Match format: Sutovsky vs Seirawan

by Emil Sutovsky
12/6/2016 – Yasser Seirawan does not like the current format of the World Championship and proposed a number of hotly debated changes. Now, Emil Sutovsky, President of the Association of Chess Professionals, counters. He offers an out-of-the box proposal and invites readers to make their opinion heard.

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The format of the World Championship - a proposal

Emil Sutovsky, President of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP)

First of all, I'd like to congratulate Magnus for retaining the title, and praise Sergey who was a worthy opponent to the reigning Champion. The Title Match is the most prestigious and the most followed event in chess – and I believe we shall stick to the match format – there were literally millions of spectators following the battle of New York. It was thrilling from the sportive point of view, but I believe the games could have been much more exciting if a different format was used. I would like to share my views:

1. Number of games

I don't think twelve is an optimal number of games. With twelve games the match seems to be too short – and this influences the match strategy of the players, provoking them to play overcautiously as even a single loss may prove too costly. Spectators also do want the show to go on. Chess fans and aficionados did not get tired of the match in New York – the vast majority would have liked to see more games. Whereas a 24-game match might be a bit too long for many reasons, I would suggest 16 games as a number that strikes a balance perfectly. It won't even increase the costs too much, if we have a day off after every three games (and not after two as in New York).

2. What to do in a case of a tie?

I have heard many proposals. All of them have some logic behind them, but I find it unfair to award the match to the reigning Champion in case of a tie, and I also don't think that an odd number of games and an extra attempt for Challenger playing with White helps too much (having White is not a meaningful advantage on the top level anymore).

I actually like the idea of a rapid tie-break. Just not after the regular part of the match, but BEFORE it. Then, the match starts with a bang (I'd rather call it overture) - a lot of excitement and the winner gets a pole position – which makes the classical chess that follows invariably more attractive – as a tie will now suit only one of the players. But the classical games will decide the match. The World Championship matches in 2006, 2012, and 2016 were decided by a rapid tie-break and the last classical games of these matches were anti-climactic, to put it mildly. It is also important, in my opinion, to play the rapid tie-break on two days (Saturday and Sunday – with a massive audience!), which allows us have more games (3+3) while one bad day won't have a decisive impact. Let's also not forget – we don't want our gladiators to die – playing four rapid games for such a high stakes, followed by possible blitz and Armageddon is really too tough. Honestly, I don't see any disadvantages in the proposed format change – except for one thing: this solution is a bit out-of-the-box. But we are chess people - we are supposed to be capable of such things!

3. No shorter time-controls

Finally, I'd like to unequivocally stress that I don't like the idea of shortening the time-control in the World Championship Match. This idea is advocated by some impatient spectators and even strong Grandmasters who find that classical chess becomes more and more dull. In my opinion, neither rapid nor “new classic” (about an hour for each player) is good enough to replace the proper classical game. I'd like to remind the proponents of shorter time-controls that the World Championship match is watched by millions of people, and making it more spectacular (if one considers mistakes to be spectacular) on the expense of damaging the quality of play is hardly a productive idea. Actually, the stats from Norway where 5-10% of the entire population followed every classical game from beginning to end on TV clearly proves that classical chess can be attractive – we just have to present it properly. And we don't have to compare chess with other sports all the time! Chess is a sport, yes. But the main reason why there is serious money in chess is our rich history, our traditions, our image of the most intellectual sport. Speeding up is zeitgeisty and trendy, but sometimes it is wise to be anti-trend and to stick to your niche, adjusting and improving, but not rebranding it. In a few years we will celebrate the centennial of the “Classical chess is dead – it is just a draw” movement. But chess is still alive and kicking, and it is bound to outlive those who claim its death today...

Of course, every reader is welcome to disagree with me and express his/her opinion in the ACP World Championship poll. We will publish the results in January – and develop recommendations for Fide based on the results of the poll. Make your opinion heard!

