Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Corus 2007 r4

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PREVIEW: Haven't I always said these guys need more rest days? No? Fewer, I said? I may have to rethink that as I prepare to embark on my fourth day in a row doing live radio commentary on Chess.fm. On the other hand, if it started at 13:30 as it does for the players instead of this ghastly 7:30 I'd probably feel differently. All together now: YAAAAWNN. Teimour Radjabov is the clear leader after three rounds, boo-yah. He has white against Tiviakov today. Topalov-Shirov is a headline duel. Carlsen-Anand could be a drag or exciting if Vishy pushes for a win. Or, of course, if Carlsen gets off the mat.

UPDATE: A drag it was, alas. Carlsen showed no interest in pushing Vishy's Najdorf and they called it a day after making some courtesy moves. Motylev-Aronian followed a similar pattern of the lower-rated player using white to get a half-point and a free day. Silly rules we have in this game of ours. But let's not waste any more time on them because we did have some good games. It was also a good Chess.fm broadcast, this time with GM John Fedorowicz as my analyst co-host.

Topalov played Bronstein's sharp exchange sac line against Shirov's Grunfeld and simply made it work start to finish. White played with phenomenal accuracy, keeping the queens on the board and generating threats until Shirov couldn't keep up. That Topalov's play matched Fritz's was ceaselessly pointed out by the crowd of online kibitzers. But if you want something to be paranoid about it was 37.Qf2 instead of an easy endgame win after 37.Nf6+. I found it remarkable that Topalov would keep iffy chances in a sharp position over a won ending. But it worked and it was a tremendous game. As J-Fed pointed out, don't try this at home. It can take a Topalov to make these early exchange sacs work out so well.

Ponomariov outplayed Svidler on the black side of a Najdorf but then decided to offer a draw instead of looking around in his pockets for his balls. Lame. Super Mariov is usually much more tenacious than this, one of the reasons I've always liked his games. His countryman Karjakin frustrated van Wely's second consecutive near miss. During the commentary we really liked the Dutchman's endgame chances but he started pushing his a-pawn a little too early and Black organized a fantastic infiltration and rook sac to force a perpetual. Kramnik tried to work his evil spell on Navara but the young Czech defended very well to gain an impressive draw with black against the world champion. These games always look like they are going in slow motion. Kramnik might only win two or three of them out of ten but he never loses. Even the rook endgame had some poison and it was an instructive save by Navara.

That left it up to Radjabov to provide the second decisive game of the day and it looked very good early. Tiviakov managed to break the bind against his Accelerated Dragon but then played some bizarre anti-positional moves that permanently crippled his position. After that it still took nice technique by Radjabov to score the point, but it really looked like just a matter of time. Kasparov was amazed anyone could play 32..f6 instead of the necessary and strong 32..d5, breaking free and leaving Black with fine chances. There are some tricky lines with Rxe5 and Bd4 to threaten mate on h8, but they don't come to much. Anyway, a Dragon player entombing his bishop with pawns on e5 and f6 deserves to lose.

So, as I will be reminding you constantly until his fortunes change, Teimour Radjabov is still the clear leader after four rounds to fulfill my prediction he was going to have a breakout result here. He has black against both Anand and Kramnik coming up, but, as Kasparov reminded me, after looking at their Mainz rapid match it's clear that for Radjabov having black against Anand is an advantage!

In the other groups it was a good day to be a Kosintseva. Both sisters won, against Sargissian and Negi. Smeets took the clear lead in the B and [ctrl+v] Nepomniachtchi did the same in the C, showing signs of backing up Alex Yermolinsky's comments hereabouts that he's a talent on par with names like Carlsen and Karjakin. He wouldn't be the first relatively late bloomer to come out of the Russian school and he definitely looks more B Group than C so far. Heck, he might be ready for the A in a year at this pace.


Aiee - Topa-Shirov straight down the main line Grunfeld exchange sacrifice with 16 Qd4. Faites vos jeux.

Yes it is nice having the rounds starting at 13.30
European time for some us. Only problem is it drastically reduces the time one spends on preparing for the exams !

By the way, Radja not playing the Maroczy against Tiviakovs accelerated Dragon !?

I am not following theory, but simply thoght that the Moroczy was *the* response to the accelerated.

Anyway, it would have been fun seeing Tiviakov whip out the Dragon. I miss seeing that mythical, at least on super-gm level, creature.

Yes, great to see the Sokolsky in the Gruenfeld !

And Radja-Tiviakov transposing to something Dragonesque. It's gonna be a nice day !

Allright, thats it.

I am quitting my membership of both the Anand and the Carlsen fanclubs. Draw in some boring line of the Najdorf after move 20. Jeez...


If you were Carlsen in that position, would you not accept the draw offer? He just had 2 defeats in a row. Hard to blame the kid for accepting the draw.

Topalov-Shirov main event? Maybe 3 years ago. Kramnik-Navara and Svidler-Ponomariov both present more interesting possibilities, while Radjabov is the tournament leader.

Mig I enjoy you on ICC. Good discussion.

However, I want to disagree with you with respect. You say the draw is not the problem. I understand what you are saying. However, at a deeper level it is the draw that is the problem. If the draw did not exist at all then all these problems would go away.

My opinion is that everyone trys to keep the draw and get little rules to avoid the problems. But the easy and ONLY solution is to get rid of all draws. It is simple to change the rules. Both sides play with the same rules.

For example allow the king to move into check and be captured. Why not. gets rid of a lot of draws. Do not allow repitition after 3 or 4 times. If you repeat then you lose. You are forced to find a different move.

Simple changes can really make a big difference as a sport. Other sports changed to get rid of draws. Chess has to do the same.

Just my opinion. It might take a few hundred years but eventually everyone will recognise that this is the proper basic easy solution all the other solutions keep the problem which is the draw itself.

The easiest way to get rid of the draw would be to determine the winner through a coin flip in case of a drawn position.

Why not, it's as good as chess is going to be when GMs have to play out 90-moves game every day that they have no interest in playing out.


admittedly I got carried away due to dissappointment. I had been looking forward to that game.

Carlsens decision is indeed very reasonable. That does not mean however, that the outcome of the match is not a disappointment.

Still I think it is silly of Anand making a quick draw against someone who might me wounded.

But hell, he might have gone easy on a young player due to his kindness ;o)

I am sure someone who insists could make up more far-fetched theories here.

"The easiest way to get rid of the draw would be to determine the winner through a coin flip in case of a drawn position."

Or how about decisive tiebrakers ?

Don't blame Anand for the draw... he played the Najdorf not Petroff or Berlin or Marshall or even Sveshnikov (btw, where's the Sveshnikov gone? Has White found something? Will someone play 1)e4 against Radja?)

Too bad White chose to coordinate all his pieces to defend his backward c3 Pawn...

>"The easiest way to get rid of the draw would be to determine the winner through a coin flip in case of a drawn position."

Or how about decisive tiebrakers ?<

You say tomato...

So, Topalov hasn't lost his teeth yet, as commonly predicted. Not quite the image of a 'broken man'. Interesting.


omigawd, shirov getting spanked in this tourney. If I didnt know the white player, I might have guessed Kasparov.. Beautiful, beautiful piece coordination at the end. I didnt guess this variation would lead to such a quick massacre.. did Shirov make any obvious mistakes? Doesnt seem so easy to prevent the Knight infiltration

Frank H.: Several centuries ahead of his time.

I don't think anyone ever predicted such a thing, Dimi. Among Topa's many charmless observations he's repeatedly said that the world championship title doesn't matter and what is important is making money, so I don't imagine anyone ever thought he'd start playing worse. Especially in this kind of game which is mainly preparation.

In fact from my observation of him I'd expect him to come out swinging. He's the sort of personality who needs to hate his opponent to play his best (compare Shirov whose harsh feelings after 1998 meant he just couldn't play against Kasparov).

rdh: "Among Topa's many charmless observations he's repeatedly said that the world championship title doesn't matter and what is important is making money, so I don't imagine anyone ever thought he'd start playing worse."
The art of writing nonsense has been honed to a fine degree by the right honourable rdh. Is the lack of a logical connection between the first and second parts of the sentence a mere trolling attempt, or induicative of a greater malaise? The factual inaccuracy is surely the former?
"Especially in this kind of game which is mainly preparation"
Exactly what is this kind of game? I possibly mistakenly thought it was Classical Chess. Is it possibly rapid or blitz?

