The draw problem – a simple solution
By John Nunn
so often someone raises the matter of the frequency of draws in chess. There
are two versions to this complaint: one is to take issue with draws in general,
and the other is to object to the frequency of short draws.
I have little sympathy with the first version. The draw has always been part
of chess, and most people believe that if a game is played correctly by both
sides then a draw is the inevitable result. If someone doesn’t like draws
in chess, then perhaps they should take up another game in which draws are
less frequent or non-existent. It is unreasonable to insist that a game which
has given pleasure to millions over a period of centuries should be fundamentally
changed merely because someone has a phobia about draws.
On the other hand, to complain about short, peaceful draws is in many cases
valid. Chess is one of the few sports or games in which the players can at
any moment simply agree not to continue the game. This is a privilege which
should not be abused. However, one should keep criticism of short draws in
There is a difference between the top grandmasters and those lower down the
rating list. Top GMs (say the top ten in the world) make a comfortable living
from chess and will normally be paid an appearance fee (or guarantee) to play
in a tournament. In this situation it is perfectly reasonable to expect them
to display their skill to the best of their ability, which is after all why
they are being paid an appearance fee.
The situation is different lower down. In the current austere chess climate,
even quite highly-rated GMs struggle to make a living, and if a quick draw
guarantees next month’s mortgage payment and thereby a roof over their
family’s head, it is perhaps understandable that they should give way
to temptation. Most of those who criticise quick draws have a regular salary
and find it hard to appreciate how uncertain the life of a professional player
can be. Chess journalists who are lucky enough to receive a regular income
from their column(s) are especially prone to this.
In the case of participants in Open tournaments who have not been paid an
appearance fee, I don’t think there is any real reason to criticise short
draws. If the players think it is in their best interests to agree one then
they should just go ahead. These players are taking their chances on an equal
basis to everyone else and there is no more reason to complain about two GMs
agreeing a quick draw than two 1700 players at the other end of the hall.
Given that short draws are often discussed, it is reasonable to ask how serious
a problem they are, and whether they are becoming more or less frequent. In
the following discussion, I will take a ‘short’ draw to be one
in 25 moves or less and for each event I will quote two figures: the percentage
of games in the tournament ending in draws and the percentage ending in ‘short’
The Linares 2004 event has become notorious for its high draw percentage (79%
draws and 33% short draws), but is this typical? Here are the figures for some
other recent super-tournaments:
|Wijk aan Zee 2005
|San Luis 2005 World Championship
As can be seen, the Linares 2004 event was exceptional both for its draw percentage
and for the number of short draws. The San Luis tournament, which has been
generally viewed as a fine example of fighting chess, has percentages which
are in line with those of other recent super-tournaments.
If you have a group of players of roughly similar strength, it is of course
inevitable that many games will end in a draw; what seems to me more important
is that the games are genuine fights, and indeed many of the draws from San
Luis were fascinating struggles.
It is interesting to see how things were in the past. If you go back to the
pre-1940 era, then you have the problem that there were few super-tournaments
along the lines of those today, since events tended to have a much wider range
of strengths. Even such a great tournament as Nottingham 1936, which included
Botvinnik, Capablanca, Euwe, Fine, Reshevsky, Alekhine, Flohr and Lasker, also
contained the British players Tylor, Alexander, Thomas and Winter, who were
at least 300 Elo points weaker than those listed earlier.
Of course, this pushes the draw percentage down considerably and the figures
for Nottingham 1936 were draws 41% and short draws 15%. If you remove the 4
British players, the percentages jump to draws 54% and short draws 25%. New
York 1927 was one of the old tournaments most similar to a contemporary super-tournament,
and there we have draws 60% and short draws 15%. These percentages are not
wildly out of line with those for the 2005 super-tournaments, so I am not sure
how much evidence there is to support the hypothesis that ‘over-developed
opening theory’ is responsible for a high percentage of short draws.
In many ways the problem of short draws has been much reduced over the past
20 years. If you want to see some high draw percentages, just take a look at
the super-tournaments from the mid-1980s. Reggio Emilia 1986/7 is a fine example,
with 78% draws and an amazing 42% short draws. Even the presence of well-known
fighting players often couldn’t overcome the generally peaceful attitude
of the time. Linares 1983, with Miles and Larsen participating, nevertheless
managed to rack up 35% short draws. The period in which Kasparov was world
champion led to a considerable change in general attitudes, with a new fighting
spirit becoming evident. The generation following Kasparov has, with one or
two notable exceptions, carried on this tradition with the result that draw
percentages are back where they were in the pre-1940 period.
Accordingly, I don’t think there is the huge problem with short draws
that some people imagine. I won’t comment on this or that proposal to
reduce the number of short draws; however, it is worth noting that many of
these would fundamentally alter the game of chess, quite possibly for the worse.
I do not think that the present situation, which is in fact relatively favourable,
justifies such extreme measures.
As for my own suggestion, it is really quite simple. I am constantly astonished
at how often tournament organisers invite noted draw specialists to their event,
and then throw up their hands in horror at the number of quick draws that ensue.
We all know who the drawing experts are, and if you don’t know then it
doesn’t take much work with ChessBase to find out. It is up to organisers
to invite players who show fighting spirit to their events. The category of
a tournament isn’t everything, and organisers could be more imaginative
in inviting slightly lower rated players who show imagination and fighting
spirit. When the drawing masters see their invitations dry up, it might encourage
them to change their styles.
Feedback on the Leong/Weiwen anti-draw plan
Once again we have received a very large volume of letters from our
readers as a reaction to the article A
Cure for Severe Acute Drawitis by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen. Once
again we draw your attention to the fact that it is hard, very hard, to go
through all of them with full editorial commitment. We have to use a semi-automatic
system to make a selection, which does not reflect any negative value ascribed
to individual letters that may be omitted [translation: we can't read them
all carefully, so some may be left out for no good reason]. In this instance
we did try to include all letters which made interesting or imaginative counter-proposals.
It is a long read, but definitely worth-while. Click
here for a printer-friendly version of this article.
Gregor Bombek, Zalec, Slovenia
I'm sorry, but I just can't believe what I'm reading. A draw is a legit score
of a chess game. Forcing blitz matches to resolve drawn games is making a bigger
mockery of a tournament than the draws itself. All in all, throughout history,
the chess players were blamed for the multitude of draws... At the level super
GMs play today it might just as well be in the... game itself. So, we'll just
have to accept draws as part of the game... or take up another hobby alltogether...
