Yasser Seirawan - A Radical Solution Final Thoughts

by Yasser Seirawan
12/31/2016 – After the World Championship match between Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen Yasser Seirawan proposed a "Radical Solution" to change the format of the World Championship match. It triggered an enormous discussion. Readers sent in hundreds of comments, Emil Sutovsky and Maurice Ashley published different proposals. Now Seirawan sums up his final thoughts on the World Championship format.

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Yasser Seirawan (Photo: David Llada)

A Radical Solution Final Thoughts

Dear ChessBase readers, dear chess fans,

I really must beg for your indulgence. When I wrote my original article, “A Radical Solution,” it was a knee-jerk rant of sorts. Reeling from the “thirty-five-minute punch,” of Game 12 in the World Championship Match (WCM) was simply too much of a disappointment for me to bear. With the whole world tuning in to watch a dramatic final game of a competitive sporting duel we witnessed instead a dud masquerading as a classical game, leaving me greatly annoyed. The players can’t be faulted - it was the match rules that were to blame.

After 30 moves and 35 minutes Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin
agreed to a draw in game 12 of their World Championship match.

Okay, one rant is fine, a second is pushing the boundary of fine etiquette and a third is well-and-truly over the top. Agreed. Hence my request for your kind indulgence as I genuinely find the issue to be far too important to pass over as things currently stand. Let’s get started.

Firstly, a very big thank you to both GM Emil Sutovsky and GM Maurice Ashley for contributing with their articles about the format as well as proposed changes to the WCM rules and regulations. Feedback on this vital topic is much needed. If both “market forces” and “the evolution of the game” are contrary to what I propose, that will be that, and my angst will quickly be buried by the sands of time. That said, please allow me to share some final thoughts on this crucial topic.

To sum up...

To sum up my views, as elaborated in my previous articles:

1. The WCM is the crown jewel of the chess world. We should aspire to a system that allows for matches like Botvinnik-Tal (1960) and Spassky-Fischer (1972), which inspired generations of chess players, including me.

Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik

2. Chess has one of the richest histories of any sport in the world. We should be proud of this history, and respecting the WCM rules both honors past World Champions and ensures the future of chess.

3. Chess should not give in to the fast-paced, modern age world of near science fiction that we colloquially call the “information age.” Chess cannot compete with the limited attention spans that Hollywood and other societal forces have capped at ninety minutes to two hours for movies, three hours for sporting events, and less for other things, such as political discourse. I don’t accept that to keep up we must play faster (!), decrease the number of games played (!) and force a result (!) by the time our nightly news source is uploaded, and that failing to do so means the extinction of our beloved sport.

Really? Are these the challenges that we face? To save our crown jewel we must change it beyond all recognition? Perhaps I’m merely having a bad period or simply exaggerating the challenges we face? That in fact while things may not be perfect with our WCM and cycle system they are reasonably fine. I think not.

4. I’m highly critical of the entire existing World Championship cycle, although I’m aware that my dislike of the cycle won’t change anything.

Which brings us to the WCM itself. My fundamental position is that the WCM should consist of classical games only, and that Rapid and Blitz should not be used to break a tied match.

My friend PCA President Emil Sutovsky proposed playing a Rapid/Blitz chess tiebreaker before the Classical games even begin. This creative idea ensures that a Rapid/Blitz tiebreak would be part of every WCM, not just tied ones. Since I don’t think Rapid/Blitz games should ever be part of a WCM, tied or not, I have to respectfully disagree with Emil’s proposal.

Maurice Ashley’s article reported the views of the world’s elite players on the current WCM regulations and the role of tiebreaks featuring Rapid and Blitz chess. I don’t question the accuracy of his article (that the vast majority of the world’s elite players are “okay” to “fine” to “supportive” of the current system (2016). I would be surprised if it were otherwise - it is difficult to compete at the highest levels of chess while questioning the legitimacy of the way chess is organized.

So where do I stand on all of this?

A. The WCM is too short

The WCM should not be a twelve-game contest. Twelve games are not enough.

The realities of the world today are such that a 24-game match is simply not going to happen. I get that. I suggest 16 games, as a compromise (but read on).

Placing our crown jewel in context: a month from now the second longest running traditional tournament in the world after Hastings, the 79th Tata Steel tournament, will be held in Wijk Aan Zee, Holland.

The sea in Wijk aan Zee

It will be a 13-round (game) event. It has not bowed to the demands of being shorter, faster and quicker to be “better”. Tradition still counts for something. The Candidate’s Tournament, the prelude to the WCM, is a 14-game event. Not Zurich 1953 by any stretch, but still long enough to get a worthy Challenger. Yet the WCM is shorter than these and other events, and is considerably diminished by these comparisons.

The argument that WCM organizers prefer a shorter (12-game) match doesn’t hold water. The additional costs of a longer match, in percentage terms, are not significantly higher and the extra games in fact can be very helpful to the organizers, as publicity builds and ticket sales increase as the match reaches its zenith.

All credit to Maurice Ashley for sharing the very strong criticisms from the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov, whose views of the current WCM format were positively dismissive. No longer being a potential participant in a WCM, Tolya could take a longer-term view than the current top players:

“…12 games is not that mockery on chess we observed during the knock-out system - but it is still not enough. At least 14-18 games are needed for full-fledged, creative fight: then the rivals have an ability to risk; whilst in a short match of the rivals whose strength is equal, the game is usually just hold, while the opponents are just trying to catch "a fail-safe chance." ... “I'm firmly against of mixing different forms of chess. Determining the Classical World Chess Champion in rapid, and all the more, in blitz is just nonsense."

http://chess-news.ru/en/node/8423

Furthermore, let me boldly state the obvious: the 12-game WCM of today is no longer an epoch-making, world-defining sporting event that holds the chess world enthralled. The WCM no longer stands out as the ultimate pinnacle of intellectual excellence. It is simply too short, both in absolute terms and in comparison to other events, including some national championships.

B. The World Championship title is losing prestige

Some of the feedback from readers after my two previous articles included opinions such as “why bother with a WCM? We have a rating system that tells us who is the best in the world.” and “neither tennis or golf have a world champion; we don’t need one either.” When chess fans express such sentiments, it is the severest of warnings.

The chess world is fortunate, because Magnus Carlsen, the current World Champion, is also the highest rated player in the world and no one can question the legitimacy of his status as the planet’s top player.

Magnus Carlsen after winning the strong open in Qatar 2015

But it is quite conceivable that the World Champion may not be the highest rated player in the world and it would be bad for chess if the rating system became more important than the title. This was foreshadowed in the mid-sixties, when Tigran Petrosian won, then defended, the World Championship title, despite some mediocre tournament results. But no one questioned the importance of the World Championship title - if someone was really better, a 24-game match was there to prove it (and Spassky did in 1969).

If one wishes to quantify this problem, consider that the prize fund for the Carlsen-Anand match in Chennai, India in 2013 was 2,650,000 Euros. The prize fund for the 2014 match was much less at two million Euros, and may in fact have actually been only one million Euros. The 2016 prize fund was the minimum one million Euros or rather $1,060,000 USD. The smallest prize fund of the 21st century for WCM’s. Is this rapidly shrinking prize money due to “market forces” or is the WCM simply no longer the prestigious event it once was?

