Issues on the Chess Table : Short Draws
From Mark Weeks,
Your Guide to Chess

A Typical Scenario

The last round of the Super Grandmaster chess tournament has started, the playing hall is packed with spectators, and everyone is watching the games with great interest on the large monitors. The main sponsor’s Marketing V.P. has stopped by to see what the firm, a well known, multinational, high-technology star, is getting for its scarce promotional funds, and to discuss funding next year’s event with the tournament organizer.

Twenty minutes into the round, a player stops the clock at one of the tables; both players shake hands, stand up, and walk off. The spectators get excited, ‘What just happened? Did one of the players overlook a mate in one like Kramnik in his 2006 match against Deep Fritz?’ No, the monitor shows a complicated position, pieces attacking and defending everywhere on the board. Then at another table, the players follow the same ritual: stop clocks, shake hands, leave. The same happens at another table, then another.

Finally, there is only one game left. The lowest rated player in the event, a local hero, is already in a difficult position, battling for a draw against a world top-10 player. He sinks into long thought for half an hour. With only one game to watch and nothing happening, most of the spectators leave quietly. The Marketing V.P. checks his watch, remembers another sponsorship opportunity with a tennis organizer, and leaves quickly.

Real story or fiction? With the exception of the sponsor, it’s a real story that happens every year in top chess tournaments.

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