Yasser Seirawan: "A Radical Solution"

11/30/2016 – For many chess fans the short draw in game 12 of the Carlsen vs Karjakin World Championship Match was a shock. Now, rapid and maybe even blitz games will decide the match that started with 12 games in classical time-control. Our author Yasser Seirawan finds this "extremely undesirable" and offers a radical solution.

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A Radical Solution

Still reeling from the 35-minute punch of Game 12 of the “Classical” World Chess Championship match, I am writing this opinion article under the duress of disappointment.  As a long-time critic of FIDE’s Rules Committee, I’m fully loath to enter its realm of spirited self-delusion but feel compelled to do so.  Likely, in the morning, after a good night’s rest, I’ll disavow this commentary in whole or in part.  Perhaps even hoping it may self-destruct.  Before today’s shock wears off let us muse about the following…

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

I’ve long considered the “World Chess Championship” title as the crown jewel of the chess world.  As the single most important title it should be handled with courtesy as well as great respect.  Such has not always been the case; hence my numerous criticisms of the Rules Committee.

The chess of today has come a long way since I started shuffling the pieces in 1972.  Nowadays we speak about the “World Chess Champion,” the “World Rapid Chess Champion and the “World Blitz Chess Champion.”  We recognize three different and separate chess disciplines and award a world title to all three according to their time controls and formats.  Very good.  Of the three, the most prestigious is the one that is simply stated as, “World Chess Champion.”  Concerning that title, we speak about Classical Chess.  This distinction confuses even grandmasters as there are numerous Classical Chess time-controls.  We grudgingly understand that a “Classical” game is meant to describe those that last “multiple hours”, as opposed to “Rapid Chess”, which is understood to be a game played in just under an hour, as well as “Blitz Chess”, a game to be played in just under ten minutes…

Back in 1972, the “(Classical) World Chess Championship” featured a 24-game match or, rather, the first player to score 12.5 points won the match.  Later it would become, “the first player to score six wins” before reverting to 24 games.  Then to 16 games and finally to the standard of today:  A 12-game match.

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.

As we have three separate and distinct World Champion titles I find that the situation of solving a tied Classical match (6-6) by playing Rapid Games and then potentially Blitz Games is extremely undesirable.  Imagine Viswanathan Anand being interviewed by a journalist with no knowledge of chess:  “Mr. Viswanathan in 2012 you won the Classical Chess World Championship against Mr. Gelfand.  How did you do it?”  Answer, “After the match was tied in the Classical Games, I beat him in the Rapid Chess tiebreakers.”  A truthful answer to be sure, but confusing for a lay audience.  Why is the Classical Chess Championship title decided by Rapid Games?  And potentially Blitz Games as well?  Very good questions.  It strikes me that the rules governing Classical Chess matches are inappropriate.

Back in 1972 and earlier, the rule was that in case of a 12-12 tie in a 24-game match the winner was the reigning World Champion.  A nice advantage to be sure.  An even better rule favoring the reigning World Champion was the one that entitled him to a rematch in case he lost.  These “champion’s privileges” of yesteryear were done away with, which is why we have the Rapid and Blitz tiebreak today.

Now, with the above background out of the way, here comes my call for a radical solution.  It is motivated by the desire to see Classical Chess and only Classical Chess games featured in the World Championship match:  Let the players have a 13-game match.  The player with the extra game with the Black pieces has “draw-odds” in the match.  The drawing of lots would not feature a blitz match, rather it would be the usual simple affair of drawing colors at the start of the contest.

If we are to entertain such a change to the rules, we must consider its possible effect.  Firstly, if a final Game 13 has to be played, it will be decisive.  No 35-minute long affair.  The game would be played to the last full measure.  At the start of the competition both players would fully understand their circumstances:  someone would be obliged to play for a win as he would, in effect, “trail” in the match.  A player with the White pieces trailing by a point at the start of Game 13 could not win the title, but would be playing for a split prize-fund.

