The draw problem – a simple solution

by John Nunn
11/10/2005 – Recently Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen made a very radical solution to the problem of too many draws in chess. This led to a vigorous debate amongst our readers – we bring you a selection of their often very interesting letters. But we start off with the voice of reason: John Nunn analyses the problem and proposes a much simpler solution.

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The discussion continues...

NunnEvery so often someone raises the matter of the frequency of draws in chess. There are two versions to this complaint: one is to take issue with draws in general, and the other is to object to the frequency of short draws.

I have little sympathy with the first version. The draw has always been part of chess, and most people believe that if a game is played correctly by both sides then a draw is the inevitable result. If someone doesn’t like draws in chess, then perhaps they should take up another game in which draws are less frequent or non-existent. It is unreasonable to insist that a game which has given pleasure to millions over a period of centuries should be fundamentally changed merely because someone has a phobia about draws.

On the other hand, to complain about short, peaceful draws is in many cases valid. Chess is one of the few sports or games in which the players can at any moment simply agree not to continue the game. This is a privilege which should not be abused. However, one should keep criticism of short draws in perspective.

There is a difference between the top grandmasters and those lower down the rating list. Top GMs (say the top ten in the world) make a comfortable living from chess and will normally be paid an appearance fee (or guarantee) to play in a tournament. In this situation, it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to display their skill to the best of their ability, which is after all why they are being paid an appearance fee.

The situation is different lower down. In the current austere chess climate, even quite highly-rated GMs struggle to make a living, and if a quick draw guarantees next month’s mortgage payment and thereby a roof over their family’s head, it is perhaps understandable that they should give way to temptation. Most of those who criticise quick draws have a regular salary and find it hard to appreciate how uncertain the life of a professional player can be. Chess journalists who are lucky enough to receive a regular income from their column(s) are especially prone to this.

In the case of participants in Open tournaments who have not been paid an appearance fee, I don’t think there is any real reason to criticise short draws. If the players think it is in their best interests to agree one then they should just go ahead. These players are taking their chances on an equal basis to everyone else and there is no more reason to complain about two GMs agreeing a quick draw than two 1700 players at the other end of the hall.

Given that short draws are often discussed, it is reasonable to ask how serious a problem they are, and whether they are becoming more or less frequent. In the following discussion, I will take a ‘short’ draw to be one in 25 moves or less and for each event I will quote two figures: the percentage of games in the tournament ending in draws and the percentage ending in ‘short’ draws.

The Linares 2004 event has become notorious for its high draw percentage (79% draws and 33% short draws), but is this typical? Here are the figures for some other recent super-tournaments:

short draws
Linares 2004
Wijk aan Zee 2005
Linares 2005
Dortmund 2005
San Luis 2005 World Championship

As can be seen, the Linares 2004 event was exceptional both for its draw percentage and for the number of short draws. The San Luis tournament, which has been generally viewed as a fine example of fighting chess, has percentages which are in line with those of other recent super-tournaments.

If you have a group of players of roughly similar strength, it is of course inevitable that many games will end in a draw; what seems to me more important is that the games are genuine fights, and indeed many of the draws from San Luis were fascinating struggles.

It is interesting to see how things were in the past. If you go back to the pre-1940 era, then you have the problem that there were few super-tournaments along the lines of those today, since events tended to have a much wider range of strengths. Even such a great tournament as Nottingham 1936, which included Botvinnik, Capablanca, Euwe, Fine, Reshevsky, Alekhine, Flohr and Lasker, also contained the British players Tylor, Alexander, Thomas and Winter, who were at least 300 Elo points weaker than those listed earlier.

Of course, this pushes the draw percentage down considerably and the figures for Nottingham 1936 were draws 41% and short draws 15%. If you remove the 4 British players, the percentages jump to draws 54% and short draws 25%. New York 1927 was one of the old tournaments most similar to a contemporary super-tournament, and there we have draws 60% and short draws 15%. These percentages are not wildly out of line with those for the 2005 super-tournaments, so I am not sure how much evidence there is to support the hypothesis that ‘over-developed opening theory’ is responsible for a high percentage of short draws.

In many ways the problem of short draws has been much reduced over the past 20 years. If you want to see some high draw percentages, just take a look at the super-tournaments from the mid-1980s. Reggio Emilia 1986/7 is a fine example, with 78% draws and an amazing 42% short draws. Even the presence of well-known fighting players often couldn’t overcome the generally peaceful attitude of the time. Linares 1983, with Miles and Larsen participating, nevertheless managed to rack up 35% short draws. The period in which Kasparov was world champion led to a considerable change in general attitudes, with a new fighting spirit becoming evident. The generation following Kasparov has, with one or two notable exceptions, carried on this tradition with the result that draw percentages are back where they were in the pre-1940 period.

Accordingly, I don’t think there is the huge problem with short draws that some people imagine. I won’t comment on this or that proposal to reduce the number of short draws; however, it is worth noting that many of these would fundamentally alter the game of chess, quite possibly for the worse. I do not think that the present situation, which is in fact relatively favourable, justifies such extreme measures.

As for my own suggestion, it is really quite simple. I am constantly astonished at how often tournament organisers invite noted draw specialists to their event, and then throw up their hands in horror at the number of quick draws that ensue. We all know who the drawing experts are, and if you don’t know then it doesn’t take much work with ChessBase to find out. It is up to organisers to invite players who show fighting spirit to their events. The category of a tournament isn’t everything, and organisers could be more imaginative in inviting slightly lower rated players who show imagination and fighting spirit. When the drawing masters see their invitations dry up, it might encourage them to change their styles.

Feedback on the Leong/Weiwen anti-draw plan

Once again we have received a very large volume of letters from our readers as a reaction to the article A Cure for Severe Acute Drawitis by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen. Once again we draw your attention to the fact that it is hard, very hard, to go through all of them with full editorial commitment. We have to use a semi-automatic system to make a selection, which does not reflect any negative value ascribed to individual letters that may be omitted [translation: we can't read them all carefully, so some may be left out for no good reason]. In this instance we did try to include all letters which made interesting or imaginative counter-proposals. It is a long read, but definitely worth-while. Click here for a printer-friendly version of this article.

Gregor Bombek, Zalec, Slovenia
I'm sorry, but I just can't believe what I'm reading. A draw is a legit score of a chess game. Forcing blitz matches to resolve drawn games is making a bigger mockery of a tournament than the draws itself. All in all, throughout history, the chess players were blamed for the multitude of draws... At the level super GMs play today it might just as well be in the... game itself. So, we'll just have to accept draws as part of the game... or take up another hobby alltogether...