Naturally many people have their own opinions about the ideal format – and let me invite you all to express your thoughts by participating in the → detailed ACP poll dedicated to the World Championship format ←



Emil Sutovsky is President of the Association of Chess Professionals. He was born in 1977 and is based in Holon, Israel. In January 2012 he reached the highest ranking of his career of 2708. His highest position in the rankings was 17th in the world. Emil Sutovsky is the 2001 European Champion as well as a winner and a prizewinner of more than 100 international tournaments. Emil has an extensive experience in participating at television and radio programs and is author of over a hundred publications on the topic of chess.
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Ponderer Ponderer 12/8/2016 09:07
Thinking outside the box? while cribbing from motor racing??
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 09:01
I think F-R Chess is less relevant to deciding the Classical Chess World Champion than Rapid chess." werogue.

And if Rapid Chess is preferred - in case of a draw in a 4-games match, there could be another match, until a decisive one. Not go to blitz or Armageddon.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 05:37
To Petrarlsen. Can you live with a mini-match of 2-games of classical chess as a tie-break. Each player having Black and White? Series of mini-matches until we have a winner?

If not classical chess, Fischer random (classical time control) - to diminish the draw probabilities stemming from opening preparation and throw the opening preparation factor (by players, their assistants and computers) by the window while still appealing to the players (and the players' only) chess abilities?

Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 05:31
I think F-R Chess is less relevant to deciding the Classical Chess World Champion than Rapid chess." werogue.

Rapid Chess: pros: same rules, not blitz, does give an appreciation of true chess abilities further than blitz, can have a 4-games match in a day - 4 games is more representative than one or two games.

cons: still not classical time control, disadvantages the slower thinker who could still have enough time in classical chess - may pose legitimacy questions, at least on perception, as a tie-break for classical time control chess.

FR: Pros: same time control as in classical (in my proposal) - same abilities as in chess - lower probability of draws given that opening preparation is an important cause of draws in classical chess - liberates the players (and their assistants, and computers) from opening preparation after a difficult match.

Con: not exactly the same game - legitimacy question, at least on perception.

We can agree on the pros and cons - choosing an option depends on our subjectivity - mainly on the weight to give to the different pros and cons of the different options.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 05:27
“As for series' of (2-games, different colours) mini-matches in general: if this worked, I can't see who would be opposed to it, but unfortunately it is not practical from the point of view of organising a playing venue and sponsorship. What venue is happy to lease itself for an uncertain period of time? Not one on Manhattan island, anyway - we'll be back out in Siberia if we get anywhere at all." werogue

I do not know to what extent organisers could deal with the fact that we cannot have a definite end date. But, hey, not that long ago we had 2 or 3 months matches. It still is the world championship and interesting for sponsors. It also means more games, more tickets and more revenues in an exciting context (tie-breaks!). So, all in all, I am not sure that this is that much a big deal for organisers. Maybe - I really do not know.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 05:24
To Petrarlsen. Once established that it is better to have a tie-break, the choice of the tie-break system becomes a separate question. Which indeed implies weighing the merits of the different tie-break options.
Balthus Balthus 12/8/2016 04:54
A big YES for Maatalkko 12/7/2016 11:31!!!
Also, lajosarpad has expressed my thoughts exactly.
I don't know what kind of an upsurge of dissatisfaction S&S are intending to incite, but I think the (perhaps silent) majority of the chessing world has a most conservative stance on this one.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/8/2016 04:54
@ Raymond Labelle : One thing is to say that you, personally, think that the results from previous competitions should not be used to break a possible tie in the World Championship match (this is quite a matter of opinion), one other thing is to say that this isn't an objective criterion. No, it IS a position based on objective elements ! Obviously, this doesn't mean at all that you can't say that you don't think that this system should be use, but it is simply not true that it is only a completely subjective position.

As for a possible "draw odds to the Challenger" system, it is quite different ; I really don't think that there is any real objective element that can support it.

So, to put one and the other system in the same category of "non-objectively based systems" isn't, in my opinion, a really defensible position.

And, as this system is in fact an "objectively based system", it can be compared with other systems.

