5

From the Chessbase article covering the Jerusalem GP:

After day one of the quarter-finals finished with disappointingly short draws on all boards, FIDE Press Officer Anastasiya Karlovich made a point of asking the players about the controversial decision to choose pragmatism over combativeness. Wesley So responded impassively, pointing out that "one of us has to win" in the end. This is simply a logical consequence of using the knock-out format in events with so much at stake. Or, as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave put it:

"I understand the frustration from the point of view of the spectators, but for me it's about something else, it's about qualifying for the Candidates, so for this one I cannot be entertaining, at least not if it diminishes my chances."

Elite players are unwilling to take risks to give themselves the best chances to qualify for the Candidates, so they play short draws. Okay (I'd even say it's quite logical).

But if they're going to play short draws, why bother with actually playing out the short draw on the board? Just skip the classical games and go straight to Rapid. Or if elite players play short draws in Rapid as well, skip that too and go straight to Blitz.

Conceivably some elite players might want to fight it out in classical games, but it doesn't sound too hard to accommodate them. Ask them before the match if they prefer to draw the classical games, and if either of them say no, let the match go ahead. But if they say yes, just save everyone the disappointment (not to mention the $$$) and play Rapid/Blitz, which sounds like a much more sensible use of time. One could even use the time freed up to, e.g., play more Rapid tiebreakers, get the players to commentate, or even give public simuls.

Why haven't elite tournaments done this?

3

It is because there are tournament regulations, including the format, which are published before the tournament starts. You cannot really change that after a certain point, like players accepting invitations.. In addition, although certain players are amenable to draw because they believe they are better at faster time controls, by FIDE rules, they cannot technically agree to a draw before the game starts.

Also, they might sit down at the board, and play some moves to see if they actually like how the game has started, and actually press on if they like what the see.

I think that what you are asking, if they tried to do it, it might be more complex in practice, and might also have unforeseen consequences, since everyone should play be the same rules. You cannot really have some players playing it, and others opting out since everyone should play the same tournament. Nevertheless, they could change the pre-tournament regulations and try it to find out if it works.

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2

Ask them before the match if they prefer to draw the classical games, and if either of them say no, let the match go ahead. But if they say yes, just save everyone the disappointment (not to mention the $$$) and play Rapid/Blitz.

If one of those players who said "no" makes it to the final, they'd be at a disadvantage: having played more and longer games, their level of mental exhaustion would be higher, compared to a player who skipped games. It'd be like a tennis match where one of the players endured 20 matches and the other one only played 10.
This would lead to every player opting out of classical games to ensure that they don't play more games than necessary.
Which would lead to tournaments being only Rapid and Blitz.
Which would lead to GMs adapting their play style, strategies etc. to better fit Rapid/Blitz, basically abandoning classical play.

And then some GMs would look for a short draw in the Rapid games to avoid risks, too. Which would lead to somebody asking "Why bother with actually playing out the short draw on the board? Just skip the Rapid games and go straight to Blitz/Bullet."
And then somebody would think "Why bother with Blitz" etc.

And in the end, the goal of tournament chess would shift from "checkmate the enemy King" to "make your opponent's clock run out before yours".


If elite tournaments have not done this yet, it's probably because there are still enough players that don't want chess to become that kind of game. But who knows, maybe that's the future of elite chess? Super fast games that can be easily scheduled and promoted on social media, and consumed by the public in the form of 2-minute YouTube clips?

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1

Elite players are unwilling to take risks to give themselves the best chances to qualify for the Candidates, so they play short draws. Okay (I'd even say it's quite logical).

Not quite. As it stands, aiming for short draws with white is a costly strategy: you may then fail to equalize as black if your opponent does not return the favour. Ironically, this is exactly what happened to Vachier-Lagrave in the last World Cup.

Now, some players may still be willing to pay that cost for one reason or another, but its is generally not true that they do it en masse. I checked the statistics of last three World Cups from round 3 onwards (to exclude too uneven pairs) and 55% of matches do have decisive games in classical portion, and obviously a sizable fraction of the others have fighting draws. Similarly, the decisive classical game rate at the current Grand Prix is at the moment at 24%, which is a bit lower than last two GPs (28% and 31% respectively), but not dramatically so.

If one could agree to two draws in classical free of cost, then it would be different - it would be usually beneficial to do so in the match of equal players.

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0

It has been said that the result of a game between GM of equal strength is a draw. Therefore, to increase the proportion of decisive games, the group of contestants could be increased to include greater ELO dispersion and allow with a Swiss system earn points by way of decisive games. Occasionally a GM ties with a lower category player. Another measure is to vary the accounting of points, without altering the rules of chess. For example, that those who tie must lose points instead of splitting the full point, because in the end it is a self gift to overcome the round; It could also be allowed in the tournament rules that each player choose one or two breaks, without affecting his score and of his contestant. We will have to analyze and test the most appropriate system. But what is definitive, is that the Armagedon system must be eliminated to define the winner. It's like after playing with strategy, cunning and psychology, to see who have the fastest hands.

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-1

Or why not skip blitz and use ratings or just flip a coin.

They should make them play games until somebody wins one.

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