Michael Da Cruz
A sudden death games, as a Cure for SAD (Severe Acute Drawitis) sounds like
a terrific idea to me. And congratulations to our Singapore friends for this
David Dennis, London, England
I propose that players make sealed bids for the white pieces. Lowest bid wins.
For example: Kramnik bids 0.9, Topalov bids 0.85, Therefore Topalov gets the
white pieces. Game scores as follows: Topalov win: Topalov gets 0.85 points,
Kramnik 0.15; Draw: Topalov gets 0.425 points, Kramnik 0.575; Kramnik win:
Topalov gets 0.0 points, Kramnik 1.0. I've no doubt the precise scoring system
can be improved.
Geoff Marchant, London, England
My reaction to this proposal is that it is pretty radical and would be complicated
to decide prize-money at the end of a tournament. But it might work! I thought
of a simpler (but probably flawed) alternative. Since we're really looking
at professional tournaments, why shouldn't the individual organisers simply
change the prize structure? For example 50% could be based on what a player's
score is in a tournament and then 50% based upon simply the number of moves
that the player has played throughout the tournament. The more moves the more
money. But then I guess we'd have to check that players don't make pre-arranged
100 move draws, or play on in King versus King positions!! Anyway, thanks to
Ignatius and Leung for making us think about this problem seriously.
Greg Koster, St. Charles, Illinois, USA
The most remarkable series of short draws ever was Kasparov v. Karpov in 1984-85.
And perhaps the most remarkable short draw took place in London 2000, where
Kasparov, two points down with three games to go agreed to a 14-move draw with
the white pieces.
But it makes no sense to blame Kramnik, Topalov, Karpov or Kasparov, four
highly intelligent men acting within the rules for what they see as their best
Until you change the rules, ranting against short draws punishes "virtuous"
players (who exhaust themselves in playing out drawish positions "for
the good of chess") and rewards "selfish" players (who will
ignore the rants and, with short draws, save their energy).
But how to change the rules? A 6/5 blitz playoff at the end of a drawn classical
game will result in the better blitz player working the classical game for
a draw. A monetary punishment for draws rewards crappy play and punishes hard-fought
well-played games between top-level opponents.
Why not use the anti short-draw methods which have proven successful? For
events leading to the world championship, the old interzonals and candidates
events, Dortmund 2002, San Luis 2005, there's never been a lack of fighting
For "exhibition" tournaments, Corus, Linares, Dortmund, employ the
Sofia rules and modify them over time when we have more experience with them.
Stop blaming the players for acting sensibly within the rules. Change the rules
for the better and the players will change for the better.
Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, Tehran, Iran
I read the new system that Mr. Leong suggests. The reasons are correct. But
last month I suggested another system that I think is more logical: Every game
played between two players has a total of seven pointw. If one side wins then
we have case A below. If the game is drawn they play a rapid game with reverse
colours (B). If that is again drawn they play armageddon (C).
A. (7-0) every game will have 7 point and winner of the main game will have
7 point and loser 0.
B- (5-2) In case of draw in the main game, winner of the rapid games will
have 5 points and the loser 2.
C- (4-3) In case of draw in the rapid game, the winner of the sudden death
blitz (SD) game will have 4 points and loser 3.
Svein Solvang, Akrehamn, Norway
The idea of Leong and Weiven to not accept a draw as a final chess result,
is not a good one. The concept of drawing colours for a blitz playoff whenever
the main game ends in a draw, reminds me of a similiar try in Norwegian football
(soccer) some years ago. For some seasons the total amount of scored goals
had been very low. To compensate for this, no match was allowed to be a draw.
If you won or lost the match within the 90 minutes available, you got three
or zero points, respectively. In the case of a draw after 90 minutes, the result
was decided by penalty kicks, giving two points to the winner and one for the
loser. It was very strange to watch football that season! Needless to say,
but the concept was only tried for one season and no other country in the world
should ever try it. We can't change the game of football or chess just because
of spectators and money interests.
I wonder why Leong and Weiwen's did not take their proposal a step further:
Do not allow classical time control. Instead all of us should only be allowed
to play blitz games. That would be more fun and give even more money/sponsors,
wouldn't it? We didn't have to wait so long for the moves either! No, let us
keep it simple. Do as in Sofia with no draw offers or do not allow draw offers
until move 30. That may work. But please, let us not destroy chess with the
idea of not accept a draw as a final chess result.
Yngvar Hartvigsen, Luster, Norway
You cannot make rules against draw, but you can reward decisive results.
This can be done by changing the point system, or by changing the distribution
of the prizes.
1. The point system. In Norway the Soccer League many years ago changed the
point system, which used to let one victory equal two draws, so that now a
victory gives 3 points, while a draw gives one point. I don’t know how
this is done in other countries, but I am sure that nobody in Norway would
consider going back to the old system. This can be done in chess also, to decide
the ranking in a tournament, although in ELO-calculations a win would still
equal two draws.
2. The prize distribution. The prize fund can be divided into two parts (not
necessarily equal!). One part can be called the “Points Prize”.
The players with most points share a fair part of it, the players coming next
on points share a part of the remaining and so on. This is how the whole prize
fund is usually distributed today. The second part can be called the “Wins
Prize”. The players with most wins (draws and losses not counting) share
a fair part of it, the players with one win less share a part of the remaining
and so on. Of course there will usually be players who get a share of both
It is important to notice the flexibility of the system! An organizer could
try dividing the fund 80-20, and the next time use another proportion, depending
on what is learned from experience and the reactions on the experiment.
It should also be noted that this do not reduce the already small prize funds,
it merely changes the distribution, so that a little more of the money goes
to the players that delivers what the sponsors and spectators have payed for.
Tom Neal, Atlanta, GA, USA
Another solution: Pay for wins. Half the prize money goes to 1st, 2nd, in the
normal fashion. The other half gets divided by total wins and payed out on
that basis. Or, We could go to random, where finding the draw would be fairly
Mark Vogan, Houston, TX, USA
I propose a simple solution to the draw problem. Rather than financial penalties
for draws we should go straight to the heart. A draw is worth 1/2 point. Let's
make it worth 1/4 point! Player A plays a tournament with 1 win, 2 draws and
1 loss and scores +2. Player 2 plays a tournament with 2 wins and 2 losses
and scores +2. Under my proposal, Player 2 would still score +2, but player
A would only score +1.5. Suddenly it is worthwhile to go the distance.
