I'm thinking something similar to Women's Badminton at the 2012 Olympics. There, some pairs actively attempted to lose their games to gain a more favorable draw in the next round.

Has anything like this happened in chess? I'm aware of the Candidates tournaments of the past where Soviet players allegedly played quick draws against each other to conserve energy against Fischer, but I'm not aware of intentional losing.

As an example of what would qualify, suppose in some 20-player tournament, the top 6 qualify for the next stage (this has happened in Candidates tournaments in the past). In the penultimate round, the runaway leader Alice has more or less qualified, but the 6th and final qualification slot is still up for grabs, with three players Bob, Charlie and Denise in contention. Alice is scheduled to play Bob in the round. She thinks Denise is the most threatening opponent, so it's in her best interests to lose to Bob and give Bob some help in qualification.

I'm not interested in match fixing to, e.g., make money in the betting markets; I'm only interested in losing for personal gain because of the crosstable & tournament format. I'm also not interested in draws - only intentional losses.


1 Answer 1


Yes. But not very many incidents.

In the old days,it was thought that some Russians were forced to throw games at times to help other players that were thought more likely to win the tournament so as to beat other countries' players.

  • 3
    This answer would be a lot better if you edit in some references. "They thought" is a bit vague ...
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 19:45
  • 1
    Dont have all my old chess mags but I recall it being in them in the 60s. Everybody believed it but nobody actually tried to prove it so they hedged their comments. I am sure other times it has happened too although on a smaller scale like two players scheming at the end of the tournament to ensure one wins the big prize that they split instead of risking a draw and both getting a very much smaller prize.
    – chessie
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 19:46

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