Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Tkachiev Euro Champ

| Permalink | 60 comments

Seven players tied for first place in the European Individual Championship that just finished in Dresden, Germany. Sutovsky, Jakovenko, Pavasovic, Tkachiev, Cheparinov, Sakaev, and Russian IM Iljin Artem all finished on a +5 8/11 score. Vladislav Tkachiev beat Sutovsky 2-0 in the playoff games to take the title. Complete standings here. Volokitin was in the lead much of the way but was demolished in the final round by Jakovenko. +5 is obviously very good, but the top dozen boards saw a lot of safe draws in the last five or six rounds. (I'd estimate over 80%.) This was mostly due to the event's status as a qualifier for the World Cup, the next stage in the world championship cycle. Everyone with a plus score wanted to make sure they made the cut, which was the top 33. There were still plenty of interesting games, although I admit I haven't bee watching very carefully in the past few days with the twin disasters of Russian democracy and my taxes on the menu. Oy.


Disappointing performance from Katerina Lahno, who finished at some 28+ position with 6.5 points!

Who the heck is Katerina Lahno and why is her performance disappointing?

Well we cant blame the players for the short draws if they will qualify for the World Cup. I am sure 99% of us would have done the same thing (myself included).

Lets just hope we see some more interesting chess at the World Cup event.


Nice to see yourself covering European Championship.Unfortunately, some of the information provided is wrong:

1.They were only 29 qualifiers from this
Championship and not 33.

2.The number of short draws was significantly lower than 80%, and many players (including yours truly) risked the place in the World Championship in order to fight for
Europe Champion Title.

And yes, to add up to the picture, Tkachiev
played tie-breaks superbly, beating
Cheparinov(1.5-0.5),Jakovenko(1.5-0.5) and Sutovsky.

As for myself I was very close to claim my second
European Title, but after beating Sakaev(1.5-0.5)
and Pavasovic(1.5-0.5), I went down against
Vlad, who just played better and deservedly won
the prestigious Title.

Once again,it's nice to see the comments on our
Championship, but take a closer look on the last
round's game and...retract your ''80% short draws

What was the time-limit for the tiebreaks?

The two guys who really made me pay attention at this tournament were Malakhov and Jakovenko. The former displayed the kind of chess I love to watch. The latter demolished many of the guys who finished or were expected to finish on top.

GM Sutovsky:

Mig actually said "safe draws", not "short draws", but his 80% is probably wrong no matter what, even though I predicted with 95% accuracy which games would be short draws in round 11 ...

"They were only 29 qualifiers from this
Championship and not 33"

The organizer site said this April 13th:
"Sehr warhscheinlich ist, dass es morgen zum Tie-Break um [...] eine der 29 Qualifikationen für die Weltmeistershaft kommen wird." - that is, 29 qualifiers.

But if you study this page (from the official pages of the tournament), it clearly says 33 qualifiers:


"According to FIDE's tournament regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 33 players from the men's section [...] will qualify."

What everyone wonders, though, is: who were the remaining 22 (26?) qualifiers, except the 7 seven players who got 8 points? Does any source have this list? Were there tie-break mini-matches to decide who went through, and are these games available?

Congratulations, GM Sutovsky! From the results, it looks like you were in fine form, indeed.

The Israeli contingent seemed to do well, qualifying 3 more players: GMs Avrukh and Roiz, and IM Rodshtein (who probably won't remain an IM for much longer)

It is a bit surprising that more players didn't strive for +5, since 7.5 points was apparently only good enough to ensure having to play in a massive tie-break. It was a real tough event, especially for the Western European players, who tended to underperform.


80% safe draws seems indeed to be an exaggeration, but only a slight one.

The numbers are:

Round 6: 7 draws (45, 45, 66, 11, 5, 8, 62 moves)
Round 7: 10 draws (21, 25, 14, 14, 72, 38, 21, 35, 13, 47 moves)
Round 8: 7 draws (31, 9, 72, 33, 24, 54, 12 moves)
Round 9: 11 draws (8, 45, 18, 14, 9, 10, 24, 22, 34, 46, 61 moves)
Round 10: 10 draws (19, 20, 28, 20, 36, 5, 21, 19, 16, 9 moves)
Round 11: 10 draws (13, 96, 50, 6, 19, 9, 63, 13, 8, 11 moves)

The following statements are true:

- The top dozen boards saw 80% draws in the last five rounds.
- The top dozen boards saw about 50% short draws (under 30 moves) in the last five or six rounds.
- The top dozen boards saw more than 25% embarassingly shameless short draws under 15 moves in the last five or six rounds.