C. These developments are not coincidental or inevitable

To recap my concerns: the WCM as an event shorter in length than ever before; it is shorter than the Candidates tournament that precedes it, as well as other events; it isn’t even close to the intellectual challenge it once was, because it doesn’t allow a full-fledged creative fight (Anatoly Karpov); the WCM is seeing steadily diminishing prize funds.

Throughout my career as a chess professional I’ve heard frequent laments of how chess does not get enough main-stream media coverage; television has ignored our sport more or less completely (excepting Norway); sponsors are not lining up to create great events because we don’t get enough exposure; chess columns are losing precious inches or being discontinued altogether.

The solution, so I’ve been told, is that if only we could get the spotlight of the world to shine its attention on our noble sport we would be discovered and chess would be transformed, as it was in 1972.

Fischer vs Spassky, Reykjavik 1972

We just need a golden break. What better place than the financial and media capital of the United States, New York City? Queue drumroll please, may I present Game 12 of the match. Trip, stumble, fall, splat. That was so comically disastrous I can now look back and laugh. If that represents our best effort while capturing the world’s attention I’ll have to rediscover checkers. I’m told it is challenging.

We cannot set ourselves up again for such a tragic fall. We cannot have a repeat of Game 12. As an ardent chess fan I cringe at the impact on potential sponsors. We simply have to do better in the future.

D. My proposal

Limiting myself only to the rules and regulations of the WCM I’d like to offer a clear, no-nonsense, proposal for the 2018 WCM that builds on my previous two articles.

While I was quite pleased with my original proposed solutions for improving the WCM, it was greatly enhanced by exchanges I had with my dear friend, Bruce Harper (fellow co-author and co-inventor of “S-Chess” - which is another topic altogether). I’ll let his own words speak to his suggestion, which I adopt:

“I get the concept that you unbalance the score from the start, so a drawn match is not mathematically possible. This is done in Go, where the “komi” (handicap) is, I believe, now normally set at 5.5 stones. This is based on the assessment that the first move in Go is worth something like 5 points, but by including a half point in the komi, a tie is not possible (since the actions of the players can only be measured in full points). So if the game is close, one side or the other will win by .5 points, but someone will win.

No draw in Go (Screenshot of Crazy Stone, distributed by Unbalance)

Your idea is essentially to introduce a komi into the WCM … Who gets the komi is random (under your proposal), and the other player gets one extra White in compensation (although it is not full compensation). 

Where I suspect the proposal could be improved is in deciding which player gets the advantage of the komi (which is greater than the advantage of the extra White). Drawing lots strikes me as unsatisfying, when one player has the accomplishment of winning (and possibly retaining) the World Championship title, and the other has the accomplishment of emerging from the Challenger system. On the theory that the Champion must be defeated for the Challenger to win the title, it might be better to just say: 

a. Play a 17-game match.

b. The Challenger gets the extra White.

c. The Champion retains the title in the event of a tie.

d. The Challenger chooses when to play the extra White game.

I added d. because we know that the extra White is worth less than the draw odds in the match. So it seems appropriate to enhance the value of the extra White by giving the Challenger the power to determine when that game is played. Some notice would have to be given, which would be something like within one hour of the end of the previous game or by 8:00 pm on the day of the previous game.

This would mean that the Challenger would always have two White’s in a row. But the Challenger would determine when he or she would get two Whites in a row, which is better than either getting the extra White out of the way at the start or deferring it to the end. I think from the spectator point of view it would be more interesting as well.”

As Mr. Harper makes clear, and I agree with him, the draw-odds advantage in favor of the Champion is greater than the benefit of the Challenger having an extra White. The chances of winning with White are slightly greater than with Black, but a win is certainly not guaranteed! However, giving the Challenger the flexibility of when to play the extra White game is quite a benefit as well. And it definitely spices things up.

Tradition is served by having the Champion retain the title in the event of a drawn match - to be the best, you have to beat the best. No Rapid or Blitz tie breaks. Just one extra White for the Challenger, to be used as the Challenger sees fit. When the Challenger makes his or her push with the extra White, the chess world will take notice, and the Champion’s advantage of “draw odds” will be somewhat balanced.

While there is no perfect system, given the pressures of our modern-day realities, I strongly believe these proposed changes will help restore the luster of our crown jewel and would urge the FIDE to adopt them for the 2018 WCM.

Magnus Carlsen with the "Crown Jewel" of chess

 

 

 

 



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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/17/2017 05:34
This discussion continues on this page : http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r05-six-crowd-the-podium.
genem genem 2/21/2017 07:59
Related Links on ChessBase.com:
.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/yasser-seirawan-a-radical-solution-redux-wcc-2016
.
http://en.chessbase.com/post/seirawan-radical-solution-wcc2016-new-york/2
. .
There is no perfect solution possible. But the present format of short 12 game matches, with about half (3 of 7, 43%) degenerating into speed chess matches, is inferior to Seirawan's proposal.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/9/2017 04:45
@ maxi80 : I've now quite understood your new system. And it is quite interesting.

I will try to find time to post something about it later this afternoon...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/9/2017 04:37
@ Chessbase : The sixth page of comments under this article doesn't appear at the bottom of this page.

I think that it is possible that some persons will not find this sixth page because of this.

Could it be possible for you to do something about this problem ?
maxi80 maxi80 1/7/2017 06:21
@ Petrarlsen

- "Temporary Draw Odds Bonus = Only if the Challenger scores first. Bonus attached to any decisive game after first win by Challenger. But Bonus applies only once throughout the match. "

>>[ The first win in the match comes with the Draw Odds Bonus. If the Champion scores first, then the Draw Odds goes to the Champion permanently. Just as it is now. ]<<

- "Should the challenger be the lucky one, then the Draw Odds is temporary and implied within any decisive game, but applies only once throughout the match either permanent – the champion breaks the ice… ;-), or temporary – awarded to either player who scores last decisive game."

>>[ If on the contrary the challenger scores first, then we can assume he has proved something so the Draw Odds goes to the player who equalises the match, either the Champion or the Challenger. ]<<

- "B.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1. Challenger gets Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Champ then equalises match 1-0. Champion retains title and gets 40% of prize fund.
Result of Match: C+1.01 – c1.0 = 14"

>>[ With only two decisive games, the Draw Odds goes from the Challenger – he scored first – to the Champion because he won the second game and equalised the match. ]<<

- "C.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1 Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Examples:
C.2.a 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 Last win determines the winner of the Wch match. Champion retains. See B.2 above.
Result of Match: C+2.01 – c2.0 = 12

>>[ D = Permanent draw odds
d = Temporary draw odds
1-0 Champion wins game
0-1 Challenger wins game
C = Champion
c = Challenger

0-1d 0-1 1-0 1-0d In the event of four decisive games, this example shows that the challenger wins game 1 and 2, but the Champion equalises the match by winning games 3 and 4. The letter “d” in the fourth game indicates that the Champion retains the title. ]<<

C.2.b 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 Last win as above. Challenger becomes new World Champion.
Result of Match: C+2.0 – c2.01 = 12"

>>[ 0-1d 1-0d 1-0 0-1d In this example the challenger wins games 1 and 4. By scoring first he gets the draw odds, but the champs equalises so he’s got it now after game 2. The Champion wins game 3. The draw odds is temporary, not permanent. Game 4 shows that the challenger equalises the match… and becomes the new World Champion because he proved something by winning game 1 – first decisive game – and eventually levelled the match. ]<<

Scoring first should have an extra value.

