Draws forbidden in Super-GM tournaments

4/1/2005 – When a bunch of world class players get together for a tournament the danger is that there will be a lot of draws. A new organiser who is staging a Super GM event in Sofia, Bulgaria, has come up with a new idea: ban draw offers. The participants have to play on until the arbiter says they can stop. Will this become a fixed feature in chess events?

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Super GM Tournament
in Sofia

World's top six players
clash in the M-Tel Masters

May 11 to 22, 2005
in the Grand Hotel Sofia, Bulgaria

A new tournament is on the horizon, one that is set to challenge the supremacy of Wijk aan Zee, Linares and Dortmund. The M-Tel Masters Super Tournament is part of the ten-year anniversary of the Bulgarian mobile phone company Mobiltel, and is set to take place every year.

For the inaugural event, from May 11 to 22 this year, the participants will be six top GMs, who will play a double round robin at classical time controls. The players are:

Viswanathan Anand India
2786
2
Veselin Topalov Bulgaria
2757
3
Vladimir Kramnik Russia
2754
4
Michael Adams England
2741
7
Judit Polgar Hungary
2728
9
Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine
2700
16

The last column shows their world ranking (Judit Polgar was not on the FIDE world ranking list due to a one-year maternity leave from the game). The tournament reaches the 20th category according to FIDE and, with an Elo average of 2744 will be the strongest this year world-wide. An overall winner of the tournament will be found by tie-break if there is a draw at the top.


Silvio Danailov, one of the main organisers of the M-Tel event

The event is being staged by “Mobiltel” and “Kaissa Chess Management”, an agency run by GM Silvio Danailov, manager of Bulgaria's top GM Veselin Topalov. It will be staged in the five-star Grand Hotel, located in the middle of Sofia, in walking distance of the National Theatre, Art Gallery, Concert Hall, Opera House and all the famous landmarks of the capitol of Bulgaria.

On the rest day Veselin Topalov will give a simultaneous exhibition for chess fans at the garden in front of the National Theater, on ten marble chess tables set up by Mobiltel for the garden. this is the second big chess event sponsored by Mobiltel. In February last year the mobile operator organized a TV exhibition match between the rapid chess World Champion Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov.

No draws allowed!

There is something very special about this Super-Tournament in Sofia. In many events with top players there tend to be a large number of draws. In order to avoid this situation the Bulgarian organisers have simply decided to ban draws from their tournament – more specifically, to eliminate draw offers. This is how it works:

  1. A draw by mutual agreement between the players is forbidden.
  2. No player is permitted to speak to his opponent or offer him a draw
  3. A player can claim the draw only in case of perpetual check, threefold repetition and if the position is a theoretical draw.
  4. The draw offer is made to the arbiter, who is the only person who can decide the outcome of the game.
  5. The arbiter will be advised by a strong Grandmaster.

The chief arbiter of the event is Joaquin Espejo (Spain), deputy arbiters are Boris Postovski (USA) and Panaqiotis Nikolopoulos (Greece). The GM advisor is Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Georgia), FIDE Vice President.

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