Vijay Raj, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Chess is an art, science, sport and entertainment. The primary goal of an organisation
promoting this game is, I believe, to create rules which will promote the quality
of its play. Having a blitz play-off to create a winner from participants suffering
from an acute desire to draw their games will not increase the quality of games,
but would instead frustrate/discourage players who are brilliant under classical
time-controls from playing because they may not fare as well in blitz. In addition,
the probability of the strongest player in a tournament not winning it would
I also think that there would be a sudden drop in brilliancies occuring over
the board - brilliancies which have been the legacy of great players of the
past, and whose play many have studied to gain greater insight into the ancient
game. To play brilliant games, one needs to be objective in his/her treatment
of the various positions that may arise over the board (of course this does
not mean that risk-taking is discouraged, only that it becomes more calculated).
I fear that a rule imposing the suggested blitz play-off may serve to cloud
one's objectivity, and this may not be synonymous with quality. I believe that
many of Karpov's, Petrosian's and Capablanca's (amongst others) brilliant games
may not have crystallized had such a rule as blitz play-off been in force during
A draw is an integral feature of chess, and one should not seek to eliminate
it from existence, but rather minimize its appearance or abuse.
However, I understand that it is also important to preserve the entertainment
and sporting value of Chess. Disallowing a draw before the 30th (or 35th?)
move should go along way to achieve this. Perhaps a team of experienced grandmasters
can be assembled for important tournaments to sniff out premature draws and
visit the relevant participants with appropriate penalties. Such a team would
also be able to award brilliancy prizes to deserving candidates.
Fischer Random Chess is yet another way to reduce the appearance of draws
in Chess (especially since skill should be the decisive factor in determining
the winner and not opening preparation done at home - which preparation is
nowadays computer-aided anyway). After all, wasn't the queen given a dramatic
boost in her powers a few centuries ago to make the game more exciting?
Richard Morris, Swindon, England
I have just read the proposals by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen for reducing
the number of short draws in chess by using extra blitz games to give a decisive
result. I am personally unconvinced by this solution as it is very clear that
a player's blitz strength can be markedly different to his/her strength at
classical time controls, and surely when a tournament is played at classical
controls one wants the winner to be the player who is best at that time control,
not the one who is best at blitz.
Furthermore, I have another simpler solution to propose (though I have no
idea whether this is an original thought or not): how about reducung the score
for a draw from 1/2 to 1/3 of a point? This would give a huge incentive for
players to win games as a player would now require 3 draws to compensate for
a win by a competitor. It also has the advantage of being wholly based on incentive
rather that on arbitrary additional games or financial disincentives, and is
therefore an essentially positive solution to the problem.
This is effectively what happened some years ago in English soccer when 3
points were given for a win rather than 2 and it did serve to reduce the number
of boringly drawn games and to generally increase the amount of attacking play.
The only drawbacks I can see are: 1. that it would significantly affect the
rating system, but I cannot belive that this is insurmountable, 2. that it
would only work for tournaments and not matches.
Daniel Masters, Columbia
The fundamental problem (there are loads of practical ones) with this suggestion
is that blitz chess is not chess, and not a legitimate means of determining
the result of a classical chess game. You might as well have the players decide
the result by mud-wrestling. If this idea were put into practice, blitz-experts
would only have to play for the draw, and then win the point in the playoff.
Anand could limit his study to opening lines that end in 3-fold repetition.
And his opponents would have to ferociously play to win, even in drawn positions,
since a draw would effectively be a loss. There are better suggestions. For
instance, making a draw worth .4 points seems simple and feasible.
Omid David Tabibi, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Today I read the suggested cure for SAD on your website, but there is a much
simpler option that is not brought up. When more and more football games ended
in draws, shortly before the 1994 World Cup FIFA adopted new scoring system,
awarding the winner 3 points instead of 2 (before then, this system was used
in Britain only). Or in other words, in case of a draw, each side gets 33%
of the point instead of 50%.
Why can't this method be used for chess as well? The way it is today, if out
of 10 games you draw all of them or win 5 and lose others, you will end up
with the same final score. But if the football system of 0/1/3 is adopted,
winning 5 games would give you 15 points, while drawing all games would leave
you with a only 10 points. This can result in a dramatic drop in the number
of tournament draws that are resulted from the players' unwillingness to fight.
And the best thing about this "cure" is that there is no need to
make any changes to the rules of tournament chess (e.g, adding sudden death,
etc), and can be implemented by merely changing the scoring system, thus making
it much easier to adopt.
On the subject of chess draws I would like to remind the chess community of
how Soccer officials solved the problem. Back in the 1970s draws in first division
(yes it was first division then) was a major problem. Games became uninteresting
and results were predictable. To encourage teams to fight for a win the points
system was changed. So instead of getting 2 points for a win, the awarded 3
If we apply this to chess then players should be awarded a half point for
a draw and 2 points for a win. This would encourage players to search harder
for that extra one and a half points. Of course this system would have no advantage
in a two-player match.
George Maksacheff, Melbourne, Australia
A good way to discourage short or agreed draws is to give the winner of a game
an extra half point. It works in soccer where the winning team gets 3 points
for a win (a draw receives 1 point)
Freeman Ng, Oakland, California, USA
Another idea, which would only work for tournaments, and not matches: Draws
earn each player less than a half point. .4 points for example.
Jo Han Yeoh, Stafford, UK
I just wanted to propose a simple method of discouraging draws in chess. Why
not award 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss?
It provides a good incentive for players to go all out for wins and it works
reasonably well in football league.
Samuel Leyva, Texas, USA
It seems to me that everyone has overlooked a simple solution to this problem.
FIFA (in Football) changed the point value of wins some time ago in order to
encourage more decisive results, with the practical effect being that drawn
matches no longer represented half of a win--and thus did not benefit either
side nearly as much as it had before. Chess could and would benefit from adopting
the same Point System (3 pts. for a win; 1/2 pt. for a draw) without having
to adjust the rules about short Grandmaster draws at all. Wins would just become
more valuable and that's that. Would it work? Of course it would; it worked
for Football didn't it? My only question now is why has no one thought of it
Jan van Leeuwen, Kota Kinabalu
I wonder why everybody comes up with the most exotic of solutions for the problem
of quick draws, while there is a very simple measure that has been succesfully
applied in many other sports and would probably even be more effective in chess:
award 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. No rules need to be
changed at all. And even for the purpose of rating calculation, a simple formula
Steve Ormerod, Darlington, England
Why not introduce as a standard across all competitions a 2 points for a win
and 0.5 points for a draw rule? Soccer did something similar and have stuck
with it so its clearly been successful.
John Apostolopoulos, Athens, Greece
Here is my proposal, taken from UEFA and football: Win 3 points, Draw 1 point,
Loss: 0 points. It is easy and we do not press players, neither change anything
in the game. Just the points :-)
Peter Todorov, Sofia, Bulgaria
I like the proposed cure for SAD, but it seems to me too harsh for the loser
of the blitz playoff to leave the table with zip, especially if he/she has
had a hard-fought draw in the classical game and proved himself/herself worthy.
Therefore I would add the following to the proposed idea:
For all games decided by a blitz playoff, the winner gets 0.7 points and the
loser - 0.3 points. Thus the winner will get more than a classical draw, but
less than a classical win. The loser will get more than a classical loss but
less than a classical draw. I feel this would be a fair reflection of what
the two opponents showed at the board, and also with regard to other players
in the tournament.
Note: While this would somewhat alter the accepted point award system, it
would neither be unfair, nor difficult to implement. It could rightfully be
integrated in the ELO calculation, too, precisely because of its fairness.
Marco Naletto, São Paulo, Brazil
As we could see in this interesting report, nobody can stop a player from drawing
if he want to. So I believe that the way is to make the players do not want
to draw. I liked the proposal of reducing the prize in some way. I think that
another proposal that could make things better in this topic is to make the
score system similar to soccer. One for draw and 3 for win. In my opinion this
score system makes the "drawitis" definitely not interesting. P.S.
Congratulations on the best chess site of the web!
Jon Skarpeid, Stavanger, Norway
I think there is a better cure against SAD than the one proposed in the article.
Give simply three points for winning, one for drawing and zero for losing.
Than a Kramnik, can't simply make it with a +2=7-0 but will lose the tornament
to a Shirov +3=6-1 (or for course in any case to a Kasparov +4=6-0).
David Mason, Carrollton, USA
Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen's idea of reduced prize money for draws is
a good one but here's another idea that might work. How about if draws are
scored as 1/3-1/3 instead of 1/2-1/2. Too many draws could lose one a tournament.
Ian Smith, London, England
Why not follow football and have 3 points for a win, one point for a draw?
It might have put a bit more interest into some of the draws we saw towards
the end in San Luis.
Andrew James Villarose, Philippines
A quick draw should not be given a 1/2 point. It is similar to not playing
at all. 0-0 for both player. Looks familiar. At the final tally point, a loss
should be given a higher credit than a quick draw but lower than a fighting
draw. You decide how to identify a quick draw and a fighting draw.
Lai Oon, Hum, Montreal, Canada
Drawitis is an issue that should be adressed as quickly as possible, for the
good of the game. Tournaments are becoming so drab with all of the draws that
I feel the will to win has faded. It is so refreshing to see a player like
Topalov fight for the win, that it renews my interest in tournament play. I
have a great idea to combat the draw play: Adjust the point system to make
a win worth two full points instead of one or 1.5 points instead. Imagine that
winning two games would be the equal of six or eight draws! That would be incentive
enough to fight for the tournament top prize. Perhaps losing games could similarly
be adjusted to - 0.5 points. In any case, instead of just taking money from
the pot to award the "Fighter", why not make the prize money coincide
with the win percentage and not just total points? In any case, your columns
are great and fun to read. I especially like topics such as these.
Ben Ogunshola, London
There is a very simple way of getting rid of the so-called 'grandmaster draw'(Note
the small 'g'). All we need is to take a leaf out of other sports such as football.
3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. If you want to win a tournament you are
going to have to notch up those wins. Need I say anymore. I do believe that
an analysis of some tournament results and final placings based on this scoring
could be quite interesting.
Pavel Kornilovich, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Regarding the ways to increase the percentage of decisive games, there is a
much simpler solution than those proposed in the Leong and Weiwen's article.
A win must carry more points than two draws. For example, a win is assigned
2 full points, while a draw just 1/2. A similar system was adopted in football
many years ago (3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw), which boosted the
number of goals per game. An analogous system in chess, while not eliminating
agreed draws completely, would definitely fuel the fighting spirit of players.
Duncan Vella, Swieqi, Malta
I still maintain that the best way to solve the draw problem is by introducing
3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. This worked well in
football and is now implemented worldwide. Players will be obliged to play
for wins with this method. I cannot understand what could be wrong with this
We had our misgivings about this "soccer" proposal,
suggested by so many of our readers. For instance if a player has ended
with six draws and a loss in a tournament, should he really have the
same number of points as a player who won two games and lost five? So
we asked our mentor to comment on the system. John Nunn came up with
The three-points-for-a-win plan has, I think, one serious problem. It
is the incentive it gives to 'throw' games. Throwing games has been a
problem for many years in Open tournmanets, and with three points the
huge boost you get from a win makes it even more likely. It could even
stimulate similar behaviour in round-robin tournmanets. A, B and C agree
that A will beat B, B will beat C and C will beat A. They all get three
points. D, E and F play properly and draw with each other, gaining 2
points each. A, B and C have all gained. Or you could agree 'I lose to
you in this tournament and you lose to me in the next tournament'. You
can hardly lose with this kind of set-up. The three points for a win
plan really makes a huge difference to tournament results and fundamentally
changes the game. I don't see that such a drastic change is necessary.
– John Nunn
Abel Mohler, Asheville, NC USA
Great article. You are almost dead on with the point you are trying to make.
Fans everywhere are tired of short Grandmaster draws. There is no question
that something must be done.
There is only one problem I find with the idea of drawing lots for black or
white if there is a draw at the standard time control. That is the concept
of drawing to determine colors. Unfortunately you are using a tournament like
Linares to make your point, which is played in double round robin format. Colors
during sudden death should be assigned if we are talking about round robin.
This is why:
Let us take an extreme hypothetical. Say there is the (highly unlikely, though
possible) event of there being an entire double round robin tournament that
consists of only draws over the board. Meaning that every match is decided
up or down by sudden death playoff. The results would be inconsistant because
some of the players will have had either white or black disproportionatly.