Michael Da Cruz
A sudden death games, as a Cure for SAD (Severe Acute Drawitis) sounds like a terrific idea to me. And congratulations to our Singapore friends for this

David Dennis, London, England
I propose that players make sealed bids for the white pieces. Lowest bid wins. For example: Kramnik bids 0.9, Topalov bids 0.85, Therefore Topalov gets the white pieces. Game scores as follows: Topalov win: Topalov gets 0.85 points, Kramnik 0.15; Draw: Topalov gets 0.425 points, Kramnik 0.575; Kramnik win: Topalov gets 0.0 points, Kramnik 1.0. I've no doubt the precise scoring system can be improved.

Geoff Marchant, London, England
My reaction to this proposal is that it is pretty radical and would be complicated to decide prize-money at the end of a tournament. But it might work! I thought of a simpler (but probably flawed) alternative. Since we're really looking at professional tournaments, why shouldn't the individual organisers simply change the prize structure? For example 50% could be based on what a player's score is in a tournament and then 50% based upon simply the number of moves that the player has played throughout the tournament. The more moves the more money. But then I guess we'd have to check that players don't make pre-arranged 100 move draws, or play on in King versus King positions!! Anyway, thanks to Ignatius and Leung for making us think about this problem seriously.

Greg Koster, St. Charles, Illinois, USA
The most remarkable series of short draws ever was Kasparov v. Karpov in 1984-85. And perhaps the most remarkable short draw took place in London 2000, where Kasparov, two points down with three games to go agreed to a 14-move draw with the white pieces.

But it makes no sense to blame Kramnik, Topalov, Karpov or Kasparov, four highly intelligent men acting within the rules for what they see as their best interests.
Until you change the rules, ranting against short draws punishes "virtuous" players (who exhaust themselves in playing out drawish positions "for the good of chess") and rewards "selfish" players (who will ignore the rants and, with short draws, save their energy).

But how to change the rules? A 6/5 blitz playoff at the end of a drawn classical game will result in the better blitz player working the classical game for a draw. A monetary punishment for draws rewards crappy play and punishes hard-fought well-played games between top-level opponents.

Why not use the anti short-draw methods which have proven successful? For events leading to the world championship, the old interzonals and candidates events, Dortmund 2002, San Luis 2005, there's never been a lack of fighting chess.

For "exhibition" tournaments, Corus, Linares, Dortmund, employ the Sofia rules and modify them over time when we have more experience with them. Stop blaming the players for acting sensibly within the rules. Change the rules for the better and the players will change for the better.

Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, Tehran, Iran
I read the new system that Mr. Leong suggests. The reasons are correct. But last month I suggested another system that I think is more logical: Every game played between two players has a total of seven pointw. If one side wins then we have case A below. If the game is drawn they play a rapid game with reverse colours (B). If that is again drawn they play armageddon (C).

A. (7-0) every game will have 7 point and winner of the main game will have 7 point and loser 0.

B- (5-2) In case of draw in the main game, winner of the rapid games will have 5 points and the loser 2.

C- (4-3) In case of draw in the rapid game, the winner of the sudden death blitz (SD) game will have 4 points and loser 3.

Svein Solvang, Akrehamn, Norway
The idea of Leong and Weiven to not accept a draw as a final chess result, is not a good one. The concept of drawing colours for a blitz playoff whenever the main game ends in a draw, reminds me of a similiar try in Norwegian football (soccer) some years ago. For some seasons the total amount of scored goals had been very low. To compensate for this, no match was allowed to be a draw. If you won or lost the match within the 90 minutes available, you got three or zero points, respectively. In the case of a draw after 90 minutes, the result was decided by penalty kicks, giving two points to the winner and one for the loser. It was very strange to watch football that season! Needless to say, but the concept was only tried for one season and no other country in the world should ever try it. We can't change the game of football or chess just because of spectators and money interests.

I wonder why Leong and Weiwen's did not take their proposal a step further: Do not allow classical time control. Instead all of us should only be allowed to play blitz games. That would be more fun and give even more money/sponsors, wouldn't it? We didn't have to wait so long for the moves either! No, let us keep it simple. Do as in Sofia with no draw offers or do not allow draw offers until move 30. That may work. But please, let us not destroy chess with the idea of not accept a draw as a final chess result.

Yngvar Hartvigsen, Luster, Norway
You cannot make rules against draw, but you can reward decisive results.
This can be done by changing the point system, or by changing the distribution of the prizes.

1. The point system. In Norway the Soccer League many years ago changed the point system, which used to let one victory equal two draws, so that now a victory gives 3 points, while a draw gives one point. I don’t know how this is done in other countries, but I am sure that nobody in Norway would consider going back to the old system. This can be done in chess also, to decide the ranking in a tournament, although in ELO-calculations a win would still equal two draws.

2. The prize distribution. The prize fund can be divided into two parts (not necessarily equal!). One part can be called the “Points Prize”. The players with most points share a fair part of it, the players coming next on points share a part of the remaining and so on. This is how the whole prize fund is usually distributed today. The second part can be called the “Wins Prize”. The players with most wins (draws and losses not counting) share a fair part of it, the players with one win less share a part of the remaining and so on. Of course there will usually be players who get a share of both prizes.

It is important to notice the flexibility of the system! An organizer could try dividing the fund 80-20, and the next time use another proportion, depending on what is learned from experience and the reactions on the experiment.

It should also be noted that this do not reduce the already small prize funds, it merely changes the distribution, so that a little more of the money goes to the players that delivers what the sponsors and spectators have payed for.

Tom Neal, Atlanta, GA, USA
Another solution: Pay for wins. Half the prize money goes to 1st, 2nd, in the normal fashion. The other half gets divided by total wins and payed out on that basis. Or, We could go to random, where finding the draw would be fairly interesting.

Mark Vogan, Houston, TX, USA
I propose a simple solution to the draw problem. Rather than financial penalties for draws we should go straight to the heart. A draw is worth 1/2 point. Let's make it worth 1/4 point! Player A plays a tournament with 1 win, 2 draws and 1 loss and scores +2. Player 2 plays a tournament with 2 wins and 2 losses and scores +2. Under my proposal, Player 2 would still score +2, but player A would only score +1.5. Suddenly it is worthwhile to go the distance.

