10 March 2013

Next Short Draw: 2750

In the ruckus about the last round, three-move draw at the recent 2013 Reykjavik Open -- see Eljanov and others on Eljanov vs So, posted on the official site -- one detail interested me more than the other discussion points. GM Wesley So, apparently on his Facebook page, said,

I do not understand what is wrong with taking a quick draw on the last round to secure a 2700 Elo.

In a comment to that post, GM So's college coach, GM Susan Polgar, agreed,

I support Wesley's decision to secure a historic milestone of 2700+ for him, his country, and his university. Now he can move on to work on achieving bigger goals.

This sort of reasoning used to apply to securing title norms, like the GM title. With the GM title so common that it no longer indicates a professional player's relative strength, the reasoning is now being used to achieve rating milestones. It's a versatile argument that can be used to justify a quick draw at any level, starting from, say, 1000 Elo on up.

As many people have pointed out, it's up to tournament organizers to stop short draws by writing appropriate rules for their events. If organizers and their sponsors don't care, there's not much that anyone else can do.

I have a different problem with this way of thinking. As long as players are applauded for manipulating their ratings, let's stop pretending that chess is a sport.


Palamède said...

The problem of the draw only exists because one takes shortcuts to organize competitive chess on the large scale with round-robins or swiss opens. The draw is part and parcel of a gamemeant to be a one on one confrontation. It was last acknowledged in the 19th century when draws would simply have to be replayed, often with same colors.

Palamède said...

Draws have to be replayed, preferably with same colors, that simply is the essence of the game - cf. 19th century competitions! Why do you think Bobby Fischer was looking in his inarticulate ways for inspiration in the life and times of Wilhelm Steinitz. Scoring draws as 1/2 points, albeit highly practical, is the fundamental mistake from the "sporting" point of view.