Although, in theory, one color is perhaps not an advantage in this situation
(perhaps it is though), it must be admitted that certain players will tend
to have an advantage with one side or another in a 6 min - vs 5 min sudden
death match in which black wins in case of a draw. And since this advantage
exists, it would be better not to roll the dice when it comes to who has better
chances. We all want to know during these tournaments who the best player is,
or at least who is playing the best chess. What I would propose would be similar,
but slightly different, assuming the round robin format that we have all become
accustomed to, as players and fans. What I am proposing is this:
You keep the color you had over the original board during the sudden death
game. The reasons for this are many. First of all, it is more consistent, considering
the round robin format, in which every player plays every other player an equal
amount of times. Secondly, it would create a more interesting dynamic over
the board during the regular game, which, everyone should agree, is the game
that we care the most about. Instead of being an uncertain factor threatening
to determine the outcome of the game, the sudden death possiblity would become
a part of the overall strategy and temperment of the contest. This dynamic
would depend on the fact that black, if he really wants to, has a choice. He
can either defend to draw both games, thereby winning the big game, or choose
to try to win outright the first time. Either way, black would be playing to
win! What this would mean is that we would see more big, spectacular draws,
which are not so bad. And we would see a lot of good decisive games, as white
would be forced to keep pressing and pressing, knowing that if the first game
is a draw, he will be forced to keep pressing again in the playoff, with a
chance to lose if he doesn't press enough. This will force white to be more
aggressive. This of course will mean that we will see more of the sharp, double
edged slugfests that chessfans everywhere love. Some of them will be draws,
but they will be hard fought ones.
I love the idea of possible sudden death after every game. If this one minor
rule change were implemented, top level chess would be much more exciting,
meaning that more people would be attracted to the sport in general. Prizes
would go up and chessplayers in general would reap the benefits as the overall
level of competition rose. Everyone would win, especially the fans. However,
I hope that you can see that if such a change were to be implemented, it absolutely
must be done so consistently, leaving nothing to chance.
Dennis S., NYC
Will this solution catch on? The answer is no, it's too radical and unlikely
to be popular among players. Also, it is not good at all. Some players who
are better in blitz than in classical control chess would try to intentionally
steer the game to a draw from the very first move. What an effective "solution"
that would be!
There is a solution which is currently being tested in Sofia tournaments.
It worked perfectly this year, leading to a much more fighting brand of chess.
This solution is much closer to chess traditions than this concoction. If they
wanted to, could have a draw in principle. Did they do that often in Sofia?
Not really. It is so much harder to do under Sofia rules. You have to find
a safe triple repetition. This may not be easy as your opponent may be looking
for a win and you just waste a tempo, trying to engineer a triple repetition.
It's not that easy to draw safely if you don't know the intentions of your
As for games that end after the opening, let's not forget that most fans in
the world would play those "dead" position much further. Often they
are wondering why the game stopped that early when there are so many pieces
on the board. If the pros want to earn a living by playing chess they should
care about the appeal of their product. The fans would prefer them to play
further so pros should do that. Go ahead and try to safely exchange everything
if you are so sure that position is a dead draw. The fans will learn much more
from those games (again, see Sofia) than from those undeveloped games that
suddenly end in a draw.
Instead of suggesting ridiculous proposals, one should better support the
Sofia rules, test them in different tournaments to see whether there are any
significant flaws. That would really help the chess community.
George Simon, NJ, USA
Not a good idea. Somebody who excels at rapid chess will try to draw regular
games, and quite often force draws (by repetition, through perpetual check,
etc). Not a fair solution. Besides, even the use of "sudden death"
games for tie-breakers at standard tournaments is highly questionable, since
quick chess is very different from standard. It is like forcing two marathon
runners, who crossed the finish line together, to run 100 meters to find out
who's really better... Marathon is marathon and sprint is sprint. By the same
token, standard chess is standard chess and rapid chess is rapid chess. They
should not be mixed together.
Joe Brooks, Smyrna, TN, USA
I have a very simple but effective way of curing Severe Acute Drawitis (SAD).
It requires no rule changes to chess of any sort, nor any blitz playoffs. Simply
make the first tie-break to determine a tournament result go to the player
with the fewest draws. This will encourage combative play and encourage players
to take risks, while avoiding unnecessary draws, and it doesn't require changing
the point values given for a win or a draw, as some others have proposed. Why
hasn't anyone else thought of this or tried this before, I wonder? Certainly,
professional players would have to take this into account when preparing a
strategy or an opening repertoire.
Philip Feeley, Surrey, BC, Canada
The World Championships in San Luis this year were pretty good for the small
number of boring draws, or even draws at all. Some of them were very exciting.
Perhaps another solution is this: http://www.chessboxing.com/
Clint Ballard, Bainbrige Island
I agree 100% that SAD must be cured. I have outlined the problem and a proposed
solution on www.Slugfest.org. My solution does not require ANY changes to existing
rules or even rating systems.
By changing how prizes are awarded, which is really an arbitrary thing that
the tournament sponsor can determine independently of tradition. Of course,
there needs to be a good rationale on how the prizes are allocated, or the
players won't participate. Unless the prize fund is big enough!
Anyway, the core of my proposed solution is to scrap the 1pt for win and 1/2
pt for draw system and instead make it 3pts for black win, 2pts for white win
and 1pt for black draw. White draw or loss gets ZERO pts. This has a very powerful
effect on the players, at least theoretically.
While some might say my scoring system is biased in favor of black (as opposed
to the current scoring bias in favor of white) so it is not progress. However,
I claim that chess played in the Slugfest way (every game for a win) will NOT
have anywhere close to a 60% draw percentage.
Computers seem to draw less than one third of the time, it seems reasonable
to expect people to draw less than this due to the tactical errors that people
are prone to. Since I cannot find much data at all on the draw percentage of
games that are must win games for both sides, it is impossible to know the
draw percentage in advance of adopting this.
Therefore, I am holding a local tournament based on this. If the draw percentage
is 25% and white wins twice as many games as black, then the BAP system is
in perfect balance and does not favor either color.
I hope you can get this out there (or an excerpt from it), the answer is simple,
chess fans want decisive games, chess sponsors should insist on decisive games
with the prize fund itself. Draws cannot be outlawed, any GM who is intent
on drawing will have a very high draw percentage, even if draw offers are not
allowed. You know what I mean.
Draws are a part of chess, so we can't get rid of it, but we can make it an
undesirable outcome for BOTH sides. White gains nothing from a draw, it is
the same as resigning. Black gets three times as much from a win as from a
draw. I predict very exciting chess. A Slugfest.
America's most popular sport is American Football. How did this happen after
Baseball dominated for decades? They constantly changed the rules. Oh, it was
never easy, but they did it. They took chances, and continue to do so even
today. When defenses became stronger, they changed the rules so offenses could
score more points. When quarterbacks were getting injured left and right, they
made rules to protect the quarterback. They even spent many years working out
the bugs of instant replay, in what is now an integral part of the game.
Chess must look at different ideas, this latest story of a blitz playoff is
interesting, and then there is, I believe, Capablanca's idea of adding pieces?!
There is also Chess 960, or Fischer Random.
