Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Tour de Vish!

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It's not over till it's over, but it's over. Viswanathan Anand will be crowned the new king of chess this week and everyone else is playing for second place. In round 11 Vishy put the icing on the cake with a nice win over Alexander Morozevich, moving him up to a +4 score 1.5 points ahead of the pack. We usually only get one decisive game per day so the rest of the standings remained the same. There are three rounds to go and a lot of cash in play, but apparently just about everyone is content to play it safe and let Anand do the work. For example, Svidler started the round in clear last place but thanks to Vishy he now has company. Wednesday is the last rest day.

Thursday's Round 12: Aronian - Gelfand, Kramnik - Leko, Morozevich - Grischuk, Svidler - Anand.

Four players won't really need that rest day. Grischuk-Kramnik was a 13-move Petroff draw that was embarrassing even by the standards of this event. It was the 13th draw of 25 moves or fewer and it was followed an hour later by the 14th, between Gelfand and Svidler. That one was even worse in a way because it was still a very interesting position. At least they took a few hours and turned in some work at the board. We had a little survey on the ICC to predict what the players would say in the Grischuk-Kramnik press conference. Nobody's answer was as good as the champ's (second-hand paraphrase): "I felt uncomfortable about it. But there was no play in the position. It would have been an insult to my strong opponent to decline the draw offer." That, my friends, is what separates amateurs from Grandmasters! No doubt there's some truth in what he says, but that's why rule changes are needed. There are always going to be good reasons for the players to do this. Sometimes it will make perfect sense to not play at all. So eliminate the option. Sure, it would cost us some of these artistic rationalizations, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice. I don't recall if Grischuk said much after the game and I don't really care, unless he has smallpox or had to go save a small child from a burning building. Horrible. Ban the draw offer!

Was Grischuk really hoping Kramnik would repeat Black's 11..0-0-0 blunder in Sutovsky-Sakaev from earlier this year? 12.Bb5! c6 13.Ba6! with serious problems for Black. 13..bxa6? 14.Qe2 wins.

Leko managed a tiny plus against Aronian in a subtle dish of a game that never managed to heat up. Leko's back-rank threats provided some entertaining tactics illustrated by GM Christiansen on the ICC, but Aronian was alert. The dangerous 35.b5 was met by 35..Qd7, saving the day for Black. The passed b-pawn wasn't enough to generate any real threats and Aronian held easily. Nice to see Leko working hard and getting some Leko-ish positions. He's in the pack in 3-5th with Kramnik and Aronian a half-point behind Gelfand. Grischuk is a half-point back, so just about anything can happen in the standings other than someone catching Anand for first.

Vishy gave himself an insurance win today by beating Morozevich's Najdorf. Now he could even have an accident and lose in the final three rounds and still coast home. He played a very steady game for his fourth win. It's a good example of the trouble Black is having in these modern Najdorfs. Instead of wild pawn storms and sacrifices, White slows things down and plays a control game. This one was vintage Anand, with pleasing maneuvers backed up by precise calculation that kept the black counterplay at a minimum. This is the signature finishing power that Anand was lacking at the start when he let a few games, including the first against Moro, get away from him. When he's on form it's as if he sees everything, allowing him to play fearlessly into double-edged lines and always coming out on top. Anand finished with a flourish, allowing Black's h-pawn to promote to a queen that was helpless to stop White's own passer. The concluding rook sac and fork made for a witty finale.

We had a long interesting chat with GM Miguel Illescas during the show. He has worked regularly as Kramnik's trainer for many years, including his WCh matches against Kasparov and Topalov. He's not in Mexico in that capacity, however, and just showed up this week. He feels Kramnik's physical conditioning isn't what it should be for this event. They spent a lot of time in that department for Elista, said Miguel. He figured Kramnik has trouble producing the energy or sharp style to match Vishy in a long tournament like this one, with so few rest days. Matches, of course, are a different matter, and he said he gave Kramnik a "51-49!" advantage over Vishy in their 2008 match. Great stuff and I've asked if our talk can be put up at chessclub.com next to my podcasts and Macauley's onsite videos.


