In the last round of the Candidates of the 2013 World Championship, there were two players left in contention. Kramnik (black vs. Ivanchuk) needed to outperform Carlsen (white vs. Svidler). In the event, Carlsen lost, so Kramnik only needed to draw, but he also had a lost position and resigned shortly afterwards. Carlsen went on to win the tournament and the title.

Now suppose that Ivanchuk hates Carlsen and really doesn't want Carlsen to win. Could he have offered a draw to Kramnik? That would be match manipulation of a sort - he's effectively making Kramnik champion. However I don't see how an outsider can stop him from offering a draw in a winning position, unless they offer him advice during the game ("you're in a winning position! Don't offer a draw!") which should be illegal. Afterwards he can always claim that he didn't think he was winning.

Is there some kind of rule that prevents this kind of scenario? Strictly speaking, a Carlsen-hating Ivanchuk could also have thrown the game ("I just happened not to see that my queen was en prise"), which would've forced Carlsen to win.

  • Does the catchall rule "The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute" count?
    – D M
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 1:22
  • @DM Does that apply though? It'd presumably be difficult to prove intent to lose (or draw).
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 2:21
  • I think Ivanchuk's reputation would be ruined and he would not get invited to such tournaments again.
    – Ywapom
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


Other than the catchall rule mentioned by D M, Article 11.1: The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute., I don't think there is a rule that prevents such scenario directly.

Also I believe that it is pretty much impossible to set up such rule, because there are too many possibilities. Also it would be very difficult to enforce it. Think of the following:

  • You would have to prove intent, which seems rather difficult.
  • Games at this level are rarely played out to a completely won position. It would have been easy to either make a small blunder to equalize the position, or just to claim that you evaluated the position incorrectly as draw.
  • The outcome of one game can affect many things. Apart from the direct points, it might also affect tie-break scores or the Elo rating (which could be relevant for instance for participation in the candidate tournament). Whatever the outcome of the game somebody will always be unhappy and could claim that the result is match manipulation.
  • If there was such a rule every time you make a blunder you would be under suspicion of match manipulation.
  • Last round quick draws in tournaments are pretty common as are not-fought-to-the-end games in team competitions (if it secures a win for the team for instance). Seems like match manipulation to me as well, and not much is being done to prevent it.

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