Friday, September 14, 2007

When did chess die?

All four games in round one of the World Championship ended in a draw yesterday, with no games lasting more than 28 moves. Given the amount of opening preparation these guys go through, that means they actually thought for 10-15 of those moves. If you look at the positions, they are positions in which nobody in a normal tournament would suggest a draw. Pathetic!

A great quote from the tournament web site: [T]here is no other sport where the competitors are able to agree a tie whenever they want to, even on the most interesting moment of the fight, the best chess players earn better than enough money to demand a reasonable competition level.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. An IM from my hometown had just the same thought years ago. He started a site called Chessfighter ( in an attempt to put an end to these dead boring short draws. Unfortunately his project didn't get the attention it deserved.

9/14/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

Many would respond to the first days results that the players are just starting to get into their groove. A loss in round one is psychologically difficult. I remember at Dortmund when I felt I had a superior position on Anand, he offered a draw and I took it. I don't know, maybe I was intimidated by his sweater. I subsequently had to drop out of the tournament with a bad case of rhinitis.

But that's chess at the super GM level. Lot of head games going on beyond the board.

That said, I'd prefer there be a 30 move draw rule or something. These games were put to bed far too soon. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

9/14/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On one hand I can understand the players who want to minimize their risk - after all, they are professionals playing for money and not for fun like me. On the other hand, I totally agree with you. No wonder that chess does not receive much attention. I believe that the rules should be changed to force players to battle it out. All games drawn quickly, how boring!

9/14/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PMD is on a roll!

Chessfighter is a cool idea.

I can understand the temptation to be a wimp and go for a quick draw (in round 1 !?), but perhaps the rules should be changed, as these super-GMs suck at resisting this temptation. I think an arbiter should have to come to see if he agrees it is a draw. Or something. I don't know.

9/14/2007 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger wayward son said...

Well certainly compared to San Luis 2005 this has started out a dud. The excuse I keep hearing (from chess fans) is that the players need to “conserve” their energy. Really? Well in San Luis Topalov fought to a win over Leko in the first round, while Anand fought for a win over Polgar. Then in the second round Topalov played Anand and they agreed to a short draw, of only 97 moves! (well, actually they didn’t agree, they had nothing but kings let on the board) Did those two fall apart from the exhaustion? No, they continued to win their all of their games in the next several rounds and finished a clear first and second. All four games were short draws yesterday. Only two games in the first round 4 rounds in San Luis were short draws (both involving Svidler – surprise). In fact in the first 4 rounds of San Luis there were 10 wins and only 6 draws! The 3 draws already mentioned and 3 draws that were hard fought battles of 54 moves (Moro-Kasim), 48 moves (Polgar-Adams), and 68 moves (Leko- Morozevich). San Luis showed that even with the championship on the line the games sharp and complicated. All I can say about Mexico so far (and Grischuk and Leko have already agreed to a short draw today) is that it is disappointing. (I didn't listen to Seirawan commenting on the games yesterday on, but I feel sorry for him. He must have been board silly. Two years ago he was on the edge of his seat.) Hopefully things change.

9/14/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Yesterday's games were disappointing. You would think with a World Championship on the line people would play to win it. Instead its a case of play not to lose.

However today the games loosened up and we got a couple of decisions out of it.

I'm really excited about this World Championship and have started a series of posts over the last few days to cover it. I'd love to get a few comments on my takes if you wanna stop by!

9/14/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

yes 100% agree about YESTERDAY,

but TODAY sure made up for it!

talk about incendiary! combustion!

9/14/2007 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Yes, today they played to fight!

9/14/2007 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey BDK, I made a new instructional chess video focusing on tactics and 'what to think about' while solving them. You can find it on my blog at . Please drop by and give me some feedback (although maybe you should wait until tomorrow when the audio will be better)

Maybe someday my blog will be updated regularly enough to get on your links section =)

Anyways I said I'd annotate 3 of your games and I only did 2, you got any recent games for me to annotate?

9/15/2007 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quote Bobby Fischer;

...Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorisation and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative.

That is why i like Morozevich.

9/15/2007 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Zenchess!!!! Great to see you back.

I haven't been as serious about going over my games lately. Just quick blunderchecks for the most part. Yes, I know that is bad. My ratio of post-game analysis to actual playing had gotten way too high, so now it is probably a bit too low.

I'll start doing a little more heavy petting with my games and try to find one that I am confused about sometime this week.

I'll add you to my new rotating sidebar widget when I update it this weekend.

I'll check out the video tomorrow. A very good topic.

9/15/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe they just have r00ks up their butt

9/15/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ok Cool. Even a game that you feel you understand reasonably well someone might be able to shed some light on. Often someone will play a game and crush their opponent for example yet a higher rated player can point out that they could have gotten an advantage much earlier or their opponent could have made an unexpected suprise comeback.

9/15/2007 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from now on, i'm offering a draw at move 3. it's grandmaster chess without wasting any time...

but seriously...i don't get the draw thing. is it ego, they don't want to lose? are they old and tired? are they so advanced they are too equally matched? to me, chess is to the death, unless you have only kings on the board, or some other blatantly draw-ish thing going on. but what do i know, i'm still trying to figure out how to use my clock....

9/15/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Sträter said...

Always interesting to see what kind of excuse they come up with:

GM Marin on Kramnik-Svidler, round 1:

"It looks as if Black has adequate counterplay in the centre, but the position is anything but drawish. On the other hand, travelling from Europe to Mexico must have been quite tireing and the opponents know eachother so well since childhood, so that the abrupt end is not completely illogical."

9/15/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger wayward son said...

"are they so advanced they are too equally matched?"

Well of course, these players are pretty equally matched. My issue is that many of them are playing for draws with Black (Kramnik, Leko, Svidler). Today for instance, 2 petroffs. In San Luis we had Polgar and Topalov, two players who play as though they would almost prefer to lose over a draw. That worked well for Topalov as he cleaned up. It didn't work very well for Polgar, although her win over Kasimdzhanov was the best of the tournament IMHO.

9/15/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they continue to fight throughout, then we'll give them a pass on round one as a momentary relapse into old, bad habits. :)

9/17/2007 10:17:00 AM  

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