March 05, 2013 10:42

The (continued) debate on the (very) short draw

Eljanov-So shake hands after three moves at the Reykjavik Open

The three-move draw (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 ½-½) between Pavel Eljanov and Wesley So at the Reykjavik Open has re-opened the never-ending debate on (short) draws in chess. Was it acceptable? Does it matter if such a last-round draw lasts 10 moves, or 15? Let's look at a few different arguments which have been expressed in recent years.

Eljanov-So shake hands after three moves at the Reykjavik Open

"The draw" in chess has been a subject of discussion as old as the game itself. Well, almost. Until 1867, tournament games that were drawn were in fact replayed. In that year, in a tournament in Paris, there were so many draws that replaying them all would cause too many organisational problems. In 1868 the British Chess Association decided to award each player a half point instead of replaying the game, according to The Encyclopaedia of Chess.


The subject became highly topical right after the Candidates Tournament in May 2011 in Kazan, Russia. There, out of 30 games, 27 ended in draws. This high number, combined with a few very quick draws in the rapid sessions (especially the 8- and 14-move draws between Grischuk and Kramnik come to mind), led to a heated debate in the chess world.

At the time, the President of the European Chess Union (ECU) Silvio Danailov called it a

shame and disaster for the image of chess and FIDE

while all the way on the other side of the spectrum, the winner of the tournament, Boris Gelfand, argued:

(...) overall, it strikes me that it’s not important what the result is. The main thing is that the games were interesting.


Two months later, Rustam Kasimdzhanov made a bold suggestion: to abolish draws altogether. In an open letter, the Uzbek grandmaster wrote:

If we want success, sponsors, public and the rest of the parcel, we need to abolish those draws in classical tournaments. And not by Sofia rules – tournaments with Sofia rules produced as many draws as any other; and not by 30 move rule, where players are often just waiting for move 30. We need something entirely different. Like a tie-break in tennis. We need a result. Every single day. And here is how it works. We play classical chess, say with a time control of four to five hours. Draw? No problem – change the colours, give us 20 minutes each and replay. Draw again? Ten minutes each, change the colours and replay. Until there is a winner of that day. And the winner wins the game and gets one point and the loser gets zero; and the game is rated accordingly, irrelevant of whether it came in a classical game, rapid or blitz. This way the expectations of the crowd will never be deceived. There will always be a winner, there will always be blood.

About two weeks later, early August 2011, Russian grandmaster and commentator Sergey Shipov joined the debate on his site Crestbook. He agreed with Kasimdzhanov that there should be some kind of playoff system for games that end in a draw. He didn't like rapid games, though:

My suggestion is this: in round robin tournaments, after a draw in the main game, play two blitz games, with a time-control of three or four minutes, plus two seconds' increment, and if they do not produce a winner, then you play an Armageddon. Even those who are tired after the main game can manage this, and it also takes little time. The player who wins the main game gets three points, the winner after the blitz gets two points, whilst the player who loses in the blitz gets one point.

At the same time, in the main game, Sofia rules should be retained, or some similar prohibition on draw agreements before a certain number of moves, so that players cannot economise on their strength by agreeing a quick draw in the main game, getting to the blitz, and then heading for home. FIDE rating should only apply to the main games, which would therefore retain their status as the most important element of the battle.

(Translation by Steve Giddins)

Around the same time, IM Greg Shahade joined Kasimdzhanov and Shipov at Chess Life Online and suggested three options:

Solution 1: Start the game normally, whenever the game ends in a draw, you reverse colors, and you keep the same clock time from the previous game. This continues until there’s a winner.
Solution 2: Start the game normally and whenever the game ends in a draw before move 40, you reverse colors and keep the same clock time from the previous game.
Solution 3: If you offer a draw, your opponent has three choices. Accept the draw. Refuse the draw. And a new third choice: Switch sides and keep playing!

Draws: an essential part of chess

Our columnist Arne Moll's first reaction to Kasimdzhanov's open letter was this satyrical suggestion to "abolish mistakes altogether". In May 2012, however, he wrote a more serious piece in praise of draws. This was during the Anand-Gelfand World Championship, where 10 out of 12 classical games ended in draws. Moll pointed out that the criticism showed

not only lack of historical awareness but also betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of world championship matches in general, because they are and have always been about slowly strangling your opponent instead of swiftly overcoming him with flashy aggression. (...) Draws, be they long or short, form an essential part of chess, and especially in matches. They are inevitable because the players need to save their energy, because it’s more efficient to look at a surprising new idea in your hotel room than behind the board with the clock ticking, and because offering and accepting draws is always a psychologically significant part of a chess game. In short, draws form the basic ingredients of long chess matches. We, the spectators, instead of complaining, should be patiently analyzing every nuance, every detail, every little hint of physical or psychological weakness.

