Grandmaster Draws...So What?

Nov 18, 2011, 10:32 PM |

Many chess editorials have been written with the aim of convincing the reader that the short 'Grandmaster Draw' is somehow bad for chess. I'm just not seeing it. Who is it bad for? It is very likely that the only people that such draws affect at all is the miniscule percentage of players in sections of tournaments who get smaller amounts of prize money as a result of truces on the top boards. It must be noted that a draw is worth only half a point, and a win gets twice as much. I think you can see where I'm going with this. Others have before me. I have enough to concern myself in my own games.

My essay is, why should I or anyone else care what the Grandmasters do in round 5 of a weekend Swiss in Omaha or Knoxville? The likelihood that the presence of such eminent World Class players in a local tournament will not be noticed or mentioned by the local press should be of greater concern to those interested in promoting chess in the United States.

I am not robbed of study material or inspiration by professional players electing to draw rather then appease what passes for the Chess media in next months weekend quads. Someone tell me again exactly how many recorded Master level games are at my disposal to enrich my understanding and enjoyment of the game? Billions? Trillions? More?

I contend that if your local tournament is fortunate enough to attract titled players, then their very presence promotes chess and attracts participants. They are, after all, our 'stars'. Professionals. As in, through chess they pay their bills and eat food. Most of them travel a lot, many every weekend. I allow the chance that by the final round, a titled road warrior may have a tad more weariness then those of us who have traveled 10 miles for our second tournament of the year.

Is it against the "Spirit of Competition" to agree to an armistice before a contest has really begun? That is for others to argue. I contend that plenty of competitive spirit is shown in the rounds preceding the short draw; I daresay such draws in early rounds are rare for obvious reasons. I further add that competitive spirit is reflected in the very fabric of a professional chess player's life, in the hundreds of hours of studying, traveling, coaching, and playing.

To summarize: this fish does not give a damn what the sharks do or do not do to one another. I've enough to worry about swimming upstream! ;)