Regards
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/7/2017 12:30
@ maxi80 :

Your new system seems to be quite interesting (the first version was also quite interesting...), but I must admit that I haven't understood absolutely everything.

These are the passages that I didn't completely understood :

- "Temporary Draw Odds Bonus = Only if the Challenger scores first. Bonus attached to any decisive game after first win by Challenger. But Bonus applies only once throughout the match. "

- "Should the challenger be the lucky one, then the Draw Odds is temporary and implied within any decisive game, but applies only once throughout the match either permanent – the champion breaks the ice… ;-), or temporary – awarded to either player who scores last decisive game."

- "B.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1. Challenger gets Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Champ then equalises match 1-0. Champion retains title and gets 40% of prize fund.
Result of Match: C+1.01 – c1.0 = 14"

- "C.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1 Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Examples:
C.2.a 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 Last win determines the winner of the Wch match. Champion retains. See B.2 above.
Result of Match: C+2.01 – c2.0 = 12
C.2.b 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 Last win as above. Challenger becomes new World Champion.
Result of Match: C+2.0 – c2.01 = 12"
maxi80 maxi80 1/6/2017 09:31
___

I stick to my system but with a twist this time.

Sixteen Classical games. No change to Time Controls.
Rest Day after game #3, #6, #9 and #12. Then four games in a row on consecutive days:

C = Champion c = challenger - = Rest Day

1C 2c 3C – 4c Game #1 Champion plays White.
5C 6c – 7C 8c
9C – 10c 11C 12c –
13C 14c 15C 16c

Match to start on a Tuesday. Game #16 on the third Sunday after Game #1.

For example, November 8 – November 27 ( Last four games to be played Nov 24-25-26-27 )
The Champion has White in Game #1.
The Champion has three Whites after a rest day, including game 1: #1, #7 and #13.
The Challenger has two Whites after a rest day: #4 and #10.

The Champion enjoys a 3 to 2 chance of winning the first game. This is more than enough in favour of the current Champion.

1-0 Champ wins n game. 0-1 Challenger wins n game.

Permanent Draw Odds Bonus = Only if Champion scores first.
Temporary Draw Odds Bonus = Only if the Challenger scores first. Bonus attached to any decisive game after first win by Challenger. But Bonus applies only once throughout the match.

Now the tie-breaker:
What if both players have to earn the right to claim the Draw Odds bonus for themselves? At the board of course by scoring first. In the event of any even number of decisive games, the Draw Odds goes permanently to the current champion only if he is the one to score first. Should the challenger be the lucky one, then the Draw Odds is temporary and implied within any decisive game, but applies only once throughout the match either permanent – the champion breaks the ice… ;-), or temporary – awarded to either player who scores last decisive game.

A. All 16 games are drawn. Champion retains, but only gets 40% of prize fund. Lion’s share goes to Challenger.

C = Champion c = challenger

B. Two decisive games:
B.1 Champion scores first. 1-0. He is awarded with Permanent Draw Odds Bonus and lion’s share of prize fund. Challenger equalises eventually.
Result of Match: C+1.01 – c1.0 = 14
B.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1. Challenger gets Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Champ then equalises match 1-0. Champion retains title and gets 40% of prize fund.
Result of Match: C+1.01 – c1.0 = 14

C. Four decisive games.
C.1 Champion scores first. 1-0 See B.1 above.
C.2 Challenger scores first. 0-1 Temporary Draw Odds Bonus. Examples:
C.2.a 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 Last win determines the winner of the Wch match. Champion retains. See B.2 above.
Result of Match: C+2.01 – c2.0 = 12
C.2.b 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 Last win as above. Challenger becomes new World Champion.
Result of Match: C+2.0 – c2.01 = 12

If there are more than 4 decisive games, C. above applies.

Regards

Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/6/2017 04:59
@ lajosarpad (4/4) :

- To try to make progress in the direction of a solution, for the "White or Black to Challenger" problem, I would proceed like this :

First, I ask you if you agree with these two sentences :

1) For a system to be acceptable, there musn't be the very slightest possibility that it could favor the Challenger.

2) It cannot be proven with a complete certainty that it is impossible that my proposed percentages (White Wins = 45 % ; Black Wins = 35 % ; Draws = 20 %) could turn out to be right.

And then, I think that, if you would agree with these two sentences, after this, it would be logical to conclude that your system cannot be used with the Challenger having the White pieces in the first game (taking for a starting point that White has indeed a practical advantage in Chess - cf. my next point that attempts to get round this question), because, if my percentages would turn out to be right, this system would precisely favor the Challenger.

- A last problem remain : we certainly still not agree on the fact that White has, for the moment, a practical advantage in Chess !

I have thought of an idea that, for your system, would get round the White or Black advantage problem, and would (it is at least what I hope !) permit us to be in complete agreement on the "choice of color" question, for the first tiebreaking game of your system.

To begin from the beginning :

There are all in all three possibilities, about this problem : 1) White has the advantage. 2) Black has the advantage. 3) Neither side has the advantage.

If neither side has the advantage, to have White or Black is immaterial, so either color can be chosen for the first tiebreaking game.

We concluded previously (if you agree with me on that point) that, if White has a practical advantage, this color must be given to the Champion for your system to be acceptable.

I think that there couldn't be any reason not to apply this reasoning to Black, if, at a given period, Black could be proved to have an advantage.

Taking together these two last elements, in fact, I think that we can simply affirm that if one of the two colors has an advantage, this color can't be given to the Challenger, and thus, must be given to the Champion.

So, my conclusion is the following : As the Champion mustn't have the color that would be at a disadvantage in Chess, the best solution is, quite simply, to let the Champion choose his color, for the first tiebreaking game !

Thus, the choice of color becomes a integral part of the match, and if the Champion makes the wrong choice, he must assume the consequences of his choice.

- As I hadn't enough time, I didn't answer to your 3d and 4th posts of yesterday.

Apart from the "first White to Challenger" question, I completely agree with all the contents of these two posts.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/6/2017 04:59
@ lajosarpad (3/4) :

And I think that, if one of the players would be in a "must-win" or nearly "must-win" situation, he would take much risks, probably even, if the game doesn't evolve in a favorable way for him, enormous risks (it would be quite logical, in view of the fact that he wouldn't gain anything with a draw). With the result that the game would very probably end, either with a win for the Challenger, or with a loss, because he would have taken such risks that it would finally have "backfired" against him.

Two examples :

1) Karjakin - Caruana, in the last Candidates : Caruana was in an absolute "must-win" situation ; he took (quite logically) many risks ; he lost the game.

2) Ivanchuk - Kramnik, in the 2013 Candidates Tournament : Kramnik was in a nearly "must-win" situation (Carlsen was assured of a global win in the tournament if he would simply draw against Svidler, and, as Carlsen was 2872 and Svidler was only 2747, there were only very flimsy chances that Carlsen would lose this game - so Kramnik had nearly no other choice than to do all he could to win against Ivanchuk in this last game) ; Kramnik took (still quite logically) many risks ; he lost the game.

So I don't think that, for such games, a 20 % drawing percentage would be absurd. In fact, as for me, I would estimate the drawing percentage to be this one. But, in my opinion, it would be extremely difficult to estimate precisely this drawing percentage - because we wouldn't have sufficient data to do this -, and I think that the "error margin" would be enormous in such an estimation.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/6/2017 04:58
@ lajosarpad (2/4) :

- "However, I would be very surprised if the actual chance that a World Championship match game under classical time controls would have such a low drawing chance."

I think that you missed my point (or that you don't agree with it ; I'm not sure !...).

I didn't develop this point much, previously (I only said this : "(...) we can't know in advance the real percentages, because in this nearly - or completely, for the second game - "must win" situation, the usual repartition would quite certainly not be followed (...)").

In fact, my personal opinion is that the drawing percentage would be MUCH lower than the usual percentage. This because the Challenger MUST win one of those last games ; especially in the last game, to draw or to lose is completely immaterial for him : only a win is useful for him.

And in the first tiebreaking game, it can be nearly the same.

To develop this last element - about the first tiebreaking game -, for example, if we take the 2010 World Championship match between Anand and Topalov, before the last game, each player had won 2 games, for a total of 4 wins, and for each win, it was the White player who won.

And, yes, there was a Black victory (for Anand) in the last game, but Anand just played extremely solidly, waiting for Topalov to do something ; Topalov took enormous risks ; Anand counter-attacked (splendidly, in my opinion), and won. But it seems to me nearly obvious that this last game wouldn't have developed in the same manner if there had been a tiebreak with two classical games using the same time control as for the "regular" games of the match ; Topalov wouldn't have played as riskily as he did, and, quite probably, the game would have been a draw (because Anand would very probably have played rather conservatively, as he would only have had to draw the three last - taking into account the tiebreak - games).

If we take this (imaginary) scenario of this Anand - Topalov match that would have used your tiebreaking system, it would have been quite probable that, after the 12 "regular" games, at the tiebreak stage, there would have been 4 wins, all with White. Clearly, it seems that, in this match, there was a significant superiority in terms of preparation for the White pieces.

So, for the first game of the tiebreaks, Topalov would have had the White pieces. And, objectively, taking into account the 4 White wins and the absence of any Black win in the "regular" games of the match, he would have had every justification for playing "all out" for a win in the first tiebreaking game (it would, in my view, not have been logical at all for him to accept a draw without too much of a fight, and to "walk into" the second tiebreaking game, where, in view of the "color situation" of the match, he would have had very flimsy chances of winning, notably in view of the fact that Anand could have played as solidly as possible, having only to draw this game to keep his title).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/6/2017 04:57
@ lajosarpad (1/4) :

- "thank you for pointing out that I mixed your data up. I can assure you it was not intentional and I am sorry for the inconvenience."

I have absolutely not the slightest beginning of a doubt about it ! I now know you sufficiently well to know that this would be completely impossible ! I would rather imagine the Queen of England staging a hold-up gun in hand than you deliberately mixing up data ! It's only that it is always rather funny to see someone as rigorous and precise as you making an error like this - this is indeed the "human element" ; it can happen to absolutely anyone to be absent-minded once in a while...
Resistance Resistance 1/6/2017 03:00
Even more criticism of Yasser's shady proposals...

(7) Seirawan also complains that chess hasn't been on the spotlight, "or so he's heard"; that they wont give chess a chance to shine (--"or so he's heard"--), etc, etc, and then proposes that the solution for this 'sad' state of affairs in chess, "or so he's been told (!)", would be having such an opportunity to shine (--"we just need a golden break", he tells us, in dramatic and almost pious fashion--).

Apart from attempting to convey a rather dramatic and false image of the world of chess to its readers (--I wasn't aware that chess was in need of some serious exposition and rediscovery--), Seirawan acts as if he wasn't aware of the reasons behind the fact that chess isn't, and will never be, a popular TV sport the likes of actual popular TV sports such as Soccer, Basketball, American Football, Tennis, Golf, Box, MMA, etc, etc. He seems to have forgotten that chess is not really a game 'for the masses', since its degree of difficulty is no minor issue (--only a minority of people is really up for the task--).

Although it might not be easy for trainers and players alike to figure out a winning strategy before or during a Soccer, Basketball or Boxing match, still the audiences of said sports can easily understand what's going on in the actual battles taking place in front of them: with just a couple of glances, you immediately realize if your team is winning or losing, or if they're having a good or bad game. And whenever a team scores, you can be sure audiences will know too. In chess, on the other hand, things are far from simple: very few people can actually read the different positions taking place during a game; very few people can actually evaluate them. It is no wonder, then, that very few people, in comparison to other sports, follow chess events, chess tournaments, or chess matches, even if we are to include the mighty and prestigious Classical World Chess Championship Match. Many people that might follow these chess events will do so mainly as some sort of distraction from their everyday activities: chess is an interesting rarity for them, but no more.

There's no light shinny nor golden enough, Yasser, to make chess a worthy alternative to Soccer, American Football, Golf, Box, the NBA or any other of those big name sporting competitions that people have access to these days (--oh, there isn't--). So whenever you want to tell us these stories of unique, shining, golden opportunities for chess to become the next big name in the entertaining world, please also remember that we weren't born yesterday...

(Got this ones too, Yasser?)


.

Resistance Resistance 1/6/2017 02:58
Some more criticism of Yasser's dubious suggestions and shaky arguments...

(5) At some point in this last article, Seirawan also informs us that the realities of the world today are such that no 24-game match is possible. But that's just plain false (--a lie--). Once again, Seirawan seems to be thinking rather of his beloved sponsors, and not of his beloved Classical Chess. Show us Yasser, if you will, those "realities of the world" that will stop such longer 24-game match from taking place today; those 'evil forces' that do not want You having longer matches... (--let me guess: these "realities of the world" live somewhere near the Saint Louis Chess Club, there in the States; they happen to own the club, and they also organize a certain 22 category tournament that usually takes place somewhere in the middle of August, since 2013?--).

On the other hand, Seirawan seems to have no problem disregarding some of the actual realities of the world, i.e. the current 12-game matches, and against all odds and impossibilities (--he just simply rebels here against this particular reality of the world--) proposes a 16-game (!) match for the Classical World Chess Championship Match anyway (--in his previous articles, though, he proposed 18-game matches, also in rebelious disregard for the actual realities of today's world--). I guess we ought to think, after such a 'divergent' conduct from his, that his "realities of the world" also think that a 12-game match is too short, but that 16 games per match is more than enough (--they wont give him more than that; poor Yasser... --).

(--Also, he doesn't seem to realize that the same argument he uses to defend his longer, 16-game match can also be used to defend an even much longer, say 24-game match: "The additional costs of a longer match, in percentage terms, are not significantly higher and the extra games in fact can be very helpful to the organizers, as publicity builds and ticket sales increase as the match reaches its zenith."--).


(6) He tells us that these 12-game Classical World Chess Championship Matches are no longer "epoch-making, world-defining sporting events that hold the chess world enthralled ", and yet he seems to think that a 16-game Classical World Chess Championship Match will.