Incidentally looks like Kramnik is giving another master class. Beautiful play so far, including all the cute tactics.

Re: Draws.

What is wrong with two players coming out of a game level - finding draws is a skill. Also many games wrecked by silly blunders at the end.

Re: Draws.

Too many games would be wrecked at the end with silly blunders from trivial rules. What is wrong with two players emerging level?

'This kind of game', ie the type of game which is highly tactical and specific and starts from a position on move twenty-odd which both players have analysed deeply with their computers and seconds, and positional intuition plays little role.

The logical connection was that if he didn't value the title it would be strange to think that its loss would make him play better.

Was that really too difficult for you?

Your ability to make facetious and borderline retarded connections is not in question, nor your relentless trolling in the hope that somebody may respond to it, like I have. I mean a logical connection, not an rdh connection.


Always enjoy your facetious and borderline retarded posts and your relentless trolling. Keep up the good work.

Can Vlad the Lad squeeze a win out of the position ??

I don't know why some people treat the draw like it's Satan himself. The fact is, the draw is a legitimate result of a contest. Draws happen in American football, international football, and boxing. I think it's the agreed draw that creates the complaints - who would object to stalemate, insufficient mating material, or the 50-move rule? Those are draws resulting from a long fight.

Now, I think fewer draws is an acceptible goal, but we don't need to treat the king like any other piece in order to do so. To me there is something unnatural and unsporting about the agreed draw. In a boxing match, the boxers wouldn't stop the fight and agree to a draw after three rounds - they fight until the final bell. If there is a draw at that point, so be it. When I see a twenty move draw with a nearly fully populated board, it begs the question of why the game had to stop right there.

I honestly can't think of a solution to the agreed draw, but if there was a way to reduce the number of agreed draws, I think there would be fewer complaints.

There is an easy way to reduce the number of agreed draws. Ban the draw offer.

It's not as easy as it seems, Spud. You can't ban the triple repetition rule (otherwise some games will last forever), so all the players have to do if they want a draw is to move the pieces back and forth a couple of times.


I have no problem with games ending by triple repetition. I very much doubt Carlsen or Anand could afford to repeat moves in that position, so a 'no draw offer' rule would force them to play on.

Radja wins again!!

He will win Corus.

Did anyone notice by the way that there are an uneven number of white and blacks for each player?

The only top rated players with 7 whites are Topalov adn Karjakin. Kramnik, Radjabov, Anand and Aronian all have 6 whites and 7 blacks. Imo that is a significant disadvantage at a tournament level like this. Better make it 14 participants next year!

CatpoWer, you need to go back and count the names in the cross table again.

I stand corrected on that one Icepick - yes 14 participants who play 13 games with an uneven number of black and whites. I guess it will never work out in a single round robin...

In regards to Radjabov's performance so far, I wonder if Kasparov has decided to pull his foot out of his mouth yet? Just a thought.

Thanks Greg for a good laugh. I enjoyed your comment.

"""Frank H.: Several centuries ahead of his time.

Posted by: greg koster at January 16, 2007 11:09 """

I feel a bit like DaneDuke. I like Anand and Magnus but was disappointed mostly in Anand with the early draw. I agree Magnus needed it for his recovery. Anand should have gone for the kill if he wants to win the tournament.

I liked the way Radjabov won today. He really showed a fine understanding of chess toward the end and he showed a williness to continue the fight to a decisive end. I felt some of blacks moves were only slightly less than best and Radjabov made the best of the position. He showed a fine understanding of the game.

I hope Magnus will play this well soon. Radj is 2 years older. So Magnus has to keep improving which I am sure he will.

Topalov played well today also. I hope Radjabov can stay on top and win the tournament. That will be nice.

if you want the players to play an even number of games and not play agaist themself. ( haha ) then you need an odd number of players. 14 players will play 13 games. they do not play against themself.

CatpoWer, you could have 15 players, playing 14 games total (even White and Black), but one player gets a bye/no-play each round.

rdh: [snipped...] Especially in this kind of game which is mainly preparation.

Rdh, when you stick to chess I enjoy your insights. From what I've read it seems that Topalov has nothing but admiration for Shirov. Shipov's commentary too suggested that Topalov used deep preparetion up to moves 22+ in this game with Shirov today.

Anand -- he is giving bad example to the kids. He seems tired.

Radjabov -- guys like this make me watch the games. Amazing and beautiful.

Chess needs "characters" -- unreasoanble pursuers of success at all cost.



Posted by: rjs at January 16, 2007 11:25
Re: Draws.

Too many games would be wrecked at the end with silly blunders from trivial rules.

rjs -

What is the point of playing a chess game? To defeat the opponent or to avoid blunders?

Ricardo, what is the point of watching a super-GM game, to see a decisive result or to see high-level chess?

Yes, I'm a little disappointed in Anand's performance too. I know that 37 isn't old, but in chess conceivably it is now. Especially when you factor in the how young the new generation of top players are. That's a lot of young talented energy coming at you otb in classical chess. Anand will always be a great player, but for top flight chess at longer time limits, perhaps his time has come and gone.

Ricardo. You ask:

What is the point of playing a chess game? To defeat the opponent or to avoid blunders?

Surely one player has to prove that he is better etc rather than skank victory.

PS. No player is obliged to accept an offered draw.

I don't know why it's necessary to invent bizzare anti-draw rules. Give 1 point for a win and 3 points for a draw. Seems to be working in soccer.

Doh, obviously meant 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw.


Why don't you get that Bulgarian team of yours busy cranking out more unreasonable characters to satisfy the chess world's need for them?

Kleyner: Ricardo, what is the point of watching a super-GM game, to see a decisive result or to see high-level chess?

I can tell you what the point is not -- Anand-Svidler next round. How long will that game last? There is a probability, of course, that it will last 70 moves, but do you anticipate such odds? Would I buy tickets to watch it? Would I bother to log on to see what's going on? No. Thank God for crazy people like Radjabov, I'm very curious to see what they'll do next.

And if nobodies like me don't care, how do you expect sponsors to care? Who are they going to peddle their products to?


What sponsors? And what products?

Did Einstein, Braingames, Dannemann, Kirsan, UEP care about the draw percentage when they decided to sponsor the chess championship matches? Did they make any more or any less money because of the number of draws?

Greg Koster: Why don't you get that Bulgarian team of yours busy cranking out more unreasonable characters to satisfy the chess world's need for them?

Let's not get ethnocentric here -- Bulgarian, Russuian/Jewish, etc. -- it doesn't matter. Greg, are you cranky today (again)?


According to my opinion

The time has not come yet, but, in the future the rules of chess will change. They are two main problems :
1. Learning openings by heart can make a great difference at top levels. This is not acceptable.
2. People playing too peacefully should be discouraged. Chess shall be more attractive.

The way to make 1&2 is to change the chess rules so that : chess is made more complicated and draws are less probable.

How this could be done ?

Perhaps by extending the board (9x9) including a new kind of piece ?! New "easier" promotion rules ? Perhaps such a mechanism that randomly produces "openings" and "chess-rules" should be found like chess960.

For the time being :

The rule 3:1 is interesting but a little bit unfair for guys like Kramnik with a certain style.

The organizers could agree upon a "special ranking" based on a possible 1:0,45:0 pattern so that guys playing sharply are little bit helped.
In any case, this should be announced to be applied in a few years from now, so that players can prepare themselves.


I expect to see high-level chess from Super-GMs, of course. That's a given. When was it ever said that a Super GM was a poor player?

I don't expect perfection because Super GMs are human. Humans make mistakes. Humans hang pieces. Humans misplay combinations.

Why is it better that two GMs agree to a draw on move 20 with virtually all material left on the board than one dropping a piece in time trouble?


I understand that no one is obliged to accept a draw offer. I just think we'd have a more compelling product if a "drawn position" was actually played out.

Don't misunderstand me. Everyone in comments could probably give me rook odds (at least), so perhaps this is part of the culture of strong players. I speak as a fan of sport. I like to see the best in the world compete, and I would feel cheated if I watched a tennis match and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal agreed to a draw after each man wins a game. Super GMs can absolutely draw - like I said, that's not a problem. But a fighting draw, down to the last pawn, would give the most bang for the buck.