My motivation for making this suggestion is twofold:  Firstly, to keep the titles and the formats separate from one another.  A player wins the World Championship match by playing chess games at Classical time controls only.  Secondly, to avoid disappointment similar to what we had in today’s game.  When the attention of the whole world has been captured, it is of paramount importance to deliver a spectacle.  Not today’s dud.

It is highly likely that such a solution has already been offered by others.  Possibly multiple times.  If that is the case, my apologies for not giving them the credit they deserve.  Thoughtful feedback appreciated.

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jcaleb jcaleb 12/1/2016 01:18
My simple suggestion, after 12 games, the first to win 1 game wins the championship.
The ArabReaper The ArabReaper 11/30/2016 11:12
Seirawan's idea is entertaining indeed, but cannot be taken too seriously. Gladly there are even more radical ways to determine a chess champion. One needs to mention for one, that never before in the history of chess has a drawn match of 24 games been an obstacle to determining who the world championship should be. The only way by which we can understand this incredible insistance upon the shorter matches is that it comes from immense pressure that does not probably originate from "chessic interests' only, from people who are concerned with continuing in a proper way the tradition of world chess matches a la classical way, but that it comes from an ideological point of view of capitalist profit that figures that shorter time controls makes the game more "exciting" and therefore one can have more publicity. However, those deluded, forget that chess is not a football or a Sumo match and that it was the long classical chess tradition that built the whole worldly stature of what a chess world championship represents. I am sorry to bring this in this manner, but who remembers what was the score of the Rapid Games of Ponomariov when he became world champion? Are we sure that Ponomariov should have been the world champion in 2002 for example? or all the "numerous" world championships that are "invented" all the time? In contrast to all the confusion that smaller time controls do when included in a classical match that spoils the game, one cannot forget 90% of the matches , their scores, games and relative importance , one at a time of all championship matches up to the 1972 Fischer-Spassky. These days most of the elite Grandmasters look at chess as a business, as a profession to live by, and many care more about ways to get money with selling their books, DVDs, tournament with huge prizes etc (which is totally understandable) than actually care about preserving the classical time championship 24 hours matches tradition, and many of those especially may feel they have no chance of winning it anyways. This is why a 24 games long match is one of the few sure ways that preserve Chess as an Art and preserves most of all a continuity with a tradition that has been going one for more than a century now.
Zencognito Zencognito 11/30/2016 09:36
Great_Scot 11/29/2016 06:54
"To me, a much better idea would be to play the rapid and blitz tiebreaks FIRST. The classical match is then played as normal, but both players know throughout the match who will win in event of a tie, forcing a greater effort to play lively chess."

Wouldn't that give the person who won the blitz match a powerful motive to quickly draw every game? At that level, I don't really see anyone being able to stop a top GM who's determined to keep the position dull and 100% drawish.
Ty Riprock Ty Riprock 11/30/2016 09:13
There is no practical difference between Yasser's idea & just playing the 13th classical game with the challenger having white, & the champ draw odds. In the old 24-game system, 11.5 all after 23 made the final game Armageddon for challengers. Not an unreasonable edge for the champ in a system of now matches every two years.
dwigley dwigley 11/30/2016 08:08
I like Seirawan's concern for having the proper time control for all games in the world championship. So we should maintain "classical" time controls for tie-break games. However, I also value the standard rules for winning and losing games, and the armageddon rules change that. One can lose if the game is drawn. But something has to give. My preference would be to, first, shorten the length of the games, but have them long enough to still be called "classical" and not "rapid." Perhaps 80 minutes could be the first time control. Second, I would either have the players play 2 game matches each day, where there would be no more rest days, until someone wins OR just have the players play games (two games a day) until someone wins a game. I dislike armageddon rules much more than I dislike shortening the game times.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 11/30/2016 07:47
@ VincentM 11/29/2016 06:06
Why not play the tiebreaks BEFORE the "classical" match? It seems more fair: the final result is decided by classical play. If the loser of the tiebreaks can't win the "classical" match then he doesn't deserve to be crowned champion.