I assume Seirawan realizes --I assume he REMEMBERS-- that almost every one of those epoch-making world-defining sporting events he is thinking of were 24-game matches affairs, or even longer! Yet he still proposes a 16-game (!) Classical World Chess Championship Match as solution to the problems he himself pointed out regarding short matches not being like those epoch-making events of yesteryears??

(Are you taking notes, Yazz?)

.

lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/6/2017 11:06
@Resistance

You are absolutely right in point 4. Champion retains is logical and fair. However, I disagree with the other points. Let me answer them:

1. A chess game is not necessarily entertaining, it can be very boring indeed. However, on an individual level, if one plays/sees mostly boring games, then there will be not too much incentive to play/watch boring games again. So if high-level chess is boring, then we will lose players, not win new players and lose audience, which will hurt chess, as a professional game.

2. Money is needed. If one cannot live from chess on an individual level, then he/she will have to live from something else, which will result in losing players, not winning new players and losing audience. That will reduce the incentive of corporations to sponsor the game. This would hurt chess as a professional game.

So, 1. & 2. is about professional chess. It needs to get money to organize events and pay large prizes to players and it needs to be as interesting as possible, so that people will want to watch it and corporations will want to sponsor it.

3. I do not remember where Seirawan had any problems with draws. I remember though that he did not like the last game. Not because it was a draw, but rather because it was an uneventful grandmaster draw in the very last game. That caused dissatisfaction for watchers and sponsors. And the chance of such an uneventful game should be decreased specifically because of 1. and 2.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/6/2017 10:55
@Petrarlsen

thank you for pointing out that I mixed your data up. I can assure you it was not intentional and I am sorry for the inconvenience.

With the data you have really provided and which was unfortunately mixed up by me was:

X (White wins) = 0.45 ; Y (draws) = 0.20 ; Z (Black wins) = 0.35.

If we take this data, then

x + y * z = 0.45 + 0.2 * 0.35 = 0.52 indeed, so you were accurate.

The other formula, used to calculate the chance the Champion will remain champion if he is White is:

x + (1 - x) * y = 0.45 + (1 - 0.45) * 0.2 = 0.56

However, I would be very surprised if the actual chance that a World Championship match game under classical time controls would have such a low drawing chance. All our recent observations about high-level games, especially World Championship match games point to the direction that a draw has a higher chance than 50%. We have to go back eleven years to Kramnik-Topalov to see a World Championship match where the number of draws was not higher than the number of decisive games. There were 6 decisive games and 6 draws, but one of the wins was achieved using the Toilet Gambit, so even here, the draws over the board outnumbered the decisive games over the board. We can find older matches, having more decisive games than draws, mostly very old matches indeed, stemming from the time when defensive strategies were not developed yet, but there are recent examples as well, like Kasimdzhanov-Adams. If we take Kasparov-Karpov 1984 as statistical sample, then we get 0.8333 (83.33%) chance that a game is a draw... I am not saying that I am sure that the drawing chance is bigger than 0.2, but I would be very surprised if that was the case, nothing points to that direction.
XChess1971 XChess1971 1/5/2017 10:44
@A7fecd1676b88
I understand the first match with Steinitz. And that there was no champion. There was no draw. They would play until the first to get ten wins.


World Chess Championship Match 1892
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Points Wins
Mikhail Chigorin (Russian Empire) 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 ½ 0 0 10½ 8
William Steinitz (United States) 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 12½ 10
The match was to last twenty games; the first player to score 10½ points or win ten games would be the champion. In the event of a 10–10 tie after 20 games the players would continue until one of them had won ten games. If it reached a score of nine wins each, the match would end in a draw and the defending champion Steinitz would retain the title. After twenty games the score was 10–10 with each player having eight wins, so the players continued until one had won ten games. Game 21 was drawn, but Steinitz won games 22 and 23 to win the match and retain the title.

There has never been fairness, and I don't think that there will ever be. But it is still my belief that you need to beat the World Champion. The World Champion will never last forever. The same that happened to Alekhine losing his title to Euwe. And to Botvinnik losing to Smyslov, Tahl, and Petrosian. In case of Alekhine he got his title back. The same with Botvinnik. Except that with Petrosian he didn't get a Re-match. Re-matches were not too fair I believe.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/5/2017 04:37
@ lajosarpad :

Unfortunately, I haven't enough time to write a long post.

But, in fact, you mixed up my data !!!

(Note : I checked only the results for the hypothesis where the Challenger would have White in the first game, because I hadn't sufficient time to check the two hypotheses, and that I think we agree that the second hypothesis corresponds to a POSSIBLE system - which doesn't mean that it is necessarily the best system, but, at least, there doesn't seem to be reasons to discard it completely.)

You took :

X (White wins) = 0.35 ; Y (draws) = 0.45 ; Z (Black wins) = 0.20.

And, in fact, I took :

X (White wins) = 0.45 ; Y (draws) = 0.20 ; Z (Black wins) = 0.35.

So, obviously, we couldn't obtain the same results !!!

And, if I didn't make any error, if we apply YOUR formula to MY percentages, the result is exactly the same as my own previous result : 52 % of winning chances for the Challenger, and 48 % of winning chances for the Champion.

I didn't have time to check all this thoroughly ; do you agree with these new results ??
Resistance Resistance 1/5/2017 04:29
(1) It seems that Seirawan thinks that chess ought to be entertaining to the public, or else there is something wrong with it. But the point of chess is not that of entertaining audiences. Seirawan is clearly wrong here (--For chess is not a circus, nor it is played by clowns; chess is not responsible of freeing audiences from its exhausting life or their bad mood. Chess is, rather, a struggle, a fight; it is subtle, but tense. You gotta be patient, you gotta think, you gotta concentrate, you gotta focus even if you get bored. Chess can be fun, too, of course, but not all the time... --).

(2) Seirawan also seems to think that chess ought to produce a lot of money, or else (again) there is something wrong with it. But the point of chess is not that of providing people with tons of money (--You don't become a good/great player in order to become a millionaire; chess is not about having money or making business men richer than they are; it is not about making ex-players richer than they were, either. On the other hand, if you manage to make money out of it, good; if you don't, then you move on--).

(3) Seirawan doesn't like it that the Classical World Chess Championship Match ends in a tie. But the point of such a match is not to produce a winner, strictly speaking, nor find out about who is the actual champion (for there is one already), but to face the two best chess players around in a series of Classical Chess games and see if one of them can actually beat the other in such a match (--so as to know which one of the two is better at that moment in time, at least--). Yet, the depth and complexity of the game of chess also allows for the possibility of having no winner at the end of such a contest. For no one, not even the best of players, can actually guarantee that he/she will win a game, let alone a whole match (--they can also make mistakes, as we all do; nobody is on top of every little aspect of the game: no one 'sees it all'--). Therefore, a draw is a FAIR result both, from the perspective of single games, and from that of a series of games.

(4) Seirawan doesn't like it either that the Classical World Chess Champion retains his title in case of a tied Classical World Chess championship Match. However, that is the most natural result in case of a tied match (--the most in accordance with chess itself--), since the crown of World Champion is something you gain DIRECTLY AT THE BOARD.