Mig, did you have a chance to catch Kasparov's comments on Moro's play ? Kasparov is after all the definitive authority on the Najdorf.

Also was Anand's 24)a3 a TN ? I thought that it was a deep move. Sure came in handy for the knight as well as for the K towards the end ..

> Horrible. Ban the draw offer!

Or change the incentives, perhaps. Has a tournament with 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw been tried?

Making wins significantly more valuable would surely make players try harder.

Vishy Anand brings balance to the Force.
I remember way back in 1994 that Anand's name was passed around as the "One" who could heal the schism in the chess world. Of course, losses to Kamsky in the FIDE cycle and Kasparov in the PCA summit match ended that. Finally, 13 years later Anand does the job. What a long, strange ride it has been.

I like your idea and support it entirely. It has worked for soccer and I think they can consider 3/1 system for chess too.
By the way, Vishy is a real monster. He is in a perfect condition and if he manage to keep it, his chances in 2008 match would be 60-40.
And a question for Mig: Is Macauley always angry or he just posed like that for the photographer in this particular set of photos you use in chessclub.com?

It will be great to hear of Kasparov's thoughts - Mig shouldn't be discouraged by comments from Greg.

I am as much against early draws and feel that Sofia rules are fine and most importantly, they have worked. Only problem with criticism of early draws is that it re-starts the inane discussion of the topic with the same arguments and opinions recycled (this topic is almost as painful and boring as the tournament vs match play and who is the world champ discussions).

- Kapalik

Kramnik was asked why he chose to play the Petroff in this critical situation where he needs every point he can possible get to defend his title. Before he could answere Grischuk grabbed the mike and said: "Yes, I too would like to ask the same question."
-- chessbase.com

That's a nice way for Grischuk to escape the question of why he offered a draw after 13 moves when he had White.

Ok, so maybe there was no play in the position but why the heck did either of them get into that position if they were playing to win?? That's a lame excuse - it's not as if that position appeared by magic... they played 13 moves to reach that. 12.5 moves actually.

It's easy to comment that short draws should be banned. It's always the same story. Put yourselves in their shoes...these guys are playing the highest possible chess level and only they know their pyschological feelings.
Kramnik had a hard game against Anand and probably decided that the tournament is over when he drew...hence the quick draw.

Well done Anand! It's good for chess that Mr. nice gentleman Anand wins. Good luck for the future!

Anand seems to have mastered the typical Knight vs Bishop middlegames - reached from Sicilians with d6 and e5 (or e5 and d6) and sometimes Ruy Lopez.

The only game where he has been in some trouble so far has been the one where he had White against Kramnik; and I think he got into trouble there because he wanted to do better than take a 13 move draw against the Petrov like Grischuk.

An exhibition of extreme class by Anand. Profoundly deep and smooth play. Man, there seemed to be so many variations and so many ways of playing this as black, but he seemed to have everything covered. Kudos to Moro as always, he backs himself against anybody, and no such thing as an easy day at the office with a Petroff for him. The new WC has arrived!


I hear a minority of match/kramnik fans screaming that Kramnik will be the world champion after Mexico. What is your view? How can a player who scores 50 percent call himself the world champion when the #1 player scores +4 in a tournament titled "world championship"?

To be fair to Kramnik, he has zero motivation in playing out of his skin just so he can set up a clash with Topalov. I think, like Anand, he is a non-confrontational person who plays best without outside pressures. All this sets up a lovely match in 2008, and we can be greatful for that.

Short draws - there should be no Sofia rules in any championship games IMHO. Artificial considerations should not interfere with "natural" moves. There is also the element of tournament strategy - short draws after a gruelling previous round etc

Kramnik may well be feeling relieved that Anand won. He no longer needs to pretend that he is trying to win a tournament.

