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Let kings decide the result of a game on the board

12/5/2008 – Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh is imaginative, innovative, eccentric. In other words: our kind of person. Once a year he approaches us with a radical idea – last year it was video cameras and intelligent object recognition software tracking games and replacing sensor boards. This year at the Olympiad in Dresden he had a proposal to change how a chess game ends. Judge for yourself.
 

Let kings decide result of a game on the board

A proposal by Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh

More than a hundred million people in the world can play chess, but we have only about a hundred thousand players who have international FIDE rating (Elo). This means that for every thousand chess players only one has a rating.

In world championship matches, when one player resigns, even some of the rated players cannot understand easily why the player resigned. Therefore our Championship tournament games are not understandable at least for 99.9% of chess players.


Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, arbiter and organiser from Iran

If we accept the fact that support for a sport depends on the number of people who follow the game and results, then if more people understand what is going on, more will follow it. Then if we can make chess understandable a thousand times more individuals, the public will support chess better.

If players continue their games until checkmate, all of the spectators can understand at least the last part of the games. Because they understand the games, they will enjoy them more. The point is that we currently tend to cut off the end of a nice story, and therefore games became incomprehensible and boring for most of the fans.

As a result of not stopping the game before checkmate, then:

  • as in other sports, such as football matches, at least the last two or three moves can be shown on the sport news, and they will be interesting and instructive.

  • all the spectators in the tournament halls will enjoy the games and will guess the last moves, which are easy for them. They will enjoy and be excited about the end phase of the games.

  • we will see many nice mating combinations in actual games.

  • surprisingly, the expected results of games will change from time to time.

  • amateur players will follow the top games over the board live and will enjoy them by guessing the last few moves of the champions, and this will make them gradually stronger.

  • youngsters will fight till the end of the games, and their technique and defensive skills will improve as with their other chess skills. The bad practice common among players to resign quickly will disappear.


Mehrdad explains his proposal to mathematics professor and chess expert Christian Hesse

I am not asking for a radical change of the chess rules. As many chess experts and grandmasters (including Vladimir Kramnik) have said, this is a rational proposal and can help publicize chess. I encourage chess organizers to apply this rule in special tournaments or exhibition games. Remember that now we think Sofia rule is quite natural, and we apply it even as a general rule of chess, but when it was introduced it was very strange.

Professional chess players must decide if they think this proposal will increase the publicity of chess and, as a direct result, very quickly affect their income. For the spectators it will mean that they learn more about chess from end of the game and then begin to understand the earlier stages as well.

Finally let me ask you to imagine what soccer would be like if FIFA allowed teams to resign their matches when they thought they did not have any real chances anymore; or even worse: if they were allowed to agree to a draw before finishing the game, or even after just a few minutes. That is what we are doing in chess.

Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh
Architect
International Chess Arbiter and Organizer
Asian Chess Federation Treasurer
Iran Chess Federation Delegate

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