Friday, 22 July 2011

Kasimdzhanov's Not Wearing Any Draws

Kasim wants chess to 'go commando'

Former FIDE Champion Rustam Kasimdzanov has sent an open letter to the World Chess Federation with a revolutionary idea: to abolish the draw in chess altogether. 

“This way the expectations of the crowd will never be deceived. There will always be a winner, there will always be blood. (…) It will be good for our sport. Not just sponsors and attention and prizes. It will be essentially good for our game.”

Read the full story on ChessVibes here

And, yes, the only real reason I've blogged it is to be able to use the headline at the top of the blog...

... oh, go on, then. His idea is that, if a longplay game is drawn, it is replayed immediately at ever decreasing time limits, with colours reversed, say, 20 minutes each for the first one, then 10 minutes each, etc, etc, until a game is decisive. That is counted as the score of the game (1-0, 0-1 but not ½-½) and - perhaps most controversially - counted for rating purposes.

All kinds of snags occur, of course. For one thing, it wouldn't work for league or weekend chess as there is no spare time to fit in a series of replays. It might work for a top-level tournament with a limited number of competitors, by way of an exhibition or experimental event (like the Melody Amber tournament) but I can't see it catching on. Many players would be reluctant to put their longplay ratings on the line.

Besides which, what is wrong with a good, honest draw? But the good news is that it is not being proposed by another person from that neck of the woods with a name beginning with K - Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  Then chess would be in real trouble. His ideas have a bad habit of turning into implemented decisions in a twinkling of an eye and with minimum of thought. Nobody much is likely to take any notice of a second-tier world champion who won his title in a discredited Libyan event shorn of a host of big-name players and which effectively excluded Israeli competitors. Thank heavens, you may well say. And so would I.

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