@Great_Scot 11/29/2016 06:54
To me, a much better idea would be to play the rapid and blitz tiebreaks FIRST. The classical match is then played as normal, but both players know throughout the match who will win in event of a tie, forcing a greater effort to play lively chess.

Your idea (although it’s not new) seems to have several followers from the commentators here (so far Syuanjiang, Offramp, ChessTalk, KingDom64). But have you considered the negative effects too?

1. Tiebreak winner will play just to draw even more than how the most cautious player does today: at least today both players are supposed to play to avoid the tiebreak, and we have not a match where one plays to confirm a “tiebreak” and one fights to overturn it.
In other words, the weight of such a tiebreak will become even more heavy than now, while Yasser Seirawan proposal is in the direction to downsize it, cancelling the spurious rapid and blitz games (and even so he is criticized by some commentators that giving Black with draw odds in a 13th classical game is a too heavy advantage).

2. If a player will underrate the importance of such a “starting tiebreak” (let’s suppose it’s a single blitz game and his thoughts will be like “I don’t care about it, I’m a classical chess player an I will do my best in classical games” or “I like this preliminary blitz game and I accept the result of it during, I don’t believe in those objections by that Chessbase commentator…”), and if he will lose the match because of it, be sure he will regret about it (or will swear at its result) more than he would have done playing the tiebreak after the ordinary match: for any high level classical chess player it’s better to regret about his own behaviour in the series of ordinary games which brought to an avoidable tiebreak, rather than about his approach in the first “tiebreak” game which brought to an “unavoidably biased” series of ordinary games.
In other words, it’s better you read this last objection with the usual Yasser Seirawan’s sense of humor, if you’ll never want to conceive you could be the addressee of those loosers’s swear words.

Again, please read my complex approach: https://sites.google.com/site/pcmorph72/articoli/wcc-cycle
Bangalos Bangalos 11/30/2016 07:41
Summarizing the desirable qualities in an ideal solution:

1. It should not be disappointing to spectators
2. It should not be diluted by non classical games
3. Tie break / draw odds are not desirabel

I have a suggestion:

The challenger gets first 6 games as White. He needs to win one of them. Else he is lost.

The defending champion then gets White for the next six games. He has to win at least same number of games. And he has to win them correspondingly earlier than the challenger.

In case of a Tie, the defender would keep the title, but the challenger would get a rematch in 3 months or As soon as he could organize a sponsor.
EL2400 EL2400 11/30/2016 07:26
I am FM also MBA from Israel. ( I also had 1 GM norm).
I think I have the best format and I will give it for free...
1. First I want to say that I don't like shorter and shorter times control. I think also that in this match there was not enuogh times in the endgames. And so the standard of the endgames fall down a lot. In the world cup the knockout (KO) system is good and it make possible to take part for 132 players.
But in WCC final match it is not right at all.

2. The Format that I offer: 12 games match with Classical time control' and as much times as possible.
If the match is 6:6 then will be played another 2 Classical games with the same times control.
The contender will get white in game 13 and black in game 14. So the contender will have 2 tries to win the match.
If it is 7:7 than the world champion will stay the world champion, but the contender will get more money. For example he will get 55% and the champion will get only 45%. ( I want to remind that the right to play in the final worth a lot. For Exaple Gelfand lost a lot of money because he lost 1 Rapid game in 2012 against Anand, in a completly drawn position)

ChessTalk ChessTalk 11/30/2016 06:54

I think people that want a Classical format would prefer as little Blitz as possible and that the match should end on a Classical game. What would be cool is a spectacle that begins with determination of draw odds with heavier emphasis on rapid rather than blitz. Then both players have a chance to recoup during the 12 or 18 Classical games. It doesn't matter if one person is better at rapids and blitz, it just much much better than giving the champion draw odds. I think determining draw odds would make the 12 games more interesting. No more dull chess because someone starts behind and has to take risks. Whats awful is how the 12th game ended up being a routine draw.

