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 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...).
Balthus Balthus 1/4/2017 11:52
lajosarpad has the solution. He has written it down again and again, under so many relevant articles, in so many well-argued remarks, observations, and mini-essays, but to almost no avail. I think Yasser is just displaying complete neglect for all the torrent of meaningful and considered comments. I wonder what the comments section is for if it is completely unheeded by those arguing for their own pet themes. I am a little dejected to see this.
Martas Martas 1/4/2017 10:24
@A7fecd1676b88 1/3/2017 02:30
If the match is a draw, there should be two co-champions or no champion.
I have read many proposed formats that want to give the title to the champion in case of a tie. Giving the title to somebody who did not win is illogical. Come on.

Before starting to complain about not understanding the logic one needs to understand logic of the other side. The logic of all those proposals regarding tie is different. It's not about giving the title in this case, it's rather about not removing the title from current champion in case of tie. It's nothing illogical, it's proven to be OK by long history (much longer then current tie-break system). At best it might be considered as "not modern", but this is rather a matter of taste then logic.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 10:15
@Petrarlsen

4. Comparison of the challenger's counter-advantage in Seirawan's and my system

If the challenger is allowed to announce he will play with White just before a Black game, then it will induce such a pressure on the Champion, that I think the challenger would be globally favored by the system. However, if the Champion has a reasonable amount of time before the game knowing which color he will play with, then I think you are right in stating that the counter-advantage of the Challenger in Seirawan's system is smaller than the counter-advantage in my system. However, as I already explained in 2., I am convinced it is provable that my system, even if Black is given to the Champion in the first tiebreak game is still lower than the Champion's advantage if the challenger is not much stronger than the Champion. And in the case when the challenger is stronger than the Champion, then he is the deserved winner in the tiebreak. I have shown that in case that the challenger does not have a higher than 50% chance to win in those 2 * n games and win before the Champion, then his chance to win, c < 50% and Champion retains is higher (100% - c) > 50%. This means that the system is fair and logical even if the Champion starts with Black. The counter-advantage of the challenger is smaller than the advantage of the Champion and it is up to opinions whether we prefer to favor the Champion slightly in a more balanced way, or make it more unbalanced in favor of the Champion. We can find both pro and counter arguments.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 10:05
@Petrarlsen

3. The counter-advantage of the challenger in Seirawan's system

The size of the challenger's counter-advantage if he has a last White game is unprovable at this moment. However, if the challenger can choose when to play that White game then this will be a clear counter-advantage to the challenger. The size of this counter-advantage depends on the time limit before the game. If the challenger knows well in advance that he will play White in a game instead of Black and will announce it just before the game, then it could be a decisive factor, as the Champion will have to prepare for every White game with Black as well. This will make him and his team much more tired than knowing the color well in advance. I intuitively think that in this case the challenger will have a greater advantage than the advantage of the Champion to be compensated. However, if the challenger has to announce this at the last post-game press conference before the extra White game, then it should not be greater than the Champion's advantage. So, if Seirawan's idea is to be chosen, I prefer a rule that the Champion should have a reasonable amount of time before each game, knowing which color he will play with.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 09:56
@Petrarlsen

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

If the challenger has higher than 50% chance to be the first to win in 2 * n games than the Champion, then the challenger is better than the Champion and deserves to become the new Champion. If he has a smaller than 50% chance to be the first to win from 2 * n games than the Champion, then his supposed counter-advantage from being the first to play with White is smaller than the Champion's advantage. I already described why I consider accepting the assumption that White has a practical advantage is premature, but even if we accept the hypothesis or successfully prove it as a fact, we can see that the challenger will not have more than 50% chance to win the White game, unless a quasi winning plan for White is found. But in that case we will have to worry about the survival of chess as a game rather than the World Championship Match system and if that will be the case, we cannot expect it to happen for anytime soon.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 09:47
@Petrarlsen

1. Unkind arguments

I perfectly understand you that you were offended by some of the statements A7fecd1676b88 has used, but I think your counter-arguments to them were in similar manner, which is a pity, since you are quite capable of writing high-level arguments and people will not consider them as seriously if you lower your level by writing unkind answers. Don't feed the trolls, but do not call people trolls. They might share their honest opinion in an unkind manner rather than trying to provoke you. We all see who the trolls are if there are any and you damage your reputation earned by previous comments if you call people names. When A7fecd1676b88 tells you that you resigned when you wanted to stop answering him, he has shown that this debate is a fight for him, which must be won. For me a debate is an opportunity to learn and to help others to learn. We all know that ignoring him is not a resignation from the start and the more you try to prove you did not resign, the proof itself will be the more viewed as a resignation. It is not one, but will look like one. I, for one will not ignore A7fecd1676b88, even though I do not welcome the tone he used in some of his comments. I will ignore only the thoughts which are not worth my time, however, if he comes with valuable arguments, I will welcome them.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 09:37
@koko48

