Monday 12 October 2015

Draw in 9, win in 11

There was a bit of a blow up at the 2015 Millionaire Chess tournament, when Hikaru Nakamura and Luke McShane drew their round 7 game in 9 moves. Although the contracts they signed seemed to preclude draws in under 30 moves, by move 9 they had repeated the position 3 times and under the FIDE Laws of Chess, a draw was a perfectly legal result.
Of course the organisers were not happy about this, and the usual discussion about sponsors, presentation and the mythical TV audience sprung up. However the result stood, and both players qualified for a playoff to determine the tournament semi-finalists (which was the point of the short draw in the first place).
Interestingly, in the playoff Nakamura then beat Bareev in 11 moves. Although the game was played at a rapid time limit (G/15), it does raise the same sort of questions concerning the presentation of an event. As chess isn't a fixed time sport (like tennis, but unlike football), is there a significant difference between an 11 move draw and an 11 move win. In both cases the sponsors and spectators are expecting a lot more chess than they get to see, the only difference is that one player probably blundered in the latter case. And for events that apply penalties for quick draws (financial or otherwise) will players who lose to quickly become subject to the same penalties in the future!

Bareev,Evgeny - Nakamura,Hikaru [D02]
Millionaire Chess, 11.10.2015

1 comment:

Adamski said...

Not Super-GM play by Evgeny, trapping his own Q and as white too!