Back to my tennis example, a fifth set tiebreaker would no doubt be inferior to play from the first set. So what?!? It's Federer and Nadal in the fifth set! Was Kasparov-Karpov, gm 24, 1987 the best game ever played?

Interesting to compare Mig's remarks on Topalov with the man himself. I just posted Veselin's press conference at http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=494&lp_lang_view=en

"""It's not as easy as it seems, Spud. You can't ban the triple repetition rule (otherwise some games will last forever), so all the players have to do if they want a draw is to move the pieces back and forth a couple of times.

Posted by: yander at January 16, 2007 13:15 """

Let us think out of the box. YES you can ban 3x repetition. Just force the player to make a different move. If he loses then so be it.

Well dont be so startled. You said it could not be done and I showed it can be done.

Please do not say that is not a fair result. Come on. Both sides start with the same rules and we have a winner and loser. Nothing unfair. If you dont like that then go play a different game.

Mommy Johnny beat me at marbles today he took all my marbles. Mommy go get my marbles back from Johnny. Johnny we will make sure you never lose.

Admit it, Chess players are whimps at sports. They dont want to stub their toe. Bunch of Cry Babies need draws all the time so they do not have to admit defeat.

A "wow" game by Topo... if it's for real. As far as I'm concerned, all top events need _strong_ metal detectors, he's asking for it anyway.

Frank H

I would think that you, of all people, would show some empathy for someone not having all his marbles.


Frank H, do you play chess? (I do not mean "at chess".)

Frank H, banning repetitions is quite a bogus idea. A draw is a legitimate result, and this idea that it should cease to exist is only ever forwarded by people who have no understanding of chess whatsoever. Do yourself a favor and "find another game" if you think that the one we have is so rotten due to the possibility of splitting the point.



White: Kg5, pawn g4. Black: Kg7. White to move and win.

I wonder how far back we'd have to go to find where greg posted something that wasn't pointless and/or sarcastic...


It is one thing to say "Draws in chess do not bother me", it is quite another to claim "Draws in chess are not a problem".
The latter is equivalent to saying "I have determined that the feelings and opinions of half the world's amateur chess enthusiasts do not matter".

As a player I can fully appreciate and enjoy a hard fought draw, I had one this past Friday night. But I am not expecting to receive payment in return for letting others watch me play chess.
As a spectator of grandmaster chess, I do loathe draws, like so many other spectators and sponsors do.


The current castling rule may be causing lots of unnecessary draws. The rule is designed to create symmetry, which by nature is drawish. 84% of chess games have both colors castling their kings to the g-column.
Ten minutes of creating thought conjurs plausible alternative castling rules that would lead to more unbalanced positions.

If memory serves, the draw rate for games of opposite wing castling is 30% lower than for same wing.


Lamenting the Anand-Carlsen draw Mig wrote "... they called it a day after making some courtesy moves". There are no ready made "courtesy" opening moves in chess960 (FRC).

In yesterday's Anand-Aronian game, the first 32 plies were merely repeats of games played years ago; according to the one aging medium sized CD of games that I own (bigger databases might show the repetition extended beyond 32 plies). This source of draws would never happen in chess960.


People comparing chess with other sports and claiming that chess is plagued by too many drawn games:

- have obviously never watched test match cricket (you can see it's effect on Svidler's play)

- are perhaps missing the point that unlike in other sports, you normally get to watch several games at the same time in a chess tournament. So even an 80% draw rate with 10 games in a day is one result more than you would see in these other sports

"""who would object to stalemate, insufficient mating material, or the 50-move rule? Those are draws resulting from a long fight."""

I object. NO need for it.

Stalemate Make him move.
Insuffient material Winner was last one to have sufficient material.
50 move rule Various ideas can be tried. More material wins. One who makes 50th move loses, etc. The problem is solveable.

Let me ask you a question.

1) Kramnik loses because he dropped his queen to Fritz10.

2) Now someone loses because the rules force him to move from stalemate into check and lose his king.

I say the 2nd is a much better way to win or lose a game. Why dont we eliminate the dropping of queens and make it illegal. After all you can not now lose your king so lets be nice and make the rule you can not lose your queen or your rook or your bishop or your knight or a pawn. Lets have all games end in draw.

Come on WAKE UP. The very definition of a sporting contest is to arrive at a winner and a loser and not a stupid baby draw.

We want the rules so that people make errors and LOSE. It is in losing that we get a winner.

I think it was in Mexico where they had a ancient game of ball where the winner was put to death. Yes the winner dies at the height of winning.

You guys take losing a game too seriously. This is simply a game. You dont die. You come back and play again. Lets fix this game correctly and have winners and losers. Lets make it a REAL GAME.

I do apologize for one thing. I know I am forcing people to think differently. For some that appears impossible. Get creative and think differently.

As long as the rules allow DRAW then players will find reasons to draw. It is fair because it follows the rules. To stop draws you must change the rules so the players do not have the option to draw. Dont worry the players will love the game. They will adjust fine. And chess will be much more popular.

If we have a problem then I say FIX IT. Stop piddling around the edges tip toeing gingerly trying to do nothing. It just will not work because it keeps the problem that the draw is legal. The ONLY way to fix the problem is to eliminate all draws. NO MORE DRAWS POSSIBLE. Then there is no more problem because the problem is solved. It has gone away.

Like Topalov says he plays for money. Dont worry he will play for the same money with slightly different rules. In fact the prize money will increase because of the increase in popularity.

Maybe it will be fixed in my next lifetime. I do not expect a fix in this lifetime.

Say goodnight Frank.

"I do not expect a fix in this lifetime."

You're right; you do come across like someone in *desperate* need of a fix. Other folks in your position have figured out ways, though; you could try stealing your mom's TV.

I’m not interested in the draws are evil argument- that’s pure rubbish-they’re a key part of the game I love and some of them are beautiful.

However, the critics of the pro players are missing out on something. The objective is not to win the current chess game, but to win the current tournament.

I’ve used the analogy before, but a chess tourney is like the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong doesn’t try to win every stage, but picks the important ones to win i.e. those which will enable him to win the overall race. He knows that if he tried to win every stage, he would do well in the first week and then collapse at the end. Of course, Frank H, Gene M and co will think Armstrong a wimpy b@st@rd for not trying to win every stage…

E.g. I remember a few years back Shirov starting very well in the first week of Corus, but then collapsing in the second (leading to Kasparov’s Dutch Open vs Linares jibe - very witty and IMHO half-correct- I think at the time Shirov had the class to score 50% vs the difficult half of the field, but lacked the energy- he’d blown out.

Criticising Anand for pacing himself is ridiculous. He knows how to win Corus better than anyone. As in the Tour, pick your targets and go for them- your whites, weaker players or your rivals for the title. If you feel off colour and play an exhausting 7 hour game, the next day you will feel more off colour. Anand is sitting on 2.5/4, +1 with 3 blacks out of the way. Last year he paced himself and won against Gelfand in the last round to take 1st place on tie-break. He’s not out of it yet…

Unless you’re Topalov, expending all your energy on 7hr games early in the tournament, means that you will end up knackered at the end. Have any of you armchair critics, played 7 hour games for 13 days out of 16?

rdh is one of the few contributors to this board who may have. I’d be interested to hear how you approached getting your IM norms, especially in a round robin. Did you pace yourself? Did you pick the games you were going to go for the whole point beforehand, or was the decision made at the board? Did the quality of your play deteriorate towards the end (or maybe your opponents deteriorated more…)

A further point which I forgot to include. Like cycling, professional chess is not just about the few hours when the event is in progress in the public domain. There are media and sponsor commitments and the players have to ensure that they recover from each day, eat properly and prepare for the next. These all have to be balanced so that the player is in the best state to score the maximum they can from the current event. If the players play a short game one day (due to feeling off-colour, to restore confidence or whatever the reason) and this allows them to recuperate to give their all the next day, then I have no problem with it.

Hey, my favourite subject - me.