I do not agree with you when you criticize people for writing long posts. Sometimes a long post is necessary to properly describe the arguments and even if it is not necessary, there are some people who like to be elaborate. While I agree with you that short posts are valuable, being elaborate is a value as well. So let's respect the style of the friends we are debating with.

I agree with you that saying that people are not as interested in rapid WCC as in the WCC based on comments here is an unproved assumption. However, it has a founding. Since we did not see a founding to the contradicting opinion yet, it is up to the people having contradictory opinion to show us that Petrarlsen's hypothesis is not valid, until then this hypothesis is the best founded opinion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/4/2017 09:31
@A7fecd1676b88

Champion retains is logical. The Champion already proved he is the best player in the world by becoming the new Champion or defending his title. The challenger, as his role name suggests challenges the Champion's position as best player in the world. If he cannot prove that the Champion no longer deserves the title by proving that himself is better, then he has no right to be the new Champion, whereas the Champion's title was not disproved. I understand that you do not agree with this logic, but it IS a logic.

I would also like to kindly ask you to not get personal. When you told @Petrarlsen that nobody is interested in his comments, you were clearly mistaken, as there were many people, including me and you who answered him. So we are either answering comments which are not interesting for us or we, you, me and others are nobodies. I assume that you do not consider many commenters, including you and me nobodies, so the other possibility remains. Why would we answer him if we are not interested in what he has to say?

You told him to get a course in logic. I found his arguments very logical, even though I think he is wrong in assuming that White has a practical advantage. If I am right and he is wrong in this aspect, that does not invalidate his other arguments, does it?

You also criticize him for using ad hominem arguments. You are right here, he indeed used such arguments, but consider the circumstances: you were the first who repeatedly used ad hominem arguments and - hopefully - unknowingly provoked him to use ad hominem arguments. This does not validate his ad hominem arguments, but if you want a high level debate, you might consider changing the way you argued previously and accord the minimal respect to the people you are debating with.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 05:53
@ A7fecd1676b88 : The Troll's Art... "Resignation" : just the word to make your "opponent" (to pick the same metaphor) react. And it works, obviously, as I'm writing this post...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 05:46
@Petrarlsen -- Repeating the ad hominem does not make it less of a fallacy.
Your resignation is duly noted.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 05:38
@ A7fecd1676b88 :

I must admit that you are rather successful as a troll.

You did drag me into a completely uninteresting and pointless debate on a subject furthermore completely unrelated to the World Championship format.

But the best things must end at one moment or another, and now is this moment.

From now on, I will leave you at your trollish occupations... but with other commentators. For me, this is the end...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 05:26
@Petrarlsen -- The crank never changes their opinion does not imply somebody who does not change their opinion on an issue is a crank. Again, take the course in logic so you can at least have some hope of making a logically correct argument.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 05:16
@ A7fecd1676b88 : "The crank never changes their opinion."

This is rather true.

And I've read all your posts under the Seirawan, Sutovsky, and Ashley articles : I precisely noted that, as preposterous as you opinions could be, EVERY TIME, you maintain them, without changing the smallest detail in them. You sometime even resort to affirming completely absurd things, rather than admitting that you can be wrong.

So, following your own words, you really seem to be a crank's role model !
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 04:53
@Petrarlsen - You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own logic, however. You went further
than merely stating an opinion. You stated your opinion, and then made the claim your opinion was in fact logical. And I showed it was not. The crank never changes their opinion.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 04:47
@ A7fecd1676b88 : Smile as long as you want. Everyone can make his own opinion on our exchanges, so it isn't at all a problem for me : there are MANY commentators that have very interesting points of view, and it is their opinion, and not yours, that count for me...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 04:40
@ koko48 :

- "'No one', or no one on this thread?" and "not just the people on this thread".

When, on one of the biggest (and quite possibly THE biggest) chess news website, there is a debate which generates more than 700 commentaries, if this isn't representative of what the chess world thinks, I really wonder what could be representative of it.

