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Happy with the candidates

The Candidates ends today and with a very thrilling end indeed. It is 2013 all over again. Back then both Carlsen and Kramnik lost their last round game, after which Carlsen became the Candidate because of more losses (or wins if you insist).
Today we have a number of outcomes possible:
Karjakin or Caruana wins the game and qualifies.
The game is a draw and Anand does not win his game and Karjakin qualifies because of most losses.
The game is a draw and Anand wins his game, after which Caruana qualifies in the three way tie because of his win against Anand!
Some people (Greg Shahade for example) has come with ideas about a better Championship cycle. I am not against this at all, but I want to defend FIDE and say that we have a fantastic cycle as it is.
The World Cup is a really interesting event to follow. Very dramatic. The players qualified from it have not done poorly, historically. Gelfand won and Sergey Karjakin might win today.
The Grand Prix is great too. It involves players from top 25-30 that do not usually get invited to top events. The winner, Caruana, might win today as well.
To top up by rating might be the more dubious solution. Topalov has been a disaster twice, but then last time he qualified by winning the Grand Prix.
The Candidates is very exciting and all the players were conceivable winners in advance. They had 14 games to work out who was best, more than the World Championship match!
The fact that a lot of players are very close in strength (confirmed by rating as well) is a blessing. We have no Djokovic or Germany dominating.
At the end the Candidate has gone through a fantastic cycle to play the World Champion and will have deserved it fully.
Should the World Champion enter earlier. Tradition says no. I think he should be forced to play the World Cup, which would increase in value. And I would like more spots in the Candidates to go to people who qualify. But all in all, this is the best system we have ever had.

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  1. Zagreb1959
    March 28th, 2016 at 11:23 | #1

    I think the current system should be remodeled entirely, because (you can call me paranoid like Fischer) but I found very suspicious Karjakin (who never win anything) all of a sudden (after his game with Svidler) appears like the great contender of Magnus?! I guess Putin is smiling because he was an Ukrainian who turned Russian!! All this story of copyright of moves stinks and I hope Caruana wins but I am doubtful right now. I hope American law will defeat this and we can all enjoy New York Championship.

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    March 28th, 2016 at 12:23 | #2

    I will call you paranoid. And I will tell you why in details :-).

    First of all, Fischer was right and everyone back then knew it. But we do not have a Soviet Union anymore and we also have entirely different morality among the players. There are 1-2 players in the top 30 in the World now that have questionable morals (where you know that they would buy and sell games), but there are no buyers or sellers for them, so it is irrelevant.

    No one has said anything and no one suspects anything to be wrong this time around.

    Svidler is entirely honest. I know him well and I know his friends. He was accused of losing on purpose to Kramnik in 2013, at a time where he they apparently were not on speaking terms. Kramnik just played a fantastic game and won.

    Karjakin won great games with Nakamura and Anand in this event. Look at the games. Nakamura lost a bit quickly, but his position was unpleasant, as can be seen by how Karjakin beat Anand.

    Karjakin never won anything? What are you smoking? Two times in a row he won the Norwegian Masters, in front of Magnus and everyone else. He would have been the candidate in 2014 if he had won the last round against Anand and last year he won the World Cup. He was rated 4th in World in July 2011, but since then he focused more on winning at the important moments than rating it seems to me. He plays too many draws, but for events like this (and matches), this is a strength.

    Karjakin is an ethnic Russian from Crimea. He was born in the Ukranian territory, but always considered himself Russian. When Crimea was annexed (which I did not approve of), Karjakin was very happy. He is entirely Russian.

    The World Chess broadcasts have been poor from a technical point of view, but this is an entirely different question and has nothing to do with the tournament system. When BBC HD switched to commercial during England-USA in the World Cup one moment before England scored, I did not think there was anything wrong with the FIFA World Cup system :-).

    I am not saying that there are no arguments against the system. The main one would be some puritan one, where it has to be through many matches, but even then you end with very close decisions in the end, when all the players are at roughly the same level.