You don't become the champion by being the most popular player amongst the two contestants (--chess is not a popularity contest; audiences have nothing to do with it; third parties have nothing to do with it either--). You don't become the champion by being the more "deserving" player amongst the rest (--pity is no factor in chess: you either win, or you don't; period--). The title of World Champion belongs to him who conquers it --and to nobody else--, and so it's up to the challenger to prove that he is the next great. Because there is only ONE champion, and if you wanna be the next one, you gotta beat the reigning one: no excuses, no pity, no mommy's little boy...

Got these, Yasser?
Resistance Resistance 1/5/2017 04:28
Random, one last shot tiebreaking game to decide the whole Classical World Chess Championship Match in case of a tied match? The challenger popping up another White game whenever he wants during the match? Although I agree with Yasser's (much advertised) interest in keeping things Classical at the Classical World Chess Championship Match, and with increasing the number of games in it, I do not agree at all with the rest of his proposals in this final 'Radical Solution' article of his, and I think they are no better than that which he proposed in his two previous articles. They are contrary to the spirit of the game, and make me think that he is not that really into looking out for Classical chess after all. Rather, he seems to be focused mainly into pleasing sponsors (--his number one priority seems to be money, and NOT Classical Chess, despite his repeatedly advertising in favor of the latter (Classical Chess)--).

Also, as one of the commentators already mentioned, Seirawan doesn't seem to have read much of the commentary under his two previous articles (--although he indirectly addresses here the many negative reactions to his proposals, he doesn't really address the many good arguments against them--). So, I'm going to remind him of some of the criticism that his 'radical' ideas have generated at my next post.


.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/5/2017 11:10
@Petrarlsen

II.

If the Champion starts with White, the chance of winning the tiebreak is the chance that he will not lose the tiebreak. This chance is

x + (1 - x)*y

because if he wins with White, then he has won the match and the chance he is not losing the second game with Black is the negation of the chance his opponent wins with White (1-x) and the first game is drawn (y). With the input you have specified, this is

x + (1 - x)*y = 0.35 + (1 - 0.35) * 0.45 = 0.35 + 0.65 * 0.45 = 0.7425

This means that if the Champion starts with White, with your input, he has a 74.25% that he will retain the title. Comparing this with the 56% chance in case he starts with Black, if we accept your input, we can say that if the Champion starts with White, he would roughly win 3 such tiebreaks from 4. If he starts with Black, he has a slight edge in chances.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/5/2017 11:02
@Petrarlsen

I.

Interesting point about the chances. My opinion about this:

1. The win-draw-loss ratio of previous games played by the players against each-other, against others and between others is not the real value of the win-draw-loss percentage between the players, especially when the challenger is under pressure to win the game. However, since we did not work out the formula for exact chances yet, we have to use a second-best approach. We could use the percentages of previous high-level games, as you did, or games between the players. Now I will focus on the first, as this was the chosen approach in your comment.

2. If there is x, y, z, where x is the chance that White wins, y is the chance of a draw and z is the chance of a Black win, and x + y + z = 100, then we need to find the formula. For the sake of simplicity, I normalize the values to be between 0 and 1, that is, I divide the chances by 100, so 45% = 0.45, for example.

The chances that the one starting with White wins is

x + y*z

Explanation: If he wins with White, he is the winner, this is the x of the formula. If he loses with White, he is the loser. There is y chance that the first game is drawn and z chance that a game with Black is won. The chance that the first game is drawn and the second is won by Black is y*z. So, it is either a White win in the first game (x) or a Black win in the second game (y*z), hence the formula.

Let's apply this to the input specified in your comment:

x = 0.35, y = 0.45, z = 0.20

The chance that the player starting with White to win the playoff is:

x + y*z = 0.35 + (0.45 * 0.20) = 0.35 + 0.09 = 0.44

So the chance that the player starting with White will win according to this input is 44% and there is a 56% chance that the player starting with Black will not lose the tiebreak in case when n = 2. If he happens to be the Champion, then this means he has a 56% chance of winning.
pocketknife pocketknife 1/5/2017 10:34
Nice proposal!
Although It dosen't solve the problem that a world champion is missing from the 5 top chess event of the year. I suggest that the champion take part in those eventes and if he is first, then he has the draw advantage. If he is secound or less the challanger has the draw advantage.

I would also spice up things that in case of the world champion is third or less prelminary matches can be arranged between World Champion - 2nd place. As the world champion has to prove he is still worthy of a title match. Title match would be held between the winer of WCh-2nd place and the 1st place.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/5/2017 10:32
@Petrarlsen

You are right in stating that A7fecd1676b88 acted several times like a troll. I, however, prefer another approach to this kind of behavior. I think we should not embrace that style even though we have objective reasons to do it. He should be the one who changes his commenting style. So I am acting like I was reading a reasonable comment and answering it in that way. After a while he will realize that this style damages his arguments' credibility. After a while he will realize he hit a brick wall, he will have to change the style of his future comments.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/5/2017 03:15
@ lajosarpad (2/2) :

This is my example :

I will arbitrarily take these values, for the average percentages of White Wins, Black Wins and Draws : 45 % of White Wins, 35 % of Black Wins, and 20 % of Draws (as we can't know in advance the real percentages, because in this nearly - or completely, for the second game - "must win" situation, the usual repartition would quite certainly not be followed, I think that, for it to be satisfying, a system must give the advantage to the Champion with every repartition - nonetheless, I tried to devise a repartition that would be as realistic as possible, taking for a starting point the idea that, due to this nearly - or completely - must-win situation, the number of draws would be considerably smaller than usually).

At the first tiebreaking game stage, the 45 % of White Wins correspond to 45 % of chances for the Challenger to win, and the 35 % of Black Wins to 35 % of chances for the Champion to win.

And the 20 % of draws correspond to the results of the second game (so there are 20 % of chances for the second game being played).

So I consider that the simplest solution is to start from the 1st game's winning percentages (the 45 % being the first part of the total percentage of chances to win the match for the Challenger, and the 35 % the first part of the total percentage of chances to win the match for the Champion). And, for the drawing percentage, to transfer the three percentages of the second game into it (because this second game corresponds exactly to these 20 % of drawing chances).

To convert the percentage numbers of the second game into the 20 % of the "draw zone" of the first game, it is simply possible to divide by 5 the percentage numbers of the second game.

So we have : 35 % of winning chances for the Challenger, and 65 % of winning chances for the Champion, in this second game (because both a draw and a win in this game correspond to a global win in the match for the Champion).

If we convert this into the 20 % of draws of the first game, this gives : 65 % / 5 = 13 % of supplementary winning chances for the Champion, and 35 % / 5 = 7 % of supplementary winning chances for the Challenger.

After adding, for the Challenger, the first 45 % to these 7 %, this gives 52 % of global winning chances (in the tiebreaks) for the Challenger.

And, after adding, for the Champion, the first 35 % to these 13 %, this gives 48 % of global winning chances (in the tiebreaks) for the Champion.

So, in fact, if my reasoning isn't flawed, with these winning (45 % for White and 35 % for Black) and drawing (20 %) percentages for each game, it would be the Challenger who would have the most chances of winning the match.

Which wouldn't be at all satisfying, neither for you, nor for me !

Do you agree with my reasoning ?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/5/2017 03:14
@ lajosarpad (1/2) :

For the moment, I will only answer to your 2nd point, because this took me much time... and there wasn't any time left for me to write about the other points !!!