Vijay Raj, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Chess is an art, science, sport and entertainment. The primary goal of an organisation promoting this game is, I believe, to create rules which will promote the quality of its play. Having a blitz play-off to create a winner from participants suffering from an acute desire to draw their games will not increase the quality of games, but would instead frustrate/discourage players who are brilliant under classical time-controls from playing because they may not fare as well in blitz. In addition, the probability of the strongest player in a tournament not winning it would also increase.

I also think that there would be a sudden drop in brilliancies occuring over the board - brilliancies which have been the legacy of great players of the past, and whose play many have studied to gain greater insight into the ancient game. To play brilliant games, one needs to be objective in his/her treatment of the various positions that may arise over the board (of course this does not mean that risk-taking is discouraged, only that it becomes more calculated). I fear that a rule imposing the suggested blitz play-off may serve to cloud one's objectivity, and this may not be synonymous with quality. I believe that many of Karpov's, Petrosian's and Capablanca's (amongst others) brilliant games may not have crystallized had such a rule as blitz play-off been in force during their time.

A draw is an integral feature of chess, and one should not seek to eliminate it from existence, but rather minimize its appearance or abuse.

However, I understand that it is also important to preserve the entertainment and sporting value of Chess. Disallowing a draw before the 30th (or 35th?) move should go along way to achieve this. Perhaps a team of experienced grandmasters can be assembled for important tournaments to sniff out premature draws and visit the relevant participants with appropriate penalties. Such a team would also be able to award brilliancy prizes to deserving candidates.

Fischer Random Chess is yet another way to reduce the appearance of draws in Chess (especially since skill should be the decisive factor in determining the winner and not opening preparation done at home - which preparation is nowadays computer-aided anyway). After all, wasn't the queen given a dramatic boost in her powers a few centuries ago to make the game more exciting?

Richard Morris, Swindon, England
I have just read the proposals by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen for reducing the number of short draws in chess by using extra blitz games to give a decisive result. I am personally unconvinced by this solution as it is very clear that a player's blitz strength can be markedly different to his/her strength at classical time controls, and surely when a tournament is played at classical controls one wants the winner to be the player who is best at that time control, not the one who is best at blitz.

Furthermore, I have another simpler solution to propose (though I have no idea whether this is an original thought or not): how about reducung the score for a draw from 1/2 to 1/3 of a point? This would give a huge incentive for players to win games as a player would now require 3 draws to compensate for a win by a competitor. It also has the advantage of being wholly based on incentive rather that on arbitrary additional games or financial disincentives, and is therefore an essentially positive solution to the problem.

This is effectively what happened some years ago in English soccer when 3 points were given for a win rather than 2 and it did serve to reduce the number of boringly drawn games and to generally increase the amount of attacking play. The only drawbacks I can see are: 1. that it would significantly affect the rating system, but I cannot belive that this is insurmountable, 2. that it would only work for tournaments and not matches.

Daniel Masters, Columbia
The fundamental problem (there are loads of practical ones) with this suggestion is that blitz chess is not chess, and not a legitimate means of determining the result of a classical chess game. You might as well have the players decide the result by mud-wrestling. If this idea were put into practice, blitz-experts would only have to play for the draw, and then win the point in the playoff. Anand could limit his study to opening lines that end in 3-fold repetition. And his opponents would have to ferociously play to win, even in drawn positions, since a draw would effectively be a loss. There are better suggestions. For instance, making a draw worth .4 points seems simple and feasible.

Omid David Tabibi, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Today I read the suggested cure for SAD on your website, but there is a much simpler option that is not brought up. When more and more football games ended in draws, shortly before the 1994 World Cup FIFA adopted new scoring system, awarding the winner 3 points instead of 2 (before then, this system was used in Britain only). Or in other words, in case of a draw, each side gets 33% of the point instead of 50%.

Why can't this method be used for chess as well? The way it is today, if out of 10 games you draw all of them or win 5 and lose others, you will end up with the same final score. But if the football system of 0/1/3 is adopted, winning 5 games would give you 15 points, while drawing all games would leave you with a only 10 points. This can result in a dramatic drop in the number of tournament draws that are resulted from the players' unwillingness to fight.

And the best thing about this "cure" is that there is no need to make any changes to the rules of tournament chess (e.g, adding sudden death, etc), and can be implemented by merely changing the scoring system, thus making it much easier to adopt.

John O'Connell
On the subject of chess draws I would like to remind the chess community of how Soccer officials solved the problem. Back in the 1970s draws in first division (yes it was first division then) was a major problem. Games became uninteresting and results were predictable. To encourage teams to fight for a win the points system was changed. So instead of getting 2 points for a win, the awarded 3 points.

If we apply this to chess then players should be awarded a half point for a draw and 2 points for a win. This would encourage players to search harder for that extra one and a half points. Of course this system would have no advantage in a two-player match.

George Maksacheff, Melbourne, Australia
A good way to discourage short or agreed draws is to give the winner of a game an extra half point. It works in soccer where the winning team gets 3 points for a win (a draw receives 1 point)

Freeman Ng, Oakland, California, USA
Another idea, which would only work for tournaments, and not matches: Draws earn each player less than a half point. .4 points for example.

Jo Han Yeoh, Stafford, UK
I just wanted to propose a simple method of discouraging draws in chess. Why not award 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss? It provides a good incentive for players to go all out for wins and it works reasonably well in football league.

Samuel Leyva, Texas, USA
It seems to me that everyone has overlooked a simple solution to this problem. FIFA (in Football) changed the point value of wins some time ago in order to encourage more decisive results, with the practical effect being that drawn matches no longer represented half of a win--and thus did not benefit either side nearly as much as it had before. Chess could and would benefit from adopting the same Point System (3 pts. for a win; 1/2 pt. for a draw) without having to adjust the rules about short Grandmaster draws at all. Wins would just become more valuable and that's that. Would it work? Of course it would; it worked for Football didn't it? My only question now is why has no one thought of it before?

Jan van Leeuwen, Kota Kinabalu
I wonder why everybody comes up with the most exotic of solutions for the problem of quick draws, while there is a very simple measure that has been succesfully applied in many other sports and would probably even be more effective in chess: award 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. No rules need to be changed at all. And even for the purpose of rating calculation, a simple formula would suffice.

Steve Ormerod, Darlington, England
Why not introduce as a standard across all competitions a 2 points for a win and 0.5 points for a draw rule? Soccer did something similar and have stuck with it so its clearly been successful.

