Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sofia Rules

There is the impression that the ground-breaking Sofia Rules have made Mtel 05 & Mtel06 into paradigms of fighting chess. On May 9, 2007, the next installment of this tournament will begin in Sofia, Bulgaria. Under the Sofia Rules, a player cannot offer a draw to his opponent directly. Hey, that is progress already. If applied at our level, that proviso alone will eliminate repetitive draw offers by our opponents. The rules state that draw offers must be made through the tournament director who will study the position and come to a determination. If the TD does not see any semblance to a theoretical draw, he orders both players to play on. Are we looking at the future of chess here? Maybe, but not exactly!

Obviously, this arrangement will work best in small tournaments. Numerous TDs must be available if the Sofia Rules are applied in any of the big-money, huge-attendance tournaments like the World Open, Foxwoods, and so on. Maybe the Sofia rules were not truly meant for those kinds of tournaments. Maybe, they were meant for small, master tournaments where draws for convenience are more often seen. Yep, I am talking about those draws that disappoint both online and in-person spectators who expect blood from their gladiators. Those draws are more akin to an early cop-out than a gentlemen's agreement. No such thing in Tennis, Golf, Baseball, Football, Rugby, Cricket, and so on. Tie games are fighting games in their cases.

Anyway, why involve a third party in the process? Just to be critical, I think that involving a third party in the process can open a different can of worms with accusations of favoritism and incompetence. I think it is best to employ a system that runs on auto-pilot by threat of a low score. Somewhere in the worldwide web, I saw a suggestion that changing the scoring system will do the trick. Not a bad idea at all.

The idea is to change the scoring to three points for a win and one point for a draw. In effect, a draw will amount to a third of the whole pie. It's something to think about. For those of you who still prefer one point as our 100% standard, then perhaps a draw should be scored .25 of a point. For me, the grand daddy of them all is to not count the draws. Yep, one point for a win and no points for a draw. I think I like this last one the best. Who would want to play a standard 3-hr game for nothing? You have to do something! I, do, realize that the Sofia Rules were not meant to eliminate draws, but to encourage players to play aggressively. I guess the underlying theme is pretty obvious---to degrade a draw enough that players would avoid it.

Now, there's your auto-pilot system!


Blogger Ryan said...

I think some form of change to the standard scoring system might be an interesting idea. Chess players tend to be a bit protective about changing the rules, but this is just a technical rule which doesn't change the game intrinsically and could encourage more people to play for a win.

Nice blog btw :)

10:48 AM  

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