Prize" for this year's US Championship. It was won by Alex Fishbein, who had only one draw and battled hard in every game.

It could be a coincidence, but the "statistics of drawishness" were way down compared to the 2003 Championship. Of course not every event can put up that kind of money, and it might have a similar effect if put into the top prizes. Still, this sort of bonus money is fun and it adds spice for the players and fans. Even someone who isn't in the running for the top places has a positive, as opposed to punitive, reason to play extra hard.

A similar award was given to Ljubo Ljubojevic (hi Inky!) at the 1994 Polugaevsky Sicilian Thematic tournament in Buenos Aires. He came last, but won three games in a row near the end was honored by the organizers for his fighting spirit. That was an impromptu award, much like the one AF4C president Erik Anderson sprang on Shabalov and Akobian after the 2003 US Championship. These bonuses are subjective so I don't know if the players would prefer to see them in place of bigger overall prize funds.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 17, 2004 2:15 AM.

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