"2. Comparison between the challenger's counter-advantage to the Champion's advantage in my proposed system if he starts with Black"

Unless I'm mistaken (and it would be really quite possible, even if I tried to check my results as seriously as possible), I think that there is a flaw in your reasoning, for this point.

I think the problem (it there is one...) comes from the fact that you don't take into account that the two tiebreaking games are played successively, and that they don't count at all in the same manner for the global result.

As I'm not at all a mathematician, I don't think that it would be really possible for me to demonstrate what is (possibly) wrong in your own reasoning, but I rather chose to reason from a concrete example, and, as the result was that it was the Challenger who had an advantage with this example, I think that (if my conclusions are not flawed, quite obviously...) this would be sufficient to show that there must be a problem somewhere in your own reasoning.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 09:44
@ JanneKejo : "(...) from a practical point of view I think B (note : B = "If you play the World Championship match and don't get beaten, you have shown that no-one is stronger than you, so why wouldn't you be World Champion?") could lead to more aggressive play as the reigning champion had something to lose in case of a drawn match (...)"

Personally, I would rather think it would be the contrary.

I've always noted that top grandmasters tend to prefer a certain "half-victory" to a possible "full-defeat". This at the level of a game or at the level of a tournament (for the last game of the tournament, frequently). And, even in the World Championship, I think that the same tendency is present : for the 2012 Anand - Gelfand match and the 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin match, none of the players took any chances in the last game of the match (even for the player having White) ; they prefered to go to the tiebreaks. And as, for the winner of the match, this means to lose (at least) 50.000 euros in favor of the match's loser, it is more or less the same mechanism : the players prefer not to take any chances, even if it means to lose something in exchange.

Whereas, if the "draw odds to the Champion" system is used, one of the players (the Challenger) is ABSOLUTELY obliged to win at least one game. The Challenger hasn't "something to lose", but "everything to lose" if he doesn't manage to avoid a tie at the match's level.

So, personally, I would much rather think that it would be in that last hypothesis that the number of draws would be the most reduced.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 1/4/2017 09:16
I think it is worth to (re)start in respecting serious thinkers as Oscar Gelbfuhs proved to be after 1882 Neustadtl's proposal (I'm mentioning them just because the "good old logic" of tournaments has been mentioned, but I think that the criticisms that Sutovsky and Ashley have made to Seirawan, even if supported by top-players and commentators, is not worth not even 1/10 of the criticisms Sonneborn and Berger made to Neustadtl's proposal, and these latter two were justified since the proposal was not designed for tie-breaking).
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 08:57
typo in previous comment - are=and
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 08:54
@JanneKejo Problem of option B is next match - we have 2 champs are one challenger. Or do we skip candidates in this case?
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 07:22
@PCMorphy72
Statement 1. “If the challenger cannot prove that himself is better, then he has no right to be the new Champion”.
Statement 2. “The Champion already proved he is the best player in the world by becoming the new Champion or defending his title”.
More about logic, if “Statement 1” has to imply that the old (reigning...) Champion has the right that the challenger has not (to be the new Champion), then it also presumes that the following “Statement 2” is true (otherwise it would be true that “there should be two co-champions or no champion”).

I don't agree with this construction. Instead of “Statement 2” I would rather say "Champion already proved he is better then Challenger by becoming world champion (which the challenger didn't manage or did longer time ago) and thus in case of the match tie he has the right to stay World Champion".
Logic is pretty much similar to results of tournaments where in case of same amount of point the winner is decided by criteria not worth 1/10 points. Here I think respecting difference between "Champion" and "Challenger" is worth that 1/10.
JanneKejo JanneKejo 1/4/2017 07:04
There seems to be two different sentiments about the qualification for World Champion:

A) In order to become a World Champion you need to beat the reigning champion in a World Championship match.

B) In order to become a World Champion it's sufficient that you play the World Championship match and don't get beaten.

The logical implications of these are:

A -> In case of a drawn match, the reigning World Champion retains his title.
B -> In case of a drawn match, there will be two (co-) World Champions.

The motivations for A and B have already been mentioned and are easy to undestand:

A) The reigning World Champion has beaten the previous one so he has already shown that he is (was) the strongest.

B) If you play the World Championship match and don't get beaten, you have shown that no-one is stronger than you, so why wouldn't you be World Champion?

Philosophically it may be a matter of temperament and taste whether to adopt A or B. But from a practical point of view I think B could lead to more aggressive play as the reigning champion had something to lose in case of a drawn match (he would thereafter share the title and would have to play the candidates tournament in order to qualify for the next World Championship match, as would the other World Champion, too).
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 06:53
@PCMorphy72
Question is what's main point of those articles.
- It's mainly a criticism of current system with rapid tiebreak. Agreed, rapid/blitz is different discipline. On the other hand so is penalties for football, overtime with less players in ice-hockey and is still used. So it's hard to say it's completely wrong, at best it's not optimal.
- Length of the match is a side point, personally I don't mind whether it's 12/16/18/24. In match Carlsen-Karjakin having 4-6 more extra games would probably not change much, it seemed Karjakin's defence was close to bullet proof. So proper replacement of rapid tiebreaks is needed even for longer matches.
- Odd amount of games - here it starts to be interesting, this is Yasser's solution replacing tiebreaks. Original proposal with coinflip determining draw odds was just wrong and he adapted it to more acceptable "draw odds for the champion, extra white for challenger". It's still not completely equal (neither is komi adjustment in go), so someone needs to have advantage. And challenger doesn't deserve such advantage even if it would be determined by coinflip. Still a thing to clearly answer is what to do in case when challenger leads by one point before this extra game - should the game be still played? Yasser says yes, some people say no, both options have cons and pros.
- option to adjust schedule by inserting extra white game at any moment - here the proposal starts to become shaky and in my opinion with this point it's becoming worse then rapid tiebreaks (arguments in my previous comment).

As a result there is either complete proposal (with last point I don't like it and I would prefer current system), or I can take the proposal without that last point. In this case it's just the old format before rapid tiebreaks (draw odds for champ) with adjusted length (12 is not enough, 24 is too much so 16 or 18) and the only really new thing is extra white for challenger. In the end it's just about adjusting the draw odds advantage for current champion, it's questionable how big it should be, trying to minimize it with new elements might be risky. When thinking deeply about those new elements, one might find that rapid tiebreaks is less dangerous and the only other "completely fair" option would be pairs of extra classical games until decided (and sooner or later we see some marathon match like famous unfinished Karpov-Kasparov).
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 1/4/2017 03:41
Please analyze these statements repeated many times in different ways in many long comments:


Statement 1. “If the challenger cannot prove that himself is better, then he has no right to be the new Champion”.

It presumes that Yasser’s proposal to prove who is better (1 extra game) is not the main argument to be discussed, talking about only the case when his proposal “cannot prove” it, perhaps presuming that own alternate proposals are better (2*n extra games at reduced time control, incentive to play for the first win, incentive to get more money, psychological disincentive in considering White has an advantage, etc…: by the way, in my opinion all these proposals sucks).
More about logic, if “Statement 1” has to imply that the old (reigning...) Champion has the right that the challenger has not (to be the new Champion), then it also presumes that the following “Statement 2” is true (otherwise it would be true that “there should be two co-champions or no champion”).