Remarkable, untypical for a Swiss: Since the field was so deep in strength, draws were the most common result on the top 12 boards in every round but the first:

Round 1: 4 draws
Round 2: 9 draws
Round 3: 9 draws
Round 4: 10 draws
Round 5: 10 draws

33 qualifiers were in the announcement, but were reduced to 29 since it was realized that some players qualified from the 2006 Euro. This caused further irritation in tie-breaks since Gurevich and Naiditsch (both with 7,5) seemed to be already qualified.

Having 34 non-prequalified players with 7,5 points for 29-7=22 places in the cup, the top 10 by median Buchholz went for free:

Volokitin, Gustafsson, Tomashevsky, Almasi, Malakhov, Galkin, Laznicka, Nisipeanu, Nevednichy, Landa.

The remaining 24 matched for 12 places. Link:


Qualified: Volkov, Vitiugov, Eljanov, Avrukh, Roiz, Iljushin, Motylev, Markus, Tiviakov, Socko, Najer, Gajewski.

Still, I personally believe that the announcement should be a binding contract (meaning: 33 places for the world cup), but unfortunately its a minor footnote to the usual behavior of FIDE. On the other hand, the organizers are usually liable to the invitation; but due to the match format of the tie-breaks, it is not clear which 4 players were discriminated by the changes. The five players who would have gotten additional "free going-through" if more 33 places were available qualified anyway in the matches.

Rank zero:

"Having 34 non-prequalified players with 7,5 points"

There were 37 players with 7,5 points - who were pre-qualified and why?

Who I guess are answered by those 7,5 finishers who didn't play tie-break matches (and "why" is probably Euro 2006, then?):

21 Gurevich
30 Arkadij Naiditsch
42 Sergei Zhigalkko

There are no official statements known to me up to now, but I got an inofficial answer (actually I was quite puzzled about all the changes) that Naiditsch and Gurevich are qualified by Euro 2006.

I don't know why Zhigalko didn't compete (also Khalifman was obviously absent in the tie-breaks, but counted as +-). Even some official people at Dresden got many things wrong (for instance, German Schachbund claimed that Naiditsch was among the top players going through free, which is nonsense since he was 30th by median Buchholz), so we have to wait for official announcements for the details.

Great result for Kosintseva the younger. A 2774 performance - not too shabby at all.

Gurevich was number 19 (!) last year - if everybody in front of him also qualified, there are now 48 qualified from Europe. Naiditsch finished number four.

Sergei Zhigalko didn't even participate, and why Khalifman didn't play, is left to speculation so far...

Maybe Gurevich is already qualified for the World Cup because he made it to the Candidates Matches during the current cycle?

That the number of qualifing places reduces from 33 to 29 during the tournament is completely ridiculous. That some players already qualified in another way is no reason to do so. And what happens to these 4 places that disappeared from Europe? Will they be handed out by His Excellency Ilyumzhinov?

Sorry, but 7 (!) players for first place is way too many.

Khalifman didn't play in the tiebreak? I'm pretty sure I saw his name on the live tables on the official site, playing against Robert Markus?

You always have a lot of info in your hands. Do you know anything about this guy (maybe a kid?) IM Iljin Artem. The only IM in the first 23 places. He must certainly be talented and may be a promise for the future.


If being a candidate was it for Gurevich, then they should've counted Malakhov too out of the 29 qualifiers, as he is also a candidate in the current cycle.

And I've absolutely no idea why Zhigalko didn't participate in the playoffs for WCC qualification....

wicked post, bartleby. wicked. Still shaking with laughter at "embarassingly shameless"

Thanks Bartleby!
... for the analysis...

