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In 1980 IM Boris M Kogan settled in Atlanta Georgia. He dominated chess in Georgia until his death in 1993. He won the state championship from 1980 through 1986 and then again in 88 and 1992. He was not only dominate in Georgia but was such a dominate player that he was soon nick named : king of the South ! To be paired against him meant almost certain defeat. I played him 7 times over the years in tournaments and drew one time, losing all other games. Many players dreaded to even play him, he was simply in a class alone in the southeast at that time.
A strong master from a neighboring state used to often come to tournaments in Georgia and to avoid Kogan he would give a weaker player a draw in the early rounds, usually in the 2nd or 3rd round. He did this so that IF he did play Kogan it would usually be in the 5th ( last ) round when Kogan would be 4-0 and he would have 3.5. Kogan often would be agreeable to an early draw since 4.5 would clinch first place and the master would be handed 2nd place with a 4-1 score. I was at many of these events and it worked for him more often than not. This "tactic" is known as a "swiss gambit" and is often used to " back into a prize" without having to face the strongest opposition. I think its a rather unethical practice myself, what do you think ?
Interesting. I'd agree that this is a dubious practice from an ethical standpoint, but how would you ever craft and enforce a rule that prohibited it? Any thoughts on how it could be disincentivized?
I also dont know a good way to prevent this without breaking swiss pairing rules.
I have seen similar manipulation by players.
And chess players are NOT ethical. A few years ago our club hosted a one day Blitz Marathon.
A 9 round swiss for the whole field had some prize money, but after the Swiss the top half went into an A section knockout, and the bottom half to a B section Knockout, And these had the best prize money.
So many of the top players went for the "easy" money in the B section that they all ended up playing each other for half the stakes anyway. The penny only dropped for them after about round 5 in the 1st event when it became clear that everybody had the same strategy. By then it was too late for many to recover, and the knockout fields were pretty much a tiebreak lottery. It was actually quite amusing.
Then there is the 'Viktor Korchnoi' of Southern Chess, Senior Master Klaus Pohl, who loved to play Boris, although 'The Hulk' Kogan usually got the better of him. Klaus did manage to inflict a couple of defeats on Boris, of which he is understandably proud, telling me that Boris, "Made me a better player."
At one time NM Michael Lucas was second to Boris, which was nothing of which to be ashamed. One time, after a time scramble with 'The Shah', Kamran Shirazi, in New Orleans, Boris said to me, "He not come into my backyard!"
Boris Kogan, an IM of GM strength, according to many GM's, including Larry C, Michael Rhode, and The Fed, has become a legend of Southern Chess!
You can add GM Kevin Spraggett to that list Mike. I once asked Kevin if he thought Boris was GM strength and his answer was : " I certainly hope so, he has beaten me twice !" They played twice with Kogan winning both games, and with black. These games can be found on chessgames.com. For those who dont know Kevin he has been over 2600 FIDE and in the mid 80s played 2 candidates matches for the world championship.
I think it can be considered as a tournament strategy. If this person knows he cant get the first place, but believes he is good enough for the second, he can play accordingly for achieving that. Giving a draw isn't enough for doing that. He still needs to defeat his all other opponents, plus he needs to be strong enough make Boris Kogan think accepting an early draw is better than "risking" the game.
My understanding is that there are also scenarios that occasionally arise in which a player who's already guaranteed to advance grants a draw to a weaker opponent because it causes a stronger one not to make it to the next round thus making the next round's field a little less challenging and improving the player's chances of placing.
Fundamentally, I think that any attempt to influence future pairings in this manner is unethical.
He would also have to draw weaker players who values the half-point more than a game with a Master. I'm sure the boatload of extra ratings points and the privilege of saying, "I drew against a Master", would be very alluring to most players. But some players might just say, "No thanks. I came to play and learn from stronger players." And thus the Master would have no choice but to beat the weaker player.
And he had to be on Kogan's goodside. If Kogan viewed his play as unethical or shady, he might have just played out of spite, and would most likely win. Kogan would have 5 points, and because the Master gave out a free draw, there may be a number of other players with 3.5-4 points, meaning that his payday might be very meager.
Overall, the "Swiss Gambit" is very cowardly, but because of the small risks involved and hoops you have to jump through to make it work, I'm not sure if it's unethical.
suppose there are two friends. one friend is named richard and he lives in georgia, and he's afraid of his friend named benjamin who lives in missouri. now suppose richard draws in the first round in order to avoid facing benjamin, but benjamin draws in the final round in order to secure his tournament victory.
which friend is more unethical, the one taking a draw in the earlier round, or the one taking a draw in the final round? the answer is simple: either both, or neither one.
The "Swiss Gambit" originated as a joke - players noticed that an early upset victim could play his way back into contention in a Swiss event against weaker opposition while the other top players knocked each other off. In a short tournament, the "gambit" player might show up on the top boards again in the last round with a chance to win the tournament.
So, whenever one of the top handful of seeds gave up a first round draw or loss, he was mockingly accused of "playing the Swiss Gambit."
Of course, intentionally losing or drawing to enable this scenario is unethical.
I think it fits rather snugly within the ethos developed and practiced by Western society in general. I don't see why we should expect any different behaviour from chess players; they gotta eat too.
OK, but I don't think this practice is limited to Western Society?
Yes, you're quite right, though it always has been the driving force behind competitive globalisation, is all I meant.
"Fundamentally, I think that any attempt to influence future pairings in this manner is unethical."
If no one is harmed by this practice, how is it unethical? Chess players don't make enough money from the game as it is. I don't see how this is any different than the strategy used in the game.
I don't think that the swiss gambit is unethical. If they want to draw a game against a weaker player let them.
On the other hand, sandbagging (the practice of losing rating points intentionally to end up in a lower section) IS unethical.