Letter to ChessToday.net editor:
While looking at the comments after the end of the candidate matches, I was surprised that nobody mentioned the fact that we were just one step close to have a challenger who didn’t manage to win a single classical game, due to ridiculous tournament rules.
What was wrong with a normal double round tournament with Sonneborn-Berger as a TB? How comes that players accept to play with such ridiculous TB rule?
When doing my comments in official tournaments (EC 2009 Budva, 2010 Rijeka) I used to criticize such a rule and this year in Aix les Bains it was finally eliminated. Below you can find my final comment at the EC in Budva:
“Looking at these games which were full of turnarounds, blunders and even losses on time in completely winning positions, I cannot avoid raising a question about the regularity of such a system. According to myself there are couple of things that are highly controversial.
First of all, why a player must win one more tournament to confirm his victory according to the standard rules (Sokolov (NED) in this case, who was first on Bucholz). What is even worse, that second tournament is played with completely different rules (knock-out system, rate of play). Especially arguable is the rate of play which has nothing to do with the tournament play.
It is quite clear that such games offer a spectacle (today there was a double number of enters on the official website), but a portion of additional stress suffered by the players after 11 days of tough battles makes much more damage comparing to the profit.
The problem is that all these strange ideas are coming from the amateurs who never found themselves in such situations, while on the other side chess players are inert and not organized at all in order to be able to have some influence in such cases and to bring through their own ideas.
I used to be a FIDE delegate for 4 years (1991-1995), long enough to know how things are going on in that organization.”
With best wishes,
GM Misho Cebalo
FIDE should ask Greg Shahade about crazy ideas for chess tournaments. Maybe FIDE should adapt the bidding for time to decide a championship. Better yet, let bid money.
Cebalo makes good points. Maybe he should try to get all the professional players to get together to protest ridiculous time controls.