What is puzzling is the lack of interest in the large piles of prizemoney. Are these players (especially Gelfand, Svidler) doing so well that the money is inconsiderable? What could explain their strange apathy?

It is strange, even for Kramnik, to have surrendered the World Championship so easily. I mean, lose one game, and then just call it a day? And not even try to gain a few dozen thousands dollars by working a little harder for just one day?

Surely, the prospects of not having to face Topalov must have played a part in this behavior.

Just how much damage have Topailovka done to the chess world? Anand would probably have won San Luis but for those three (Topalov + Danailov + Rybka)... maybe there still is justice left in how the world works. 2008 will tell.

I think in Anand, the world will get a worthy champion, who can be good for the game and a role model.

The games were still going when I talked to Garry today so no comments other than a few profanities about the Grischuk game that were in no way different than those of all the other fans.

It's almost like collusion in this event, as if they're happy to let it all come down to playing for a win in the final round instead of risking at all before that. As long as nobody makes a move they can trot along and then see who has the fastest kick at the end, like a distance race. Terrible.

Scoring systems are a different matter entirely from move minimums or banning the draw offer. I don't want them to play more aggressively; I want them to play. Distorting the necessities of event strategies and the styles of play is artificial and worthless, or at best selfish on the part of fans who want more blood. The offered draw is an absurdity. It is unnatural in general and damaging for a sport.

I'll put up a separate item on the match/tournament thang so we can just enjoy Vishy's win in this event.

Kasparov's prediction that Vishy would win here turned out to be accurate. Would he care to predict the winner of the Anand-Kramnik 2008 match, I wonder? Anand hasn't played a traditional match for quite some time.

Kramnik made a mistake by showing such a good form in Dortmund. The WC-participants have spent months preparing something against him because he was the man to beat.
A 0-1-3 scoring system does not make much sense. An edgame-draw is a natural result in chess.
Nevertheless, there should be some punishment for a -25 move draw or playing an opening line which ends in a repetition, but that is the task of the tournament organizers.

THere is a simple solution to the draw problem: make players play successively shorter games until a decisive result is achieved. Thus, both players (specially white) will be eager to play from the beginning.

A nice addition to the above is the banning of players like Svidler, Leko and Grischuk. They should not be invited to top tournaments until they put together a string of wins.

We need more tournaments involving Topalov, Ivanchuck, Anand, Morozevich (god bless him!), Kramnik, Carlsen, Radjabov, Polgar, Nakamura (yes, he brings excitement to the game), etc.

Ban the draw and ban the draw masters.

I for one do not support any rules that prevent players from agreeing to a draw. I believe they should be able to agree to a draw whenever they like.

And I am looking forward to Anand-Kramnik, it will be a great match. These players were numbers 2 and 3 in the world for ten years (and you can't say who was 2 and who was 3, they were at the same level). They are both nice people, they seem to be in good terms and there is no chance of it being a shameful event like Elista 2006 was.

A well fought draw can be the logical resut in a game between evenly matched players (such as most players above 2680)and baning draw offers would just encourage risky and 'incorrect' chess.. Methinks the way to reduce drawish play is to have more uneven fields. That gives the higher rated (and lower rated ones too)players an incentive to win and enables players other than the top 20 gain more exposure to high class events. It is unfair that many players in he 2580-2680 range don't get a chance to test their mettle against stronger opposition.

I have a solution to the "draw" problem. Let's stop worrying and talking about it all the time.

There was a at least one good game in every round, usually more. I have found it tremendously entertaining.

Yea, great, let's ban draw offers. Let's make grandmasters move the pieces aimlessly around for a few hours. Definitely increases the chances for a blunder, and has detrimental effect on their play next day, which again decreases drawing percentage. Worry no more, the Holy Grail of chess has been found.

Solving the draw problem is, at best, problematic. If Sofia like rules get put in place everywhere, all it'll do is prompt the players to agree to play out some rapid theoretical line which will take you to draw by perpetual check or a barren chessboard. I'm not sure which draw is more insulting for us fans.

On that note, i'm a little astonished at the lack of professionalism by the media and commentators. Most chess sites' coverage of the event ended well before Anand's flashy Re5. I know that chess is one of those rare sports where the commentators need to exert themselves to provide analysis, but this is the World Championship! Mig, i'm sorry if this hits a bit close to home but it has to be said. I know that you guys work very, very hard for very, very little money but that last hour would do well to convince sponsors that *someone* is serious about the sport (if not Kramnik, Grischuk).

A full four hours after Re5, Google News showed 0 news reports on the game or on the round. Chessbase eventually showed up with an "express report" which entailed around 6 lines of prose along with a tournament crossboard. It's considerably longer now and finally pictures have shown up but still no coverage.

As far as I know, the hotel in Mexico has an internet connection. We keep going on about players doing no shows with draws and how this'd never be accepted in a professional sport like Tennis. I wonder how Tennis fans would feel if there's no coverage of the Wimbledon quarter finals and that live commentary stopped 30 minutes prior to the end of the match, because we just *knew* Federer would win.

Just something to think about.

Why have we been giving 1/2 a point for draws? What would happen is they got no points for a draw and a -1 for a loss?

Jim, nothing would change.
samIam (2nd post), a lot would change. Every decisive game would fall under the suspicion of being part of some pre-arranged plot. We would all be screaming that Kramnik and Morozevich played two desisive games to get 3 points out of them instead of two.

Ban the draw offer but allow every other draw. In that way they can still draw right away by doing 3 move repetition, perpetual check etc if they really want to .
In a minority of cases, they might shuffle their pieces around until someone blunders or someone sees a winning line. That would make the game far more interesting than a draw by 'mutual agreement'

On a related note, if GMS started to play more chess variants, a lot of the 'boredom' asscociated with chess would be gone.

It's not a good idea to change the point scoring structure of a Chess event to award 3 points for a win, and just 1 for a draw. That simply benefits a competitor who plays risky, unstable, chess.

Consider: Player A scores +7 -7 out of a 14 round event, and his Point total is 7 * 3 = 21

Player B scores a very creditable +3 = 11, and his point total is (3 * 3) + (11 * 1) = 9 + 11 =20

Or, a player who scores a dismal +5 -9 would earn 15 points, while a player who drew all 14 of his games would finish with just 14 points.

Worse, in a Double Round Robin event such as this, it would give a strong incentive to manipulate the results. If two players were on friendly terms with each other, instead of ending up with two short, fightless draws (earning 2 points for each player), you might end up with an arrangement whereby they will prearrange to split 2 decisive games, each garnering 3 points.

Moreover, the problem is not that there are too many draws in chess events, it is that there are too many short, fightless, draws in chess events.

Why not have a solution that actually focuses on the problem? Have the Prize fund for an event, which designates the Place prizes.

Then, set up a Bonus Prize fund, which rewards the players who play fighting, exciting chess. At the discretion of the organizer, there will be a "Pot" of bonus money for each round. The money may be awarded to the players of just one game, or to the players in up to 3 out of the 4 games.

It could be generally understood that Drawn games which lasted less than 30 moves would not be likely to get bonus money. If a game is going to be drawn, it is pretty reasonable to expect that the game will at least make it through the 1st time control (40 moves), or even up through the 2nd Time Control (at move 60)--or that the Kings will be nearly bared. If a game is truly a "Dead Draw" with "no Play" left, then the players ought not need much effort to demonstrate this.

Sure, players who are bound and determined to make a draw can make a tacit agreement early on in the game, and then play on for the sake of Appearance (and to earn Bonus $$). Even if this were to happen, the Chess Fans would still be better off, since the "Chess Exhibition" would at least be entertaining.

All in all, it is better to motivate the Top Chess players with monetary incentives, than to start tinkering with the core structures of the game, or employing intrusive mandates about move minimums.

"The offered draw is an absurdity. It is unnatural in general and damaging for a sport."