Open tournaments

So far the debate was mostly about the absolute top level chess: World Championship matches and Candidates tournaments. Things are different for (open) tournaments, where norms and prize money might be of bigger importance than the individual result of a game. We again quote Greg Shahade, who in November 2011 made the point that it's especially harmful for children to "play for norms" and in the process play quick draws.

Chess is a very difficult and competitive game. It’s extremely hard to become one of the best players in the world. To do so, you need to do almost everything right throughout your chess career. You should never squander opportunities to learn or grow as a chess player if your goal is to be one of the best in the world. (...) That means every time you have the chance to play a Grandmaster in a tournament game, you take advantage of that opportunity. You don’t take a draw in 15 moves, you don’t give a draw in a slightly better position to secure some rating points. Whenever one of our talented players does one of these things, they are hurting their chances at being one of the world’s best by a very tiny amount. The  problem is that we congratulate them for it!

Since then, Shahade got back into chess some more, and at the moment he is again playing on a regular basis. In an article published on February 17th, 2013 he reveals that he has "softened" his views on taking easy draws in final rounds in order to earn norms.

In theory it’d be nice to not care about titles, but you can't expect someone to ignore the huge benefits. (...) So I’ll revise my viewpoint as follows. There are certain goals in chess that are very important to achieve. These are mainly winning major tournaments and earning FIDE titles. If a draw will help to facilitate one of these two things, it’s totally acceptable to lose the opportunity to play one single chess game in order to achieve these goals. (...)

This assumes the rules of the tournament allow you to take a quick draw- more and more events require 30+ moves. Events which attract lots of press and media attention may also be a particularly poor choice for taking quick draws- you may lose the opportunity for future invitations or sponsorship. I still think quick draws are not good for chess, but the onus on disincentivizing lifeless draws should be on organizers more than on players.

Rogers on Eljanov-So

Ten days after Shahade's article the game Eljanov-So at the Reykjavik Open was played, which caused quite a stir at various chess websites. By now everyone knows that the game lasted just three moves; the ones that define the Grünfeld Defence. In my report for the official website I made clear that I was disappointed. I must add that although I was working for them, I wasn't necessarily expressing the organizers' opinion, but I still feel that most people in the chess world think something is wrong when the biggest game of a tournament lasts less than a minute. But what exactly is wrong with it?

GM Ian Rogers, in his online report on the Reykjavik Open for Chess Life Online, didn't mince words. The well-known Australian journalist wrote that

Shahade should never have resiled from his attitude expressed in an earlier article (...) as a teacher, one of his responsibilities is to teach moral fiber to his students. Or at least personal responsibility for their decisions.

Rogers continued:

One leading chess journalist was ropable after the Reykjavik finish and declared that neither So nor Eljanov should be invited back to the tournament – or other top tournaments - if they held the organizers and their fans in such contempt. Appeals that Eljanov and So were really nice guys cut no ice – players had to be taught that their actions which damage chess, even though perfectly legal, can have consequences.

A boycott is unlikely to achieve much – except perhaps to encourage players to disguise their intentions a bit better.

Shahade is right that, since there will always be the temptation for players to take draws to achieve titles or money, the scourge of the short draw is likely to persist and  anti-draw measures, while unpopular, are probably necessary – but that is only true  if players learn from Shahade that making short draws to achieve personal goals is acceptable.
Rant over.

In the same article a reply from Greg Shahade was given by the editors:

I do not approve of prearranged draws under any circumstance. However if a draw results in a clear personal achievement that may further your career, I believe it is reasonable to play a normal chess game with that in mind…Even if there was an anti draw measure in place that Eljanov and So will draw the game. That is why I do not even think that a draw should be an acceptable result of a chess game.

Eljanov's reply

In the days after the last round in Reykjavik, on Facebook both Wesley So and Pavel Eljanov expressed their surprise about the criticism they had received. Especially Eljanov wrote quite a big text on his profile page, which included some good points. We asked him if we could cross-post the text, but he wasn't sure and wanted to work more on it. But, today we found Pavel's text copypasted at two different sites: Natalija Pogonina's blog and the tournament website.

