Monday, 16 May 2011

All peaceful on the Eastern Front

I'm starting to wonder if FIDE is rethinking the whole Candidates Knock-out format. So far the quarter and semi final matches have seen exactly 2 decisive games out of the 24 games played at the long time controls. Of course some of the drawn games have been quite exciting, but as a method of finding a challenger for the upcoming World Championship match, the shortcomings are becoming obvious.
Both sem-final matches (Kramnik v Grischuk, Gelfand v Kamsky) saw all 8 games drawn, and currently they are into the Rapidplay tie-break matches. So far these games have also been drawn and it looks like blitz will once again determine who progress towards the 'Classical' World Championship Match.
Now I'm not privy to the decision making process that decided upon this format, but given the fact that all 8 qualifiers were in the same location, and that there are essentially 14 rounds (not counting the tie-break days), an 8 player double round robin would have not taken any more time or effort. It might incur slightly more expense, as all players are involved until the end, but given the number of rest days between the current matches, even this might not be so. The counter argument is that a knockout format is more exciting and decisive, but clearly this isn't the case here. So it will be interesting to see if once again the format for the next World Championship qualifiers changes. Normally I'd say it would be highly unlikely, but I guess these days nothing is certain. Maybe it it will all depend upon what Carlsen wants!


Anonymous said...

must say has been very hard to muster enthusiasm for the games.

Anonymous said...

You forget that a tournament format allows collusion.

Anonymous said...

These matches are far too short; at least 8 classical games are needed for the stronger player to show his superiority at this elite level.

I have suggested that in such short matches, it is better to play the rapid and blitz playoff, and then once a winner is determined, switch to classical games, with the winner of the rapid/blitz playoff advancing in the event of a tie.

This also has its problems, of course, but would at least force one of the players to play for a win.

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