First, Mig: in its essence, Chess is NOT a sport. It is unnatural in general and damaging to Chess to consider it as a sport.

Second: The offered Draw is NOT an absurdity. The absurdity would be continuing to play by shuffling one's pieces around in a dead drawn position. The Draw offer begins to make a lot of sense when you reach a K + R vs. K + R ending. Is it better to wait to invoke the 50 move rule draw claim? As is often the case, there is a bit of gray area here. Draw offers may be completely appropriate in some cases, and in other cases they may be justifiable.

If you ban the Draw offer, you'll just push players to concoct non-forced repetitions of moves. What are you going to do then--Have some arbiter determine whether one of the players can avoid the repetition without too seriously comprimising his position?

I'm also not a big fan of manadating defined move minimums, before which you cannot offer a draw.

30 Moves? In some openings, the preparation goes beyond 30 moves. Conceivably, players can pound out 30 moves without using up more than 10-15 minutes of their clock.

40 Move minimum, then? Soon, the Top players will be adept at playing their "full-length" draw (after the tacit draw has been offered and accepted), using only about 30 minutes per player. They would still get their artificial "rest days"!

Neither would a 50 move minimum be much of a lasting or effective solution. Eventually, FIDE (or individual organizers) could impose 60 move minimums before draw offers are allowed. The players wopuld adapt, and such games would be concluded less than 2 hours after they commenced, with the players moving inexorably towards the desired outcome of a Draw, at the rate of 1 move per minute.

If you want to employ coercive regulations to "force" chessplayers to "play (fighting) chess", it would be much more effective and logical to require that the players involved have used a stipulated minimum of their Clock Time, BEFORE they can either Offer a Draw OR Accept a Draw Offer.

An obvious place to start would be to not allow any Draws by Agreement before all of the time alloted to the 1st Time Control has been used up. In Classical Chess, that would entail that each player will have used 120 minutes of clock time, and, at a minimum, have reached the 2nd Time Control. Thus, games would last for a minimum of 4 hours. Since the players would be required to sit at the Board for 4 hours, they may just decide it makes sense just to play chess. Even if there was an early tacit draw agreeement, those players would get much less of a benefit, with respect to getting an additional rest day.

Alternatively, there could be a prohibition on making a draw offer, until at least 1 of the players was down to 5 minutes or less to make the (1st) Time Control. In theory, this would STILL allow for a 12 move Draw. In practice, that would entail that one or both of the players would be down to less than 5 minutes to make the remaining (28) moves to reach Time Control, in the event that a draw offer was rejected. They probably would not dare to take the risk of leaving themselves vulnerable to such dire Time Pressure.
Again, the players would essentially be coerced into cointesting a Chess game for nearly 4 hours, and would probably decide that it is actually easier to just play chess, and see what happens.

So, it is likely that such a rule would have the effect of inducing players to play at least 30 moves, while using up most of their initial time allotment. A 30 move Draw that takes 3 or more hours is certainly less offensive to chess fans.
You would also have the effect of minimizing the players' incentives to cut corners by playing pro forma moves in an endeavor to head to a draw.

Combined with the application of a Bonus Money system to reward fighting chess and brilliancies, this would be an effective tool at reducing draws--especially the most egregious of short draws.

Speaking of "profanities", WCC match in London saw quite many short draws, as short as 11 moves, when *white* was supposed to push. But that's OK I guess.

Looking at the rules of that match, 16 games were supposed to be played. I can't find the Game 16 anywhere though...

Even chess champions have short memory sometimes...


Actually this would be much, much better. Very soon, all the rage would become to prepare striking novelties, in the "full-length" draws - gaining a tremendous psychological advantage on an opponent who would be already be imaging himself back in the comfort of his luxury hotel room. You found the solution!

Is using monetary incentive been discussed as the solution to avoid draws ?

This way, there should not be any change in the points rule and players should be free to call it a draw whenever they like.

The title will still go to the player with most points, but that will not necessarily translate into equivalent monetary gains. The prize fund should have 2 buckets. One based on points won, other based on hard work.

