Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 Types of Chesser

There are 10 types of chesser in the world. Those who understand the binary number system and those that don’t.

That might be my most favourite joke ever*.

As it happens, I’ve often thought that we - chess players - can divide ourselves into two clearly delineated groups in lots of different ways. Here’s one that occurred to me about 10 years ago:-

You can separate out chessers into those who would rather score +4 =0 -2 from six games and those who would rather finish with +2 =4 -0.

Go unbeaten, or notch more wins at the price of picking up a couple of defeats along the way. Back when the thought first came to me, you’d end up with 4 points out of six 6 in both cases. These days where the modern 'three-for-a-win' scoring system in place a Super GM would choose the former because s/he'd end up with 12 points rather than 10, but that doesn’t never applies to us Ordinary Joes, does it? Our choice remains a value judgement rather than an objective decision.

For most of my chess days I would have very much preferred to have 0 in the losses column if it were possible. For the last few years, though, I’ve switched over somewhat. Come to accept that sometimes defeats are the price you pay for the wins you take risks to achieve (see SMA #8, for example).

And yet part of me still dreams of being that guy who is uber-difficult to beat. When Nige recommend that we "adopt a hero" recently, my thoughts immediately went to Bent Larsen, yes, but also to Ulf Andersson as well. Larsen detested draws. Ulf, I suspect, would rather go +1 =15 -0 than +15 =0 -1.

Anyhoo. +4 =0 -2 or +2 =4 -0. Which are you?

* Aside from one by Roy 'Chubby' Brown, perhaps, but that’s far too rude for a family chess blog such as this one.


Niall Doran said...

I'm +2 =4 -0.

I know that the points are the same, but I think that at amateur level, there's a certain kudos attached to being the guy that's impossible to beat, which can also give you a bit of a psychological edge.

an ordinary chessplayer said...

Not all draws are equal (heh). And, in a swiss system, 001111 is very different from 111100.

But I guess I favor Larsen, except not having his talent I have had to train myself not to play for the loss.