For example, if we take the current system ; after the 4 rapid games and the 5 x 2 blitz games, we have finally the Armageddon : Can we really say seriously that a victory in such an Armageddon game is more significant than the fact to have won the whole previous World Championship cycle ?? For me, this is absurd : such an Armageddon game hasn't really much more significance, in chess terms, than a coin toss, while to have won the previous World Championship match is quite the opposite : it has an enormous significance ; to be "the Best in the World" in such an important competition is an enormous accomplishment while winning the Candidates, to become the Challenger, hasn't the same value (to be the best when the Champion isn't participating is quite an accomplishment in itself, but cannot at all, nonetheless, be compared to winning a World Championship match against the Champion).

So - for example -, for me, using this Armageddon game rather than using the "draw odds to the Champion" system isn't logical at all.

For me, the merits of the different systems must be, objectively and without any preconceived ideas, compared one with the others. And, for me, it is obvious that the "draw odds to the Champion" system is clearly better than several other systems (as the present Armageddon one, for example).
airman airman 12/8/2016 04:50
If you place the rapid tiebreaks before the main match you will hurt the overall play.

A good part of match play is the opening prep. Which would be spoiled with the pre-match at fast time controls.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/8/2016 04:09
Which of these two propositions is truer than the other?

1. The World Champion already proved he is the World Champion, so the challenger has to prove his qualities. Because the challenger has that onus, the Champion should keep his title in a draw match.

2. If the world Champion is unable to prevail in a match, this shows that he is not truly the best player and thus should lose his title. Because the Champion has that onus, the challenger should get the title in a draw match.

There is no possible objective test permitting to determine which one of these 2 propositions is truer than the other.

These 2 propositions are no more than subjective preferences and have no truth value.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/8/2016 02:43
To who considers things like a 24-game match as unpractical caprices from utopian purists, note that pure logic suggests that in a match that “encourages whoever got an early lead to play for draws” only two wins more prove who plays better chess. It was noted by Fischer more than 40 years ago ( ).
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/8/2016 01:03
Before the Karpov-Kasparov matches, managing to force draws (even with black) was not the same thing as it is with today’s theory and the effort to follow its novelties to try to win. Then not conceding too many privileges to the world champion has been a way to contrast this: some top player still would not concede that the champion has not to play any new tournament to attend the final match.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/8/2016 12:12
@ Raymond Labelle - @ lajosarpad : "The World Champion already proved he is the World Champion, so the challenger has to prove his qualities. If the title is determined in a lottery, then there is a chance that the new World Champion is the weaker player who has never proven to be a World Champion and managed to draw all his games." (lajosarpad). How true ! No, it really isn't at all possible to say that there is no objective criterion behind the "draw odds to the Champion" system...
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/8/2016 10:56
Note comments with “managed to”, “distorted by” or “biased for” and remember that, in a game of CHESS, nothing should distort the unbiased purpose to manage to win INDEPENDENTLY every single game: a match/tournament leading player who manages to draw is already an exception to this, but at least it should be the only acceptable one.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/8/2016 09:43
@Raymond Labelle, I did not state there is no argument in other approaches, but I would like to state that there is a perfectly valid objective argument for my point of view: The World Champion already proved he is the World Champion, so the challenger has to prove his qualities. If the title is determined in a lottery, then there is a chance that the new World Champion is the weaker player who has never proven to be a World Champion and managed to draw all his games.
calvinamari calvinamari 12/8/2016 01:43
One problem with Sutovsky's idea is that an up-front loss in an alternative format could result draw odds in favor of the challenger in classical chess. That somehow seems more unpalatable to me than a typical back-end tiebreak. The fact is that, if the classical portion of the match does result in a tie, Sutovsky's up-front rapid acts as a tiebreak just the same. This then begs the question: Should the contest that breaks a tie occur as an add-on to the opening day ceremonies or occur AFTER the opponents have gotten the full measure of each other? Framed that way, it seems the question answers itself.

Frankly I am not sure that any of the recent suggestions are a step in the right direction and, under the assumption that the champion is defending his title as opposed to playing for it anew, I do not see what is so terribly wrong with draw odds in the champion's favor. If that approach, steeped in tradition, somehow is less acceptable today, let's modify Yasser's proposal and give the challenger one extra White.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/8/2016 12:04
@ Raymond Labelle : The "draw odds to the Champion" system is a sort of tiebreak method that could be described like this : the winner of the previous World Championship match will be the winner of the new World Championship match in case of a tie. So it is based on something quite objective : the result of a previous competition.

Can you find an objective argument to say that the opposite solution could be chosen - that the Challenger would benefit from the tiebreak ?

Yes, the Challenger won the Candidates, but this doesn't count, because the Champion couldn't participate in this tournament. And the Champion won the Candidates too, previously.

So, yes, there is an objective argument in favor of the "draw odds to the Champion" system, and, in my opionion, there is none in favor of a possible "draw odds to the Challenger" system.

In fact, the Champion demonstrated objectively more than the Challenger : that he could win the previous World Championship cycle. Is this really such a trifle ???
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/7/2016 11:42
@ imdvb_8793 : I've already said it, but I will say it another time : I find your solution quite coherent and interesting !...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/7/2016 11:37
@ ivan3ivanovich : I don't know if you are a troll, or if you have memory problems or psychological problem, but, all in all, this is really completely crazy...

In fact, your last post is simply a quite clean demonstration that what you said previously was completely false, and that I was right in every respect ! And I'm not even exaggerating a bit ; it's just exactly that ! (By the way, it wasn't really necessary to post again the Appendix A of the Laws of Chess that I already posted in my last post to you...)

Everyone can read our four posts, so it very easy for anyone to see what is true and what is false...

The fact is that you said yesterday : "30min+30sec IS rapid chess BY DEFINITION! By FIDE statute anything shorter than 90min+30sec IS Rapid chess (or Blitz). The shortest time control that is allowed for a "Classic" time control is 90min. plus 30sec. per move."

But today, you explain : "Every single chess player in the world knows that! Rapid is between 10 and 60 minutes and blitz is shorter than 10 minutes."

And you give a very relevant quote from the Laws of Chess to prove your point (as I said before, it wasn't very difficult for you to find it : I posted myself this quote in my last post to you...) : "A ‘Rapidplay’ game is one where either all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player."

So, yesterday, you said that below 90 mn. + 30 s., a game is a rapid game, and today, you affirm that the limit between a rapid and classical game is 60 mn. or equivalent ???

And you don't see for yourself that your two last posts are completely in contradiction one with the other ???

And, on top of that, to finish your post, you throw insults at me : "You are arguing from a point of ignorance. You are even so dumb that you cannot even be bothered to check simple facts. I'll will give 10:1 odds if you want to put your money were your big mouth is!" Really wonderful !

Taken together, your last posts would be quite worthy of a novel by Franz Kafka... It isn't every day that one can see something as crazy as that ; it is really incredible. I can't undestand how you can affirm one thing and its exact opposite from one day to the other ; this is indeed pure madness !!!

At this point, I'm not even sure if I have to be angry with you or sorry for you...
Maatalkko Maatalkko 12/7/2016 11:31
The Champion should retain the title if it's a tie. That was not even in dispute prior to 2006, when a tiebreak became necessary to reconcile the titles. If you could not defeat the prior World Champion in classical games, you should not be World Champion. If the World Champion has already won the title under similar conditions, there is no reason a new challenger should have parity.

The triennial system worked fine for over 40 years before Kasparov broke it. Now we have a biennial system. We don't need to go further in the direction of weakening or cheapening the World Championship. Our system has twice now come close to producing World Champions who, though they earned their opportunity, were not by any means the strongest chess players in the world. This does a disservice to the respect that previous generations held for the title of World Champion.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/7/2016 10:22
The idea that the champion keeps the title in the case of a tie does not flow from the champion having shown superiority in a match. Equally (un)valid arguments could be made to state that the challenger should get the title in the case of a tie such as: the champion has the onus of demonstrating that he is the true champion, if he fails, then the challenger should have the title. These are purely subjective preferences that cannot be supported by objective considerations.

