21 July 2012

Recent Comments

While I was on vacation this blog received more than the usual number of comments, among which were a few deserving special notice. First I'll list a few posts leading up to vacation that received multiple comments.

The 'Iceberg' post had a particularly noteworthy comment related to the Anand - Gelfand title match. I had intended to highlight it myself, but the comment pre-empted me. From Steve Giddins, The Levellers (stevegiddinschessblog.blogspot.com), file this under 'you can lead a horse to water etc. etc.':-

The result is a whole series of effectively contentless games, where the players are just checking each other's computer-aided preparation. Once in a while, they will hit on a gap, and get some advantage, but most of the time, there will just be what we have already seen in Moscow - 15-20 moves of preparation, 4-5 more accurate moves, a dead position, and a draw.

So, what is the solution? Sadly, I don't think there is one, at least not without abandoning traditional chess, in favour of Fischer Random, and I hardly know anyone in the chess world who wants to see that (I certainly don't). It grieves me to say it, but I think classical chess is in its last days.

The remark was repeated twice on Chessbase.com. First there was a reprint of the post: World Championship G4 reflections – it's the computers!; followed by a reaction: Giddin's reflection on draws, readers' feedback. Many of the readers' remarks mentioned the Fischer Random idea, some for it, some against. At least people are discussing the idea rather than dismissing it without due consideration.

Back to this present blog, other recent comments were made against the following posts.

Of particular note here were a number of comments by Vasile Andreica against the first two posts.

The first Chess960 tournament ever organized in Romania will take place on July 7th in the northern city of Satu Mare. It will be an open tourney with 7 rounds, Swiss style, each round featuring a separate start position.

Our Romanian correspondent also provided a pair of links: Cupa Informatia Zilei la sah 960 si blitz and Inedita premiera! La Satu Mare se va organiza primul turneu de sah 960 din România. The event was won by 'the one IM participating', showing once again that skill in traditional chess carries over to chess960. Unfortunately, the games were not recorded. On that line of thought, and going back a few months to April -- Rare Birds 2012 -- a link to the Waldbronn tournament now leads to several games by titled players; see 'Partien'.

Another comment against my 'Modern Chess' post brought up the objective of reducing the draw rate. The problem of draws, especially short draws, is raised so often during discussions about chess960, that it is worth adding it as a new bullet to 'Top 10 Myths'. Fischer's greatest invention is not a panacea for all the ills that beset traditional chess. It is, in a word, about excessive *memorization* which has been exaggerated by computer preparation.

1 comment:

GeneM said...

Mark quoted the following comment:
"It grieves me to say it, but I think classical chess is in its last days."

There is no evidence for this quoted claim when elite grandmasters play in TOURNAMENTS. There the enormous 60% draw rate is firmly established, yet European sponsors continue to provide $.

However, the quoted claim seems more valid when applied narrowly to MATCHES between two elite grandmasters.

Some in FIDE and elsewhere tried to perpetrate the nonsense claim that a FIDE tournament held in 2005 won by V.Topalov, and in 2007 won by V.Anand, crowned World Chess Champions even though those tournaments were not matches.

Although history now dismisses those claims, the WCChamp matches (and candidate mini-matches) have become so draw heavy that a feeling of cynicism exists where there should be excitement.

I hate to see the match format be so lame in practice. 3 of the latest 5 WCChamp matches ended in a tie (after all regular time control games were played). This is caused by the high draw rate combined with the severe reduction in the number of regular time control games (12 instead of 24). And the WCChamp match before that had 12 of 14 games as draws.

These short matches are just not working.