Since you ask, of my three norms, one was made when I was a child and energy issues didn't come into it, one was in a league, and thus over a season and again husbanding energy doesn't come into it much, plus one has in any case to play solidly at least with Black, and one was in a round robin where I made four draws in 9, 10, 12 and 15 moves, won one game accidentally when my opponent rejected my early draw offer and then blundered a piece, and won four long games against the four weakest players in the event. Frank H would have loved me; goodness knows how many of my relatives he'd have said I needed. How Freud would have enjoyed the internet in general and FH in particular: Oedipus ain't in it.

Of course planning of this kind is harder in Swiss events, but there too you will often see that successful norm-seekers are not the ones who start with a bang, beat a GM and play on the top boards the whole event, but the ones you haven't noticed who've been on board twenty the whole time and won the last two rounds.

You are right that physical energy comes into serious chess a great deal more than non-players credit. One reason Kasparov was so very formidable was that he had this in abundance as well as his ability, and the same with Topalov. Kramnik by contrast doesn't have it and has to ration his, and to a lesser extent Anand, especially these days. Didn't Fischer say that to succeed in high-class chess health was more important than intelligence?

Good posts by al.

Very American thing this whinging about draws. You don't get it to half the same extent in other countries in my experience. Of course this is why they say football and cricket have never taken off in the US.

rdh - one was in a round robin where I made four draws in 9, 10, 12 and 15 moves, won one game accidentally when my opponent rejected my early draw offer and then blundered a piece, and won four long games against the four weakest players in the event.

This sounds very neat- was it premeditated at the start of the event or a happy accident? I guess not having colour match ups until the day of the event makes you make some decisions at the last minute. Did you have opening plans for playing white and black against each opponent before the event? I'm interested to see how much work on a round robin is done before the event and how much during?

Mig - I would be interested in Kasparov's thoughts on all these issues as well...

Negi is having problems with women from an early age.

There will never be a draw as dull as a bunch of blood-hungry patzers whining about how dull draws are. Go follow cockfighting or something.

Gaby lost to Tanya.
Tanya is cute.

Al - premeditated, largely. As it happened I was drawn against the weaker players early, and having won those games only needed draws anyway. It isn't usually so neat.

This particular event as it happened colours were known long in advance and moreover it was two rounds in a day, so nothing much done during the event, but yes, I certainly had at least vague plans for each opponent in advance. Not that any of them came to fruition particularly. I'm sure the top players have very precise Black/White opening plans for a tournament like Corus, although of course these may change. It doesn't seem likely Shirov analysed Radja's 14...Nh5 novelty before the tournament and had his 17 Kg2 move ready - more likely he thought it was an improvement over van W's play and thought he'd give it a go. More than you would think - or I would think - gets done during the event itself.

So Radja has avenged his two highest-profile recent KID losses in three days?! (Shirov that famous 12 Bf3 game with the exchange sac; van Wely at Khanty-Mantysk in the debut of 13 Ne6).

And if they feel like a short draw every day? Or every other day? The entire proposition is ridiculous. The idea of two sportmen ending a contest on equal terms by mutual consent at any juncture has no place in anything considering itself a sport. That we've gotten used to it and can come up with all sorts of reasons why it is advantageous for the players is irrelevant. Of *course* it's advantageous for the players (at the time). It would be nice for boxers to stop after two rounds, shake hands, collect their paychecks, and walk away unscathed. It would be nice for golfers to only play as many rounds as they felt like playing that day. If they were happy with their score, just stop, why not? What would happen to those sports if this became commonplace?

NBA players would probably like to only play 15 minutes some nights, too. After all, it's about winning the season, not each game, right? Pace yourself all you want but you still have to run the race. Cyclists on the Tour don't get to all agree to only ride half the distance on some legs. Again, I'm not saying it's not nice or useful or justified for the players to agree to non-game draws. I'm saying that allowing that option to exist is bizarre and destructive for the sport.

And while I try to shame the players for blatant cowardice on occasion, it's not reasonable or useful to blame them entirely for doing what benefits them professionally. This is why it's not hypocritical for GMs to promote Corsica rules while still agreeing to short draws themselves. Until it's legislated for all, giving up a competitive advantage to make a point is suicidal. Tactical draws, mutual fear draws, I'm tired draws, I'm in last or first draws, I want a norm draws, they should all simply be removed from the equation so they don't have to worry about it. You play chess. You remove the draw offer from the rules, plain and simple. It has no logical place. What started as a courtesy so top players didn't have to play out elementary endgame draws has become perverted into something that makes the concept of chess as a serious sport a joke.

We don't have adjournments anymore and although the time controls are shorter now I could see the disappearance of the draw offer (or the half-measure of no offers before a certain move #) having a negative effect on the quality of some of the games toward the end of events, much the way the quality of every other sport on earth declines as the players tire. Physical conditioning and youth might become more important factors, if slightly. On the other hand, we would have more real games. I could see adding rest days to compensate if it seems necessary, but we haven't seen such a drop-off in the few events with no-draw rules in effect.

Has anyone at all ever played that many seven-hour games? I've been doing live coverage of Corus every day and have only seen two games in the A Group last longer than the five hours we broadcast. That's two of 28. Yes, with no draw offers we'd see longer games, but we haven't seen any outrageous forced marches in Sofia. If the position is so equal and boring they can quickly play it down, at which point they can appeal to the arbiter for a courtesy draw, as in Sofia.

To me the "all draws are bad" element is a fringe and a red herring. I'm fine with draws, just not draw offers. Anyone who saw the last game of Kasparov-Deep Junior end abruptly in a sharp and interesting position while ESPN stood by and can't see anything wrong with it has some explaining to do. If amateurs want to pay to play in opens and agree to short draws, that's their waste of money. But the guys making appearance fees, the same ones who would benefit the most from chess succeeding as a sport, have more obligations. More to the point, not the players as such, but the federations and the organizers. The players would benefit in the long run.

"And if they feel like a short draw every day?"

Then you don't invite them. But that's not happening. So let's not worry about it.

"Negi is having problems with women from an early age."

Don't all warmblooded males ?

Nicely put Mig. Couldn't say it better.

To me, it's absolutely illogical to invite players like Svidler to supertournaments. He hasn't won one for so long that no one remembers when did he actually win one.

"Negi is having problems with women from an early age."

Don't all warmblooded males ?

Mig, US sportsmen play every night, even with injuries and survive only with the help of drugs. They will face long-term health problems as a result. NBA/MLB players may play all these games and then the US loses at the Olympics and everyone wonders why.

Americans may not know much about rugby, but the New Zealand All Blacks where rugby is a religion, have decided that winning the 2007 World Cup is all that matters to them. They allow players to play only 25-30 matches over a 10 month season (English and French equivalents play 40+) and as a result, take them away from their provincial and franchise sides to improve preparation and conditioning. The provinces and franchises are not happy, the sponsors of the franchise event Super 14 are not happy, but, my god, the All Blacks are playing the game at the highest level the world has ever seen and I don't begrudge them one bit (and I was a season ticket holder for my local province/franchise for the 4 years that I lived there).

Banning draw offers will only drive players underground and they will find 3 move repetitions to it.

If I was an organiser, I'd rather they'd be open about it and then I can choose who I'd invite. First I'd be inviting players who have a realistic chance of winning the event and then players who play exciting chess. The Gelfands of this world, who maintain a 2700+ rating by drawing huge percentages of short games and are unlikely to win high category events should not get invites. Svidler is heading that way too.

However, Leko, like Kramnik wins enough events to justify invites. Just because he plays with a less attractive style to the layman, doesn't make him not worth inviting.

Even as an amateur, it is about winning tournaments and prizes. After winning a morning game, I'd rather agree a short draw with black in the afternoon and get an hour's kip if it meant that I as fresh for the evening game if I felt it increased the chances of me winning a prize.

Ah, so everyone is delighted with the current level of chess sponsorship and the status of the game. In that case there is nothing wrong at all with 15-move draws by the bucketful. The few regular sponsors we do have now don't much care, which is why pacifist players with high ratings get invites. But some of us would like to see corporate sponsorship and the evolution of the game into a professional sport, a concept incompatible with draw offers (among other things, but one thing at a time).

Why do we need to worry about the game at the minute? We have enough high quality events on to last most of the year. If we become slaves to the corporate beast and try to attract the general public, we'll end up with 5 minute blindfold chess reality TV shows. I'm a chess-loving geek who appreciates a flawless game and am proud of it..