John Apostolopoulos, Athens, Greece
Here is my proposal, taken from UEFA and football: Win 3 points, Draw 1 point, Loss: 0 points. It is easy and we do not press players, neither change anything in the game. Just the points :-)

Peter Todorov, Sofia, Bulgaria
I like the proposed cure for SAD, but it seems to me too harsh for the loser of the blitz playoff to leave the table with zip, especially if he/she has had a hard-fought draw in the classical game and proved himself/herself worthy. Therefore I would add the following to the proposed idea:

For all games decided by a blitz playoff, the winner gets 0.7 points and the loser - 0.3 points. Thus the winner will get more than a classical draw, but less than a classical win. The loser will get more than a classical loss but less than a classical draw. I feel this would be a fair reflection of what the two opponents showed at the board, and also with regard to other players in the tournament.

Note: While this would somewhat alter the accepted point award system, it would neither be unfair, nor difficult to implement. It could rightfully be integrated in the ELO calculation, too, precisely because of its fairness.

Marco Naletto, São Paulo, Brazil
As we could see in this interesting report, nobody can stop a player from drawing if he want to. So I believe that the way is to make the players do not want to draw. I liked the proposal of reducing the prize in some way. I think that another proposal that could make things better in this topic is to make the score system similar to soccer. One for draw and 3 for win. In my opinion this score system makes the "drawitis" definitely not interesting. P.S. Congratulations on the best chess site of the web!

Jon Skarpeid, Stavanger, Norway
I think there is a better cure against SAD than the one proposed in the article. Give simply three points for winning, one for drawing and zero for losing. Than a Kramnik, can't simply make it with a +2=7-0 but will lose the tornament to a Shirov +3=6-1 (or for course in any case to a Kasparov +4=6-0).

David Mason, Carrollton, USA
Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen's idea of reduced prize money for draws is a good one but here's another idea that might work. How about if draws are scored as 1/3-1/3 instead of 1/2-1/2. Too many draws could lose one a tournament.

Ian Smith, London, England
Why not follow football and have 3 points for a win, one point for a draw? It might have put a bit more interest into some of the draws we saw towards the end in San Luis.

Andrew James Villarose, Philippines
A quick draw should not be given a 1/2 point. It is similar to not playing at all. 0-0 for both player. Looks familiar. At the final tally point, a loss should be given a higher credit than a quick draw but lower than a fighting draw. You decide how to identify a quick draw and a fighting draw.

Lai Oon, Hum, Montreal, Canada
Drawitis is an issue that should be adressed as quickly as possible, for the good of the game. Tournaments are becoming so drab with all of the draws that I feel the will to win has faded. It is so refreshing to see a player like Topalov fight for the win, that it renews my interest in tournament play. I have a great idea to combat the draw play: Adjust the point system to make a win worth two full points instead of one or 1.5 points instead. Imagine that winning two games would be the equal of six or eight draws! That would be incentive enough to fight for the tournament top prize. Perhaps losing games could similarly be adjusted to - 0.5 points. In any case, instead of just taking money from the pot to award the "Fighter", why not make the prize money coincide with the win percentage and not just total points? In any case, your columns are great and fun to read. I especially like topics such as these.

Ben Ogunshola, London
There is a very simple way of getting rid of the so-called 'grandmaster draw'(Note the small 'g'). All we need is to take a leaf out of other sports such as football. 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. If you want to win a tournament you are going to have to notch up those wins. Need I say anymore. I do believe that an analysis of some tournament results and final placings based on this scoring could be quite interesting.

Pavel Kornilovich, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Regarding the ways to increase the percentage of decisive games, there is a much simpler solution than those proposed in the Leong and Weiwen's article. A win must carry more points than two draws. For example, a win is assigned 2 full points, while a draw just 1/2. A similar system was adopted in football many years ago (3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw), which boosted the number of goals per game. An analogous system in chess, while not eliminating agreed draws completely, would definitely fuel the fighting spirit of players.

Duncan Vella, Swieqi, Malta
I still maintain that the best way to solve the draw problem is by introducing 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. This worked well in football and is now implemented worldwide. Players will be obliged to play for wins with this method. I cannot understand what could be wrong with this system.

We had our misgivings about this "soccer" proposal, suggested by so many of our readers. For instance if a player has ended with six draws and a loss in a tournament, should he really have the same number of points as a player who won two games and lost five? So we asked our mentor to comment on the system. John Nunn came up with another problem:

The three-points-for-a-win plan has, I think, one serious problem. It is the incentive it gives to 'throw' games. Throwing games has been a problem for many years in Open tournmanets, and with three points the huge boost you get from a win makes it even more likely. It could even stimulate similar behaviour in round-robin tournmanets. A, B and C agree that A will beat B, B will beat C and C will beat A. They all get three points. D, E and F play properly and draw with each other, gaining 2 points each. A, B and C have all gained. Or you could agree 'I lose to you in this tournament and you lose to me in the next tournament'. You can hardly lose with this kind of set-up. The three points for a win plan really makes a huge difference to tournament results and fundamentally changes the game. I don't see that such a drastic change is necessary. – John Nunn

Abel Mohler, Asheville, NC USA
Great article. You are almost dead on with the point you are trying to make. Fans everywhere are tired of short Grandmaster draws. There is no question that something must be done.

There is only one problem I find with the idea of drawing lots for black or white if there is a draw at the standard time control. That is the concept of drawing to determine colors. Unfortunately you are using a tournament like Linares to make your point, which is played in double round robin format. Colors during sudden death should be assigned if we are talking about round robin. This is why:

Let us take an extreme hypothetical. Say there is the (highly unlikely, though possible) event of there being an entire double round robin tournament that consists of only draws over the board. Meaning that every match is decided up or down by sudden death playoff. The results would be inconsistant because some of the players will have had either white or black disproportionatly. Although, in theory, one color is perhaps not an advantage in this situation (perhaps it is though), it must be admitted that certain players will tend to have an advantage with one side or another in a 6 min - vs 5 min sudden death match in which black wins in case of a draw. And since this advantage exists, it would be better not to roll the dice when it comes to who has better chances. We all want to know during these tournaments who the best player is, or at least who is playing the best chess. What I would propose would be similar, but slightly different, assuming the round robin format that we have all become accustomed to, as players and fans. What I am proposing is this:

You keep the color you had over the original board during the sudden death game. The reasons for this are many. First of all, it is more consistent, considering the round robin format, in which every player plays every other player an equal amount of times. Secondly, it would create a more interesting dynamic over the board during the regular game, which, everyone should agree, is the game that we care the most about. Instead of being an uncertain factor threatening to determine the outcome of the game, the sudden death possiblity would become a part of the overall strategy and temperment of the contest. This dynamic would depend on the fact that black, if he really wants to, has a choice. He can either defend to draw both games, thereby winning the big game, or choose to try to win outright the first time. Either way, black would be playing to win! What this would mean is that we would see more big, spectacular draws, which are not so bad. And we would see a lot of good decisive games, as white would be forced to keep pressing and pressing, knowing that if the first game is a draw, he will be forced to keep pressing again in the playoff, with a chance to lose if he doesn't press enough. This will force white to be more aggressive. This of course will mean that we will see more of the sharp, double edged slugfests that chessfans everywhere love. Some of them will be draws, but they will be hard fought ones.