"The following statements are true:
- The top dozen boards saw 80% draws in the last five rounds.
- The top dozen boards saw about 50% short draws (under 30 moves) in the last five or six rounds.
- The top dozen boards saw more than 25% embarassingly shameless short draws under 15 moves in the last five or six rounds.
Remarkable, untypical for a Swiss: Since the field was so deep in strength, draws were the most common result on the top 12 boards in every round but the first:"

In just about all other professional sports/competitions such collusion would be held up to ridicule and contempt. Most likely players involved in this would be suspended, fined or disciplined in some way.
Perhaps the organizers of these "competitions" could save player embarrassment by not forcing them to turn up to play their "game" in public but to just phone in the result.
Why waste the time and resources to set up the facilities for them? All that is needed is a printed card at their chess table with words like: "Agreed drawn: A back-room deal for this game has been done: moves will be phoned in later."
These phoney draw merchants and their minders could still keep some shreds of their dignity intact by not being forced to disclose any other "considerations" that may have changed hands.

As for Khalifman on russian web sites (for example http://www.e3e5.com/newsitem.php?id=4303) one can read that he did not play intentionally in protest to fact that there will be only 29 qualifiers. He also fill up official protest.


Well, that was my guess, based on my impression of Khalifman's personality - after all, he's a former World Champion, and as such he can't put up with all kinds of nonsense, can he?

Iljin, Artem = Artem Iljin

Iljin, Artem = Artem Iljin

Semi-topic rant:

I'm so sick and tired of the "in any other sports" analogies. YES people would be ridiculed if they played rugby by the chess rulebook. If crossover rules are what interests you, go to Vegas.

If you were playing soccer and ran out of the field to punch the clock between each kick, you would be ridiculed

If you entered an archery contest with dart arrows you would be ridiculed.


These people are beyond reason, quely. There is no point in reading their posts, let alone arguing with them.

Even dysgraphia, who was doing quite well for a while, has fallen for this notion that quick draws are usually pre-arranged. Of course they aren't. If plus four will achieve the qualification goal, and plus four is what two players are on, they will draw. You don't need to arrange anything.

I completely agree. A qualifying swiss event massively produces draws on top boards.

Hi rdh,
You gave me a slap by proxy in your reply to quely so please excuse my butting in.

"These people are beyond reason, quely. There is no point in reading their posts, let alone arguing with them."

Ah!...the old attack the person if you can't muster any sensible counter arguments routine.
Didn't take long for that to appear eh!...an aberration or is it a reversion-to-type?
Sad to see, given I liked your post on another thread where you understood the analogy between professional chess and other competitions and made some good comments.

Professional chess is not played in a vacuum. It must compete in the market place for the consumer's leisure and investment dollar with a myriad other rivals. I can't see how a bunch of professional or wannabee professional chess players who agree to heaps of non-chess draws as detailed by Bartleby can possibly enhance chess in any market place. If chess already commanded the immense financial support enjoyed by some other competitions then maybe, just maybe this behaviour could be excused but even then I suspect any big fan base would be disappointed.
I used the analogy to other competitions to highlight this, tho some neurally-challenged couldn't fathom this. (BTW, I don't refer to you here rdh.)

"Even dysgraphia, who was doing quite well for a while, has fallen for this notion that quick draws are usually pre-arranged. Of course they aren't."

How on earth can you really know this?
Even if you are accurate and quick draws are un-usually prearranged it seems you do concede some are(?), the appearance of collusion is still there. If so many leading players are even just appearing to collude then what does this say about perceptions as to the outcome of the tournament?

"If plus four will achieve the qualification goal, and plus four is what two players are on, they will draw. You don't need to arrange anything."

Huh? Nothing "arranged"?....all by osmosis eh!
And all above board? If so then why not simply amend the rules so that players may agree to draw and phone in the result.
In your example they both are on plus four, they both knew this before they sat down, they both were content with a draw then surely a simple phone call saves everyone the hassle?...or is embarrassment still an issue maybe. An agreed draw in a handful of moves looks pathetic in the games bulletin, surely just an entry of "Game drawn by agreement without play" is simpler, more honest and to the point. Why any need for the phoney charade?

dysgraphia, I suggest you write to the offending GMs and tell them that they are very naughty boys.

Hi Al,

"dysgraphia, I suggest you write to the offending GMs and tell them that they are very naughty boys."

