Wednesday, December 09, 2009

London Chess Classic 2009

Mega-GMs playing for glory including Nakamura and Carlsen. I usually don't do tournament news here, but this tournament is special. They have enacted a different point system to promote fighting chess. Three points for a win, one point for a draw, zero points for a loss.

Great point system, in my opinion. There is little incentive to go for a gentleman's (i.e. lazy man's) draw. It will force the GMs to play out the games, to fight for a win, and in the last couple of rounds things should be really crazy as players six points back still have a chance to tie for first.

In round one, Carlsen got the full three points against Kramnik, as did the lesser-known McShane against Nigel Short in a seven hour battle.

The tournament site is here.


On an unrelated personal note, when I first started playing chess about five years ago my goal was to have a fun lazy past time, something I could do quickly before bed or during lunch break to help me relax. I got my butt handed to me, was simply destroyed in every game. To improve, I bought a book (I think my first book was 'Teach Yourself Better Chess'). Not too long (maybe two months) and I was hooked, I had bought de la Maza's book, and wasted too much time on this crazy hard game (if it weren't a challenge I wouldn't give a crap about it).

Now I'm no longer working on improving at the game, I'm just enjoying it. I've been like this for a couple of months. In other words I met my goal from five years ago, to get good enough to have fun at the game. I sort of forgot that goal as I got obsessed with improvement and ratings. I had forgotten that this game is actually really cool even if you don't care much about it, perhaps especially when I don't care much about it.

That said, good luck to the ACIS people. I'll keep posting infrequently. I requested a review copy of that Zuke 'em book on the Colle Zuckertort as it might be fun to mess around with a new opening, so I'll post a review of that within a few weeks of receiving it.


Blogger The Chess Dad said...

I like the point system (Three points for a win, one point for a draw, zero points for a loss.)too since it makes chess games exciting. Every tournament should use this point system.

12/09/2009 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Your insights are always welcome from the ACIS of Caissa. Be well and have fun. For me, the fun is in the challenge.

12/09/2009 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

Having fun is an important part, especially when its just a hobby. Giving a hobby to much weight makes it more like labour which a hobby never may be. So have lots of fun, enjoy each and every minute you spend on chess.

12/10/2009 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger wang said...

How did you get a review copy?

12/10/2009 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Wang: he had offered a while back but I was too busy and not interested in opening stuff. Recently I thought it might be fun to toy around with it so I mailed him to ask if the offer still stood.

In general I've found smaller publishers that don't have a huge publicity base are pretty willing to part with review copies for bloggers if you just ask them and commit to writing a review (of course they aren't always happy with my reviews: my review of the Chess Visualization Course annoyed the publisher).

12/10/2009 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

Personally, I think that it's a bad idea, but hey it's their tournament.

Pole-dancers might not be a bad idea either. What about having the World championship of chess decided by blitz? That would be exciting and fit nicely into a small TV segment.

Only problem as I see it is that it's not about traditional "real chess". Why usurp the traditions of the old, and yet still call it by the same name? Why belittle the achievements of the past by making it into a new sport and then giving it the same name as if marked by the same achievements as the past masters have accomplished.

12/11/2009 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Linuxguy if you don't like it don't worry there will be plenty of tournaments coming up for you to enjoy where every game is a draw in half the rounds.

Plus your comparison with blitz is a bit inapt. There have been multiple 5+ hour games, so obviously they aren't doing this to siphon the game down to sound bytes for those with short attention spans. Yesterday I was watching a Magnus Carlsen game that went like 6 hours. Hence, big difference between catering to short attention spans versus catering to those that want to see GMs fight and play.

No coincidence that those invited are those with reputations for creative, fighting chess.

Furhter, the days of chess yore that you seem to pine for are gone. You could as easily bemoan the use of computers in chess, how it is no longer the same game because they are using prosthetic devices to do the thinking for them. This has made the game even more drawish. It would be interesting to see a graph of draw percentages in big name tournaments over the last hundred years, see if there is an acceleration when computers became standard training partners.

At any rate, linuxguy you are being a party pooper :P

12/11/2009 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger chessx said...

I was at the first days play,in the Short v Mcshane game it look like a draw for about 60 moves,it looked like a certain draw after 100 moves the players just moving rooks around.
Then Short made a mistake and Mcshane was in for the win.

I think under the "old" point system this game would have been called a draw by move 35 or so.
But because Carlsen and Kramnik are favourites to win,i think Short felt he had to win rather than draw. 3 points are better than 1.

I am glad you are enjoying this great game,being rapped up in "whats my rating" takes away some or most of the fun.

12/11/2009 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish my husband could have gone to this event.

Mrs Chessloser

12/13/2009 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

I think the Colle-Zukertort makes a great lifetime opening and suits your "play to enjoy" approach very well. It leads to very interesting strategic positions with still a bit of poison. You're also very unlikely to get knocked out quickly if you make an error. As you probably noticed, I wrote a review of it recently and interview with the author. You will probably want to pick up the second edition of A Killer Opening Repertoire when it comes out.

I think the London point system is an interesting experiment. Not sure if it has been used before. My impression is that it definitely leads to longer games and therefore is great for those who like to study endings. Fortunately, following games mostly on a computer these days makes it easy to "fast forward" through the boring middle part (as in the Short - McShane game that the commenter mentions) so the fans are not likely to suffer much. Ultimately, the solution to having fewer draws may just be to invite more players like Carlsen and Nakamura with a reputation for not taking them.

Finally, I've been working a bit on a piece devoted to the Knights Errant phenomenon, and your post may have given me an ending to it... Stay tuned.

12/13/2009 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Michael good to know the opening has your seal of approval (I'm not being sarcastic). So far I like it (it's been a few days playing around with it).

I look forward to your analysis of the Knights Errant and such.

12/13/2009 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Liquid Egg Product said...

They shouldn't even try the three point system. They should stick with tradition. Because the rules for tournaments and world championships have never, ever changed before.

12/14/2009 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked your blog when you were a crazy obsessed mad man. Same thing with that DK guy but now he justs posts presumptuious piffle on Twitter.

12/14/2009 11:01:00 PM  

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