I love the idea of possible sudden death after every game. If this one minor rule change were implemented, top level chess would be much more exciting, meaning that more people would be attracted to the sport in general. Prizes would go up and chessplayers in general would reap the benefits as the overall level of competition rose. Everyone would win, especially the fans. However, I hope that you can see that if such a change were to be implemented, it absolutely must be done so consistently, leaving nothing to chance.

Dennis S., NYC
Will this solution catch on? The answer is no, it's too radical and unlikely to be popular among players. Also, it is not good at all. Some players who are better in blitz than in classical control chess would try to intentionally steer the game to a draw from the very first move. What an effective "solution" that would be!

There is a solution which is currently being tested in Sofia tournaments. It worked perfectly this year, leading to a much more fighting brand of chess. This solution is much closer to chess traditions than this concoction. If they wanted to, could have a draw in principle. Did they do that often in Sofia? Not really. It is so much harder to do under Sofia rules. You have to find a safe triple repetition. This may not be easy as your opponent may be looking for a win and you just waste a tempo, trying to engineer a triple repetition. It's not that easy to draw safely if you don't know the intentions of your opponent.

As for games that end after the opening, let's not forget that most fans in the world would play those "dead" position much further. Often they are wondering why the game stopped that early when there are so many pieces on the board. If the pros want to earn a living by playing chess they should care about the appeal of their product. The fans would prefer them to play further so pros should do that. Go ahead and try to safely exchange everything if you are so sure that position is a dead draw. The fans will learn much more from those games (again, see Sofia) than from those undeveloped games that suddenly end in a draw.

Instead of suggesting ridiculous proposals, one should better support the Sofia rules, test them in different tournaments to see whether there are any significant flaws. That would really help the chess community.

George Simon, NJ, USA
Not a good idea. Somebody who excels at rapid chess will try to draw regular games, and quite often force draws (by repetition, through perpetual check, etc). Not a fair solution. Besides, even the use of "sudden death" games for tie-breakers at standard tournaments is highly questionable, since quick chess is very different from standard. It is like forcing two marathon runners, who crossed the finish line together, to run 100 meters to find out who's really better... Marathon is marathon and sprint is sprint. By the same token, standard chess is standard chess and rapid chess is rapid chess. They should not be mixed together.

Joe Brooks, Smyrna, TN, USA
I have a very simple but effective way of curing Severe Acute Drawitis (SAD). It requires no rule changes to chess of any sort, nor any blitz playoffs. Simply make the first tie-break to determine a tournament result go to the player with the fewest draws. This will encourage combative play and encourage players to take risks, while avoiding unnecessary draws, and it doesn't require changing the point values given for a win or a draw, as some others have proposed. Why hasn't anyone else thought of this or tried this before, I wonder? Certainly, professional players would have to take this into account when preparing a strategy or an opening repertoire.

Philip Feeley, Surrey, BC, Canada
The World Championships in San Luis this year were pretty good for the small number of boring draws, or even draws at all. Some of them were very exciting. Perhaps another solution is this:

Clint Ballard, Bainbrige Island
I agree 100% that SAD must be cured. I have outlined the problem and a proposed solution on My solution does not require ANY changes to existing rules or even rating systems.

By changing how prizes are awarded, which is really an arbitrary thing that the tournament sponsor can determine independently of tradition. Of course, there needs to be a good rationale on how the prizes are allocated, or the players won't participate. Unless the prize fund is big enough!

Anyway, the core of my proposed solution is to scrap the 1pt for win and 1/2 pt for draw system and instead make it 3pts for black win, 2pts for white win and 1pt for black draw. White draw or loss gets ZERO pts. This has a very powerful effect on the players, at least theoretically.

While some might say my scoring system is biased in favor of black (as opposed to the current scoring bias in favor of white) so it is not progress. However, I claim that chess played in the Slugfest way (every game for a win) will NOT have anywhere close to a 60% draw percentage.

Computers seem to draw less than one third of the time, it seems reasonable to expect people to draw less than this due to the tactical errors that people are prone to. Since I cannot find much data at all on the draw percentage of games that are must win games for both sides, it is impossible to know the draw percentage in advance of adopting this.

Therefore, I am holding a local tournament based on this. If the draw percentage is 25% and white wins twice as many games as black, then the BAP system is in perfect balance and does not favor either color.

I hope you can get this out there (or an excerpt from it), the answer is simple, chess fans want decisive games, chess sponsors should insist on decisive games with the prize fund itself. Draws cannot be outlawed, any GM who is intent on drawing will have a very high draw percentage, even if draw offers are not allowed. You know what I mean.

Draws are a part of chess, so we can't get rid of it, but we can make it an undesirable outcome for BOTH sides. White gains nothing from a draw, it is the same as resigning. Black gets three times as much from a win as from a draw. I predict very exciting chess. A Slugfest.

Craig, USA
America's most popular sport is American Football. How did this happen after Baseball dominated for decades? They constantly changed the rules. Oh, it was never easy, but they did it. They took chances, and continue to do so even today. When defenses became stronger, they changed the rules so offenses could score more points. When quarterbacks were getting injured left and right, they made rules to protect the quarterback. They even spent many years working out the bugs of instant replay, in what is now an integral part of the game.

Chess must look at different ideas, this latest story of a blitz playoff is interesting, and then there is, I believe, Capablanca's idea of adding pieces?! There is also Chess 960, or Fischer Random.

It would be nice if FIDE could act like a respectable organization where they publicly debate, look at, and then vote on these ideas. They could hash out some rules and test them in the public eye, just like American Football has done.