Nice one Al! ...heh heh!
Well, I still live in hope of being able to just maybe do better and tell them in person!...tho not a lot of time these days to travel... and not a lot of serious chess recently apart from online blitz/bullet In my last regular chess OTB tournament I did play Michael Adams...did he reach number 4 once?...no romantic finish tho at one stage, with black, I had a nice position even scheming to trap a piece. Towards the end of the first time control I was very short of time...that's when I really discovered what a great blitz player he was...I got destroyed!
In an earlier tournament I played Susan Polgar. She did me over properly with a mate in 6.
Heh heh, no quick draws for me!!
AFAIK neither are noted quick-draw merchants tho I never asked their opinion on the issue.
Cuts the list of "naughty GM's" I have to write to by two at least!

Watch the qualifying heats at the Olympics. The big players jog to the line and save their energy. Same in chess.

Of course scheduling the qualifying heats as a European Championship maybe isn't too bright, but frankly no-one much takes the title too seriously anyway. Hell, Azmaiparashvili won it once.

The tournament structure of a World Championship Cycle Qualifying event that is in the form of a huge Swiss System does indeed provide a strong inducement for the Top Boards to draw amongst themselves. So, there will be many draws. The players who agree to a 5 move draw have *probably* done so precisely because there was no arrangement that was made prior to the game. It is more likely that any draws that are prearranged would last at least 25-30 moves. The only reason to prearrange as draw that is already "dictated" by one's tournament position is to maintain appearances.
When there is a spate of short draws, it probably goes something like this: Either White, or the higher rated player, will offer a draw on move 5, either to test the waters, or to declare one's desire for a peaceable conclusion. The other player, lest he provoke the 1st player, accepts the draw offer, even if he might otherwise have wished the game to last for a few more moves.

Other players on the Top Boards observe the 5 move draw, and the desire for amity is contagious. They are less likely to feel inhibited in agreeing to an early draw, and so the short draws quickly follow each other.

Obviously, there ought to be some regulations to put an end to these perverse incentives for quick, fightless, draws. The tournament organizer should have broad discretion to force players who have agreed to a quick (either in the sense of having played only a few moves, or having used less than an a couple of hours of time) draw, to simply replay the game with colors reversed. If THAT game is drawn too quickly, then the process might be repeated.

The player with the White pieces would have much less incentive to accept, let alone offer,a quick draw, lest the organizer disallow the agreed result.

In the end, you'd probably get a bunch of games that go on for about 30 moves, and that last for a couple of hours. Since the 30 moves could not be whipped out in 5 minutes, it would probably inhibit the playing of scripted games, where the moves were determined and agreed upon before the game. The players would put in their couple of hours of "Sitzflesch", and probably produce a cautious draw with quick exchanges of pieces. But there is always the chance that the competitive spirit might carry away one of the Chessplayers, and a real battle would ensue, perhaps ending in a decisive result.

It seems that the "ban the quick draw" supporters are overrepresented here compared to the Foxwoods thread. Here there is talk about "embarrasingly shameless short draws", there it was no issue that one of the players decided to leave the tournament before it had ended. If a quick draw is embarrasingly shameless, what is quitting?

If I would have been a spectator at the European Championship, I wouldn't have cared that there were many quick draws. There were always many, many interesting games left to watch.

And if a professional decides to quit, to minimalize his losses, I don't blame him. Neither should a sponsor, for that is what companies do all the time: think economically, how to make the biggest gain.

Rdh wrote "Hell, Azmaiparashvili won it once"... Typical arrogance (and ignorance) by an English patzer...

Karpov - Azmaiparashvili, Moscow 1983
1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 Bg4 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 e5 9.d5 Ne7 10.Rad1 b5 11.a3 a5 12.b4 axb4 13.axb4 Ra3 14.Bg5 Rxc3 15.Bxf6 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Ra3 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Ra1 Qa8 19.Rxa3 Qxa3 20.Be2 Qb2 21.Rd1 f5 22.exf5 Nxf5 23.c3 Qxd2 24.Rxd2 Ra8 25.Bxb5 Ra3 26.Rc2 Ne7 27.f4 exf4 28.Bc6 Nf5 29.Kf2 Ne3 30.Rc1 Kf6 31.g3 Ke5 32.Kf3 g5 33.gxf4+ gxf4 34.h4 Nxd5 35.Bxd5 Kxd5 36.Kxf4 Kc4 37.Re1 Rxc3 38.Re7 Kxb4 39.Rxh7 d5 40.Ke5 c6 41.Kd4 Rc4+ 0-1

Hell, who is Karpov ?