Give me the choice between a McDonalds burger and a fine Argentine steak or a coca-cola or a decent single malt, I know what I'd choose...

It's not about style or draws, stop with the strawmen. I don't care if Leko, Gelfand, or anyone else plays a dozen hard-fought draws. It's up to organizers to deal with that, if they wish. I'm also against changes in the scoring system and other artificial ways of trying to force everyone to play like Tal.

Players won't go underground. They might play more conservatively on occasion but I'm not concerned we'll see top players rigging early repetitions in protest or other such silliness. Most I've talked with are fine with Sofia rules but see no reason to adhere to them if they don't have to and while others aren't. Miguel Illescas gave a passionate discourse on why draw offers are ridiculous when he was my co-host on Chess.fm the other day during Corus.

The option of playing in fewer events instead of only playing half your games in more events is quite reasonable. Agreed.

If you are paying to play, do whatever you want. It's still preposterous, but it has little effect on the sponsorship and related aspects of the pro game I'm talking about. I'm sure if more pro events do it there will quickly be a trickle-down to the amateur ranks. It's become part of the culture but culture changes.

I'd like to see a few hundred players making a living and playing under very good conditions regularly instead of 20 or 30. I'd like to see chess more widely recognized as a worthwhile occupation and pasttime. Asking for actual chess to be played in classical tournaments is not asking for five minute blindfold chess.

'stop with the straw men' - come, Mig, that's a bit rich after your own brightly-coloured-with-streamers straw man about what-if-players-want-a-short-draw-every-day a couple of posts ago.

I can't help feeling that compared with the fact FIDE is run by corrupt lunatics from the third world and their (now mercifully ex-) champion has an obnoxious sub-Don-King figure acting like an idiot on his behalf at the biggest event the chess world has seen this decade, the question of whether Svidler and Navara draw on move 25 or move 40 is rather irrelevant.

Some good arguments Mig and you have a point re the number of players doing well out of chess, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree at least as far as blaming the players is concerned. It's human nature to do what will help you best in the game and it's up to the sponsors to change matters. Why should we expect Anand and Kramnik care about a GM outside the top 50?

I guess it's a European vs America thing - one would like a little of something good, whereas others prefer crap as long as there is a lot of it. And before I start a Europe vs America flame war- I'm only (half!) joking.

There is a difference between exaggerating for effect to illustrate an absurdity and repeatedly arguing against something that no one is for. That's twice now you've limited your remarks about my post to its first sentence, which was an example of the former.

It's not about the number of short draws we have or do not have at the moment. It's the possibility of them. That a game, or round, can end at any moment with no conclusion is the problem. It's not about Carlsen-Anand stopping after 20 moves bugging us, it's trying to explain it to a sponsor. The threat of the short draw is stronger than its execution.

We can't sit around talking about the same thing all the time. It would get boring. I'm happy to keep the Danailov/Ilyumzhinov/lunatic-of-choice content to a weekly minimum.

I agree with Mig, completely. Draw is the natural result, but it doesn't mean ppl should make negotiations in the starting position.
Btw, can anyone tell me why do they always invite Svidler to super-tournaments? He hasn't won one so long that one wonders when he did win one...
And I am confused by the strategy of players like Motylev. He is not a huge talent, not a local guy who will get invitation whatever he plays. I mean, the ones like him might have 1-2 tournaments like Corus for lifetime - you pull it, or you remain grey...his game against Aronian was a total disaster: he had white, Aronian chose a weird opeoning to drive him out of the track, and he rushed to make a draw. What a coward, really!

Mig - That's twice now you've limited your remarks about my post to its first sentence, which was an example of the former.

You should be more careful about the first sentence then, if that's not what you really mean-it sets the tone of the post and is going to colour people's view of it...

For those of us (including myself) who panned svidler's lack of success in super-tournaments, he did come joint first in Dortmund in 2006...

Oh, wasn't Kramnik clear first in Dordmund?

No, well I agree with your last paragraph.

Personally my self-image is that I never take short draws. Unless:

I'm playing for a team and I think it'll help the team.
I'm playing for a norm.
I am ill.
My opponent is ill and either I like him or I'd sooner not sit opposite him in his condition.
My opponent is drunk, suffers from halitosis or particularly grotesque body odour, or has some other irritating personal habit. (The second time I'm drawn with these people I simply default, but the first time I may not see them coming.)
My opponent is a friend who has come to the tournament with his wife and wants a day shopping.
My opponent is a friend who's just lost a terrible game.
Or, basically, my opponent is any strong player who asks me before the game - I tend to assume they've a compelling personal reason and it's a courtesy to say yes unless I've reasons of my own to play.

Then of course, there are the occasions where your opening preparation doesn't work out, perhaps at the same time your opponent's opening preparation doesn't work out either, and you both play unambitiously and reach a position about move 20-25 where the result is clearly going to be a draw. All Sofia rules do then is turn a short tedious game into a long tedious game.

On the other hand, that's quite a long list of reasons. I'd find the game less agreeable with Sofia rules. But in principle I don't see it as a terribly big deal and I seriously doubt that it's an issue. Sofia rules aren't going to stop Tiviakov-Kramnik - you want them to dash out some more moves in this rook ending reached out of theory, I'm sure they can do that for you, but will it help?

A good compromise would be Sofia rules in the last round. It's there, as it seems to me, that the problem does mainly arise. Are you really telling me sponsors have a problem with what we've seen so far at Corus? I would find that surprising.

Maybe, the reasons for Anand's quick draw might be his pairings in the next four rounds before the subsequent Rest day:

Anand - Svidler
Anand - Radjabov
Topalov- Anand.

He would be hard pressed to get an even score from the next 4 rounds and so he took a quick draw against Carlsen.

PlayJunior; I think you should maybe try playing in an all-play-all and making 1 out of 13 or whatever. It's not a good experience for a player - it happened to Nigel Short at London 1982, and he's said often it set him back years.

his game against Aronian was a total disaster: he had white, Aronian chose a weird opeoning to drive him out of the track, and he rushed to make a draw. What a coward, really!

Comes down to pragmatism again - at that point of the game, the pragmatic player says, what would be a good result against this opponent. I've lost the advantage of the white pieces, the position suits my opponent much better than me and if I play on I'm more likely to lose.

I'm sure at the start of the game he wasn't aiming for a draw, but being able to see early when you're losing the thread is not one of my strengths and I admire people who can.

I agree 100% with everything Mig has said. The result of a chess game should be determined solely by the moves on the chessboard (though you obviously need a clock). If you want a draw, you have to earn it on the board.

Draw offers are as artificial as adjournments, and they hopefully will go the same way.

As for Anand, dirtbag, he did play the Najdorf. There are unambitious lines for White there as there are in every opening; Carlsen chose one, and an equal position was reached where further play against a player with a rating of 2698 was really very unlikely to produce a result, other than overpressing and losing. This last is something you have to take strongly into account; if you can't see a logical plan that leads to complicated play, trying to force one against a roughly equal opponent is far more likely to see you losing than winning.

If you want to play this silly blame game, 'blame' Carlsen.

And as to Motylev-Aronian, I don't see why you would suggest Motylev was any more cowardly than Aronian. What plan do you suggest White should adopt?

rdh, should we conclude that you find Motylev's strategy appropriate because Nigel Short once had a bad tournament and scored 1/13 20+ years ago?
Do you think they will call Motylev again next year if he gets 4.5 or 5 out of 13 with 7-8 draws like yesterdays?


Mig, your NBA analogy is all wrong. There is, indeed, pacing in American sports, and it is quite obvious, as well. Sometimes, teams play to score quickly; at other points, they aim to let the clock run and therefore hold the ball until the shot clock is low on time before making any type of aggressive move toward the basket. American football provides an even better example, in which teams play field position games all the time rather than trying to score on every possession. They may take a shot or two, and then simply run on 3rd down to set up a favorable punt. Even more pronounced are possessions late in a game in which one team holds the lead; they run the ball on almost every down, even though this is not the fastest way to advance it, in hopes of letting the clock run and giving the opponent less time to come back. In chess, as in sports, the goal is to win the EVENT, not to win the STAGE, so Al's comparison is quite correct.




BTW, basketball players do, indeed, ration their minutes during the course of games, regardless of score. Never do you see all of the starters on the court for the duration of the game; coaches are more concerned with having them all prepared for the critical moments than with having them go hard at it for the length of a contest.



They didn't call him, did they? He qualified by winning the B group, I thought.

But anyway, chess reflects the soul. You can only play how you play. Motylev’s a careful, technically correct, very strong player a tad below the very best, an expert on the Petroff. If he wasn’t true to himself he’d score worse and probably enjoy it less. Look at the Anand game. Brilliant preparation, demonstrated White’s possibilities in a line many, including Gazza, had suggested White didn’t have enough for his material. Made Anand defend for his life. Anand’s a great defender and finds the right moves, everyone gets short of time, game’s very tense: time to force a draw, but Motylev presses one move too long, misses something (probably something quite simple) and loses. I'm sure you thought that was great, but did he?

As for being grey, I doubt he sees it like that. He’s making a living playing the game he loves and playing it the way he thinks it should be played and comes naturally to him. You and I are sitting in offices bullsh**ing about it. I’d say we have more to worry about than him on that front.


"I expect to see high-level chess from Super-GMs, of course. That's a given. When was it ever said that a Super GM was a poor player?"

If you are going to make GMs play out every game, the quality of play is going to suffer. Already, with the lack of adjournments, tighter schedule and shorter time controls the GMs often have to play with exhaustion.

If you are going to make GMs play in a situation or position they are not interested in playing, the the quality of play is going to suffer. They will be more interested in drawing, and now will have to look for ways of doing so within the new rules.

Most importantly. Everybody who ever played chess found themselves in a position where there were no good moves to be made. You are not worse off than your opponent but there is really no coherent plan of attack for either guy to pursue. A logical result in such a position is a draw. Asking them to play on in such a situation is asking them to make inferior moves--plan a suicidal reckless attack.

I am interested in good chess games, games played to the best of GMs ability. Rules like shortening time control and eliminating draws hurt our chances of seeing good games.

"I don't expect perfection because Super GMs are human. Humans make mistakes. Humans hang pieces. Humans misplay combinations."

But the reason we watch Group A of Corus with more interest than the Second Division of Latvian Championship is because we expect to see better chess, with fewer mistakes, hung pieces and combinations.

"Why is it better that two GMs agree to a draw on move 20 with virtually all material left on the board than one dropping a piece in time trouble?"

Dropping a piece in time trouble is one thing. Indeed such an event often happens in modern chess without any draconian anti-draw measures. But imagine that several GMs playing like IMs after twenty days of exhaustion, a situation where who hangs more pieces is due to luck and health conditioning and you have a scenario in which a winner of the tournament or match is guaranteed to have nothing to do with chess skill.

Many a classic chess championship game was preceded by a 20-move draw. Had they been forced to play that game out, what would both games be like?

Indeed, you are right that the fifth set is often exciting in tennis and game 24 exciting in chess. But the difference is that the ninth set probably would be two guys barely moving and game 34 after no rest days would be at a coffeehouse level. Conditioning is also admittedly a much greater part of being a great tennis player. We expect a GM to be able to handle a 20-game match or so. But if they have been playing for half a year, then it's no longer a matter of being able to play good chess for more than a few weeks at once, it's a matter of which GM has better health--which is no way to determine the top player at all.

The problem with all those who constantly argue against draws is that they forget that chess is designed to BE a draw. It becomes a decisive game only by mistake, human or computer imperfection. Chess geometry from the starting position indicates that a draw is the natural result.

Most of those who argue against any draws at all, no matter what the cause, simply seem to know very little about chess at all.

Two modest proposals:

Forgive me, I am no Jonathan Swift, but nonetheless, instead of these ridiculous draconian measures, here are two simple ideas which I think could seriously help the problem without hurting chess.

1. Record draw proposals and acceptances in game notation and reports. If it's part of an official record, I am sure many GMs would be discouraged from offering a draw five times a game or the fact that they are always the one proposing to their opponent.

2. Penatly. Several mixed martial arts organizations take away a portion of competitors' purse if they fail to make an effort/be aggressive/stall. Why not make a small but significant portion of each player's prize fund (say 10-20 percent) subject to the decisiveness. Take 1 percent of the payment away for each draw. Maybe more for each draw under 25 moves, or focus on number of draw proposals. This idea does not prevent GMs from making a sound decision to draw, but provides an incentive to choose not to do so.

Time for some chess guys?

I recommend Topalov's analyses as currently posted on Chessbase and broadcast on www.chessvibes.com

Two interesting Rybka finds:

22...g5!? seems better than Bd5x; 23.Bxg5 (23.Qf3 Bg6 24.Bd3 Rae8 25.Ng3=) 23...fxg5 24.Qxg5+ Kf8 25.Ng3 Qxb5 26.Qf6 Ke8 =/+

But more amazing is the line 25...Rf7 26.Rxf7 Qxf7 that was discarded by Topalov because of 27.Bd2! However, black has the amazing Nc4!! and after 28.Bc3 Kf8 the position is equal

In theory you are already meant to record draw offers, I think, Yuriy? And of course if the competitors are following the rules you can tell who offered the draw since it's the person who made the last move of the game.

Some martial arts actually penalise the competitor for lack of agression within the context of the fight itself, don't they? I thought you could get points deducted for it and/or disqualified in judo - in fact I seem to recall some gallant Brit suffering this fate when seconds away from an Olympic medal. Affecting pay has been tried - you'd think it was bound to work, but whether it did I don't know.

I think my modest proposal of banning draw ofers in the last round only was rather brilliant, though I say so myself. That's when the sponsors turn up and expect a show, and when there most commonly isn't one.

It's blatantly obvious that short draws hurt chess. It's even more painful when the highest ranked players in the world, who are being paid handsomely, take them. The seriousness of chess as a sport is damaged on a world wide scale.

These people should be playing to win, battling hard to gain rating points and prestige, certainly against a lower rated opponent.

In every match I compete in, playing against a lower ranked opponent, ALWAYS means battling hard to win. I give everything I can for myself and my team. Even when I have to pay to play, and don't get a penny in 'appearance fees'.

Twaddle, Mark, on every count.

First, doing your best for your team (these guys aren't playing for a team, but still) often means playing solidly in a different way from what you would do in an individual event.

Second, these guys should be playing to do the best they can in the event, not for the gallery. And they are.

Third, it is not 'obvious' or 'blatantly obvious', certainly not just by your shouting it, that any damage is being done to the game by short draws on the limited scale we are presently seeing (which is much the same as the scale we've seen for the last fifty odd years).

Catpower - Chessvibes videos are excellent and well worth a look. A cheap and cheerful version of teh more polished Chessbase magazine files.

Mark, suggest you read Simon Webb's Chess for Tigers especially the chapter on tactics for team play.

rdh, since they are recording draw offers and acceptances/rejections, then they should be noted. From looking at match reports, especially match notation I don't know how many times Kramnik offered a draw or how early he started doing so. If it's recorded and publicized, though, it becomes an embarrassing part of public and permanent record.

The rules in m.a. vary--MMA is the big money prize fighting game. I don't like the idea of in-game penalty, you shouldn't lose standing as a chess player for a draw, not to mention that since a draw (unlike lack of aggression) is to be agreed upon by both players, you would have to record a loss for both of them.

Has affecting pay been tried at top level?

"It's blatantly obvious that short draws hurt chess."

To many of us, who are presumably not as enlightened as you, this is not obvious at all. I have really tried to figure out how they hurt the game, but I don't see it.

Just stating it certainly convinces nobody. Sponsors? I doubt they care much if at all about the occasional short draw, but even so I don't particularly like the idea to turn chess into a product that we have to make as pretty as possible to advertise it better. We don't need more money in chess, we have more than enough already. Fans? They whine and cry about everything anyway. Might as well outlaw the Petrov just because there are a million shallow people who consider it boring.

You heard of Luis Rentero, Yuriy?!

The etiquette is that you only offer once and then you've had your turn. I don't actually think we'd learn much from draw offers being recorded - you won't be seeing people offering loads of draws and being rejected each time.

Yuri Kleyner: [two modest proposals]

I think that's all that's needed as a beginning. I wouldn't suggest some radically crazy new rules that will change the face of the game in unforeseen directions. Minor corrections are all that's needed.