For example: Why is Chess 960 only played at fast time controls? Why not hold a classical timed tournament, and announce one of the starting positions a month ahead of time? Can you imagine the possibilities!?

Blitz playoffs after a drawn position, hmm, they argue some GM's would do it just to save energy. This is probably true, but a loss is a loss no matter how you slice it. The blitz game will produce one, and that is something they have to think about.

One more thing; doesn't China have a game where even today they very rarely end in draws, a game similar to chess, but more in depth then chess itself? Maybe it would be simpler to introduce a game that all ready solves the problem, rather than continuously go back and forth on how to stop draws in a game where they are inevitable.

Noel Grima, Malta
One should note that in the World Cup the prize money difference between winner and loser was always reduced when entering tie-breaks, and this never made any impact whatsoever. Deducting a bit of the total "mini-match" prize money will not bother the players either.

The "carrot" has to be something more substantial, like qualification spots or large differences in prize-money. Also abolishing the (in my opinion quite fair) practice of dividing prize money equally between players with the same number of points could make players play for the win where they could still finish with an empty pocket though scoring the same as some 10 other players.

Tom O'Donnell, Ottawa, Canada
I don't like the idea of drawn games ultimately being determined by a blitz game. Blitz is fine as recreation, but how can anyone take these results too seriously? Why give blitz specialists such a large advantage? I propose two alternatives:

1) Organizers should care more about the fighting spririt of the invitees than the category of the tournament. A Category 20 tournament with 50% short, bloodless draws is just not as interesting for most chess fans as a Category 16 tournament where almost every game is fighting. Having a wider variety of ratings also should increase the tournament's fighting spirit as there are more mismatches (and probably more decisive games).

2) If someone offers a draw, that offer can be accepted at any time during the game. That way if someone wants to offer a draw on move 10, they are giving their opponent the option to decline the draw and basically play with a draw in his pocket. No one would offer a draw unless the position were totally drawn if that were the case.

I might add that it seems that maybe eliminating appearance money and putting that into the prize fund increases the fighting spirit, if San Luis is any indication(?)

Leopold Lacrimosa, Scottsdale, Arizona USA
An immediate blitz play off after an agreed draw under 30 moves would be a wonderful idea. Actually, to be fair, I think the players should play two 5 min Blitz games after the short draw, one with each colour with no agreed to draws allowed in blitz games.

Greg Shahade, Philadelphia PA
I actually have had incredibly similar ideas, and I'm planning on running a few experimental tournaments here in Philadelphia.

Peter Ballard, Adelaide, Australia
The proposal flawed. It will guarantee that good rapid players like Kasimzhanov will rise to the top. They will just play for a draw and rely on winning the rapid (which is what Kasimzhanov did in Libya, though maybe not intentionally). I want to see good classical chess, not drawish classical chess followed by a rapid shootout.

Alexandro Valenzuela, La Paz, Bolivia
1. Draw is allowed under 30 moves if:
a) Stalemate
b) draw by repetition
c) not enougth pieces to deliver mate
If the game is drawed with the white pieces then the player gains 0.3 points
If the game is drawed with the black pieces then the player gains 0.4 points
2. Draw is allowed over 30 moves if:
a) Stalemate
b) draw by repetition
c) not enougth pieces to deliver mate
If the game is drawed with the white pieces then the player gains 0.4 points
If the game is drawed with the black pieces then the player gains 0.5 points
If a player wins a game with the white or black pieces, he gains 1.5 points
If a player loses a game with the white or black pieces, he gains 0 points.
Player A wins 3 games, draws 3 with black over 40 moves and loses 1.
Player B wins 1 game, draws 3 over 30 moves with white and 2 over 30 moves with black and loses 1.
Player C wins 1 game, draws 3 under 30 moves with white and 2 under 30 moves with black and loses 1.
Actual points system:
Player A= 3+1.5+0= 4.5 points (out of 7)
Player B= 1+2.5+0= 3.5 points (out of 7)
Player C= 1+2.5+0= 3.5 points (out of 7)
Proposed points system:
Player A= 4.5+1.5+0= 6 points (out of 10.5)
Player B= 1.5+1.2+1+0= 3.7 points (out of 10.5)
Player C= 1.5+0.9+0.8+0= 3.2 points (out of 10.5)

As you can see this new system punishes people who makes fast draws and rewards people who finish with a good plus score. In our current system there is not a big diference (only 1 point!) if one player is +2 and the other is +0. But in my system, the diference is more tan 2 points (for normal draws) and almost 3 points against fast draw players! Also, I don't agree in blitz games, to decide a game. The strengh is not the same, take for example former FIDE champion Rustam, he is 2670 at classical time control, but very strong, third in the world in blitz games, only behind Anand and Kasparov...

Adam Crawford, Las Vegas, USA
I agee wholeheartedly that draws are taking all of the fun and tension out of the game. I would suggest a yearly ranking/rating along with a lifetime rating/raking system. The culmination would be a year-end championship with the top players from that year competing. Along with the new ranking/ratings system would be a reward system based on wins: +1 for wins, -1 for losses and -1/2 for draws. These point totals, combined with the rankings would determine seeding for the year end championship. Tournaments often start with a bang and end with a yawn- fight for early position and draw out the final games once your position is secure. Safe, but boring. The final tournament could then include the tiebreak system proposed in your article. Thus a "true" OTB champion would emerge from the ashes of a bloody, hard fought tournament based on a yearlong struggle to achieve a high ranking for the world championship.

Ron Fenton, Yellow Springs, USA
The draw-blitz idea is an intriguing one, but rife with complications. Also, any rule that fails to differentiate "short-lazy" draws from "hard-fought" draws has the potential to diminish a very important and historically significant part of the game. By definition – a hard-fought draw has intrinsic value and should not be penalized.

If all games were simply required to go 40 moves before adjournment, many of those "short-lazy" draws would morph into something a lot more interesting. If every player, in every game, knew they had to reach 40 moves before legally considering a draw, inconsequential draws would soon disappear. So-called ‘quiet’ openings would be tested anew, while autopilot moves and absent-minded blunders would be punished over the board.

When tinkering with rules that span centuries, one needs to be mindful of tradition. A 40-move rule could reduce the number of tepid draws without significantly altering the time-honored struggle to exploit the small advantage – and the value of a game well played, regardless of outcome, would be retained.

