Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Short Draws: Problem Solved?
The Pro's have been polled, as have the chess public - in fact, twice. There's been long, well-researched articles - and recently after a certain last round, much disappointed talk.
The contentious issue that attracts such attention and debate is, of course, the number of short draws at the top tier of chess. So far, two main solutions have been proposed. One - a football scoring system of 3 points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss - has yet to be tried out anywhere, as far as I know, and would surely lead to severely anti-meritocratic distributions of prize money, to bunny-bashing mad-hackers rather than refined perfectionists.
The other commonly-proposed solution - the Sofia Rule, that draw offers are only allowed late on in the game, when the arbiter agrees the position indeed is clearly drawn - has been tried out with some success. Although surely the reality is that at least some of the time, it has the dubious consequence of creating long and boring games, rather than short and boring games.
But, I myself have recently devised a third way to solve this problem, which I'm now going to share with you. Firstly, suppose the total playing time scheduled for a game is 7 hours - but, the players finish after 1 hour. Under my new rule, another game would then start, with swapped colours and a playing time of 6 hours. This would continue until a game with less time than half an hour each was reached. The final score of the days play would be fractional - so let's say you won one and drew one, you'd get 0.75, your opponent 0.25.
Aside from continuous intrigue for the spectators, my system will have numerous other advantages. For instance, draws agreed in advance - which they undoubtedly are under the current system - would now be utterly transparent and detectable, since no-one needs half an hour over 1. e4, or slows down to snails pace against their pals in dull positions. Also, a drawn position after move 15 can be agreed drawn, unlike under the Sofia rules - after which black gets rewarded with a game with white. And, drawing isn’t penalized harshly, unlike under the football score rules. And - so on.
Well, what do you think? Shall I email Kirsan now? He seems like a sensible chap...