THE recent World Championship Match ( WCM)between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjalin were the subject of discussion by several notable chess personalities and the discussions also included hundreds of other alternative proposals.
The most notable were proposals by Emil Sutovsky, Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan.
Yasser Seirawan does not like the current format of the WCM and proposed a “radical solution.” His fundamental position is that the WCM should consist of classical games only, and that rapid and blitz games should not be used to break a tied match. The WCM should not be a 12-game contest as 12 games are not enough.
He explains that “12 games is not that mockery on chess we observed during the knock-out system, but it is still not enough. At least 14 to 18 games are needed for a full-fledged and creative fight: then the rivals have an ability to risk…Determining the classical world chess Champion through rapid, and all the more, through blitz games, is just nonsense.”
Emil Sutovsky is president of the Association of Chess Professionals and has an extensive experience in participating in television and radio programs and is an author of over a hundred publications.
He proposed playing the rapid and blitz “tiebreakers” before the classical games even begin. This creative idea ensures that a rapid and blitz tiebreak would be part of every WCM and the match will start with a bang!
Emil thinks that 12 games is not enough and as a result, the players play too cautiously as a single loss maybe decisive. He is also proposing 16 games as 24 games might be too long and won’t increase the costs too much. Also the rest days would be after three games not two as what happened in New York.
Maurice Ashley is a Jamaican American grandmaster, author, commentator, and motivational speaker and is well known for his effective coaching style. He was a commentator for the Anand vs. Kasparov world championship match as well as all of Kasparov’s epic computer matches.
In his article on Chessbase, he noted the following points: “History has proven that the better player will usually win a match of any (decent) length with very few exceptions.
Today’s general audience will not maintain much interest in a match that lasts over a month. Also rapid chess is very often a reliable measure of strength.
Even if the better player loses for some reason in rapid, that in itself is a compelling storyline that suggests that the classical portion was hard-fought.
Rapid chess is much more fun for and easy to explain to the general fan and media.”
My opinion is that chess is a battle of strategy and tactics and should not be based on endurance or speed. It is unfair to much older elite players like Anand or Topalov who are middle-age compared to most of the top players today who are in their 20s.
The format that should be drastically changed is the women’s championship. It should always be a one-on-one and not an alternating 64-player knockout format for odd years as what will happen in Iran next month. As a result Hou Yifan ,the defending champion, is boycotting the event.
Local events. Cebu chess is the envy of other places in the Philippines. Just a few days after the year ended, we already have two big tournaments.
There was the ‘Kita ang Katag” tournament sponsored by US based Cepcan and honorary member Dr. Darcy Tabotabo at the Knight Attack Chess Cafe located at the third level of Robinsons Galleria Cebu. The total prizes was P25,000 aside from four wrist watches.
This weekend will also feature the Harvey Duke Harris III Memorial Chess Tournament on Jan. 7 at the same venue.