Even rdh has a plus score against him.


RDH stated:

"Watch the qualifying heats at the Olympics. The big players jog to the line and save their energy. Same in chess."

By same as chess, you must mean that all of those players who jog to the line get credited for the exact same finishing time?

Wrong! That is nothing like chess .. there is a 1st place, and a 2nd place, etc., which among other things determines lane placements for the next round. What you are describing is that in the earlier heats, the top contenders are so much better than the other runners, that they can WIN without expending full effort. A better comparison to chess is that in the early rounds of a swiss the top dogs (GMs) can typically BEAT the ordinary masters without expending much energy.

A more accurate analogy to chess would be if in the 1st round heat of the Olympic 400 meters the 4 top contenders decided to call it a tie after 50 meters, pull up and trot off the track ... and still be allowed to move on, because the rules allowed for agreed "draws".


Was that the famous game where Karpov swept the pieces off the table and screamed, "How can I lose to this idiot!?"

rdh - good ol' memories, isn't it? Belated congratulations! And cheers for the funny jab at Azma... Our FIDE office correspondant Giannis displayed once more that he wasn't bestowed with a sense of humour. ;-)

Why always this limited approach, comparing chess with other sports? Why not compare chess with business, compare chess to something that is connected more to real life?

Suppose you have a company, with one person employed - yourself. Your goal - to make as much profit as possible. A company that hires you to do a given job does not pay you for showing up every day, it only pays you depending on the end result. If the end result is good, you get paid. If not - not.

Now suppose you know that your results will be better if you take a rest from time to time, to save energy for the important moments. A better result means more money. Wouldn't you do that? I think that is the American way to do.

If you agree, you should take a quick draw from time to time.

Ray Derivaz, does your humour end to the point where you keep repeating that I'm a FIDE correspondent?

Not all Greeks work for FIDE and not all Greeks like FIDE either... Put a little variety in your life. And maybe then you will also be able to get a real sense of humour...

A very disappointing result by Karjakin. He is in a slump.

Hi all,
Re the agreed draw discussion.
I'm advised the USCF Rulebook 5th ed addresses this pretty explicitly viz Rules 14B6 and 20L:


14B6. Premature or prearranged draws. It is unethical and unsporting to agree to a draw before a serious contest has begun. The same is true of all arrangements to prearrange game results. In case of clear violations of the moral principles of the game, penalties should be imposed at the director’s discretion.

20L. Manipulating Results. Collusion to fix or throw games, whether before or during the game, in order to manipulate prize money, title norms, ratings, or for any other purpose is illegal and may result in severe sanctions, including revocation of USCF membership. Such agreements include arrangements to split prize money no matter what the result of the game.

End quote.

So, USCF clearly says a phoney draw is "unethical and unsporting" and also threatens dire consequences for things like collusive behaviour.
If a player involved in a single phoney draw can be deemed unethical and unsporting then what of players who engage in multiple phoney draws? At what number of repeated instances of unethical and unsporting behaviour does a player cross the line and become a cheater?

Do players who are members of USCF and play in USCF sponsored and rated tournaments have the option of cherry-picking the rules?...that is, can you individually decide to ignore certain rules if you feel like it and then be confident of getting away with it?

Do the rules of other chess federations specifically identify phoney draws as unethical as the USCF does?


I am indeed comparing chess to business, that is the business of sports competition, which is the entertainment business. So the lesson to be learned from those sports that have achieved financial success is that they focus on delivering a highly entertaining product, which draws fans, which in turn draws the sponsors. When people pay to see (or sponsor) an entertainment event, sporting or otherwise, they expect a full performance. If they don't get it, they will not come back. That is the American way!

And as I've stated many times, I don't think players are doing anything wrong by agreeing to short draws (or long draws), since the current rules allow it. It's certainly smart to leverage the rules if you need the rest, or don't want to take the risk of a loss. But why not be in favor of changes that can increase the drama, and therefore interest in the game??