Statement 2. “The Champion already proved he is the best player in the world by becoming the new Champion or defending his title”.

It presumes that what was proved two years before is true now, no matter what is actually happened in a match between two players who play chess at the highest level. Precisely, these 3 things would not matter:
1. Who played better chess, by creating the most interesting opportunities.
2. Who was closer to wins, by playing the most incisive balance between precision and aggressiveness.
3. Above all, who would have proved who is better in a longer series of games or in a more fair well-studied tie-breaking system.

Logic suggests that, in the best case, it is sufficient to prove who is the best player to draw games in order to keep the status quo, and only one player has the advantage to have to be focused on that (the reigning Champion). However, here it seems as this issue had not been discussed extensively in the past (it’s just due to tradition that we have a champion that has just only to wait his challenger for years), as it was just a taste for a “not modern” treatment of the issue, and not an “extreme last chance” inside a well-thought proposal.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 1/4/2017 02:36
@ Martas
“Comparing original and current proposal of Yasser Seirawan it seems he accepted majority of complains. Starting with 13 games with draw odds determined by coin flip, finishing with 17 games match with draw odds for current champion.”
I think Yasser would have started with 19 games, but wrote about 13 in order to actually “accept majority of compaints” and LET WE FOCUS on the main point of his article(s). Please, read what he wrote:
“Personally, I find a 12-game match to be far too short. Whereas a 24-game contest is now considered far too long. Perhaps a middle-ground of 18 games should be considered. I suspect that such a suggestion to lengthen the match by an additional six games would go precisely nowhere, so let me focus on the main point of this article.”
Instead, after hundreds of comments, one the most focused observation is still your “I think extra white game for challenger doesn't change much regarding result”. Also Yasser’s “enhanced proposal” has been nothing for you all (focused on the “draw odds for current champion” issue), since you write “I don't like the idea of changing schedule of the games (regarding colors) during the match.”
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 02:15
@ Martas :

"Myself I pretty much enjoy the fact that last matches can be considered as fair and decided purely by chess strength. I would not like to see psychological war started by confusion regarding colors of some game."

I agree, too, that this is a significant drawback.
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 02:12
Comparing original and current proposal of Yasser Seirawan it seems he accepted majority of complains. Starting with 13 games with draw odds determined by coin flip, finishing with 17 games match with draw odds for current champion.
I think extra white game for challenger doesn't change much regarding result, with high drawing tendency in the level match it's very unlikely that extra white game would decide. So it seems that Yasser Seirawan accepted the old idea of draw odds for the current champion. On top of this he tries to balance it by giving a psychological weapon to the challenger.
I don't like the idea of changing schedule of the games (regarding colors) during the match. If anybody would try to push limits of such rule trying to confuse the matters, it might end up with an affair similar to "toilet gate" of Kramnik-Topalov match. Myself I pretty much enjoy the fact that last matches can be considered as fair and decided purely by chess strength. I would not like to see psychological war started by confusion regarding colors of some game.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 02:09
@ lajosarpad : One thing is certain : YOU are really always completely correct, even in disagreement. I appreciate this very much, and I think I musn't be the only one in this case !
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 02:02
@ lajosarpad :

About the "troll" problem...

For me, I think that, if you are attacked directly personally, you can also answer personally, if (important condition...) your answer is objectively justified.

Clearly, A7fecd1676b88 attacked me personally (this is not surprising : he always react like this...).

And I think that, when I say that he is a troll, my affirmation is objectively justified. His behavior DID, in my opinion, answer exactly to the Oxford Dictionary's definition of a "troll". In my view, I simply "put the right word" on his behavior, no more, no less.

So, for the moment, I maintain that I don't think that it was inappropriate on my behalf to affirm that he is a troll.

But, if you still disagree, I would be quite interested to know why, naturally !
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 01:29
@ lajosarpad (2/2) :

I can be also, sometimes, in strong disagreement with "well-respected grandmasters". In fact, I was myself in strong disagreement with Y. Seirawan, when he made his first proposal. But I think disagreement, even strong, can be expressed in a civilized manner.

For example, this is what I wrote about Y. Seirawan's solution, under his second article (first page of commentaries - http://en.chessbase.com/post/yasser-seirawan-a-radical-solution-redux-wcc-2016#discuss -, post "12/3/2016 05:47") :

"The problem with Yasser Seirawan's system is that, for exemple, with 13 games, if the two players make 13 draws, the decisive factor of the match will have been, in fact, the initial drawing of lots. Exaggerating a bit (but not much, in fact), in this case, the most prestigious title in chess would be essentially decided by a drawing of lots. For me, it isn't satisfying at all. This idea is interesting and could be the starting point of a new reflexion, but, in its current form, in my opinion, it doesn't work at all."

Obviously, it is difficult to be objective with oneself, so I let it to you to decide if this answer was correct or not, but, at first view, I rather think that no one could reproach me to be disrespectful to Y. Seirawan in this post. And I think that this still didn't prevented me from making it clear that I strongly disagreed with Y. Seirawan's first proposed system.

And this is why I reacted very strongly to A7fecd1676b88's posts. Because he is ALWAYS reacting in that manner, that I find this completely unacceptable, and that I think that such manners must be strongly discouraged by the other commentators. Globally, the commentators are rather correct in their reaction, on Chessbase, in my opinion, and such behaviors must not - still in my opinion - be accepted by the other commentators. He must understand that you don't gain anything by writing those kind of comments on ChessBase.

It is quite possible, though, that I didn't reacted in the most efficient way to A7fecd1676b88's aggressive and offensive posts. As for me, for the moment, I maintain that a strong reaction is necessary, for such behaviors, but it is obvious that other approach for a "strong reaction" would be possible.

What would you think to be the best reaction to very ill-mannered persons in these kinds of situations ?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 01:28
@ lajosarpad (1/2) :

I will naturally answer to all of your posts (because, as always, they are very interesting !), but before doing it (for that, I need a little more time !), I would just answer to what you said about the (quite animated...) discussion that occured between A7fecd1676b88 and me ; I would like to explain to you why I reacted like this. It is obviously quite possible that you will still not agree with me, but I would want you to know the full reasons behind my reactions.

The problem, with A7fecd1676b88, is that he is ALWAYS aggressive, offensive, and disrespectful with EVERYONE with which he doesn't agree. You can follow all his posts ; he always react in the same manner (and I would like to point out that this is the first time that we have an argument together, he and me, so there is absolutely nothing personnal about my reaction).

A very typical and, in my opinion, quite unacceptable example, is his first post under this same article.

He cites one of Yasser Seirawan's sentences : "The chess world is fortunate, because Magnus Carlsen, the current World Champion, is also the highest rated player in the world and no one can question the legitimacy of his status as the planet’s top player."

And this is what the first sentence of his answer was : "That is one of the lamest comments in this continuing series of Seirawan WC format rants..." Aggressive, offensive, AND disrespectful. Really unacceptable, in my view. Perhaps he is very young, and life hasn't still learned him correct manners, but even this wouldn't be an excuse for being so offensive with such a well-respected chess figure as Yasser Seirawan (...I must say that, in my view, such a reaction would still be unacceptable with everyone else, but it is still worse with a well-respected grandmaster as Yasser Seirawan...).