And, one more time, there were only two of you, GrayDuck and you, that were proponents of replacing Classical games by Rapid games, under all the Seirawan, Sutovsky, and Ashley articles.

So my conclusion stands about the interest that Rapid and Blitz games generate.

- "(...) If you don't believe me poll the online viewers, not just the people on this thread. I remember what most of the kibitzers were saying on the ICC, during game 4 of the 2012 WC rapid tiebreaks....They were almost all hoping Gelfand would win and tie the match, just so they could see more rapid games...The viewing public was mesmerized for the first time that match (the classical games in 2012 were, for the most part, rather safe and boring)"

Affirmed, but not demonstrated.

"Most of the kibitzers" "They were almost all" "The viewing public was mesmerized" : These are exactly what would be called in Wikipedia "weasel words" : you don't give any precise data ; only your own impressions. How can you think that you will convince anyone with such vague affirmations ???

So your last post doesn't add anything to what you said precedently ; you just affirm one more time, still without demonstrating it, that the 2012 and 2016 Rapid tiebreaks were more interesting than the rest of the 2012 and 2016 matches.

And, in fact, you didn't refute any of the arguments I have given in my two last posts.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 04:32
@Petrarlsen - Repeating your ad hominem does not make it any less of a fallacy.
So I must smile, yet again.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 04:26
@ A7fecd1676b88 : Your last post is quite a confirmation that you really are a troll.

If this last post is not a "deliberately offensive or provocative online post", in accordance to the definition of the Oxford Dictionnary, I really wonder what could be one !! It is in fact really quite a perfect example of its type...

So, obviously, I will not give you the pleasure to enter the endless (and pointless) debate that you are trying to launch with me...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 04:03
@Petrarlsen -- Now I have to smile.
Calling somebody a troll is ad hominem, scarcely a valid argument. It does however, let you try to save face and gives you an out, so you no longer have to defend your illogical argument.
It is the last resort of the refuted.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 03:37
@ A7fecd1676b88 :

Definition of a troll, according to the Oxford dictionnary : "A person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post."

Very obviously, you are one.

And, as they say : "Don't feed the troll".

Therefore, I will not continue this conversation any longer.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 03:13
@XChess1971 -- The simplest reply to the historical argument is to just imagine the first two chess players ever to play a match. There is no history. There is therefore no reason to award a title to the either player in the case of a draw. Neither player has shown themselves stronger. Now take the same two players, but add a history. That should not change our original conclusion that neither is stronger.

Now, let us extend the thought experiment. Let us suppose Carlsen and Karjkin play a match. This should sound familiar. But I don't tell you who the current champion is. The result of the match is a draw. Who is the stronger player and who gets the title? Well, clearly neither player is stronger. The match was a draw. So the logical thing is to award neither player the title. Who is CURRENTLY the strongest player cannot depend on a result that may have happened 3 years ago. It can only depend on the result of the current match.

I am familiar with all the WC matches. The Lasker - Schlechter was a joke. Schlechter needed a plus 2 score to win…which resulted in him taking otherwise unnecessary chances. Botvinnik - Bronstein was also sad. Anybody familiar with the SSSR would suspect that Bronstein,who was so very close to winning, threw the match rather than risk Soviet retribution. Keres probably owed his life to Botvinnik's pull with Stalin, so we suspect something similar in their tournament contests. The WC matches have not always been fair fights. I see no reason to continue the tradition of unfairness, simply for the sake of tradition.
koko48 koko48 1/4/2017 03:12
"And nearly no one is REALLY interested in Rapid and Blitz games"

A preposterous statement

'No one', or no one on this thread?

Your arguments are long winded, but you may do better to use less words and choose them more carefully

The rapid tiebreaks saved the 2016 WC match, and they were the most interesting part of the 2012 WC match....If you don't believe me poll the online viewers, not just the people on this thread

I remember what most of the kibitzers were saying on the ICC, during game 4 of the 2012 WC rapid tiebreaks....They were almost all hoping Gelfand would win and tie the match, just so they could see more rapid games...The viewing public was mesmerized for the first time that match (the classical games in 2012 were, for the most part, rather safe and boring)

However, I don't believe the WC match should come down to blitz games....Rapid chess (particularly at the Super GM level) is the right combination of speed (viewability, drama, 'x' factor) while still being high enough quality to satisfy the viewer who prefers a good chess game
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 02:39
@Petrarlsen -- There is no contradiction. You really should take that logic course.