If we remain with objective results, a tie is a tie is a tie in which no player had a better result than the other.

In such a situation, there are only two possible outcomes:

- designate a champion with some kind of tie-break (which one, well, another subject of discussion);

- designate the two finalists as co-champions - which poses the (not unsolvable) problem of how to designate the next champion.
elista_endgame elista_endgame 12/7/2016 09:37
Meh, the best format is 1 game match with 12-24hrs time control. Challenger must win.
maxi80 maxi80 12/7/2016 09:19
Let’s have it like this:

1. WC every two years.
2. Candidates Tournament before summer 2018.
3. WC takes places November 2018.
4. 16 Classical games. No change to Time Controls.
5. Rest day after game #3, #6, #9 and #12. Then
four games in a row. We want a winner, don’t we?
6. Match tied 8:8 then Lion’s Share of prize fund goes to Challenger!!
7. Champ keeps title, but…
8. Both Champ and Challenger are seeded into next Candidates,
to take place in the spring 2020.
9. Winner and runner-up to play WC in November 2020.

idlivadai idlivadai 12/7/2016 08:12
The best way to decide the match is to have 16 games and if equal who ever got the first win in the match be declared winner. Rapid is no way to decide a classic world champion. I fully agree with Seirawan
koko48 koko48 12/7/2016 04:58
"A rapid match deciding the World Championship is a lottery where the inferior player has serious chances of winning."

Disagree....In this match, as in the Anand-Gelfand match, the higher rated, better player (and defending champion) won the rapid tiebreaks

I believe that nowadays rapid matches are the truer reflection of chess skill. In the 2016 rapid tiebreaks Carlsen was able to demonstrate his superiority convincingly by outplaying Karjakin three of the four games

The weaker player may think he has a better chance in the rapids, but in fact the weaker player has better chance in the classical games nowadays....We saw how Karjakin was able to play for a neutralizing strategy and hold worse positions in the classical games, whereas in the rapid games he was dominated
mdamien mdamien 12/7/2016 03:49

Thank you for your comments. As a spectator, I enjoyed the rapid tiebreaks and found them exciting, but I am definitely not in favor of their use in deciding the match. Resigned to that idea, I suppose it would make no great difference whether at the beginning or the end. The champions right to retain his title in the case of a drawn match could certainly affect match strategy: in a final game, for instance, where all he needs to do is draw, would the champion take undo risks for the lion's share of the purse? (It probably depends on how big the purse.) But this match strategy is in line with the very question being asked by the champion in a title match: can you beat me?

12 games is just too short and as a result both play more cautiously and there's less chance of a decisive result -- which is to say, less chance of one player definitely showing his superiority over the other.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 12/7/2016 03:33
I will re-post my proposal from the comments section to the previous article on this thread (copy-paste):

I've always thought the most simple and fair solution applicable to the current situation would be the following: That the World Champion join seven others in the Candidates Tournament (renamed accordingly, perhaps), but still be seeded into the ensuing title match. Whoever wins the Candidates gets draw odds in case of a 6-6 tie in the match, irrespective of whether that's the reigning champion or someone else - which is, obviously, a very big advantage, worth fighting for, in addition to the prize money and, for all but the champion, the right to actually play the match. If the champion wins, of course, the second place finisher becomes the challenger. That would be it, in short... This way, classical chess decides everything, the Candidates loses none of its luster, but rather even gains in importance, and there's no chance of a short draw in the last game of the match, and far less of a chance for each of the other games of said match.
Bright Knight Bright Knight 12/7/2016 03:31
@ weerogue
Funny is different from ridiculous.

What I find ridiculous is the argument that 2 world championship warriors will be afraid to press with white because they might lose. Two top players who are so worried at the possible loss that they ignore the big gain. Both of them? I don't see that ever becoming the mindset of players who have reached the rare opportunity to become world champion.
ivan3ivanovich ivan3ivanovich 12/7/2016 03:23

If you are a lawyer the I feel sorry for your clients!