So if 2 players draw a game before say 21st move, it should be considered that they have taken the day off. No hard work points. If they draw before 41st move is played, they get 1/2 hard work point each. Any game that lasts longer should reward 1 hard work point to each.

Any game that end conclusively (no draw) should give 1 hard work point to each.

This way, they can play for the title with whatever strategy they want and will get corresponding financial reward as per their standing. But the bonus will come (or not come) depending on how hard they worked or if they took a day off (less than 20 moves draw).

In my suggestion, the answer to this:
>>If you ban the Draw offer, you'll just push >>players to concoct non-forced repetitions of >>moves. What are you going to do then--Have some >>arbiter determine whether one of the players >>can avoid the repetition without too seriously >>comprimising his position?

NO, the game will be drawn as they chose the outcome over the board.
I agree that GMs need more incentives,money etc but this is an issue with the sponsors, and the tournament officials.

The public not only does not want to see short draws - they don't like GMs quitting because the position is 'unclear'.

If the GMs wish to draw, they have to play the 3 move non-forced repetition over the board. I have a feeling they would be a bit ashamed of doing that at move 13 or so and the game would probably last a lot longer.

The draw offer is not suitable for competitive matches and tournaments with large numbers of spectators.

Dangerous, 'unclear positions' also have to be played out - (and in some of those it is not that easy to draw as one side may have a slight advantage) .

Chess is not a sport in the physical sense but it is a mental sport and the two players are supposed to be 'fighting' each other.

I don't understand why people babble about hypothetical refutations of banning the draw offer when it has been quite successful in actual practice. The players don't play repetitions on move 12 or prearrange draws. They still have some sense of honor about it and don't mind playing chess when it's clear that's what is expected of them by the organizer. We don't need foolproof iron-clad laws to force them to play. We need to change the culture and tilt the balance back to playing. Move minimums are a good way to do that.

Chess is a sport. That it is also other things does not change that fact. Unless the results don't matter, it's a sport. And while I favor trying arts-style funding schema for chess, you still have to have something to show and that's not an empty stage.

If it's a dead draw, claim one to the arbiter. Easy. Nobody wants to see every game go to bare kings. If you want examples of the draws I'm happy with, just go back 70 years, before Soviet collusion and professionalism slowly made strategic non-games acceptable at the top level. And it's not about better defense and more draws today. The average draw at New York 1924 was 45 moves long. This event, 36. More importantly, actually look at the final positions of those draws. Just about every single one in NY was an equal endgame or blocked, or a repetition. They weren't playing out to your rook vs rook strawman. They were playing chess until a drawn result blatantly clear. Yes, with greater technique today that point comes a little earlier, but it's not on move 15!

Don't be facetious. There's a huge, understandable difference between a drawn position and a 15-move GM draw. Obviously there will be exceptions, gray areas, and the occasional annoyance, but the point is to default on the side of PLAYING and go from there. It's a cultural change that is required and it's clear a rule change will be necessary to kick-start that. In 20 years move minimums might not be necessary anymore and we can have "Linares rules" for tournaments without them.

I would like to see a tournaments where the number of wins determine the champion and draws are only used as a tie-break when players have an equal number of wins. If you applied this to the current Mexico WC the leader board would look like this:

Anand 4
Gelfand 2
Aronian 2
Grishchuk 2
Morozevich 2
Leko 1
Kramnik 1
Svidler 0

I agree this system will reward players who adopt speculative play, over those that play "safe" (for a draw). I like it when a player will risk defeat in order to go for the win, I call it courage!

If you want to see "precise" chess with sound play then watch computer matches like "Zappa vs Rybka". If you want "fighting" chess then adopt a system that rewards winners.

Mig wrote:

"Chess is a sport. That it is also other things does not change that fact. Unless the results don't matter, it's a sport."

Yeah, sure...

