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Feel the Chess

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[I'm going to start putting up regular short items with links to ongoing events and such. Feel free to ad your links below. Good ones will be promoted to the main item. And/or send me your event link with a brief description.]

• Fred Wilson's guest on Tuesday evening (8pm EST), Dec. 19th, 2006, will be Noah Sheola, author of the well-received new play, "Paul Morphy", currently running at The Players Ring in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. http://www.chess.fm - The show runs from 8:00 to 10:00 PM (EST) every Tuesday evening.

• It's ... the Andrew Martin Radio ChessBase Show. Back at the chessboard we begin this weeks show with a Classical French. The Andrew Martin Radio ChessBase lecture begins on Wednesdays at 21:00h CET (European Central time = server time, which translates to 20:00h London, 3:00 p.m. New York, 05:00 a.m. Sydney (on Thursday).

• Parimarjan Negi is playing a set of matches against Kateryna Lahno in New Dehli. Amity Grandmasters Challenge. When she first popped up many hailed Lahno as the new Judit Polgar, but she has dropped since breaking 2500 a year ago and – she turns 17 in a few weeks – is nearly over the hill for a prodigy. (Even worse for her prospects, I have an even score against her on Playchess.com. (+3 -3 three years ago. Get them while they're still in the cradle.) I think it was her first time ever playing on the internet, but no one will remember that if she becomes world champion.) Negi, at 13, is the current youngest GM in the world and will play the Corus C group next month.

• The 18th Carlos Torre Memorial is underway in Merida, Mexico. A swiss qualifier led to a KO phase (this format is often called a "Wimbledon" in some places if you're confused by the official site. The quarterfinals include Bruzon, Ehlvest, Ivanchuk, and Tiviakov. They seem to have jiggered the seeding to guarantee a local made it to this round, so Milov faced Ehlvest in the eighths while two Mexican IMs were playing at the same time. Sad for Milov, who won the qualifier. Cuban IM Rodney Perez took Ivanchuk to tiebreaks.

• The first ACP rapid world cup tournament will take place in Odessa, Ukraine starting on January 4. It's a 16-player KO made up of the top point-getters on the ACP tour over the past few years. Players include Morozevich (who dropped out of Corus, which starts a few days after this ends), Leko, Radjabov, Shirov, and Ninja Black Belt annotator Hikaru Nakamura. First prize is 40K. Regulations and other details here. An official site is forthcoming, I'm told.

• The East Bay Chess Club (Oaktown in da house) is hosting its second FIDE swiss, a norm tournament with low prizes but good chances for those seeking titles. They are using the BAP scoring system to distribute the prizes, but since such numbers aren't used for rating or norms it's really a parallel scoring system that some of the norm seekers might just ignore, I imagine. I.e. a draw with white might mean zero points for place and prize, but to FIDE it's still a half point.


Is the Torre a classical time control?

Yes, but they play two games a day during a few rounds of the swiss and during the KO. The first game is played at 10am! The swiss is forty moves in two hours plus one hour to finish. The KO is g/90'+30", the old FIDE control that is supposed to have been replaced with the ACP-approved one that adds a second control.

That is not too bad. I go to work at 6:30 am.

Get them while they're still in the cradle? It seems like some people at chessbase and the message boards have similar ideas!!

There is a strong tournament going on in the east bay this week with live games on ICC. http://www.eastbaychess.com/tourney/06/masters.php

Mig Writes:
"I have an even score against her on Playchess.com. (+3 -3 three years ago. Get them while they're still in the cradle.) I think it was her first time ever playing on the internet, but no one will remember that if she becomes world champion.)"

If she becomes world champion you'll never let us forget it, I'm sure of that...


Even score against a strong womans player... not bad for an 1800...

I was really outraged by the tournament to which "jegutman" posted a link. I think somebody had already posted his support for a similar scoring system on this blog, but had dismissed those theories as just one more of the many innocuous ravings we can read on the Internet. Now I see a real-life organizer has actually adopted it :-(((((
I already believe 3 points for a win (as in most football leagues) is totally unacceptable in chess, where the result of an ideal game is a draw. But to award different points according to colours (let me remind the genius who thought this up that statistics over 3 milion games show only a very slight 57% advantage to White) and to give 0 (sic!!) points to the author of a hard-fought draw with White, just like to the loser of a Fool's Mate, is simply lunatic.
However high the prize money, any self-respecting player should boycott this kind of event, and I find it sad to see respected GMs and IMs giving their indirect approval to such a farce. Hopefully FIDE will refuse to rate it, or will it just prefer to collect the fee?

>Even score against a strong womans player... not bad for an 1800...>

not bad for Mig but then how bad for
the 2510 Vera ?