It would be nice if FIDE could act like a respectable organization where they
publicly debate, look at, and then vote on these ideas. They could hash out
some rules and test them in the public eye, just like American Football has
For example: Why is Chess 960 only played at fast time controls? Why not hold
a classical timed tournament, and announce one of the starting positions a
month ahead of time? Can you imagine the possibilities!?
Blitz playoffs after a drawn position, hmm, they argue some GM's would do
it just to save energy. This is probably true, but a loss is a loss no matter
how you slice it. The blitz game will produce one, and that is something they
have to think about.
One more thing; doesn't China have a game where even today they very rarely
end in draws, a game similar to chess, but more in depth then chess itself?
Maybe it would be simpler to introduce a game that all ready solves the problem,
rather than continuously go back and forth on how to stop draws in a game where
they are inevitable.
Noel Grima, Malta
One should note that in the World Cup the prize money difference between winner
and loser was always reduced when entering tie-breaks, and this never made
any impact whatsoever. Deducting a bit of the total "mini-match"
prize money will not bother the players either.
The "carrot" has to be something more substantial, like qualification
spots or large differences in prize-money. Also abolishing the (in my opinion
quite fair) practice of dividing prize money equally between players with the
same number of points could make players play for the win where they could
still finish with an empty pocket though scoring the same as some 10 other
Tom O'Donnell, Ottawa, Canada
I don't like the idea of drawn games ultimately being determined by a blitz
game. Blitz is fine as recreation, but how can anyone take these results too
seriously? Why give blitz specialists such a large advantage? I propose two
1) Organizers should care more about the fighting spririt of the invitees
than the category of the tournament. A Category 20 tournament with 50% short,
bloodless draws is just not as interesting for most chess fans as a Category
16 tournament where almost every game is fighting. Having a wider variety of
ratings also should increase the tournament's fighting spirit as there are
more mismatches (and probably more decisive games).
2) If someone offers a draw, that offer can be accepted at any time during
the game. That way if someone wants to offer a draw on move 10, they are giving
their opponent the option to decline the draw and basically play with a draw
in his pocket. No one would offer a draw unless the position were totally drawn
if that were the case.
I might add that it seems that maybe eliminating appearance money and putting
that into the prize fund increases the fighting spirit, if San Luis is any
Leopold Lacrimosa, Scottsdale, Arizona USA
An immediate blitz play off after an agreed draw under 30 moves would be a
wonderful idea. Actually, to be fair, I think the players should play two 5
min Blitz games after the short draw, one with each colour with no agreed to
draws allowed in blitz games.
Greg Shahade, Philadelphia PA
I actually have had incredibly similar ideas, and I'm planning on running a
few experimental tournaments here in Philadelphia.
Peter Ballard, Adelaide, Australia
The proposal flawed. It will guarantee that good rapid players like Kasimzhanov
will rise to the top. They will just play for a draw and rely on winning the
rapid (which is what Kasimzhanov did in Libya, though maybe not intentionally).
I want to see good classical chess, not drawish classical chess followed by
a rapid shootout.
Alexandro Valenzuela, La Paz, Bolivia
1. Draw is allowed under 30 moves if:
b) draw by repetition
c) not enougth pieces to deliver mate
If the game is drawed with the white pieces then the player gains 0.3 points
If the game is drawed with the black pieces then the player gains 0.4 points
2. Draw is allowed over 30 moves if:
b) draw by repetition
c) not enougth pieces to deliver mate
If the game is drawed with the white pieces then the player gains 0.4 points
If the game is drawed with the black pieces then the player gains 0.5 points
If a player wins a game with the white or black pieces, he gains 1.5 points
If a player loses a game with the white or black pieces, he gains 0 points.
Player A wins 3 games, draws 3 with black over 40 moves and loses 1.
Player B wins 1 game, draws 3 over 30 moves with white and 2 over 30 moves
with black and loses 1.
Player C wins 1 game, draws 3 under 30 moves with white and 2 under 30 moves
with black and loses 1.
Actual points system:
Player A= 3+1.5+0= 4.5 points (out of 7)
Player B= 1+2.5+0= 3.5 points (out of 7)
Player C= 1+2.5+0= 3.5 points (out of 7)
Proposed points system:
Player A= 4.5+1.5+0= 6 points (out of 10.5)
Player B= 1.5+1.2+1+0= 3.7 points (out of 10.5)
Player C= 1.5+0.9+0.8+0= 3.2 points (out of 10.5)
As you can see this new system punishes people who makes fast draws and rewards
people who finish with a good plus score. In our current system there is not
a big diference (only 1 point!) if one player is +2 and the other is +0. But
in my system, the diference is more tan 2 points (for normal draws) and almost
3 points against fast draw players! Also, I don't agree in blitz games, to
decide a game. The strengh is not the same, take for example former FIDE champion
Rustam, he is 2670 at classical time control, but very strong, third in the
world in blitz games, only behind Anand and Kasparov...
Adam Crawford, Las Vegas, USA
I agee wholeheartedly that draws are taking all of the fun and tension out
of the game. I would suggest a yearly ranking/rating along with a lifetime
rating/raking system. The culmination would be a year-end championship with
the top players from that year competing. Along with the new ranking/ratings
system would be a reward system based on wins: +1 for wins, -1 for losses and
-1/2 for draws. These point totals, combined with the rankings would determine
seeding for the year end championship. Tournaments often start with a bang
and end with a yawn- fight for early position and draw out the final games
once your position is secure. Safe, but boring. The final tournament could
then include the tiebreak system proposed in your article. Thus a "true"
OTB champion would emerge from the ashes of a bloody, hard fought tournament
based on a yearlong struggle to achieve a high ranking for the world championship.
Ron Fenton, Yellow Springs, USA
The draw-blitz idea is an intriguing one, but rife with complications. Also,
any rule that fails to differentiate "short-lazy" draws from "hard-fought"
draws has the potential to diminish a very important and historically significant
part of the game. By definition – a hard-fought draw has intrinsic value
and should not be penalized.
If all games were simply required to go 40 moves before adjournment, many
of those "short-lazy" draws would morph into something a lot more
interesting. If every player, in every game, knew they had to reach 40 moves
before legally considering a draw, inconsequential draws would soon disappear.
So-called ‘quiet’ openings would be tested anew, while autopilot
moves and absent-minded blunders would be punished over the board.
When tinkering with rules that span centuries, one needs to be mindful of
tradition. A 40-move rule could reduce the number of tepid draws without significantly
altering the time-honored struggle to exploit the small advantage – and
the value of a game well played, regardless of outcome, would be retained.