You claim far more than what others claim. You claim giving the title to the champion is logical in the case of a tie.
It may be true that others want to give the title to the champion in the case of a tie, but they usually cite tradition, or comparison with other sports where a similar thing is done, as their reason. They don't state as you that it is a logical thing to do. To simplify this for you: Just because in boxing, the blunder is committed that the champion retains the title in case of tie, it does not actually follow that is the logical thing to do, that the champion is the better boxer. But the force of tradition is strong, so it self-perpetuates.

People can only be interested in what you say when you make a correct argument. When you make a crank argument, nobody cares, even if your conclusion coincidentally agrees with theirs. In chess terms, Steinitz said it thus: "“A win by an unsound combination, however showy, fills me with artistic horror” An argument, supported by crank illogic, fills us with boredom, if we actually have the patience to read it.

My sentences are comprehensible to those whose native language is English, since native English speakers can trivially correct for obvious typos. But crank arguments can never be attributed to typos. It is just poor logic, and inherently not worth reading.
XChess1971 XChess1971 1/4/2017 02:14
@A7fecd1676b88 I respect your point of view. But throughout history if you drew a match with the world champion then you didn't deserve the title. The world champion earned the title by beating the previous world champion. He didn't earn that title by chance. Unfortunately if you don't beat a world champion in a classical game then you do not deserve to be world champion. There have been players that drew matches, even were winning matches. But in the end couldn't beat the world champion. In a final of a world championship match of course there can not be co-champions. So you beat, you draw, or you loose. But by drawing you don't get anything. While the world champion earned the title by beating the previous champion. So why discredit the world champion. Didn't he have to play better than the previous one? So if you are the challenger and can't play better than world champion, you do not deserve anything. But you can't disqualify the world champion either. also you will see in history that previously world champions were choosing challengers. Nowadays, they can't do it. Why try to distort that as well?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 01:44
@ koko48 (2/2) :

- "(...) most of the GMs/elite players seemed to be in favor of the rapid tiebreaks in the WC match (...)" This is a quite biased assertion. In fact, in the Ashley interview, only Adams and Caruana where favorable to a Rapid (or Blitz) tiebreak. So was unfavorable to the present system. And Anand, Giri, Kramnik, Nakamura, and Vachier-Lagrave only affirmed that the present system suits them - and this doesn't mean AT ALL that they would be unfavorable to any other system.

- You insist (as always) for using Rapid games in the Classical World Championship.

One question : would you find it coherent to use Classical games in a Rapid or a Blitz World Championship ?

If your answer is : "yes", I would not find this logical at all (what can be the meaning to call a World Championship "Rapid World Championship" or "Blitz World Championship" if Classical games are also played ?), but, at least, your positions would be coherent.

If your answer is : "no", then your positions are illogical AND, furthermore, incoherent.

I don't know what would be your answer...

- "FACT: In the two most recent WC matches that went to tiebreaks (2012 and 2016) the rapids were the best and most dramatic part of the match....And yes, they were "real" chess games"

You have a very curious conception of what is a fact !!! What you call a "fact" would, in fact, be called by everyone else a "personal opinion".

How can you affirm as a fact, without ANY argument, that "the rapids were the best and most dramatic part of the match" ? How do you demonstrate it ???

And it doesn't mean anything to say that these games where ""real" chess games" ; the problem is not to determine if these games are "real" chess games, but to decide if it is logical or not to use Rapid and Blitz games in a Classical World Championship ; this is not at all the same problem.

If you prefer, for example, to see Karjakin performing hara-kiri in Rapid games by playing whole series of moves on the 10 s. increment, because of a (surprinsingly) disastrous time-management rather than studying well-played games, I will not discuss your tastes, but I will certainly not follow you in this direction (at least not for a Classical World Championship - it would obviously be completely another matter in a Rapid competition).

And, what is a real FACT and not a personal opinion is that, if you use a 25 mn. + 10 s. time control or a 100 mn. + 50 mn. + 15 mn. + 30 s. time control, the quality of play will not be the same in both cases. This obviously wouldn't be a problem in a Rapid competition, but it is completely inadequate in the Classical World Championship, where the emphasis is by essence placed solely on the games' quality and not on the ability of the players to play quickly while keeping a sufficient quality of play, as in Rapid or Blitz games.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 01:43
@ koko48 (1/2) :

- You feign to take a "rational stance", but, in fact, what you say is as irrational as possible.