Nobody could say that Armageddon determined the winner, only that they were very evenly matched. If Carlsen or Karjakin went into game twelve knowing that they would lose on a draw, they would try harder and take risks and provide us with a real game.
Riemore1 Riemore1 11/30/2016 06:49
I agree with GM Seirawan that change is needed. World Championship matches do NOT need to be settled by rapid and blitz. It is demeaning to the process. The old 24-game match, with the champion retaining title in event of a tie, was a good one, IMHO. Perhaps we could shorten it to 18 games.
Some believe the champion has too much advantage in this system. I disagree. Compare this to another great one-on-one sport, boxing -- whose world championship, heavyweight division, dates back to the same decade as the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort match. If I climb in the ring with the heavyweight champion and, at the end, the judges score it 118-118, it is declared a tie -- and the champion keeps his title. That makes perfect sense to me. You can't be champion unless you beat the current titleholder. It's as simple as that.
The result will be compelling chess -- who can forget the excitement of the Fischer-Spassky, Karpov-Korchnoi and Kasparov-Karpov matches? We need that again!
Jacob woge Jacob woge 11/30/2016 06:43
"Also, we have to decide: what is actually the problem with the current tie-break format?"

In my opinion, there is not one, bur several problems.

1. Chess is about the games. World championship games are replayed a hundred years down the line. Blitz games, on the other hand, are throwaway. It is all about the result, who cares how it came about. That is, simply put, reducing chess to be a mere sport. Chess is much more than that.

2. Armageddon is not even sport. It is a lottery.

3. The mere existance of tie-breaks of short time control reduces the importance of the classical games. We see games with no conflict of interest and therefore no fight. This gets worse as the match comes to a close. When a "classical" format would have increasing tension, this format leads to a "drôle de guerre". Both players sit and wait. Because you can - the tie break is there.

We have seen this before, most notably in the Candidates that led to Anand-Gelfand. Grischuk played no games. Draw as fast a you can, then on to blitz. Games to be forgotten, they are of absolutely no importance - all that remains are the results.

We also see this in tournaments, where last round top board game fizzels out, to general disappointment or worse. Because nobody needs to win. The thing with world ch matches in classical format was that this never happened. One of the players would always have an incentive to try and win the last game played. Not so with tie breaks. There is always the lottery.
razorz18 razorz18 11/30/2016 06:27
I would highly suggest a 15 or 16 round because the more games is better for audience. Then I would favor the past format to be the challenger need to win more if he want to be next champion to promote more exciting games. Then if tie until last round, The World Champion will retain his title but the prize fund is split 40% to Champion and 60% to Challenger because he managed to tie. This will make win-win situation for Champion and Challenger. Only winner can get both.. the World Champion title and more cash than opponent . No Blitz or Rapid game as tiebreak.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2016 05:54
@ nbeqo : I don't agree with the fact that "Anand-Gelfand and Carlsen-Karjakin proved that classical chess is dead."

In the first Kasparov - Karpov match (1984), there were a string of 14 consecutive draws, and another of 17 consecutive draws.

Even going back so far as the 1927 Alekhine - Capablanca match, there was a string of 8 consecutive draws.

So there is nothing new with long series of draws...

And, therefore, I don't see at all why we would abandon Classical Chess.

I quite like Rapid and Blitz chess, but could we imagine that, in twenty years, chess players would study Rapid or Blitz games of today ? The answer seems to me obvious... If we want to continue to have really memorable games, nothing can replace Classical Chess, in my opinion.
chessbusta chessbusta 11/30/2016 05:27
Here is an even more radical solution.

Make every game decisive. So, if the classical game for the day is drawn, then 3 blitz games are automatically scheduled to take place after that game. Best 2 out of 3 of the blitz games gets the 1 point score for the classical game. The blitz games don't account for any scoring points, they just figure out who gets the 1 point for the classical game.