[Event "XIX Carlos Torre Mem"]
[EventDate "2006.12.14"]

[White "Duarte Barahona,R"]
[Black "Vera,R"]
[WhiteElo "2067"]
[BlackElo "2510"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. Re1 O-O 8. a4 Bb7 9. d3 Na5 10. Ba2 d6 11. Nbd2 c5 12. c3 Qc7 13. Nf1 Bc8 14. axb5
axb5 15. b4 cxb4 16. cxb4 Qc3 17. Bd2 Qxd3 18. bxa5 1-0

Off topic:

Any estimate on the typical income from chess for a GM in the top 20 (excluding Kramnik, of course, who can sqeeze large sums per match). Low six figures, mid six-figures? I suspect it varies a lot, but some ballpark estimate would be interesting.


Ivanchuk seems to be tired. Lost against 2300 player.


Es un error, quien jugo con R. Duarte es L Vera, no el GM Vera por supuesto...

Duarte,R - Vera,L [C88]
XIX Carlos Torre Merida,Mex(5), 2006
1.e4 e5 2.Cf3 Cc6 3.Ab5 a6 4.Aa4 Cf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Ab3 Ae7 7.Te1 0–0 8.a4 Ab7 9.d3 Ca5 10.Aa2 d6 11.Cbd2 c5 12.c3 Dc7 13.Cf1 Ac8 14.axb5 axb5 15.b4 cxb4 16.cxb4 Dc3 17.Ad2 Dxd3 18.bxa5 1–0

A proposito MIG

Yo tambien tengo un buen record!!!
0-1 vs Judit Polgar en KasparovChess.com
Do oyu remember??

Wow, BAP scoring chess games will be FIDE rated. Fine with me, and congrats to Clint Ballard.
Note tho that the **philosophical implications** of this FIDE action are substantial.

I perceive BAP as being loosely similar to Armageddon Chess, in that both are basically "draw odds" rules that partially override the most fundamental rule of checkmate.

It is clear now that any reasonable rule set of "chess" is acceptable for formal rating. This is a good thing.
Non-standard events are exceedingly rare, so even people who hate the new ideas must admit that numerically their effect on ratings is nearly 0.
Yet a few of creative events might be enuf to demonstrate interesting new ideas.

In 2006 for Kramnik-Topalov, FIDE accepted Armageddon Chess rules as part of the process for deciding who the one World Chess Champion would be. That is even more important a blessing for Armageddon than rating would be.

Opening "theme" tournaments certainly violate the rules of chess, yet for decades the USCF has knowingly and happily rated such games. That set a precedent.

- - - -
The USCF formally rated the BAP games played in Bellevue WA in 2006/10.
Even tho the USCF ignored the BAP points when rating these games, the probable or at least potential distortion of the BAP rules was part of the forces that drove the game outcomes. Under BAP White has a little more motivation to take unsound gambles which could artificially give the Black player what looks like a regular win to the USCF rating system. But remember, even tho White gets 0 points for a loss or a draw, White knows his opponent gets fewer points if White safely achieves a draw instead of losing due to a risky move.

U R L: uschess.org / msa/
(Search for 'Shabalov, Alexander', see 2006/10/13 "SlugFest", a BAP tourney.)

- - - -

Chess960 (FRC) games can be formally rated too.

Several years ago the USCF created a second rating per member -- the Quick rating. So far nobody has found any USCF member who cares what his Quick rating is.

About one year ago the USCF floated the idea of adding a couple more ratings per member. The reply (on the USCF forums) was a resounding No.

- - - -

Mig's original post said:
The East Bay Chess Club (Oaktown in da house) is hosting its second FIDE swiss, a norm tournament with low prizes but good chances for those seeking titles. They are using the BAP scoring system ...

Gene Milener

Wimbledon is a particular kind of KO, where player 1 meets player n, player 2 meets player n-1 and so on. Recent FIDE Wch KOs have been Wimbledons, but the early ones, with randomized pairings, were not.

I too was shocked at Milov (winner of the 6-Swiss with 5 points) playing Ehlvest (one of 15 players with 4.5 points), but it could be because Ehlvest had a low tiebreak score. For instance, if he drew or lost in an early round, that would put him behind the eightball.

The 3 seeded players are 1-2-3, then the qualifiers from the Swiss in tiebreak (not rating) order. So Milov would be #4. The three lowest tiebreaks with 4.5 points were simply dropped. If Ehlvest had the 4th lowest tiebreak among those who remained, his Milov pairing is correct, according to their system. I leave it to Mig to check the figures, as he was the one making the accusation of fudging.

Personally, I don't like the tiebreak system, because if top players have "normal" results in the first few rounds (i.e. wins), they can just take short draws against each other thereafter. But in my experience of playing in Merida, they were consistent in applying the tiebreak criteria, even down to division of the prizes.

I have a page on the GM Slugfest, a BAP tournament, at:
Let me observe that allowing or achieving a draw was in fact a precursor to success in the tournament. Of the 14 players, every one in the top 10 had at least one draw. Players who finished 11th through 14th each had zero draws.