Sem van Houten, Eindhoven, Holland
Great proposal. Please, FIDE, arrange immediately that from the very next tournament the outcome of a game is always decisive. So, like the proposal mentions: even if there is a draw, go for blitz! In many ways this would be more atractive AND more fair! I mean, the goal of a chess-encounter is to see who is the best on the board. If the players can not decide that under "normal" time-conditions, give them both a handicap under very restricted time. I'm not afraid that players are still drawing the "normal" games on purpose to save energy, because it is quit a risk to rely solely on such short decisions.

I also believe this is in the favor of the tacticians versus the positional players. In general I believe tacticians are superior playing blitz then positional players are. This means that if the 1st game was not decided, the tactical player has the best chance to decide the blitz-game in his favour, which again is good for making the sport more attractive.

Again, please implement these proposals the soonest possible. Also, do this at every level, even on amateur chess-clubs. It would be much and much more attractive, more fun and would shift chess-power in favour of the daring ones.

David Chin, Singapore
I read with interest the proposal made by from Ignatius Leong and Leong Weiwen. I think what we all want to see is attacking chess. To discourage players from agreeing a draw, we need to modify the scoring. In this regard, I think we can borrow from the system adopted by FIFA and award 1 point for a draw and 3 points for a win instead of giving half point for a draw and 1 point for a win now. By doing so, everyone will want to play for a win instead because two draws do not equate to a win now. Can this work? I don't know but I think FIDE ought to give this serious consideration.

Martin, Wiesbauer, Vienna, Austria
Discussing about improving chess as an interesting sport has always to be appreciated. But following the logic of the authors of this proposal I must quote, that they have definitely stopped halfway. According to this logic my proposal would be: To decrease draw percentage and to make the sport more spectacular for the audience (which - of course - has our highest priority) we should simply let the players play bullet games with 1 minute time control (including Sofia rules). If the game ends in a draw (which is rather unlikely considering the number of mistakes made during such a game) - simply play another one. It will last not more than two minutes anyway. For spectators, this would be the most spectacular way. Even those who don't know how to play chess would find it funny, how fast the pieces can hop over the board. Even sponsorship problems will be solved, because it would be possible and much cheaper to stage a tournament like, let's say San Luis, in only one day - what a lot of fun for the audience.

Raul Lagomarsino, Montevideo, Uruguay
With little ammendments, I think your proposal is great. My main concern is that it obviously increases the importance of blitz in classical chess, and i´m still undecided whether that is a desirable situation or not. I would definitely punish draws financially, and put that money on the "fighting spirit" prize. Saludos desde Uruguay!

Steven Geirnaert, Bruges, Belgium
I don't see why everybody is trying to turn chess in a spectacular game. If you want to make something popular, you have to build on it's strenghts - not on it's weaknesses. Chess is an intelligent game, where great minds of children, adolescents, adults and seniors, male and female, of any colour, and with any possible lifestyle, battle each other. This game - our game - is special, as the outcome of the battle does not depend on quick reaction speed or on who has the greatest guts (as some fans of Topalov cheerfully say), but on who thinks the most, and the best. This is something that Fide is taking away from us with for example the exaggerated shortening of the games (I think something like 2h. + 1h. + 30' would be ideal), that resulted in no descent endgame being played ever since, and games that were impossible to understand for lowclass players, even with the help of commentators, because everything simply went to fast. It is something that sir Ignatius Leong and sir Leung Weiven are taking away as well, in my view, when they want to ban all draws, by playing a blitz game instead. Why? 1 older players would be chanceless to win a tournament: they're just worse blitz players; 2 the game will be no longer won by the strongest player, but by the strongest (fastest) blitz player, who will specialize in how to get the draw in the serious game (so the games will be more boring than before).

To me it's clear that the rule of Sofia (no agreed draws) should be implemented. This rule still gives respect to the more quiet positional players who may tend to draw more often. The evolution of the game we're experiencing now, is simply a degrading step back in chess history (back to the 19th century to be precise), and will worsen the popularity of chess instead of improving it. The reason for this is very simple: combinations and sacrifices are simply not as interesting as positional debates and profylactical ideas. If they were, everybody would be playing checkers (or some similar game) instead, with more combinations, and less room for positional play,

Cal Rolfe, Bolton, England
I would amend the learned correspondents proposal in one small way. Having agreed the draw under Classical time limits the two protagonists would then play off for the half point with a Blitz game, the half point going to the winner and the loser receiving no points at all. That way a winner under Classical time is rewarded for his/her efforts with the full point and those that agreed a draw can get a half point at best.

Luis Alberto Baquero, Medellin, Colombia
Chess is unique as a strategy game that requires time to make the best move; much more time than that given by a blitz game. Even, as many grandmaster games show at their final stage with ?? moves, 7 hours is the least one can demand for a serious game. To decide a classical chess game with blitz should be rejected by everyone that has devoted his life to become an excellent chess player, be him amateur or professional. Let's keep the draws as draws and motivate players to keep away from short draws, and in a more general way, from fixed games.

Kek Wei Chuan, Singapore
The article on a system for curing "SAD" is an interesting read. Another option to consider is to follow the most popular sport in the world, football. Years ago, football also had some problems regarding teams not willing to take more risks. They had a scoring system as such; 2 points for win, 1 for draw. So they gave more points for a win, 3 points. Now, a draw is not always a good result, even against an opponent of similar strength.

Aaron Jagt
Fischer, Capablanca; They both saw the problems over-analysed openings would cause many years ago. Both of their solutions involved changing the starting position of the chessboard. Capablanca simply changed the starting position of the Knights and Bishops. Fischer invented Fischer Random, which is perhaps a longer term invention. Perhaps to find the answer to 'Drawitis' we should look back at these legendary World Champions. We can try tweaking the rules around to punish those drawing games in 'classical chess' but I believe that this will not work, and instead of aiding chess will detract from it.

Robert Luck, Tualatin, OR, USA
Seems everybody has a solution to the problem of short, often prearranged, draws in chess, and none of them work because they don't provide enough incentive to the players to play for a win. What I don't understand is why the simple solution is so hard to accept.

If white has the advantage at the beginning of the game, easily enough proven by a look at win/loss records in GM vs GM play, then the logical deduction is that black must outplay white in order to overcome his disadvantage and achieve a draw. Simply stop rewarding white for being outplayed. Black's excellence of play deserves more than half a point; perhaps .55 or .6 would be more appropriate to his effort. A secondary benefit is that it would help prevent placement ties, and would add excitement to the later rounds of tournaments when more players might have a shot at 1st making the quick last round draw less attractive.