This does two things. First, it makes it so that players will try to avoid drawing lines and play sharper chess to avoid playing a blitz game for a critical point, and it makes it so that decisive games are always the outcome. No more boring ends to days because of draws. This means that every press conference after each day would have something fun to talk about. Think of the blitz games like a shootout in hockey.

This might make chess exciting enough for more global press coverage.
MOLINI MOLINI 11/30/2016 05:24
The champion must to win, must superate the current world champion if the challenger draws the match, the title has to be for the current world champion because that means that the challenger is not better than the actual champion and ofcourse the number of games should be more than twelve.
MOLINI MOLINI 11/30/2016 05:23
The champion must to win, must superate the current world champion if the challenger draws the match, the title has to be for the current world champion because that means that the challenger is not better than the actual champion and ofcourse the number of games should be more than twelve.
MOLINI MOLINI 11/30/2016 05:23
The champion must to win, must superate the current world champion if the challenger draws the match, the title has to be for the current world champion because that means that the challenger is not better than the actual champion and ofcourse the number of games should be more than twelve.
nbeqo nbeqo 11/30/2016 05:00
Anand-Gelfand and Carlsen-Karjakin proved that classical chess is dead.
Here is my radical solution,
1 week match played for 4 days, Saturday - Wednesday, Tuesday off, 3 games a day with 5, 15, 30 min time control each, 5 and 10 min games in the morning and the 30 min game in the afternoon, in the end, if the score is even, a panel of arbiters will decide the winner (like they do in boxing).
David Clarke David Clarke 11/30/2016 04:49
Draw odds with Black in a classical game with equal playing time is far too great an advantage for players at this level. This idea is suitable only for one of Chessbase's amusing fake posts on 1 April.
However, the concept could work if Black's playing time was limited, though the amount of time is critical. One solution is for each player, prior to Game 1, to submit a bid for how much time they would want as Black. If Game 13 is needed, the player who bid lower gets Black and Draw odds and the amount of time that they bid while White gets the full time used in the first 12 games.
This concept preserves most of the Classic time control, is completely fair to both players and adds considerable drama when Game 13 is needed.
syuanjiang syuanjiang 11/30/2016 04:30
First of all, 12 classic games is too short; 16-24 games should be played.
Second, I have a suggestion: we should let them to play rapid/blitz games first to determine the tie-break! Then play classic games, I am sure we will not see short draw in the last game!
KingDom64 KingDom64 11/30/2016 04:21
I think is better mixing blitz game and classical game, because playing first blitz game and then classical could favour too much one of the players, I want a good balance between the two format. For a chess player is very difficult change mind set. Both preparing for blitz game and classical at the same time will be much difficult, also the score and opening choice could eventually change faster.
Offramp Offramp 11/30/2016 04:19
I think a simple solution is to have the tie-break match first, on a day before the 12 games begin. That way one player knows he will lose if the score is 6-6 after the twelve games.
bald eagle bald eagle 11/30/2016 04:04
The incumbant must win the match to retain the title.

That means - to remain World Champion you must actually BEAT the challenger.
mcosoli mcosoli 11/30/2016 02:42
18 games. Challanger should beat the Champ. Chess World Champion is an epic figure, the god of chess, like Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov .... to be remembered for centuries. Winning the title should be extremely hard and new Champ has to beat old one. It's not unfair, is the only way to stay forever.
mcosoli mcosoli 11/30/2016 02:30
Chess World Champion is the god of chess and should be remembered for centuries. Not like champions that won a tournament like Ponomariov....good players winning a tournament. So world championship should be decided by a match with a challanger, like now. And the challanger, to win, should beat the world champion in an epic battle. 18 games and the champion retain the title with 9-9. A bit unfair but getting the title of Chess World Champion has to be extremely hard. Only way to be remembered forever.
tsedawa tsedawa 11/30/2016 02:28
here is my radical solution. its actually emerges from the game of chess itself by having a slight advatage for the white. so here it goes.
there are still 12 games. first let us understand that the champion is the "defender". so let us give him more black games to defend. let's say 3-4 more black games. if he is truly a worthy champion he should be able to defend his title with black odds in a classical game. the challenger should suppose to be better than the world champion if he is to become the champion. in that case he should be able to beat the champion at least with white odds. if not he is not a worthy world champion. may be he is not a worthy challenger as well, that i don't know.
tsedawa tsedawa 11/30/2016 02:12
ma radical solution is let us have 12 and half games
ChessTalk ChessTalk 11/30/2016 02:07
"KingDom64 11 hours ago
The best solution for me it´s INSERT BLITZ GAME BETWEEN CLASSIC GAME right from the start of the match!"