Sem van Houten, Eindhoven, Holland
Great proposal. Please, FIDE, arrange immediately that from the very next tournament
the outcome of a game is always decisive. So, like the proposal mentions: even
if there is a draw, go for blitz! In many ways this would be more atractive
AND more fair! I mean, the goal of a chess-encounter is to see who is the best
on the board. If the players can not decide that under "normal" time-conditions,
give them both a handicap under very restricted time. I'm not afraid that players
are still drawing the "normal" games on purpose to save energy, because
it is quit a risk to rely solely on such short decisions.
I also believe this is in the favor of the tacticians versus the positional
players. In general I believe tacticians are superior playing blitz then positional
players are. This means that if the 1st game was not decided, the tactical
player has the best chance to decide the blitz-game in his favour, which again
is good for making the sport more attractive.
Again, please implement these proposals the soonest possible. Also, do this
at every level, even on amateur chess-clubs. It would be much and much more
attractive, more fun and would shift chess-power in favour of the daring ones.
David Chin, Singapore
I read with interest the proposal made by from Ignatius Leong and Leong Weiwen.
I think what we all want to see is attacking chess. To discourage players from
agreeing a draw, we need to modify the scoring. In this regard, I think we
can borrow from the system adopted by FIFA and award 1 point for a draw and
3 points for a win instead of giving half point for a draw and 1 point for
a win now. By doing so, everyone will want to play for a win instead because
two draws do not equate to a win now. Can this work? I don't know but I think
FIDE ought to give this serious consideration.
Martin, Wiesbauer, Vienna, Austria
Discussing about improving chess as an interesting sport has always to be appreciated.
But following the logic of the authors of this proposal I must quote, that
they have definitely stopped halfway. According to this logic my proposal would
be: To decrease draw percentage and to make the sport more spectacular for
the audience (which - of course - has our highest priority) we should simply
let the players play bullet games with 1 minute time control (including Sofia
rules). If the game ends in a draw (which is rather unlikely considering the
number of mistakes made during such a game) - simply play another one. It will
last not more than two minutes anyway. For spectators, this would be the most
spectacular way. Even those who don't know how to play chess would find it
funny, how fast the pieces can hop over the board. Even sponsorship problems
will be solved, because it would be possible and much cheaper to stage a tournament
like, let's say San Luis, in only one day - what a lot of fun for the audience.
Raul Lagomarsino, Montevideo, Uruguay
With little ammendments, I think your proposal is great. My main concern is
that it obviously increases the importance of blitz in classical chess, and
i´m still undecided whether that is a desirable situation or not. I would
definitely punish draws financially, and put that money on the "fighting
spirit" prize. Saludos desde Uruguay!
Steven Geirnaert, Bruges, Belgium
I don't see why everybody is trying to turn chess in a spectacular game. If
you want to make something popular, you have to build on it's strenghts - not
on it's weaknesses. Chess is an intelligent game, where great minds of children,
adolescents, adults and seniors, male and female, of any colour, and with any
possible lifestyle, battle each other. This game - our game - is special, as
the outcome of the battle does not depend on quick reaction speed or on who
has the greatest guts (as some fans of Topalov cheerfully say), but on who
thinks the most, and the best. This is something that Fide is taking away from
us with for example the exaggerated shortening of the games (I think something
like 2h. + 1h. + 30' would be ideal), that resulted in no descent endgame being
played ever since, and games that were impossible to understand for lowclass
players, even with the help of commentators, because everything simply went
to fast. It is something that sir Ignatius Leong and sir Leung Weiven are taking
away as well, in my view, when they want to ban all draws, by playing a blitz
game instead. Why? 1 older players would be chanceless to win a tournament:
they're just worse blitz players; 2 the game will be no longer won by the strongest
player, but by the strongest (fastest) blitz player, who will specialize in
how to get the draw in the serious game (so the games will be more boring than
To me it's clear that the rule of Sofia (no agreed draws) should be implemented.
This rule still gives respect to the more quiet positional players who may
tend to draw more often. The evolution of the game we're experiencing now,
is simply a degrading step back in chess history (back to the 19th century
to be precise), and will worsen the popularity of chess instead of improving
it. The reason for this is very simple: combinations and sacrifices are simply
not as interesting as positional debates and profylactical ideas. If they were,
everybody would be playing checkers (or some similar game) instead, with more
combinations, and less room for positional play,
Cal Rolfe, Bolton, England
I would amend the learned correspondents proposal in one small way. Having
agreed the draw under Classical time limits the two protagonists would then
play off for the half point with a Blitz game, the half point going to the
winner and the loser receiving no points at all. That way a winner under Classical
time is rewarded for his/her efforts with the full point and those that agreed
a draw can get a half point at best.
Luis Alberto Baquero, Medellin, Colombia
Chess is unique as a strategy game that requires time to make the best move;
much more time than that given by a blitz game. Even, as many grandmaster games
show at their final stage with ?? moves, 7 hours is the least one can demand
for a serious game. To decide a classical chess game with blitz should be rejected
by everyone that has devoted his life to become an excellent chess player,
be him amateur or professional. Let's keep the draws as draws and motivate
players to keep away from short draws, and in a more general way, from fixed
Kek Wei Chuan, Singapore
The article on a system for curing "SAD" is an interesting read.
Another option to consider is to follow the most popular sport in the world,
football. Years ago, football also had some problems regarding teams not willing
to take more risks. They had a scoring system as such; 2 points for win, 1
for draw. So they gave more points for a win, 3 points. Now, a draw is not
always a good result, even against an opponent of similar strength.
Fischer, Capablanca; They both saw the problems over-analysed openings would
cause many years ago. Both of their solutions involved changing the starting
position of the chessboard. Capablanca simply changed the starting position
of the Knights and Bishops. Fischer invented Fischer Random, which is perhaps
a longer term invention. Perhaps to find the answer to 'Drawitis' we should
look back at these legendary World Champions. We can try tweaking the rules
around to punish those drawing games in 'classical chess' but I believe that
this will not work, and instead of aiding chess will detract from it.
Robert Luck, Tualatin, OR, USA
Seems everybody has a solution to the problem of short, often prearranged,
draws in chess, and none of them work because they don't provide enough incentive
to the players to play for a win. What I don't understand is why the simple
solution is so hard to accept.
If white has the advantage at the beginning of the game, easily enough proven
by a look at win/loss records in GM vs GM play, then the logical deduction
is that black must outplay white in order to overcome his disadvantage and
achieve a draw. Simply stop rewarding white for being outplayed. Black's excellence
of play deserves more than half a point; perhaps .55 or .6 would be more appropriate
to his effort. A secondary benefit is that it would help prevent placement
ties, and would add excitement to the later rounds of tournaments when more
players might have a shot at 1st making the quick last round draw less attractive.
