Saturday, 4 August 2012

They think it's all over, it is now

A couple of weeks ago I was explaining to some non chessplayers (Go players in fact), about what makes Magnus Carlsen special. "He simply wins tournaments" was my basic argument, in that he won the games he needed to win, when he needed to win them (usually at the end of the tournament).
It turns out that this didn't happen at the Biel tournament, which finished a few days ago. He needed to win his last round game against Bacrot, but a draw allowed Wang Hao to finish a point in front by beating Giri.
However this also is an artifact of the 3-1-0 scoring system used. In the 'classical' scoring system Carlsen finished on +4, while Wang Hao finished on +3. However Wang Hao won 6 games and lost 3 (including both games against Carlsen), and wins earn 3 points.
Of course Carlsen himself has benefited from the same scoring system in other events, and I haven't heard any real complaints from players over this result of this tournament. But I wonder if anomalies like this occur again, the 'football' scoring systems will fall out of favour, and 50 years from now results from tournaments like these will be regarded as an 'oddity'.

1 comment:

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