Because it is "out in the open" already, we feel free to quote from Eljanov's Facebook post:

Probably we were wrong when he offered a draw and I accepted on move 3. We’re not proud of it. But first of all I don`t see a big crime here anyway and nobody still didn`t prove me that 10-15 moves grandmaster draw any better in fact that 3 moves draw. (...) We are all humans and our forces are not unlimited. (...) After the tournament I talked about our draw with main organizer of Reykjavik Open Mr. Gunnar Bjornsson who is also the president of Icelandic chess federation. He told me that he didn`t mind, has no claims for me and Wesley and satisfied with our performances during the whole tournament. Also he has no plans to invent Sofia rules. I agree with him as in open tournaments (unlike closed tournaments where Sofia rules fit perfectly) I don`t see a big reason to do it as there is always plenty of games to watch and usually fight is tough as this is kind of natural selection as financial conditions not so sweet like in super-tournaments and prizes are not so high. So after all I think that all accusations that we have not fulfilled our obligations to the organizers are far-fetched.

Ian Rogers gave us the following response to Eljanov:

I am not questioning Eljanov's contribution to the Reykjavik Open in the first nine rounds – he was the stand-out player in the tournament and played hard in nine of the ten rounds. My issue is solely with his decision to play a three move draw, with the white pieces, in the final round when first place was on the line.

From the players' perspective it's understandable to agree to a draw. In fact for Eljanov it was quite risky to play on: he knew he would have the best tie-break, so drawing would mean winning the tournament. 

All in all, there's a big gray area and everyone seems to be making valid points in this debate. We've tried to summarize the main arguments expressed in the past few years, without choosing sides ourselves. We do hope that tournament organizers will test some of the suggestions by Kasimdzhanov/Shipov/Shahade so that we'll know a bit more about the (side-)effects. Besides, they sound like good fun!

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Zeblakob's picture

Simple solution: Crucifixion.

Fetishist zeblakop's picture

That's my Zeb, violent and sexy!

Kamalakanta's picture

Ha! Zebs will be Zebs! Hi, Zeb!

Zeblakob's picture

Hi @{Kama,BlunderSuck} :)))

Pavel Kasparov's picture

Instead of turning a tournament into a circus, with swapping sides on a draw offer, or playing another game with reduced time, the best solution is to threaten the livelihood of the offenders. Stop inviting short draw players to future tournaments. At the top (which is the only place with spectators who care about such things), they rely on chess income and invitations to money tournaments. Threaten that, and you will adjust behavior. Of course this requires organizers to show a united front, but if this is really bothersome to most people, then it should naturally occur.

wortwart's picture

This story mixes a discussion about draws in general with one about very short draws without a fight which are two entirely different beasts. I find most of these anti-draw-suggestions interesting, but I doubt they will ever be used in practice.

My first reaction to Elyanov - So was disgust, but of course: if the rules don't forbid this behaviour it's hard to condemn it. The players had good reasons to act as they did and a 3-move-draw is not that much different from a 12-move-draw. But still: I think drawing after less than one minute is grossly disrespectful. To me it's like going to a match with dirty clothes.

Sofia rules force the players to at least pretend to fight. Pretending also means showing respect to the organizers, the spectators, the other players, chess itself. And if you managed to wreck your position within 30 moves there are still chances that a real fight emerges.

Anonymous's picture

But you can't have different rules for different players in the same tournament, and the majority of the players in Reykjavik were just amateurs. I don't think they should be told what to do with their time, if they want to agree to a draw they should be able to.

I think Sofia rules should be used in professional closed tournaments, where the participants get paid to play.

wortwart's picture

You don't need different rules for amateurs. I think it is perfectly okay to demand from amateurs to actually play if they don't want to forfeit - why else would you want to be in a tournament? In some amateur team competitions you even have to pay a fee if you don't show up in time.

RdC's picture

It isn't difficult in practice to have different rules for different players. You simply apply a Sofia style rule only to the top boards of the tournament. If round 1 was perceived to be an issue, you just start the special rule at round 2 or round 3.

Anonymous's picture

I agree, plus a consultant GM needs to be on hand to judge if there is still play left in the position. Too many pros play not to lose and take draws in complex interesting positions.

