01 August 2013

1.c4 Draw!

In the most recent post on my World Chess Championship Blog, Averbakh on the World Championship, I rediscovered an old story that is resurrected from time to time. GM Averbakh included it in the section 'Who judges the judges?' from his book 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir'.

One very difficult question is what to do if the players agree a draw in advance, and just go through the motions of playing a few moves and then shake hands. This happens especially often in the final round, when the players and prizes are already settled. I believe that such games, in which there is no real battle at all, should not be counted, either for rating purposes, or for the awarding of titles.

But what should the arbiter do if the players agree a draw on move one? This is what happened in the last round of the World Student Team Championships at Graz [Austria] 1972. The final round saw the match between the USA and the successful German team, who were in third place.

Here's how GM Pal Benko described the incident in his 'In the Arena' column of the November 1972 Chess Life. Benko was captain for the U.S. team.

I was surprised to discover that the game -- or one of its several versions -- found its way into Chessgames.com (see Robert Huebner vs Kenneth Rogoff; WchT U26 19th fin-A 1972), into Chessbase.com (see 2009 ChessBase April Fool joke), and even into a Youtube 'instructional' video (see English opening - Huebner vs Rogoff).

For more about Rogoff, see Kenny Rogoff as You've Never Seen Him and Fischer on the 'Rubbish' Defense, on this current blog.

Averbakh's suggestion that such games not be rated would have prevented the rating manipulation I condemned in Next Short Draw: 2750.

No comments: