Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The tolerance for draws

I've often wondered whether Australian's (and the English) have a higher tolerance for draws in chess than people from other countries (obviously excluding the other Test playing nations). Given the importance of Cricket in our shared sporting culture, the fact that a game can go for 4 or more hours and still end 1/2-1/2, probably does not surprise us. While the same argument might be made for football cultures, the shorter period that football takes to play might not create the same attitude.
The Zurich Chess Challenge currently being played between Anand, Kramnik, Caruana and Gelfand has provoked a degree of comment on this issue. At the halfway point all the players are tied on 1.5/3 with all games being drawn. The games themselves have been hard fought (and any games drawn before move 40 are to be followed by another exhibition game), but the result has still been 0.5-0.5.
Gelfand defended the results at one of the post match press conferences stating "The game is interesting. The result is just statistics". In a weird way this does remind me of old-school Rugby (The perfect game ends 3-0 to England), but ultimately people are after results. Even Gelfand hinted at this when he said "But a lot of people in the chess world only look at the results and think chess is boring". While I am not advocating a chess '20-20' to liven things up, it is worth recognising that the point of competition is to find out who is the best player.
However with 3 rounds to play I'm predicting that at least one game will end decisively, and that Kramnik will be the player to win the tournament!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They need guys like Carlsen, Morozevich, Ivanchuck, Nakamura. One could be unkind and say the draw ratio is not surprising given the field!