In Chess, as elsewhere, the money comes from the public (directly or indirectly). And if the public is not interested, there will be no sponsors and no money. It's as simple as that.

There is no use to use big words ("sacrilege", "traditionalists", "utopian", etc. etc.) ; it is just simple logic : if what you want to "sell" doesn't interest your potential "buyers", it will not work.

And nearly no one is REALLY interested in Rapid and Blitz games (the "chess public" can find an interest in two-or-three-days events, but no more - and I remind you that, as for me, I would be quite interested in much longer events, so I don't even speak for myself).

You are desperately and without any logical reasons trying to sell something that no one wants to buy... this is indeed really not rational at all...

Yasser Seirawan and all of us that defend the idea of a Classical World Championship that would be "classical only" are REAL pragmatics : we are trying to offer to the "chess public" what interests it.

Whereas for you, it is the opposite ; you follow only your personnal preferences, without taking at all into consideration what can really interest the "chess public".

It is not sufficient to PRETEND to be a pragmatic ; if you are in fact exactly the opposite, the illusion will not last long for anyone...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 01:25
@ A7fecd1676b88 : "I have read many proposed formats that want to give the title to the champion in case of a tie." and "Nobody, except you, cares what you wrote because the conclusion is so obviously wrong". This is a frontal contradiction : if many persons propose formats that give the title to the Champion in case of a tie, necessarily, you can't say that nobody cares what I wrote, because I am precisely defending this very same point of view. And, in fact, there is only a VERY small minority of commentators that share you opinion on this point (I've read absolutely all the commentaries under all the Seirawan, Sutovsky, and Ashley articles, so I know what I am talking about), so what you affirm is just, quite simply, plain wrong.

If you have taken courses in logic, you must have forgotten them quite completely, it seems...

"The onus is not on the professor to read the crank's paper." Really, to be so presomptuous and pretentious is completely hilarious... Before thinking to give lessons to others, it would be a good idea for you to write comprehensible sentences ; it would be a good beginning...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/4/2017 01:07
@Petrarlsen -- Nobody, except you, cares what you wrote because the conclusion is so obviously wrong, and as such there is no need for anybody to read your reasoning.

The stronger player, or champion, will be expected to win a match. That is what it means to be the stronger player. Another definition is two equal players will be expected to draw a match. One cannot therefore award the title of champion to a player who did not win the match. Co- champion, perhaps.


The onus is not on the professor to read the crank's paper. But if the crank ever hopes to not be a crank, he should at least try to understand why he is wrong. That is what players do after a game in a post-mortem. They look for their mistakes so they can improve. Hence my advice to you: take a course in logic. Learn to make a logical argument from a few basic suppositions.



Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/4/2017 12:57
@ A7fecd1676b88 :

lajosarpad and I wrote dozen of lines of reasoning on this subject.

Then, nearly a month after, you simply affirm, without any sort of demonstration : "Giving the title to somebody who did not win is illogical." (And this isn't even correctly written ; if, as a tiebreaker, the "draw odds to the Champion" system is used, in the end, the Champion will be considered, according to the event's rules, to be the winner of the match, so, in fact, your sentence doesn't mean anything as it is written - I must say that it seems to be a habit for you to form sentences that doesn't mean anything, because you say, too : "Take a course a logic." ?!?!? Written English doesn't seems to be your forte, apparently...)

This while the purpose of our reasonings was precisely to demonstrate that it is a completely logical and fair solution to give the title to the Champion in case of a tie.

Clearly, it is up to you to answer me, and not the opposite.

And if you don't want to answer, it will simply mean that you don't know what to answer, or that you are too lazy to do it.

This would in fact rather suits me, because I don't find much interest in a debate with a (possibly overgrown) ill-mannered schoolboy.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/3/2017 11:07
@Petrarlsen -- A corollary of what it means to be the better player, or champion, is that such a player will in fact win, not draw a match. Take a course a logic.

You remind of the crank who claims to have refuted relativity, or squared the circle. The professor who gets such unsolicited claims does not even bother reading the drivel the crank sends, it immediately goes into the trash. You start with a premise that is obviously false, and rant that nobody will read it. That is classic crank behavior.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/3/2017 10:23
@ A7fecd1676b88 : I'm quite sorry for you ; if you can't follow a few dozen of lines of reasoning, and attempt to refute it, you have really limited intellectual ability ; it is quite sad for as chess player (if you are really one ?)...