Albert Frank, FIDE Arbiter, Brussels, Belgium
I find the proposal about draw of Leong and Weiwen to decide the result in
blitz very bad: When two top players play a serious game, it's totally different
that when they play blitz (some of them never play blitz).
Romeo Bayot, Philippines
I have to agree that in chess world a lot of draws had been seen even in the
top level of competetions just like the recent San Luis tournament where in
a number of drawn games were made. But again that was a great tournament. I
also agree to both Mr Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen in their observation
of how players can go around the rules being implemented by organisers thus
bringing forth their idea of how to alleviate this chronic problem. However
i would like to suggest aside from the one mentioned by oth Mr. Leong and Mr.
Weiwen that the old practice of not counting draws be reinstated. I believe
this was even being done on world championship games before although the rules
then (correct me please if i'm wrong) were that a player who reached first
let say 10 points wins excluding draws. I think this can also work in present
tournament setup but instead of having a certatin player reach first of a certain
number of points, the player with the highest points wins. So if there are
9 rounds or even double round robin everyone will be fighting to score a full
point.Of course having a draw means you neither gain nor loss points thus in
effect a draw will just be considered by players to avoid a loss. This i think
will have a more positive effect in all level of tournament play. I hope that
this will be taken into consideration by the organisers. Thank you ChessBase.
Fernando R., Spain
Solution for tournaments: If you have more than, let's say 60% of draws you're
not allowed to participate next year. A refinement for swiss tournaments: a
draw in the N-th round counts as N SAD points. Therefore the maximum SAD points
is SADmax = 1 + 2 + ... + K, where K is the number of rounds. If you have more
than 0.6*SADmax then you're not allowed to participate next year. This favours
spectacle in the last rounds. In any case, the sentence "you're not allowed
to participate next year" can be substituted with "you earn only
a half of your prize money" or things like that.
Solution for matches: I suggest imitating the first Kasparov-Karpov match.
It attracted considerable attention in spite of the draws! And physical endurance
can be also a good measure of a true champion's strength, just look at Topalov.
John Dwyer, San Francisco, California
The recent proposal for avoiding draws by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen via
a blitz playoff is certainly intriguing, but seems biased to me. Certainly
this method of breaking draws would favor players that are good at blitz, which
is not the intent. It seems to me an easier way to "punish" draws
would be to implement the scoring system that has become a standard in most
soccer leagues around the world: 3 pts for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss.
This automatically rewards players who play for a decisive result, as win/loss
actually gives you more points than draw/draw.
Mark Stark, Edmonton
I can't stomach the sheer laziness/cowardice of so many of these GM's. What's
the point of starting a game if it won't be played out to its final conclusion?
Kramnik and many of his ilk should be stripped of their Gm status and not receive
invitations to tournaments. I would rather see a fighting game between two
2500's than a short draw between two Super Gms. Off with their heads!
Derek Jones, Aylesbury, England
Leong's proposals to decide every drawn game by a blitz game would lead to
players who believe that their blitz play is superior (e.g. Radjabov) seeking
to force draws, particularly when they have the black pieces. Perhpas we should
all switch to Go, a game where draws are very rare indeed. After all Lasker
believed it to be superior to chess.
Dorin Blajan, Timisoara, Romania
I followed the article with interest and I'm also bothered by the lack of fight
in top level chess. In my opinion any attempt to prohibit short draws will
fail. Also, a system like the one suggested in the article looks too complicated
and will alter the character of the event. I mean, you cannot decide the outcome
of a game played with classical time controls by playing a blitz game. And
in general, it is somehow strange to decide the outcome of a game based upon
another game. What I don't understand it why FIDE doesn't apply a scoring system
similar to those used in other sports (i.e. football) where two draws worth
less than a victory? I don't say that it will cure SAD but I think it will
be an important step towards reducing it. Let the turnaments be won by those
who fight for winning instead of not losing!
Stephen Fowler, Suwanee, GA
How about this for a cure for Drawitis. Either make draws worth zero points,
or preferably keep draws worth 1/2 point but make wins worth 2 points. That
way draws just put you further behind those venturing enough to win. It will
encourage players to attack and venture out from behind the Berlin Draw.
Andy Mackowiak, Cincinnati, USA
Wow. That is all I can say right now. That sham of a proposal is so beyond
ludicrous that I can't find words to fit it. I'll go with this: It has been
said many, MANY times, but there is such an enormous difference between classical
time controls and blitz time controls that the two can barely be considered
the same game. The use of blitz tiebreakers was one of the major knocks (no
pun intended) on FIDE's knockout format in the late 90's -- now we want to
spread that to *all* games??? Are those people crazy?
I am all for the attempt to reduce the number of draws -- especially the short
"grandmaster" draws -- in the game. I am not for the complete farce
that was proposed in that article. I can't believe it even has a high-ranking
FIDE official throwing his support behind it. Wait, check that. I can definitely
believe that FIDE officials are behind something this inane.
Really, I don't get all this uproar. Draws are not killing chess; *short*
draws are. Just make some rule that every game has to go at least xx moves
(40, 50, 60, whatever) and the problem will basically solve itself. I remember
reading about some GM tournament that did so and that the percentage of decisive
games went up to about 70 or 75%, and obviously none of them were short, lifeless
draws. Isn't that what we're really after?
Peter Cafolla, Dublin, Ireland
I do not agree with the comments of Mr Weiwen
and Mr Leong and most certainly not with their proposed solutions to too many
draws. Firstly, the problem(if it exists at all) is only in Grandmaster tournaments.
Perhaps in all play alls between GMs the scoring could be .5 for a white draw.
1pt for a black draw, 1.5 for a white win and two points for a win with black.
This would immediately eradicate pre arranged draws.
In Open tournaments I think things should be left as they are as many lesser
lights take great pleasure in achieving draws with higher rated players and
if this possibility was denied them then a lot less players would enter Opens.
The idea that a Sicilian player should get rewarded more than someone who plays
the Petroff or Berlin Defence is frankly ludicrous and would achieve nothing
short of making some openings and playing styles extinct. As a player or as
a spectator I see nothing wrong with a draw once it is not prearranged or unduly
short. Soccer is being ruined by penalty shootouts. Rapid and blitz chess is
just 'Mickey Mouse' in my opinion. Why on earth do people need such quick fixes
and instant (if superficial) results these days? Leave chess alone!!
It is already great!!