19.08.2011– Former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov recently proposed that there were too many draws in chess, and that eliminating them from top-level chess would greatly enhance the popularity of the game. After him GM Sergei Shipov made a similar proposal, involving tie-break rapid or blitz games to be played immediately after draws. Here a selection of reactions from our readers.
Dustan Straub, San Jose, California
After centuries, it’s time for a change to the rules of the game itself. Make stalemate a victory for the side inflicting the stalemate on the theory that to compel ones enemy to finally throw himself upon the sword is, indeed, a victory. To keep this consistent with move rules, if a players inadvertently moves into check – it is now a legal move resulting in immediate loss of the game. Admittedly this is a radical solution, but this is no time for the deadening affect of ultra-conservatism. Our beloved game is in danger.
Ashwin Jayaram, Bangalore, India
This is in reply to Kasimdzhanovs suggestion. Chess can never be compared with tennis. Any person can appreciate Federer’s technique, while only a chessplayer can cheer after watching Bh3 from Topalov-Shirov 1998. And another key difference between tennis and chess is that in chess the elite only play amongst themselves, while in tennis, it is very possible to meet a monster across the court. I find Kasimdzhanovs idea to be quite absurd, there is nothing wrong with a draw. Many of the epic clashes in chess have ended in draws. The evil in chess is simply that a person will pay an amount to witness a tournament and everybody has finished with empty games.
I have a very simple idea (which im fairly sure has been used before). Why dont organizers simply stop paying appearance fees, and instead use that amount to boost the prize fund. A player can calmly take a quiet draw as he is already getting paid. But if a draw or a win is the difference between paying the rent or not, then there will be an honest attempt at fighting. Also, Federer would never even consider missing a grand slam if it wasnt for a very important reason.
Scott Cohen, Hobart, Australia
This is the equivalent of making two marathon runners race over a 100 metre sprint if they cannot be separated at the finish line. This will not and should not ever happen. Kasimdzhanov has this so wrong!
A lot more here.