Also, it is very unfair to have a situation like now at Corus where the playing field is not level. Anand, Kramnik, and others, playing more blacks than whites are clearly disadvantaged and that's not going to lead to a satisfactorily representative result.


I am confused--I thought Luis offered random incentives for fighting chess and also tended to invite/reinvite only "fighting" GMs--that's a very different idea. A strict penalty system will, I am sure, have a much more solid effect than haphazard promise of money according to one man's subjective standards. And, Linares did achieve its spot as one of the world's best chess tournaments partially due to such measures.

I don't know how well etiquette is being followed and that's part of the reason it would be nice to have a record. Also, if the same GM always proposes draw first and does so early, that certainly makes a point with the audience. We already think less of GMs who draw early and often without knowing that they initiate such offer.

I would like to see the log of offered draws for some of the Kramnik-Topalov Elista battles, for example. The Champions League game one should be interesting.

Yuriy, I don't know about sticks, but in terms of carrots, Corus and Linares have audience awards.

Mig, can you confirm that these amount to peanuts in relative terms?

Also, I think it was Shabalov and Akobian who won a very substantial fighting prize for their last round battle in the US Champs a few years back. This was donated by the sponsor at the last minute and a bit of a shock to the other players on the top boards who played out 10 move draws. I think Akobian, who lost the game, ended up with more prize money than all the peace-lovers who finished above him in the classification.

Don't really care who proposed draws- it's whether they are accepted or not which matters...

A lot of fun can be had with the tactical draw offer where the offer is made to affect the opponent's psychological approach to the game. The only problem is that the bugger may accept it...
e.g. I remember offering a draw against a tactical player I knew well (he didn't like draws) in a position where the tempting forcing line was dubious. He played the forcing line and lost.

I have been victim to that as well in a recent league game, to my shame. I was offered a draw by a much lower rated opponent after I had got out of jail from a lost position to an inferior one. My ego got in the way, I wanted to impress my new team-mates, I was overconfident, I declined the draw, played agressively and lost. Thankfully we scraped through the match, but I was dropped for the following game. I have a chance to redeem myself tonight.

Carrots are nice, but if you are only talking one carrot per tournament/round, they mean little.

Drawish GMs don't like risks and want to avoid losing--with such mentality, threatening to take away money they already made would be more effective than a promise of a bonus for aggressive play.

Al, yes, and the reason for the creation of that prize was that the sponsors were disgusted by the lack of fight in what they (incorrectly) had anticipated to be the big slug-fest with everyone trying to win the tournament.

That sponsor has just given up on the US Championship, incidentally. So there's one example where yes, short draws have had a significant material impact.

I agree that the preponderance of psychopaths in FIDE is probably a bigger obstacle at the moment regarding worldwide chess health, but I also agree that flaccid draws contribute.

Well, behind the apparent bureaucratic runaround, we clearly see Camel Trading 101. Obviously, Kirsan Nikolaevitch doesn't want to rule out the match altogether. Why would he? He has a nice forking move on Kramnik -- comply with your contract to play Mexico 2007, or play a pleasant rematch in Sofia...

Danailov might be thinking -- hey, you do not play by the rules of FIDE, then why can't our guy play Mexico2007? Who would mind? The sponsors? The spectators? Who would mind seeing one of the elite competing? What's preventing it is a piece of paper not worth any more than your other contracts, rules and regulations, which amount to little more than camel dung...

That's what's going on, I think.


Before complaining about players getting paid for short draws, the sponsor should first decide what exactly he wants for his money: outstanding games that will be remembered decades from now, or a mud fight? If he wants a mud fight, let the draw offer be banned. But if he wants achievements of a genius, then he should consider that fantastic games don't just appear out of thin air. These chessplayers have their own working methods, some like to fight in each game, others like to rest and then create something brilliant.

Mig, you're saying that a draw offer should not be allowed in sports. But restrictions coming from an organizer should not be allowed in art, and chess is just as much an art as it is a sport.

Mig: "I'd like to see a few hundred players making a living and playing under very good conditions regularly instead of 20 or 30."

I can't think of any individual (as opposed to team) game/sport where a few hundred players make a good living. Can you? Maybe tennis but even then I wouldn't be so sure about the numbers...

Looks like only two people are against the draw rule as it is now. I'm playing chess since 25 years and in the past I can't remember one discussion about the draw rule. Noone has ever said it's bad. It semms to be a discovery of the internet like the increment, which also makes no sense in OTB chess.

Golf, stringTheory?


is this the sponsor you are talking about:



If so, it seems like drawishness was not the major issue.

The people who like draw offers don't seem to understand anything about chess. Banning the draw offer doesn't mean that every game will go on seven hours with 50 moves of pointless shuffling in a dead drawn position. You won't have players collapsing through exhaustion. Look at the Sofia tournaments. The quality of games is much better (unless your idea of quality is Carlsen-Anand which could have been played by two players rated 1800). Agreeing a draw before the players have any chance to make a mistake isn't my idea of quality. If playing a proper game of chess in every round is too much, they are playing the wrong game.

It doesn't matter to me whether it suits sponsors or not, I just think chess would be a much better game without the draw offer. There is no reason why draw offers are necessary. If you want to offer a draw, just repeat moves, its that simple.

Maliq - I'm surprised at your arguments on this thread, because usually they are thought through much better.

The primary issue is AGREED-DRAWS. No comercially successfull sport allows such an outcome. To do so would dull the drama of the competition, and make it difficult to build fan interest. And it's mass fan interest that attracts sponsors.

As for the NBA, I have talked to several senior executives at NBA franchises. They all talk about improving the drama of the "product", which is the competitive engagement during a game. For that reason, you do not see draws in NBA games. If the score is tied at the end of the normal (regulation) time period ... they immediately go into an overtime session. If the score is still tied, they start a 2nd OT session. During the current season, at least one game has gone to triple OT, before achieving the decisive result.

And yes, NBA players do pace themselves during a game.They also train hard to build as much stamina as possible to sustain strong effort for as long as possible. Agreeing to a draw after 1 or 2 quarters of play is not an option. They try to win every game! In fact, regulation ties are often the most dramatic games, because both teams have an opportunity to win down to the very last moment.

Agreed draws in chess are not a heritage to be cherished. They are a legacy from a different time, that should be, and can be discontinued. Doing so might have significant impact on portions of the theory of the game, but I assure you that those changes will not cause Adams to drop his ELO to 1800, or for me & you to edge ahead of Aronian on the next FIDE list.

Regarding the discussion on draws, I just read this on some website:

"With the advent of all-play-all tournaments (the first international all-play-all was held in London in 1851) draws became more important. At first, rules were devised to discourage draws, which were very unpopular with the chess public, but gradually these were dropped and draws were counted as a half-point."

I wonder if that's true, and what the rules to discourage draws were.

A previous poster made the comment that agreed-draws in chess are not a problem, since in a tournament there will be multiple games going on, and at least one or two will be fully contested each round.

I wonder how the major television networks would view agreed draws during the negotiations for the multi-billion dollar contract to broadcast the NFL season? "Hey Fox, don't be concerned if teams are allowed to cease play at anytime during the game by mutual agreement. You can just switch to another game being played that day. At least one is bound to be a fully played contest".

And I'm sure that a long line of investors and cities will be eager to sign up for a franchise in a league with such a rule. "Gee, why has attendance shrunk to only 15% of the capacity of our gleaming new 70,000 seat stadium? Do you think it has anything to do with last week's game between the Kramniks and the Lekos ending in an agreed draw 10 minutes into the 1st quarter?"


"Anand - Svidler
Anand - Radjabov
Topalov- Anand.

He would be hard pressed to get an even score from the next 4 rounds and so he took a quick draw against Carlsen. "

Sorry, but I learned in school that +1 is an *odd*
number ;o)

"Sorry, but I learned in school that +1 is an *odd*
number ;o)"


time to wrap it up..