My feelings on BAP in the east bay tournament. I'm actually playing in this event so I think I'm a credible source. Most players are just playing chess, many norm seekers of course could care less about their BAP points. It seems to in some sense punish you for losing with black since that's when you miss out on the most points. I mostly just joke about my BAP score and concentrate on playing good moves at the board and just trying to think about the position on the board and not the standings on the wall, but I think this is good advice whether it be BAP or normal swiss. The pairings are really effed up though and I did have 3 blacks in a row due to some difficult pairings. I'm thinking I won't see number 4 in round 7, but who knows, with BAP, anything goes I guess.

About Wimbledon, jb, surely not? They only seed 1-32, and after that the draw is random, I thought? So in theory from round three on it should operate as you say, but not earlier.

The only good thing about BAP is that it gives people the opportunity to prove that none of this nonsense will ever work.

There is one and only one way to eliminate the problems with draws. The problem is simple. Draws. The solution is simple. No draws.

I agree with the anti-BAP group. I can't imagine having two fighting draws with White vs good players and getting 0 while someone with a win and a loss with Black has 3 points. I love it when these egomaniacs decide they need to "fix" chess, naming rule changes to an ancient game after themselves. next there will be tournaments with no stalemate or en passant. draws are not inherently bad, only short draws (i.e. not even playing a game) are a problem. I would never play in this event, although I am glad that Kraai and Friedel are doing well. :)

Draw is one of the three logical results in chess. There is no reason to punish two players of equal strength (or play) reaching this result. It would be the same if in a 100 m dash 2 guys running 9,85 would be tossed down in the results list just because they tied and the third running 10,20 would be the winner of the comptetion. Utterly stupid.

Draw itself is not a problem in chess. Short draws can be a problem to a certain extent, but that can be punished by fining (Mr Rentero in the old days of Linares) or not just inviting players with this nasty habit. Clear and simple.

From a great fighting draw one can learn a lot more than from a one-sided rout ending in a decisive result. To just look at the results is pretty dumb and only for people who are more interested in the scores and than in the game (which is more about the process of playing than the result). Maybe they should study statistics of various (any!) sports for their amusement and leave the game of chess in peace?!

The ACP rapid world cup is using the Corsican anti-draw rules. No draw offers. That's really good enough for me. I don't want to ban draws, just BAN THE DRAW OFFER. Draws are a natural part of the game. Draw offers are not.

Mig, is there a chance to see you in Odessa? Follow Hikaru! :)

An easier way of getting rid of draws is to invite Topalov. That will get rid of draws automatically.

Draws, Draws, Draws. The problem persists.

Why can't chess federations, who control the rating of these tournaments, along with FIDE, set a rule for a minimum number of moves per game of 40? Nobody would complain if two masters slugged it out (or danced about, in some cases) for 40 moves first, then offered a draw.

If the position is 'dead', then prove you can hold it until move 40. Football/Hockey/Basketball/Soccer have the clock. Baseball has innings. Make them go the distance. Historically, 40 moves is considered the average game length.

All we ask for is an average game.

Simple Problem. Simple Solution.

Sponsors would like it as well.

AS a postscript to this draw nonsense, to wit:

Would you, as a baseball fan, be 'ok' with two teams playing 3 innings of shutout ball then calling it quits, saying 'neither of us can make any headway against this pitcher. He is unhittable today.'?

Or, your favorite NFL teams stopping play after 1 quarter saying 'we agree to a tie. Both defenses are giving up nothing. It is futile to play on'?


chess is not baseball. baseball has paying fans. chess does not. draws are a natural part of chess, and have been for thousands of years. ties are not a natural part of baseball (unless Bud Selig decides so). it is not so easy to play 30 moves without something happening, so a 30 move options seems reasonable without altering the scoring system or nature of the game. this rule was implemented in the 2005 US Championship and I didn't hear anyone complain about it.

Having a 'no draw offers before move 30' is just daft. If there's one thing worse than a 10 move draw, its when players agree a 30 move draw in an exciting position because they are both scared of losing.

Ban the draw offer completely.

I had been TD at the Torre Memorial for the last two years, but this year I was unable to go as my wife delivered my first daughter on Dec 15th.

The seeding procedure is mostly as Mr. Berry said, the first 3 ranked players were seeded, the defending champ got #1, and the other 2 ordered by rating. The rest of the players (#4-16) got their place by the result in the qualifier. Milov got #4 and all the remaining players were tied with 4.5 points, and ordered by Bucholz. IM Hoyos was the best Bucholz and got #5, and so on. Elhvest got #13, so the pairing vs Milov is correct. Nothing jiggered here.