Very nice suggestion. But I think the players should play the tiebreaks first instead of last. Then they will have to play hard throughout the match if they lose the tiebreaks...it will infuse some excitement into the classical games...no more dullsville.
flachspieler flachspieler 11/30/2016 01:21
Dear Mr. Seirawan,
thanks for your essay and your proposal. I think it goes in the right direction. However, in my eye 7 white vs 6 white is too small a margin.
I would propose the following modification:
alltogether 13 games; before the match a komi-bidding procedure takes place. Each player (A and B) declares (in secret) which number of games with White would be balanced for the player who gets the title after a 6.5 vs 6.5 in the end. When the declarations are opened, two cases may happen:
(i) Both players propose the same number. Then a coin flip decides who gets the side with less White games.
(ii) A proposes m wins, B proposes n wins, with m < n. Then player A gets Black in n games and becomes World Champion if the final score is 6.5 for each player. [Of course, in case of large difference n-m > 1 it might make sense to chose (n+m)/2 rounded upwards or downwards (rounding by coin flip).]
By such a procedure both players should be happy.
BarOni BarOni 11/30/2016 12:40
This is by far the DUMBEST suggestion I have ever seen!! I agree that the current system isn't perfect, or even good. But this one?? Drawing odds?? This is a joke. To draw with black is much much easier. The point in armageddon game is that he has a one minute less so it makes sense but here?? Dumb as hell.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/30/2016 12:19
"In your project, I think what could be an incentive, for the Champion, would be to let him have the same portion of the prize fund than the other players."

Absolutely! That's what I meant from the start. I was just worried that might still not be enough of an incentive... But it probably should be, indeed - that's what I figured as well. :) (And, if people were to complain fewer qualifying spots would be available, you could just have a 10-player double-RR candidates, instead of an 8-player one. Like the first one, in Budapest, in 1950...)

"perhaps the ex-Candidates Tournament could be called : "World Championship Tournament", and the following match : "World Championship Match""

I would have no problem with this, but I'm worried there might be some confusion - people claiming there were two different champions, and such... I'd call it something like "World Championship Semifinal", to avoid any such issues. But, anyway, this is a minor problem. I'm sure they'd find an appropriate name! :) They couldn't possibly stumble on that... (I know they're not actually going to do it, or even read any of this - I'm speaking theoretically, of course.)

"And when I see something that I approve or disapprove on a ChessBase article, I try to comment on it quickly, because after, no one (or nearly no one) reads or writes anything under it"

I know. :) Like I said, I should've checked back on it at the time, but have been surprisingly busy myself, for this time of the year.

[Also, and I may have said this before: I, personally, have absolutely no problem with the champion just getting draw odds, like most people seem to want. It's not strictly fair - maybe in the long run, like someone suggested, I don't know -, but, to be honest, I couldn't care less, since I'm not directly involved and never will be - and it does solve the unexciting draws issue, as much as that's possible. But, if I were involved, I'd be lobbying for my solution instead, of course...]


"If you want to divide a cake fairly, one person should cut it, and the other person will pick his piece. That way neither will have a bigger piece."