You cannot compare chess to other sports like football or tennis. This is nonsense. You cannot understand a chess game played by pros by only knowing the rules, whereas you can enjoy a football match if you only have a slight idea of the rules.


rp, you misunderstand what I am saying. No, a draw after one or two quarters is not acceptable, but a chess game is not the equivalent of a sporting event in that regard; the overall tournament is the correct comparison to make. The goal of a tournament is to be ahead when the clocks finally stop after the last round -- each game is not an entity unto itself. In much the same way, NBA players pace themselves throughout the course of the game, because the game is the prize, not a given five-minute window or even a quarter. (No coach, leading by 12 at halftime, will insist that his team either outscores the other in the next quarter or all is rotten; if they play even for that quarter, he is more than content to take his dozen-point lead into the final frame.) BTW, the argument that many are contesting contesting is this claim that draws themselves are not to be had, a claim forwarded by Frank H. I find his assertion that there should never be a draw in chess, that people should count points if a stalemate occurs, etc. to be absolutely ridiculous.



Maliq - I understand your position, and it has merit, from the point of view of the players. But to build wider interest in the game of chess, especially commercial growth, would be aided by game rules that insure full competitive engagements. I have done some chess promotion, and the possibility that you'll have assembled a room full of people, with no games to discuss is a real problem! And it doesn't matter if that room is a physical room, or a virtual one on the internet.

As for adjusting some of the rules, in some tournaments during the 1800's, stalemates were counted as wins. So what's the big deal with doing that now? And why not ban the 3 reps rule? It's typically used as a proxy for agreed draws anyway.

You have to admit that there is some absurdity in scheduling a suppossed professional contest, advertising it, promoting it, staging it in an attractive way ... and then allowing the combatants to halt play early, just because they don't want to continue, for whatever reason.

And to those who say you can't compare chess to professional basketball & football - of course you can! They are simply competitive games, with their own positives and negatives from a sports entertainment point of view. And they are not easier to understand than chess. Next time you are at a football game, start asking people to diagram a "counter-trey play", and see how many people get it right. Or if you're at a basketball game, ask someone to diagram the famous "triangle offense". Even most of those who have heard of it, won't be able to describe it accurately.

The NBA & NFL have worked hard through the decades to promote what are intense, and yes, complex games, to an ever wider public. That approach has been shown to work for chess as well. Making the fundamental unit of competition, the game, a more reliable dramatic event, will aid the growth of chess.


Have just been through WC 1984 85 etc. Take out the draws and add a few trivial tie breakers, silly rules etc What are you left with? Karpov 4-0 then 5-0 separated by all those draws. What would have been the outcome and the alternative history of the WC. Speculate.

rjs - You might find it interesting to attempt to distinguish between draws that were truly contested, and those that we're prematurely agreed to? I've done it for other tournaments, and it's not as hard as it sounds. Just look at how each games ends, how many moves the game lasted, and if they were unecessarily repeating moves.

stringTheory: "I can't think of any individual (as opposed to team) game/sport where a few hundred players make a good living. Can you? Maybe tennis but even then I wouldn't be so sure about the numbers..."

Since you include 'game' as part of the description, I have an obvious answer: Poker. Another is the Stock Market (which is a game, IMHO, in terms of their being 'sides', winners preying off of losers, and competition).

In regards to draws in chess, speaking as a spectator I find the idea offered previously on this board by someone before very intriguing. Maybe it was Greg Shahade. Anyway, the suggestion was that if a draw offer was made, it would be binding for a set number of moves, say 5 or 10 more moves from the point of the offer. The means the offer recipient could play, for example, 5 more "risk-free" moves in attempts to improve his position (even wildly attack!) and THEN accept the draw at position OFFER+5 if he didn't like what he saw after that or felt it really was a draw. Or he could spurn the offer and play on from there.

In effect, it makes the offer-er of the draw give up value in order to make that verbal offer - 5 risk free moves for his opponent. Draw offers would thus be much more carefully used, as there is a penalty associated with it. You better be sure you can back up your claim that the position is equal if you want to offer a draw. It also happens to make a draw offer suddenly very exciting for spectators and commentators alike. Lines that you could only wish for would suddenly be played out by the recipient to maximize his 'freeroll'.

Yeah, it has nothing to do with classical chess, but I definitely lean towards shaking things up for spectacle over traditionalist views (common for casual fans).

Off topic, but since stringTheory is who I responded to, there is an interesting book by Lee Smolin called "The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of Sting Theory, the Fall of Science, and What Comes Next" that I found an interesting read. I don't agree with all of it, but he does make some valid points about mathematical models with no testable experiments and no useful predictions.

stringTheory: Golf is an individual sport. I arbitrarily chose US $600,000 as the definition of "making a good living", since most of the players have to pay most of their expenses. The following numbers are all 2006 full year results. Men's PGA tour = 132 players won $600,000 or more, including 93 who made more more than $1 million. Champions (senior men) = 32 won more than $600,000. For the Ladies (LPGA) = 19 won more than $600,000.

There is also the Nationwide tour for men, where 62 players won between $100,000 & $400,000. This sounds great, until you consider that expenses ate into those winnings.

These figures are only prize money, and don't count money that players can earn from endorsements, celebrity appearances, etc.

Of course the vast majority of professional golfers from a percentage point of view, earn their living in the same manner as most professional chess-players ... they teach!

I translated Khalifman's review of rounds 1-4 that he did for chesspro.ru.

You can find it here: http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=001432;p=1#000000

Stern: "...there is an interesting book by Lee Smolin called "The Trouble with Physics"

to Stern: Yeah, I've read it too... waiting for Nov 2007 when hopefully the LHC would be operational and would perhaps refute (more conclusively than some variations in chess) some of the fancy ideas of modern day theoretical physics (supersymmetry?)..

leave aside just sports/games, i guess there would be very few fields/proffessions which are based on individual skill/ability where a few hundred can make 'a good living' (whatever that means) at the same time.. especially those that are based mainly on revenue from media and (eccentric?) tycoons... and not buying/selling of goods/services...

Each of us probably just needs a hero or two.. and maybe a dozen (evil?) opponents trying to bring our heroes down... Mig's dream of a chess utopia with hundreds of chess professionals in happy coexistence may well be a virtual impossibility...


Russianbear, many, MANY thanks. What we non russian speakers miss out on. I am now even more of a Khalifman fan. Some gems.. Of Shirov he says: "Now he needs a game with white against Van Wely like one needs fresh air. Of Van Wely: "Once upon a time in Holland there lived a young chess player called Loek. And he had a habit: every January he would come to a village next to the sea and there he would practice self-torture before big crowds of people for a couple of weeks." Thanks again RB.

The interview reminded me of something else which I havent seen discussed much. I thought Kramnik was well on his way to winning the game against Navarra, but he didnt. I thought he blundered, but ddint see anything about it. It appears Khalif thinks it was won for Kramnik as well. Any analysis anyone?

Great work, russianbear. Thanks.

Be interesting to see if he's right about Carlsen - not an uncommon view in Russia, I imagine. I expect they said the same about Fischer, mind.


Thanks for the translation. Always good stuff from you.

"Most of those who argue against any draws at all, no matter what the cause, simply seem to know very little about chess at all." -- Joshua B. Lilly

The above is pretty much an incontrovertible statement. It can be verified by reading this thread and looking at the strengths of the people commenting on various sides of the issue.

To be sure, in the past year the momemtum on Dirt does seem to have shifted away from attacks on the draw per se, to efforts to discourage or eliminate premature draws (which nearly always are arrived at by agreement).

That is a healthy evolution. I've even come around to accepting the idea that restricting or banning the draw offer might actually help the game, on balance. Last year's Sofia/Mtel event was an important factor for me: the proportion of fighting games and high-quality games seemed to be much higher there than in other super-tournaments, and it's logical to give the credit to the "Sofia rules".

The only possible downside I can see from broader usage of the Sofia rules (which I think ban agreeing to a draw at any time in the game) or a softer version in which draws aren't allowed before move 30, is the risk that -- rather than mollifying the anti-draw/anti-chess crowd -- it might only encourage them. Like throwing red meat to a dog.

I doubt many of those fanatics will be satisfied at seeing 40-move draws replace 15-move draws, threefold repetitions replace verbal offers, and pre-arranged perpetual checks or stalemates replace draws by agreement. Draw opponents will first allege rampant pre-arrangement of draws (which probably would become more frequent if agreeing to a draw during the game becomes illegal)...and then will start agitating to ban the Petroff, Berlin, etc., as someone suggested tongue-in-cheek earlier on this thread.

I see that you did difficult task, writing your best outcome about this topic. Thence, such kind of job people perform doing the thesis writing or just mini dissertation researching.

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