Abolish mistakes altogether

ArnieChipmunk
ArnieChipmunk
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0 | Chess Event Coverage

The chess world is in a crisis. In tournaments like Biel and Dortmund, all the public gets is games full of mistakes. Something must be done to end this situation which is scaring away sponsors, organizers and potential young talents from becoming professional chess players. I am proposing a startling solution.Ronald Reagan: "Mistakes were made..." Rustam Kasimdzanov's recent proposal to abolish draws altogether is clearly insufficient. His comparison of chess to other sports is counter-productive at best. Chess isn't a sport and never will be. Already in 1965 J.H. Donner wrote that "many artists are inspired by the game of chess, because many things can be compared with chess. The game of chess, however, cannot be compared with anything else." Maybe we shouldn't compare chess to other sports, or other arts, but to a different kind of discipline - mathematics. Both disciplines feature exact reasoning, use of the scientific method, calculation, precision, patience and wisdom. Why, despite this apparent similarities, despite the fact that many more people worldwide are capable of playing chess properly, do we stand light-years behind mathematics in everything that defines success in this professional discipline? The reasons are numerous, no doubt, but the main problem, as I see it, is the existence of mistakes in chess. Mistakes spoil good games and therefore lose their attraction to a big audience. Often, all we can say about a game of chess is, "Mistakes were made." In mathematics, on the other hand, the main attraction is the fact that every formula, every conjecture and calculation, must be proven to be correct. In short, to put it figuratively, in proper mathematics there will always be a correct result. In our game, however, things are different. In order to be successful outside of our little world, in order to make front pages and TV, and thereby also the finance that comes in a parcel, we need champions that produce correct moves and games, even to a public far from intricacies of chess. We can't tolerate mistakes to be made as this deprives the audience of an opportunity to see a games played out 'to the max'! If a player makes a blunder in the opening, it might end the game already after 10 or 15 moves. And I don't even want to mention the deplorable practice of 'throwing games' for money! This is clearly intolerable from a sponsor perspective. It is no 'value for money' at all. So here's my proposal. If we want success, sponsors, public and everything else, we need to abolish any mistakes in classical tournaments altogether. Just don't allow them to happen! How? Not by Sofia rules – tournaments with Sofia rules produced as many mistakes as any other; and not by 30 move rule, where players are often just waiting for move 30 to make a mistake. No, we need something entirely different. We need correctness. Every single day.

Bob Ross: 'There are no mistakes, just happy accidents'

Bob Ross: 'There are no mistakes, just happy accidents'

Here's how it works. We play classical chess, say with a time control of four to five hours. Both players start at 100 points. A strong chess engine, say Rybka or Houdini, is following the game in analysis mode on a monitor and shows the objective evaluation position to the public and the arbiter. A mistake or a blunder? No problem – take back the move, play the engine's suggestion and start playing again, but with minus points for the perpetrator. Another mistake? Again take it back, deduct points, and play it from the correct move on. Until the game is drawn in a correct way and we count the number of points left for each player. We’ll make front pages. And much more than that. Our game will benefit from it. Not just sponsors and attention and prizes. People will try extremely hard to avoid mistakes, in order to play correctly, and not be corrected by the computer. Instead of quickly making a blunder in order to save energy and catch a movie, or gamble with a risky but dubious move, chess players will show their whole ability and will play correctly all the time. Our game will finally become a true science. Thank God, there will be no more "happy accidents" (as Bob Ross used to say) in chess. Sponsors should be coming our way soon!

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