And I'm also sorry to say that your supposed "simple things" are in fact just "stupid things". I wouldn't have said it so abruptly if you were behaving in a civilized manner, but, as it is not the case, I don't see any reason to attempt to say things diplomatically.

I don't know your age, but, in fact, your are behaving quite like an ill-mannered schoolboy...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/3/2017 09:30
@Petrarlsen- If you don't understand that awarding a title to someone who did not in fact win is illogical, then further debate with you is pointless. If you cannot understand simple things, then more complicated discussions are pointless.
I can recommend you take a class in logic, however.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 1/3/2017 07:59
I like how Yasser has enhanced his original proposal: a first step in recognizing how to fill the gap of the "draw-odds advantage in favor of the Champion" (which I would call "black privilege").
koko48 koko48 1/3/2017 05:05
Interesting that most of the GMs/elite players seemed to be in favor of the rapid tiebreaks in the WC match, but the traditionalists posting here all consider it some sort of sacrilege.

My question: Have these posters ever competed at a high level (professional or amateur)? Have they ever tried to make a living from the game of chess, either playing or teaching? Are they really considering the sportive and sponsorship needs of the game, or are they wrapped up in a utopian ideal of "pure" chess?

Also how many of these posters actually support the game financially? Did they actually buy tickets to the WC match, or purchase the app? Or did they just watch for free, like most spectators?

My guess is, if they had ever tried to make a living from the game, or had actually paid to watch games, they would be singing a different tune about the rapid tiebreaks.

FACT: In the two most recent WC matches that went to tiebreaks (2012 and 2016) the rapids were the best and most dramatic part of the match....And yes, they were "real" chess games

Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/3/2017 03:12
@ A7fecd1676b88 :

"Giving the title to somebody who did not win is illogical. Come on."

This is what I posted to MichelDeNostredameDeEchecs in the 2nd page of commentaries of the present article :

"lajosarpad and I already explained with much details why we both consider very firmly that the "draw odds to the Champion" system IS logical and fair in the commentaries under the Sutovsky article (pages 3 to 5 of these commentaries - http://en.chessbase.com/post/acp-proposal-poll/2#discuss) (lajosarpad's approach is rather different from mine, but our conclusions are the same : this system IS a logical and fair system).

Which doesn't mean that I consider this system to be the ideal system ; only that it is a fair system, and thus, that it can be envisaged to use this system without any problem.

You can perfectly disagree with our reasonings, but then it will be up to you to explain why."

What I said then to MichelDeNostredameDeEchecs can perfectly well be applied to you too.

I may add that I find quite strange to assert squarely and arbitrarily an opinion on a theme that has be debated in great lengths before without giving ANY SORT of arguments as you do in your last post. If you think that you are contributing to the debate with such posts, you have indeed a very curious notion of what can be a debate...
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 1/3/2017 02:30
If the match is a draw, there should be two co-champions or no champion.
I have read many proposed formats that want to give the title to the champion in case of a tie. Giving the title to somebody who did not win is illogical. Come on.
joe ryan joe ryan 1/3/2017 01:53
12 games for a World ch match is simply ridiculous. I agree completely with this article.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/3/2017 11:47
@ Keesje :

I globally agree with your last post.

But I would not say that the top players shouldn't participate anymore to FIDE competitions ; we've already seen what can be the consequences with the "split title" period : nothing good come out of it ; the only consequence was to create a big mess, and the real loser, at the end, was Chess itself...

But yes, the top players should protest against the present system... but we can't really do anything about it, if they all prefer to take things as they are, and don't want to question the present situation...

All we can do is to push ourselves as much as we can in the right direction...
Keesje Keesje 1/3/2017 10:54
@Petrarlsen: "One more time, in my opinion, the problem is with the rules, and not with the players."

I don't agree. Only the first part is true: the problem is with the rules. But the rules are made by some people who are not really interested in chess at all and don't even play chess themselves.

Therefore, the real chess players need to change the rules. And that is what real chess players like Seirawan, Sutovski and Ashley are trying to do now.

When I say that the rules need to be changed, nobody listens. Of course - I'm just an amature player! However when Grand Master Seirawan says the rules need to be changed, he rightly get a lot of attention! That is very good.

Even better would be if the world top chess players like Carlsen would do the same thing. Instead of complying to the silly rules and use the silly rules in his advantage, he should stand up like a man. As the best player in the world he should defend our royal game and simply say:

I refuse to play according to the silly FIDE rules for the WCM. Real chess players should set the rules instead of the clowns who are now in charge.