Anonymous's picture

There is another top GM suggestion I like, that of Morozevich: instead of stalemate draws, award the win to the player who manages to put the opponent in zugzwang. There would be very few "technical draws" left. Granted, this changes the accepted rules of the game, but at the same time, the new stalemate rule fits better to the general spirit of the rules.

boardgame's picture

Sounds interesting. However, to me it seems more games are drawn by repetition than by zugzwang. In addition to your suggestion, how about abolishing the repetition of moves more than three times? So after three times you are froced to make a different move. Like your suggestion this rule is very easy to implement. Thereby, it seems possible to significantly reduce the draw fraction to an acceptable level.

Anonymous's picture

I think the majority of "correct" draws are not coming from repetition, but because "there's no life left in the position". With the new stalemate rule, such positions would suddenly flourish with life. I would be inclined first to see the effect of this rule before touching the 3fold repetition issue.

Rick Massimo's picture

But any draws that go long enough that stalemate is a factor are hard-fought. I don't think anyone's complaining about 75-move draws - at least they shouldn't be.

I like the first Shahade suggestion: Draw? OK, then you keep the clock times, switch colors and play again. That makes for decisive results and yet you can offer or accept a draw whenever you want.

Thomas Oliver's picture

The general flaw with such propositions is that they consider _any_ draw an undesirable or 'wrong' result, while it can be both legitimate and unavoidable.
The Shahade rule might actually punish the player who tried to avoid a draw, this player will often spend more time on the clock than his opponent. Let's say you try hard to win with white, don't succeed, a draw becomes obvious ... and then the reward is a rapid game playing black with 5 against 30 minutes.
Another case: one player knows a forced opening variation finishing in a draw and can blitz out his moves, while the opponent needs to think over the board. Memorizing such forced lines suddenly becomes more attractive!?

boardgame's picture

What do you guys think about the adjustment of the threefold repetition rule so that a player needs to make a different move after moves have been repeated for three times? I mean if the draw is really that clear than in the worst case they move pieces till they reach the 50-move rule. Why do we need two rules to declare a draw for just shuffeling pieces? Otherwise, let them just play out the position. Even if a draw is clear, playing them out can actually teach amateurs much more than agreeing to a draw because most amateurs don't see the draw yet. For the professionals that's easy (as they claim), so they can just blitz out those moves.

sab's picture

"Even if a draw is clear, playing them out can actually teach amateurs much more than agreeing to a draw because most amateurs don't see the draw yet."

As if professionals played to help amateurs identify draws. How naive.

boardgame's picture

Maybe they should. After all,...

Every professional sport is nothing but a circus. If it wasn't for the audience, nobody could make a living of it.

sab's picture

"Maybe they should. After all,..."
There we are. Nice dreams.

"Every professional sport is nothing but a circus."
Or how much you care about the status of professional sports.

Anonymous's picture

Chess professionals don't get paid by the spectators. They get paid by the other players, who pay entrance fees. People pay entrance fees because they want to play in a strong tournament and maybe if they do well face a GM. Nobody cares what sort of game the GMs play when they meet each other, except for the GMs themselves.

boardgame's picture

We are not talking about your club tournament, buddy. In professional chess, players get paid to to play, so-called appearance fees. They don't pay no entry fees.

boardgame's picture

At least not the top professionals. And the entry fees of the weaker players (if there are any) do only cover part of the costs. The biggest chunk is still the money from sponsors.

Anonymous's picture

New Rule: "The player who on the move brings about a third repetition of the position loses immediately".

Boybawang's picture

That's a Bad Rule. Some three move repetition are forced because it's the only way to save from mate or loosing material.

Anonymous's picture

That's my point...the player in the situation you describe needed to anticipate his problem and avoid it before repeating the position was the only way out.

Anonymous's picture

With stalemate a win, stalemate will not become a factor after hard-fought 75 moves, but right in ther opening. Opening lines leading to "sterile" positions will become good, the subsequent play very enjoyable to watch, and the player capable of identifying and exploiting the most minute advantage will win. To me, that's better than a 75 move draw.

Andi's picture

Yes, this is interesting. When I read the article, this "idea" came to my mind. Then you posted your comment, where you attribute the idea to Morozevich. But it seems, that stalemate was a win (and also a loss!) during certain periods. At least this is what says. I also feel that stalemate should be a win. Like in Merels, for example. Of course, much of endgame theory would change. Being a pawn up would in general be a much larger advantage than it is now, wouldn't it?

RdC's picture

A rule requiring the agreement of an arbiter if the draw was taking place in less than x moves or even y minutes of play is a solution which could work provided you had enough arbiters with sufficient strength to judge positions. A one minute, three move draw would be turned down without debate.

A draw is a natural chess result. You are creating a chess variant if you start tampering with the stalemate rule, or forbidding draws in positions where neither player has any winning prospects.

Where organisers offer financial assistance to enable players to compete, a policy which marked down those playing short draws becomes possible for future invites.

boardgame's picture

One could also argue that Sofia-rules create a chess variant of the game. I think the goal should be to reduce draws, not to forbid them. Like you said, they are an essential element of the game. However, it seems that an adjustment of the rules is the only way to decrease the fraction of draws and thereby increase the popularity of chess.

Twainy's picture

Maybe rate a draw as a loss?

Theo's picture

Just change the scoring system, so that draws are not that attractive. This will change the "last round' results a lot!
Like WIN 3, DRAW 1, LOSE 0.

or even WIN 2, DRAW 0.5, LOSE 0.

Easy solution. They'll play!

RdC's picture

I don't think 3-1-0 makes sense in the context of an Open Tournament. In the early rounds of a tournament, rating mismatches are common. It doesn't seem logical to reward a loss to a player rated 400 points above you and a win against a player 400 points below you with more points than two draws, particularly if you have a big rating difference against you.

Anonymous's picture

That would encourage Swiss gambits.

Claude's picture

This discussion keeps on coming back and quite frankly I don't understand why anyone besides organizers or professional players should feel entitled to see a problem and try to solve it.

If I pay 70 to 150 euros to go watch a football game live in the stadium and the players just shuffle the ball around I might get quite angry.

If I surf to a free of charge, live-transmission of a chess tournament and half or all of the games ended in a draw, well I don't care. Even if it is the world championship. There is so much interesting, free chess stuff on the web that I couldn't care less what these guys are doing.

Quite frankly I do not care either if grand masters can make a living from chess or if their attitude will drive sponsors away,

The kind of chess the mere mortal somewhere below 2100, 2000 elo points is playing doesn't need them anyway.

boardgame's picture

True, but there is not much to learn if players agree to a draw after three moves; also if they just play 20 moves of theory and then agree to a draw when it actually gets exciting. In those cases I am slightly upset and consider watching this game more or less a waste of time. If something like this happens once in a while, ok. But if 27 out of 30 games are drawn, it is not ok.

I think the fact that the discussion is coming back is simply an indicator for the problem not being solved yet and that quite a few people perceive it as a problem, including professional players and organizers! Chess is not all bad of course, but the game/sport could be even more appealing if the draw ratio was lower.

Anonymous's picture

You are absolutely right! Players like you should not be posting here. Only players with GM title and above.

filiusdextris's picture

Fischer random chess at the top levels would mitigate the draw effect as well.

Anonymous's picture

Great Wes Shark have a ferocious chess appetite!!

RealityCheck's picture

There are far too many bigots, two-faced people lurking behind keyboards in the chess world. These short sighted view points of the Eljanov vs So drawn game offers yet another ugly example.

Btw, would Mr. Ian Rogers like to comment, give us an explanation of the Draws (in 9 moves) he has to his credit? It's on record.

Greco's picture

Why not 1 move draw?

Ruben's picture

I think it is not about make a draw but zbout amke a draw in only three moves. Short draws can happen not only the tournement stand but also because after lets say 12 moves all the music is out of the position.
This can happen so now and then and I have nothing against such a draw. But draw in only three moves isnt hardly a game. It is an opening. The Gunfeld Indian in this case. Everybody knows the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 so this is not really playing chess. You make three moves and say draw? Ok. That s a bit a shame I think. Same like 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 draw. This is just too bad.
Not that for example 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qh5+ etc. and draw is any better.

Leon's picture

It's all about incentive. Players who are leading a tournament with one round to go have their eyes on the prize. If a player is confident enough (s)he will play for the win. However, imagine losing in this situation ... perhaps other players who have not played nearly as well get a decent prize when you get almost nothing. This is not the 'smart' play. So if 2 more or less equally talented players face off and know that the end result will probably be a draw anyway, especially because caution tends to inhibit spectacular combinations, what right does the public have to expect blood ? The only reason this is even a topic of conversation in open tournaments is because of more media coverage. People watching online have not invested anything besides their attention but players are trying to earn a livelihood. Why should they play for the public ? What incentive do they have ?
However, there is an incentive. Players do get appearance fees and hotel/food etc. If these were automatically reduced whenever they made short draws, it would probably solve the problem immediately. Of course, this is up to the discretion of organizers. Personally I have no problem with the Eljanov-So result since both played wonderful fighting chess and if one had won their last round encounter it would have been a tragedy for the other. Also, they clearly didn't prearrange the result since otherwise they would presumably have been far more discrete. Perhaps the simplest solution is to have a 20 or 30 move minimum rule which eliminates the controversy that this case raised.

Frits Fritschy's picture

A few loosely connected thoughts about the subject.
1. As a spectator, I don't see draws as a problem. I've played over many draws that gave me lots of pleasure. When a result is needed, you can resort to a follow-up of rapid, blitz and armaggedon games, or even the roulette table, on a descending scale of interest for me. I don't see at all why you should do this in normal tournament conditions. Some of the matches in the Kazan candidates tournament for me show how uninteresting chess could become if we would follow Kasimdhanov's proposal.
2. I'm following professional chess for over 40 years now and my impression is things used to be a lot worse concerning short, unfought draws. I have memories of grandmaster tournaments 30 or more years ago (closed ones!) where in some rounds the majority of the games were drawn within 20 moves. I don't see that happening nowadays. Anybody got stats about this? I opened Bronstein's 1953 Zürich tournament book at a random page and found game 94 (Najdorf-Smyslov, 14 moves), game 95 (Petrosian-Geller, 14 moves) and game 97 (Szabo-Boleslavsky, 18 moves) (But in between there was Averbakh-Kotov - remember that one? Couldn't help myself looking it over again, so don't count on me for research...) Okay, Zürich was a 30-round tournament, but there were others.
3. Eljanov has a point when he says things are different in an open tournament. When your income mainly depends on prize money and you have hungry mouths to feed (even just your own), you are less likely to take risks. Organisers are relatively free to choose their mix of sticks and carrots, so if they think draws like this are not what they want, they may have to rethink their format. What about a bonus for a last round win?
4. I've read the argument "These players are not here to entertain us." That is not just cynical, it's also illogical. I am not playing chess to entertain you; I hardly ever get any money for it, so I just want to entertain myself. But professional players get paid and that is not because they need to be kept from robbing our auntie, but because they should entertain us. There is no other reason. So at least they should keep up appearances.

Drawing in 3 moves is shameless and cynical, in my opinion. But, that said, you don't see it too often. Why not accept it happens occasionally? Of course, it should be noted - people shouldn't develop bad habits undisturbed. But no need for anything drastic.

sab's picture

"Because they should entertain us. There is no other reason."

I firmly disagree with this statement. The first time one decides to play has nothing to do with entertainment. The prize at the end of a competition is meant to reward the player's efforts, not to pay for the entertainment he provides.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Then, tell me, what could be anyone's motivation to pay for this effort?

sab's picture

Ask the sponsors.

Frits Fritschy's picture

That's nice. You firmly disagree with me, but for a motivation I'll have to ask others.

What's Next?'s picture

There are no theoretical draw positions in a chess game after only 3 moves. That should be a reason enough to deny the players the right to offer and accept a draw.

RespectPlayersWork's picture

I don't see the point. A professional player play to earn money for him or/and his family. But as "free spectator" of a showdown, one should respect his "work", and in that case it's the 9 previous games which gave him the "right" to secure some thousands euros. Who will explain to their family that they didn't win any prize because it was more important to play for the "free audience" ? This discussion turns to be the "professional chess death" ! Be paid to make a show is quite different than make a show to be paid, they are not slaves !

boardgame's picture

They are slaves of the system. Rabbits chasing after the biggest carrots (biggest chunk of the price money). Can't blame them for that. Otherwise they would not be able to feed their families by playing games but would need to get a different/real job to keep them from starving. That's why I say change the system. Put the biggest carrots in a different part of the arena and they will hobble that way. Even use a stick from time to time to ensure the audience is pleased.

Every professional sport is nothing but such a circus. If it wasn't for the audience, nobody could make a living of it.


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