Thursday, 29 October 2020

The first grandmaster draw?

 Up until 1867, draws were kind of an odd thing in chess. When chess was mainly match play they did not effect the final result, and even when tournaments became round robins, draws were either replayed, or in some cases, not counted towards the final result (ie both players scored 0 for the game!).

The first tournament where draws were treated as a valid result was probably the Dundee tournament of 1867. A number of the worlds leading players took part, including Steinitz and Blackburne. The tournament was one by Gustav Neumann who took advantage of the new scoring system to finish half a point ahead of Steinitz, by virtue of drawing one of his 9 games (plus 7 wins), while Steinitz won 7, but drew none.

As for the game which has the honour of being the first 'scored' draw, this may well be it.

De Vere,Cecil Valentine - Fraser,George Brunton [C80]
British CA Grand Tourney Dundee (3), 06.09.1867

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