Is that the same rdh who recently played this brutal struggle:


That's my point exactly, rp. You keep comparing chess to other sports, to sports business. You should compare it to other business as well. As I pointed out, in normal work it is accepted to take a day off. Why not in chess?

But ok, let's compare it to other sports. Take basketball. Did Michael Jordan play every single minute of every single match? I think not. He took a rest from time to time, because that was better for his results. Nobody complained, because everybody knows the primary goal at sport is not to entertain sponsors or spectators, but to get the best possible results.

Can't expect a more brutal struggle from a Kramnik fan.

A painter just paints,

A lawyer just practices law.


When MJ took off a night, his team did not perform as well, and risked losing. This is exactly what the Dallas Mavericks did last night while playing the Golden State Warriors. They rested their star players. In fact, they lost the game, decisively. But it didn't mean anything to them in terms of playoff positioning. They had already clinced home court advantage over everyone else. My point is that they LOST .. they did not have the option to agree to a draw, and still get some credit for effectively not playing.

If a chess player has it in the bag so to speak, they can always rest, by RESIGNING early in the game. That is the more appropriate comparison to your MJ example.

As far as comparing chess to other businesses, you still have to define what the product is. If two guys want to play chess for their own enjoyment, than by all means, let the rules be structured to benefit their recreational goals. But if you're trying to grow chess as a professional business, then you have to accept the fact that its product is ENTERTAINMENT. Why else would you or anyone else pay people to PLAY chess. Or golf, or basketball, or soccer, or ...


You are right. I stand corrected. In the NBA, if Michael was tired one night, and needed a rest, all he had to do was go over to the captain of the other team, and offer a draw. And if, for example, Larry said "I accept", they would shake hands, and both teams would head off the court to the locker rooms. Even if they had only played the first 5 minutes of the 1st quarter. And of course, the league would credit each team with a tie. Just like chess.

Michael and Larry were paid to play. In contrast, players themselves paid to play in the Euro Chess Championship. They should be entitled to draw if it suits them in this particular instance.

I'd think differently only if the organisers paid the players appearance money enough to cover all costs of participation (and then some).

rp, the analogy with basketball is better than I thought. Indeed, if Jordan takes a rest during a game (he plays half of it), another player takes over. This is similar to the European Championship: some players took a rest, but other ones played on, as there were over 200 games every day. That resulted in many fine games every single day.

That should be the product: high-quality games, preferably interesting as well. If I have to choose between a quick draw and a good game, or 2 medium games because players are tired because they have to play until the board is empty every day, I'd rather see a quick draw and a good game.

Basketballers can take a rest during the game. Soccer players can be exchanged during the game. They do not have to play every game, every day. Chess players do, sometimes over 8 hours a day in those gruelling Swisses in the States. I think they deserve the possibility to take a rest as well.

Comparing chess to entertainment - no way, sorry. Maybe I'm oldfashioned, but I prefer to see the game, not the hoopla around it. Chess is science, part of culture, a sport as well.

I don't think it's a big deal. As was pointed out before, the format did not encourage risk-taking. There were in many cases clear incentives to make a draw, so the players are only partly to blame. Most decided to go for the qualification within reach, instead of a far shot at the title. Kudos to those who -as Emil Sutovsky- took up the fight nonetheless and went for the title.

In the NBA, or in Linares, the players are paid well enough for playing. That is a different story.

Since the priorities were Qualifier first, Championship second, maybe we shouldn't expect much. It was like a qualifying heat at track & fields or like a couple of not-much-decisive-happening days at the Tour de France.

If the organizers and the sponsors feel that the chessters should work a bit more for their (prize) money, they should think about the format, and about how to diminish the incentive to draw without fight. I don't believe there is an easy solution.

What we as fans can do: Heap a little scorn on those who didn't deliver the show we (or at least I) wanted to see. I don't mind if the game I watch online ends in a draw as the logical conclusion of a fight. But I am disappointed when I am intrigued by a position, I can only guess who is better, what they're going to do now, how the position will develop, what plans will be revealed, and then - nada. Draw.

OScar, I like the NBA analogy too. Teams get rewarded for losing, so therefore try to.