And so are dominoes, backgammon, poker, parchisi, tic-tac-toe, monopoly, connect-4, checkers and all other games that nobody in his right mind would consider a sport!

Chess is a game. That's all.

With Anand having secured the title (well almost) it all about the money for the rest. That's why it is no surprise that after Kramnik's short draw, Gelfand had a short draw too. Doesn't want to risk all that cash, just for the sake of an extra win in the table ;)

"The average draw at New York 1924 was 45 moves long. This event, 36."

The average player in 1924 did not make a living from chess. In this event, everyone does.
Why compare situations that are inherently different?

Mig: "If it's a dead draw, claim one to the arbiter. Easy."

The final position in Kramnik-Anand, Round 10 - perhaps the most spectacular game in the tournament -, was very far from a dead draw. Still, drawing was the most logical conclusion for the players. Even Mig writes after the game:
"Kramnik had to bow to the inevitable and offer a draw on move 41... Black has almost no winning chances and a very good chance of losing if he pushes too hard."

Only a day later, we're back again to the "ban the draw offer" nonsense. Talk about FIDE being inconsistent.

Short draws are a lack of respect for the organizers and the public. The organizers have paid millions for this tournament and then, Grishuk and Kramnik don't feel like going to work.
Probably the game would have ended in a draw anyway but it would not have hurt playing on for an hour.
Besides, their behaviour is very short-sighted. In the long run, they would earn more money if they play on. It is difficult to find sponsors for chess tournaments because of these non-games.

Until the players don't change their attitude, the organizers should impose their own rules, Sofia rule or fines like in Linares 15 years ago.

One idea that probably could help, and without changing chess as we know it, is to use number of draw offers made before first time control the first tie-breaker.

There are two possible solutions to the "GM-draw", neither of which includes banning the draw, a natural, fair and unavoidable result in many chess games among players of similar strenght.

1. Drawn games go to tiebreaks by playing successive games of 15 minutes/side, 5 minmutes/side and 3 minutes/side until somebody wins the game. Colors alternate with each game.

2. No prizes for the bottom third/half of the final standings. That way, players like Svidler will have to earn their food. If tournament organizers enforce this simple rule, you'd see a whole lot more fighting chess.

My personal preference is for No. 1, specially if the result is rated, with the added benefit of more dynamic ratings.

The GM draw is just the answer du jour for why isn't chess more popular with the masses. The real answer is, chess is difficult, and few have the interest or training to enjoy chess as played by the best. Unless and until chess-the-moves can be made more accessible to the general public, the general public is forced to look at personalities (most chess players are very boring people, at least as presented to the public) or other "sporting" elements - in chess there aren't any.

It's the moves, stupid.

And until the general public can understand the moves, they won't really care. GM draws won't be shameful until the general public understands the moves.

What the general public sees - two players sitting across from one another, with intent looks on their faces, rarely moving small pieces on a board between them, but nothing appears to be happening.

The ESPN chess-caster says: "Player A on the left is known as one of the most exciting, dynamic players of our day!!"

Nothing is happening.

"He's known to favor the kingside, and look at him go! His pawns are storming down the kingside!! Wooowie!!"

No physical movement has occurred in 20 minutes.

"Player B is in extreme danger, about to be executed by the fury of A's mighty attack!!"

Still nothing happened. Player B furrowed his brow a little. Player A changed his sitting position.

"Humiliated! Player B is being shamed and humiliated by the treacherous, devious, mean-spirited Player A!!!"

Still nothing seems to have happened.

So again my point from above, unless the public knows something about the moves, all the stuff about GM draws and why no big sponsors like in tennis, Morozevich's good looks and Gelfand plays the violin, and why no chess groupies, and where are the paparazzi at the Cassias every year...

Maybe chess in schools is the only hope to build a large enough INFORMED chess culture to support a sport. Otherwise they see two people who have barely moved a muscle in six hours...

Is Anand not running scared what of his recent comments ".... I still have other options....".
He may be the worst champion this beatiful game has ever had!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 26, 2007 1:07 AM.

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