This system is devised to prevent the easy "get a qualifying place and the position does not matter", as a player barely qualifying would met a very though first round match. However, in my experience, most players still do not try to get a better seed.

My only discrepancy with IA Berry is this statement: "if top players have normal results in the first few rounds (i.e. wins), they can just take short draws against each other thereafter". Maybe he is thinking about Progressive score tiebreak, which is completely predictable. But in Bucholz it is difficult to estimate the final tiebreaks, as your previous opponents may have mostly losses in the last round.

I cannot find a better method. The only other real option would be a blitz tiebreak between the tied players. Besides the heavy burden on players and organizers, this would often result in tournaments with many rounds and most players qualifying. This year would be 12 qualifying spots between 14 players. And the possibility of an ugly "everyone vs Needleman" would be there. I am sure in this format there would be a lot of players drawing in the last rounds just to get in this tiebreak tournament... even if game theory suggests playing for a win as the best choice.


Congrats to you and your wife on the success of your own seeding procedure.

ban the draw offer? a draw in 30 moves is bad? ah, it is good that you know what's best for everyone else. you must be a republican. I imagine that these players that make draws owe you some more entertainment value. you certainly must be paying them.

From reading the above comments (and comparing with earlier Dirt threads where BAP was discussed), it sounds like, just as with the cheating issue, the weight of opinion about BAP lately has moved toward my views that were less popular when I first expressed them some months ago.

fluffy and "Mr. X" are correct in stating that, in effect, BAP is a perversion of chess rules, not an improvement. The possibility of achieving a draw (or succumbing to one, if you hold the stronger position) is an inherent part of the logic of chess. If you love the game, if you enjoy the hard-fought brilliancies, then you must equally appreciate the possibility of draws, which forms part of the infrastructure of chess rules that make the brilliancies possible. This by the way is why I call anti-draw extremists "anti-chess."

I also agree that if some feel an urgent need to curtail short draws, then either a move minimum or an outright ban on draws by agreement are fully adequate solutions. I have my doubts that even those steps are necessary. But clearly they do not change the rules of chess, as do BAP and other, similar scoring systems that penalize ALL draws.

It is telling that even those who comment above in support of the BAP concept (jegutman and Gene Milener), make the argument that it doesn't matter all that much, so it can't be doing much harm.

Gutman in effect concedes BAP scoring could hurt the quality of play if it had much influcence, but says it won't because most participants in the current East Bay Slugfest are after norms not prizes, and BAP isn't used for norms (I'm glad to hear that). Milener says experiments like BAP, FRC and single-opening "theme" tournaments will only distort the ratings of the relatively few people who play in them, but won't damage overall rating system accuracy, precisely because the "non-standard" events are so rare. Kind of an odd argument to make IN FAVOR of something, isn't it? (By the way, it's news to me that USCF allows opening "theme" tournaments to be rated -- much less FRC. Milener asserts that both those systems are ratable; can anyone here verify that?)

That said, in fairness to BAP organizer Clint Ballard, he has analyzed many of the issues to a degree that belies some of the comments above. For instance, he has worked out the statistics to a point that is pretty convincing about BAP scoring being well calibrated to exactly offset White's opening advantage. For details and an interesting debate about various aspects of BAP, see http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/posts/1156225518.shtml , and http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/posts/1156656329.shtml .

Finally, on the separate topic of cheating, my long-delayed report on the Chess Cheating Town Meeting that took place on Dec. 4 in New York, is finally available. Go to www.seniorchess.zoomshare.com and click the "Town Meeting" link in the left-hand column.

"ban the draw offer? a draw in 30 moves is bad? ah, it is good that you know what's best for everyone else. you must be a republican."

Nice, fluffy.

Tournament organizers submit rating reports to the USCF online. There's no need to mention insignificant details, such as the BAP system, theme openings, FRC or any other deviation from standard rules that have been used. One just uploads the touranament files, and as long as every participant is a current USCF member the tournament will go through. It's however possible that some high-ranked USCF official, such as Bill Goichberg, may later decide to remove that tournament from the rating calculations sheet.
In other words, it takes more effort not to rate a tournament than rate one.
FIDE ratings and the norms in particular, may be an entirely different matter. We'll see.

No mention of Pamplona, btw, with both Moro and Shirov? Well, it doesn't have live coverage (?!) but still: http://www.chesspamplona.com/

Round 1 results, so Shirov in clear lead:

1 GM JAKOVENKO Dmitry 2671 ½ - ½ GM LAZNICKA Viktor 2596 8
2 GM ILLESCAS CORDOBA Miguel 2620 ½ - ½ GM BAUER Christian 2585 7
3 GM KORNEEV Oleg 2657 0 - 1 GM SHIROV Alexei 2720 6
4 GM WOJTASZEK Radoslaw 2630 ½ - ½ GM MOROZEVICH Alexander 2747 5

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 19, 2006 11:19 AM.

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