From a report on the Timberwolves basketball team. As a fan of Minnesota sports from my time there 13 years ago, I wholeheartedly approve. Anti Short Draw Bleaters Association members will hold their hands up in disgust I'm sure.

As a self employed person, I follow your business analogy and agree completely. Especially when the players pay to play.

April 18, 2007
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

Randy Foye had 26 points and eight rebounds and Ricky Davis scored 23 for the Wolves, who dropped their final seven games of the season to help keep their pick.

The Wolves entered the game tied with New York and Portland for the sixth-worst record in the league. If they didn't earn a top-10 pick in the NBA draft lottery, they would've had to give it to the Clippers as part of the Sam Cassell-Marko Jaric trade two years ago.

Maybe with that in mind, the Wolves didn't play much defense in the second half, constantly bailing out of the lane to give Stromile Swift a clear lane to dunk.

A recent strong French tournament was played with the Corsican rule: offering a draw is impossible until your reach an endgame proven to be a dead draw. Result? 15% of draws during the tournament. Wake up, players. See the light!


You're comparing individual competitions to team events, and mixing the characteristics to re-inforce your argument. That's ok if comparing team events in chess to those in other sports, where its allowable to substitute players. That does indeed work the same way in chess & other sports. But you have to admit that is not what we are debating .. we are talking about a scenario where the two opposing teams (or individuals) can agree at any point to stop the contest entirely. And they still get a partial reward for doing so.

This is not possible in other sports. And I will agree with you that professional chess playing has limited entertainment value, as it is structured today. Die-hard fans like you and me will always tune in, but even we are only willing to invest a modest amount to watch people PLAY. But that isn't the way it has to be. If poker and billiards can find ways to draw in more fans, we can also do it in chess.

I'm surprised you of all people are disappointed with the draws..its not that they won't play on-they just 'prefer not to'.

If I feel tired at the soccer field, my coach can exchange me for another player. If I feel tired at chess, even at a team event, there is no such option. Why not give back something else, namely the possibility to make a draw?

At a tournament like the European Championship, the subject of this thread, I see all players as one team. There will be some who are tired and do not play (a quick draw), there are players who have a lot of energy and play. Fine with me. There are always games left to watch. There is always a lot of "entertainment" left!

Why would you force chessplayers who have to pay their own travel fare, hotel and food, to do something we would never expect from any other self employed person, namely to work every single day without an end? They deserve a break from time to time as well.

It's not as luxurious as in the old days, when players got paid and had many rest days. No: this tournament was a giant Swiss, where the only way to earn money is to make as much points as possible. If that's achieved by making a quick draw here and there, it's fine with me.

That other sports like poker or darts attract more attention is not because of the many draws in chess. It is because there is more action, and because people can understand it. If a television station would air a compilation of the best games of a tournament every day, good commentary, some footage of time trouble, it might have a chance. Just skip the less interesting parts, like a quick draw. Nobody will notice.


I'll accept your latest post as agreement with my point, although you try to dance around and not say so. :)

I already agreed that substitutions in team events, chess or otherwise, are ok. Because the contest continues. Not sure why you continue to bring it up.

I know that you realize that my point is different .. that premature stoppage of a sporting event is bad, whether it be in chess or any other sport.

Regarding "Why would you force chessplayers who have to pay their own travel fare, hotel and food, to do something we would never expect from any other self employed person, namely to work every single day without an end?"

Yes, we would expect that from self employed people!

The sport is called golf. Golf playing professionals are self employed. Most of them pay most of their travel expenses. And they only earn money if they make the cut in a golf tournamnet. Once they enter an event, they are required to play every hole, of every round. Why ... because the league sells tickets to fans, and promtional and broadcast rights to sponsors, based on the delivery of a highly entertaining sporting event. If players were allowed the option of prematurely stopping the contest, at will, the entire value proposition of the professional game collapses rather quickly. If they want a rest, they skip the tournament.

By the way ... tennis works a similar way.

rp, can you give an example of a golf tournament or a tennis tournament that lasts 9 days without a rest day? Where players have to play every single day, at least 4-5 hours in a row, where every single error means the end of the game? It seems fair to me that the chess players get something in return. The right to make a draw whenever they and their opponents want to.