Albert Frank, FIDE Arbiter, Brussels, Belgium
I find the proposal about draw of Leong and Weiwen to decide the result in blitz very bad: When two top players play a serious game, it's totally different that when they play blitz (some of them never play blitz).

Romeo Bayot, Philippines
I have to agree that in chess world a lot of draws had been seen even in the top level of competetions just like the recent San Luis tournament where in a number of drawn games were made. But again that was a great tournament. I also agree to both Mr Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen in their observation of how players can go around the rules being implemented by organisers thus bringing forth their idea of how to alleviate this chronic problem. However i would like to suggest aside from the one mentioned by oth Mr. Leong and Mr. Weiwen that the old practice of not counting draws be reinstated. I believe this was even being done on world championship games before although the rules then (correct me please if i'm wrong) were that a player who reached first let say 10 points wins excluding draws. I think this can also work in present tournament setup but instead of having a certatin player reach first of a certain number of points, the player with the highest points wins. So if there are 9 rounds or even double round robin everyone will be fighting to score a full point.Of course having a draw means you neither gain nor loss points thus in effect a draw will just be considered by players to avoid a loss. This i think will have a more positive effect in all level of tournament play. I hope that this will be taken into consideration by the organisers. Thank you ChessBase.

Fernando R., Spain
Solution for tournaments: If you have more than, let's say 60% of draws you're not allowed to participate next year. A refinement for swiss tournaments: a draw in the N-th round counts as N SAD points. Therefore the maximum SAD points is SADmax = 1 + 2 + ... + K, where K is the number of rounds. If you have more than 0.6*SADmax then you're not allowed to participate next year. This favours spectacle in the last rounds. In any case, the sentence "you're not allowed to participate next year" can be substituted with "you earn only a half of your prize money" or things like that.

Solution for matches: I suggest imitating the first Kasparov-Karpov match. It attracted considerable attention in spite of the draws! And physical endurance can be also a good measure of a true champion's strength, just look at Topalov.

John Dwyer, San Francisco, California
The recent proposal for avoiding draws by Ignatius Leong and Leung Weiwen via a blitz playoff is certainly intriguing, but seems biased to me. Certainly this method of breaking draws would favor players that are good at blitz, which is not the intent. It seems to me an easier way to "punish" draws would be to implement the scoring system that has become a standard in most soccer leagues around the world: 3 pts for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss. This automatically rewards players who play for a decisive result, as win/loss actually gives you more points than draw/draw.

Mark Stark, Edmonton
I can't stomach the sheer laziness/cowardice of so many of these GM's. What's the point of starting a game if it won't be played out to its final conclusion? Kramnik and many of his ilk should be stripped of their Gm status and not receive invitations to tournaments. I would rather see a fighting game between two 2500's than a short draw between two Super Gms. Off with their heads!

Derek Jones, Aylesbury, England
Leong's proposals to decide every drawn game by a blitz game would lead to players who believe that their blitz play is superior (e.g. Radjabov) seeking to force draws, particularly when they have the black pieces. Perhpas we should all switch to Go, a game where draws are very rare indeed. After all Lasker believed it to be superior to chess.

Dorin Blajan, Timisoara, Romania
I followed the article with interest and I'm also bothered by the lack of fight in top level chess. In my opinion any attempt to prohibit short draws will fail. Also, a system like the one suggested in the article looks too complicated and will alter the character of the event. I mean, you cannot decide the outcome of a game played with classical time controls by playing a blitz game. And in general, it is somehow strange to decide the outcome of a game based upon another game. What I don't understand it why FIDE doesn't apply a scoring system similar to those used in other sports (i.e. football) where two draws worth less than a victory? I don't say that it will cure SAD but I think it will be an important step towards reducing it. Let the turnaments be won by those who fight for winning instead of not losing!

Stephen Fowler, Suwanee, GA
How about this for a cure for Drawitis. Either make draws worth zero points, or preferably keep draws worth 1/2 point but make wins worth 2 points. That way draws just put you further behind those venturing enough to win. It will encourage players to attack and venture out from behind the Berlin Draw.

Andy Mackowiak, Cincinnati, USA
Wow. That is all I can say right now. That sham of a proposal is so beyond ludicrous that I can't find words to fit it. I'll go with this: It has been said many, MANY times, but there is such an enormous difference between classical time controls and blitz time controls that the two can barely be considered the same game. The use of blitz tiebreakers was one of the major knocks (no pun intended) on FIDE's knockout format in the late 90's -- now we want to spread that to *all* games??? Are those people crazy?

I am all for the attempt to reduce the number of draws -- especially the short "grandmaster" draws -- in the game. I am not for the complete farce that was proposed in that article. I can't believe it even has a high-ranking FIDE official throwing his support behind it. Wait, check that. I can definitely believe that FIDE officials are behind something this inane.

Really, I don't get all this uproar. Draws are not killing chess; *short* draws are. Just make some rule that every game has to go at least xx moves (40, 50, 60, whatever) and the problem will basically solve itself. I remember reading about some GM tournament that did so and that the percentage of decisive games went up to about 70 or 75%, and obviously none of them were short, lifeless draws. Isn't that what we're really after?

Peter Cafolla, Dublin, Ireland
I do not agree with the comments of Mr Weiwen and Mr Leong and most certainly not with their proposed solutions to too many draws. Firstly, the problem(if it exists at all) is only in Grandmaster tournaments. Perhaps in all play alls between GMs the scoring could be .5 for a white draw. 1pt for a black draw, 1.5 for a white win and two points for a win with black. This would immediately eradicate pre arranged draws.

In Open tournaments I think things should be left as they are as many lesser lights take great pleasure in achieving draws with higher rated players and if this possibility was denied them then a lot less players would enter Opens. The idea that a Sicilian player should get rewarded more than someone who plays the Petroff or Berlin Defence is frankly ludicrous and would achieve nothing short of making some openings and playing styles extinct. As a player or as a spectator I see nothing wrong with a draw once it is not prearranged or unduly short. Soccer is being ruined by penalty shootouts. Rapid and blitz chess is just 'Mickey Mouse' in my opinion. Why on earth do people need such quick fixes and instant (if superficial) results these days? Leave chess alone!! It is already great!!

Dr John Nunn (born 1955) is an English grandmaster, author and problem-solver. He was among the world’s leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads, and is a much-acclaimed writer whose works have won ‘Book of the Year’ awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010, Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion. He continues to compete successfully in over-the-board and problem-solving events.


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