Funny thing is, that's also unfair! It gives a pretty serious advantage to the second person, because, unless the first person cuts the cake perfectly into two equal halves (which I assume is at least not trivial to do - I don't cut cakes too often), the second person can always pick the bigger half, and never the smaller one, thus having a clear edge each time - unless he evaluates their dimensions incorrectly, of course... but the point is, that would be his mistake, and probably not an easy one to make. In any case, whenever the cut is clearly imbalanced, he gets a big advantage, which should more than make up for the times he doesn't pick the microscopically bigger half. (Same applies for setting the clocks and colours - obviously, the second player will always choose, at best, the more advantageous setup to him, or, at worst, one of two equal setups.)

"this must be done at the beginning of the match. one guy gets 7 whites and the other gets 6 whites. the one with 7 whites has to win the match and the one with 6 whites will be announced the winner if the match ends 6.5-6.5."

Again, this would put whoever gets 7 whites at a clear disadvantage, no matter by what means it's determined who that is.
Denix Denix 11/30/2016 11:55
Good one GM Y Seirawan. Couldn't believe you can still make brilliancies at this time. This could easily be part of "Winning ..." Chess book series.

Again there is somebody's lucky number 13!!!
BAP BAP 11/30/2016 11:44
I like the idea very much and would suggest 2 slight modifications: the match should go over 17 games. The Champion will get black in the last game automatically, independent who starts the match with which colour.
Restdays after 4 games. If the match is tied, the champion keeps his title.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2016 11:27
@ PGMatthews : For me, it is exactly the opposite. The fact that, in chess, there are more than 50 % of draws at a high level, in classical games, means that each win has a real value. If every game ends itself in a win for one or the other player, a win doesn't really mean anything anymore ; the slightest difference will convert itself into a win. While in chess, with the high percentage of draws, when a player wins, it means that he really had to battle to come out of the "draw zone". So, for me, chess isn't at all, as you said, " the game of how not to lose", but quite the opposite : the game of how to really win ; to win, and to fully deserve it.
peterfrost peterfrost 11/30/2016 11:24
Agree entirely that it is totally inappropriate for the classical world champion to be determined by non-classical games. However, I have no issue with the old rule of "drawn match world champ keeps title". Sure, it's a significant advantage, but I like the idea that a challenger has to beat the champ to take his throne. But make it 16 games... 12 is too short, especially with the arrangement I suggest.
vinniethepooh vinniethepooh 11/30/2016 11:15
fightingchess 11/29/2016 05:53
this must be done at the beginning of the match. one guy gets 7 whites and the other gets 6 whites. the one with 7 whites has to win the match and the one with 6 whites will be announced the winner if the match ends 6.5-6.5.

Great suggestion! FIDE should seriously consider it.
MickRiding MickRiding 11/30/2016 10:41
Like it. Whatever you propose somebody will find a flaw, but rarely propose something different and/or better. We have Rapid Play and Blitz champions. This proposal is as good as it gets for me. The alternative is the champion retains his/her title in the event of a tie. Something simple and keeping the match classical.
Martas Martas 11/30/2016 10:21
ssdsnd - Solution: All classical games in Fischer random format.

Why not draughts?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 11/30/2016 09:56
I agree with Seirawan that the World Championship decided in rapid is not a good format.

The proposal would certainly be an improvement over the current situation, but I think that since the World Champion is the king of chess, the challenger should play in a way that the World Champion is actually challenged. So the World Champion should retain his title in case of a tie. The challenger therefore would need to win more than the World Champion, which would motivate him to play fighting chess. If the challenger has more points, then the World Champion would be on the verge of losing his title and therefore he will be the one motivated to play fighting chess. If all games are drawn, so be it, the Champion retains.
svr svr 11/30/2016 09:26
If you want to divide a cake fairly, one person should cut it, and the other person will pick his piece. That way neither will have a bigger piece. Same in a chess match: after 12 games, one player should set the clocks to whatever times he wants (as long as the total time makes it a classical game), and he should also set the rule on who wins the match in case of a draw. Then the other player chooses which side, black or white, he plays.