Yes, golf professionals are self employed. But I wasn't speaking about sports people, but about self employed people in general. You know, in real life, outside sport. In your opinion, do they have to work every day? I fail to see why you continue to compare chess to other sports only, but not to other business life. It seems a little narrow to me. Why not think broader? Yes, chess has something in common with other sports. But it is also completely different in many, many ways.

The difference between us seems to be that you see a single game as an event, whereas I see the whole tournament as an event. I would not be that happy if all 400+ players in the European Championship played a quick draw. But it does not happen: some of them do, but many continue. The contest is not stopped at all. In my opinion, a quick draw between two players should not be compared to all golf players leaving the field after 5 minutes, but to the golf tournament continuing with 2 players less. Nobody notices the difference, not when over 400 people are competing. Or are you suggesting that a golf tournament with 400 players is far, far more interesting than one with 398 players? Or, at a very peaceful day, more interesting than one with 200 players?

Oscar -

I compare professional chess PLAYING to sports, because that is the type of business it is. The players are not doing something similar to self employed people who build houses, treat patients, sell real estate, pratice law, etc. They are engaging in a competitive game. And the basis for commercial success in such a business is how attractive it is from an entertainment point of view.

But if you insist on making such a comparison, let's give it a try. Agents with The Oscar Real Estate firm have the option to discontinue handling the sale of your home at any time, but they still get to collect 50% of the sales commission. The Oscar Remodeling Company can discontiue renovating your kitchen at any time, but they still collect half the quoted price of the job.

Yes, a 9 round FIDE santioned chess tournament is a grueling competitive event. So is a 4 wins out of 7 games NBA playoff series. I agree wholeheartedly that the chess games should be spaced so that a reasonably fit competitor can recover enough to play each game with creative vigor. But this is no different than any other sport.

The point, as you well know, is that once the players are sitting at the board, with the world eargerly watching and hoping for a competitive battle, the players have the silly option to just stop playing, at any time, for no reason that they have to explain to anyone. Maybe they are "tired"; maybe one guy is concerned about the novelty his opponent has sprung, and the other is ok with making a quick peace; or maybe the cricket match featuring their favorite team is coming on the TV in 30 minutes.

And regarding your example of 2 golf players leaving the field and not being noticed, you conveniently ignore applying all the elements of the analogy. Those 2 golf players are OUT of the tournament. They have withdrawn. They get nothing. Our chess players not only get to continue playing in the tournament, they get partial scoring credit! The same amount in fact as two players fought long and hard to achieve a truly drawn result.

rp, it seems that you didn't see the point of the analogy of the golf tournament with two players leaving. For the audience it doesn't matter that they left, so why punish them somehow? Today these chessplayers play a quick draw, tomorrow other ones. But everyday there is a big show. If your suggestion is: no play, no money, the basketballplayer who sits out a game should not get pay for a while. But it doesn't seem to work that way.

The chessplayer who takes a quick draw is like the real estate agent of the carpenter employed at my firm, who doesn't have to work on Saturdays and Sundays. Only if he would take a quick draw every single day he could be compared to the firms you describe. And then he would not get paid at all: nobody wins a Swiss with 50%.

Then the "reward". If half a point is a reward, why can't I pay with it in the shops? I know nobody who earned money with a single draw. The guys at the top board who play a quick draw in the last round don't get paid/rewarded for that game alone, they get rewarded because they made 7,5/9. They played many games and took some rest at the final day. So what? If you hire somebody to do a job of around 30 hours of work, he is almost finished after 26, takes it easy in the last 4 - would you demand a refund or a discount?

I fail to see why the NBA playoff series are just as gruelling as 9 rounds of a chesstournament in a row, without a rest day. The schedule of last years finals looks pretty relaxed to me. These guys have at least 1 rest day between each game (only 1 change of cities during 6 games), that can last 48 minutes, that they don't even have to play completely. And an error can be repaired immediately, no problem. It's not like chess at top level, one big error and it's over. Under such conditions I'd be willing to give up the right to draw at all!

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 15, 2007 4:28 PM.

    Kasparov Arrested was the previous entry in this blog.

    Euro Ch Hijinks is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.