I wasn’t inclined to say anything about this – in the grand scheme of things, those articles will be forgotten pretty quickly I imagine. But after reading something over at the USCF site by Ian Rogers, I was kind of annoyed. I don’t even have any particular beef with Rogers, or whoever wrote the Reykjavik article for the other sites. I think it’s all just fluff that most people seem to lap up without thinking about.
After detailing the 3-move draw, Rogers writes: “However the spectators, both at the Harpa tournament hall and online felt ripped off. Bobby Fischer was probably turning in his grave.”
As they say, “it’s easy to sacrifice your opponent’s pieces.” If you want to change the draw behavior, it’s silly to throw stones from the sideline when you expect all the change to come from the players themselves, without any change in the surrounding organizations and organizers.
Would it be nice to have interesting, fighting games on every board in every round? Yeah, sure. But why would you think that will change because some writer – who has essentially done the same thing before – says it should?! On top of that, even organizers who have such anti-early draw rules don’t enforce them when the players are pretty good! Gibraltar has had a 30-move minimum policy for a few years at least, but it can be skated around pretty easily – either if you have any old, nonsensical 3-time repetition on move 5, or if you’re over 2700. Ironically, those are usually the games that “need” the anti-draw rules.
(There are many more examples of players skirting the spirit of the rule – Anand-Adams from Baden-Baden just now, or many of the Zurich games would all qualify. In other words, almost nobody is a saint by this measure, but this is much tougher to police I think.)