According to the FIDE Laws of Chess as of July 2014 Appendix A article 1

A ‘Rapidplay’ game is one where either all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player."

Every single chess player in the world knows that! Rapid is between 10 and 60 minutes and blitz is shorter than 10 minutes.

The Laws of Chess can be found here:

You are arguing from a point of ignorance. You are even so dumb that you cannot even be bothered to check simple facts.

I'll will give 10:1 odds if you want to put your money were your big mouth is!
Chessspawnvt Chessspawnvt 12/7/2016 02:19
I think what we need is a wealthy patron to offer the top two rated players in classical, $5 million each to play a real classical match outside of FIDE and take the WCC title private, never to be given over to FIDE again in a unification match.
weerogue weerogue 12/7/2016 02:16
@ Bright Knight:
I don't see what's so ridiculous about having a tiebreak before the match, for a few reasons:
1. It keeps the drama and the prestige on the Classical portion of the match, rather than pushing it out to the tiebreak section at the end.
2. It will encourage decisive results during the Classical portion of the match and will have an interesting effect on the player's psychology and match strategy and hence lend an interesting narrative to the match.
3. It is commonplace now to have a rapid/blitz tournament before the start of a tournament, often used as both a warm-up and instead of the drawing of lots for the allocation of whites/blacks.

As for your idea about the first player to win having draw odds - I believe this could just as easily have the opposite effect than desired for your point (a): the players become so scared of losing the first game that we get a lot of short, colourless draws to start the match.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/7/2016 01:51
I can see that there are many others in agreement with my opinion that in case of a tie, the World Champion should retain. I believe we are right, otherwise I would have another opinion. If Seirawan and Sutovsky believe that we are wrong for some reason and their ideas are superior, then, besides explaining their ideas in detail (which is nice, btw), I would like to kindly ask them to describe their arguments leading them to the conclusion that the idea is "bogus" (Seirawan) and "unfair" (Sutovsky). They might have plausible arguments, so let's hear them.

I for one will explain my point of view. I think the World Championship should be, first of all, fair to chess, that is, it should be fair to the Chess World, and only after that to the players. The best interest of the chess world is to reduce the chances as much as possible that we will call someone "World Champion" without his or her abilities confirming their status. A rapid match deciding the World Championship is a lottery where the inferior player has serious chances of winning.

My reasoning as of why the World Champion should retain the title in case of a tie: The World Champion has proved he/she is a worthy champion by winning the title previously. But even if the World Champion becomes gradually weaker, he or she still has past glory to bank on and has to tie against a superior player to even have that option. When the World Champion is beaten, the challenger proved that he is even better than the (previous) World Champion. If the challenger is not able to win the match, then we will consider him one of the all time greats, but not a World Champion ("I became World Champion by successfully defending inferior positions arisen from most games due to the Champion's superior playing strength").

When the World Champion retained the title, the challenger actually acted as a challenger. Lékó equalized in the 5th game and won the 8th one brilliantly. The World Champion was in trouble and produced in the very last game the game of the year. And nobody doubted Kramnik's status as a World Champion, not even me, who, as a Hungarian very much hoped that Lékó will win.
Bright Knight Bright Knight 12/7/2016 01:37
A tiebreak before there's even a tie? Hahaha ... that's really funny!

I suggest 16 games as well, but with only one classical tiebreak game when needed. The first player to win a game in the match gains some odds. Say this is Player A. If the match ends in a tie, Player B must win the tiebreak with white, else Player A is the champion.

This ensures that:
a. Since both players will go for the first win, the match will unlikely start with a long series of draws;
b. The 16th game will not be boring since, if there is a tie at that point, Player B will likely go for a win;
c. If the 16 games do end in a tie, the tiebreak will be exciting since Player B must go all out with white.
d. Most importantly, all games will be classical.
Nniimmzzoo Nniimmzzoo 12/7/2016 01:23
Before we decide on any matchformat - we should consider this:

1. Do we stick with the traditional view, that the WCh is HOLDING a title (albeit it is a FIDE-titel), that the challenger needs to win. Or are the players playing for a title, that become vacant the very minute the first moves of the first game are played? Just as it is case in other sports?
With the traditional view I will submit, that is fine with a matchformat, that gives the reigning champion a small advantage such as draw odds - forcing the challenger to do something extra. With a vacant title the match should be on equal terms - and then we need an instrument to solve ties.

2. Do we really want the main title in chess to be won through rapid and blitz games in the course of the match? This time it did favor the champion - and the final result is more or less consistent with the players overall strenght (ratings), so in the aftermath we find it easy to come to terms with it. But what if it had been the other way around? Is it not important, that we ensure, that the winner of title is actually the stronger player at ordinary timecontrols - and not potentially a blitz-shark just strong enough to hold off his opponent?

Personally I think the match conditions of the past were better. The old guys had it right. Such as max. 24 games - winner being the first to reach 12½ point with draw odds to the reigning champion. Then every game would count. It would be exhausting for the players to be sure - but it should not be an easy task to defend or attain the ultimate title.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/7/2016 01:06
@ staleno and weerogue : "(...) to give draw odds to the player holding the highest official FIDE ELO at the start of the WC match (...)" : The advantage would be that it is an extremely simple solution. And it is fair...

I don't mean that I think this is the ideal solution, but it seems to me to be potentially a good one.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/7/2016 01:00
@ GrayDuck :

For the problem of the articulation between Classical, Rapid and Blitz, for the World Championship theme, I see two solutions, at very first view :

1) To keep clearly separated Classical, Rapid and Blitz Championships, but with major changes in format for the Rapid and Blitz championships so as to efficiently promote and develop them.

2) To have FOUR World Championships : Classical, Rapid, Blitz, and Combined (with classical, rapid, and blitz games in the same championship, obviously on equal footing between the three).

Another idea : for me, the greatest difference is between classical chess, on the one hand, and rapid an blitz chess, on the other hand (in classical chess, quality of play is in the forefront ; in rapid and blitz, it is time that is - relatively - in the forefront ; a good example in my view is the tiebreak match between Carlsen and Karjakin : Karjakin's rather - surprisingly, in my view - awful time management was in my opinion a very important factor, and it influenced significantly the course of the match).

This could in turn lead to these two other solutions :

3) Two Championships : Classical and "Accelerated" (or whichever better term that could be used).

4) Three Championships : Classical, "Accelerated", and Combined.

For the 2th and 4th solutions, the problem would be that I suppose it wouldn't be very easy to add a "Combined" World Chess Championship to the other already existing Championships...

But I think that, if it was possible, it would be interesting : as a result, we could have "specialists" (Classical, Rapid, Blitz, or "Accelerated") and "all-rounders".
cmon cmon 12/7/2016 12:02
I like the idea of beginning with rapid chess. What about also ending it with rapid chess. These last games og Carlsen vs Karjakin were incredible good and exciting to watch. So you start the match with 2-4 rapid games and if the match is a tie after the classical games you end it like the last one with another set of 2-4 rapid games. Beginning like this will make the classical games much more exciting since one player will most likely always have to play for a win. And if there is a tie we will have a showdown like this year.
Denix Denix 12/7/2016 11:58
The match was made more exciting and breathtaking during the tiebreaks. Why abolish it?
dengtianle dengtianle 12/7/2016 10:57
Good opinions!
staleno staleno 12/7/2016 10:56
I also have a more radical proposal:

Use the World Cup knockout format to determine the world champion, but with 64 players and longer matches, and distributed over several events. One possible scheme:

Event 1:
- 32 x 6-game matches
- 16 x 6-game matches

Event 2:
- 8 x 6 game matches
- 4 x 8 game matches (quarter finals)

Event 3:
- 2 x 12 game matches (semi finals)

Event 4:
- 16 game final

In all matches, draw odds for highest seed. If a player beats a higher seed, it will take that player's seed for the next rounds.