  3. Alfonso Gisbert
    March 28th, 2016 at 12:36 | #3

    I enjoyed, when the Cycle for the worldchess championship was a cycle for 3,years and there was zonals, interzonals, candidates and the final world champion at 24 games, you knew who was the best, but today you have great players that should deserved been in Moscow like Kramnik or others that are not there.

    The candidates matches were great they should come again with that.

    Congratulations for your incredible Books!

  4. Paul
    March 28th, 2016 at 12:36 | #4

    I look at it this way. I don’t mind the current system as it is very entertaining and leads to some dramatic chess. The opportunity of cheating, thinking of the Fischer accusation, is possible but unlikely. This is obviously better than the previous systems from the 90’s which were a complete mess.

    That being said, I am not happy about our FIDE situation. But they really don’t care about anyone’s opinion so I don’t bother wasting my time thinking about it.

    I look forward to the next WC match as I enjoy both the leaders games. I’m still routing for Fabi! I am an American after all…

  5. Pinpon
    March 28th, 2016 at 14:56 | #5

    Problem is World Cup : semi-finals should be as important as final , as they qualify for the Candidates (equal nb of games )

  6. Nansu
    March 28th, 2016 at 15:35 | #6

    Problem is everything. Not enough money for Grand Prix, so it’s potluck as to who competes (what are the odds it starts this May, as prescribed by the FIDE calendar?). World Cup would not exist if not tied monetarily to Olympiad, and produces semi-random results—but it’s Kirsan’s joy, with a anti-climatic 4-game finale (even this time, with all the ups and downs) as both finalists qualify anyway. Rating qualifiers should be *performance for year* and not average (allowing Topalov to sit, though he did need a kind of lucky Norway to make it work). Candidates could be said to be too short and does not differentiate enough (Shahade argument), not to mention the ability to “buy” your way in by a rich sponsor. About all that can be said, is that FIDE in the past decade(s) has seen even worse. But the days of the 60s-80s were much superior as a cycle, I’d say.

    Still, it produces interesting chess (which I think more casual fans care about, than details of the sportive nature).

  7. paddyirish
    March 28th, 2016 at 16:18 | #7

    I think that by accident, FIDE have stumbled across a near perfect cycle. World Cup is a good way for any top 100 to qualify for a candidates place, but also the Grand Prix provides an extra chance for those who are consistently at the top.

    The only thing I would say is that I disagree with a non-playoff tie-break in an All Play All. Karjakin won by the clear point because the tie-break system forced Caruana to play cr@p chess in the last round (the game would not have unfolded this way if he wasn’t forced t win). That is wrong.

    A rest day and a 4 game rapid play-off to resolve things- same way as World Championship.

  8. Drboki
    March 28th, 2016 at 16:35 | #8

    I also think we have an excellent cycle. The candidates tournaments were simply fantastic and great for chess. You can argue about the qualification system to the candidats and especially the tie-break.
    Karjakin played a defensive style, he defends excellent , it is something like catanaccio in soccer, but in the end he scored most points,so he deserved to win.
    What i didnot like was the live site, here much can be improved

  9. Jacob Aagaard
    March 28th, 2016 at 16:44 | #9

    I think it is much nicer to have the tournament decided in a full length game. Therefore I like the tie-break system.

  10. March 28th, 2016 at 16:45 | #10

    I don’t think the current system picks out the number one challenger. Magnus must be very happy tonight.

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    March 28th, 2016 at 17:04 | #11

    I think it does pick out the number one challenger. At the end we had a final game between the winner of the Grand Prix and the winner of the World Cup (and runner-up in the last Candidates). The main argument against Karjakin would be to pick the candidate by rating, which leaves you with Topalov, who qualified for the Candidates as the number 2 rated player in the World.

  12. Pinpon
    March 28th, 2016 at 17:24 | #12

    What do you think of Giri’s strategy ? Looks like waiting for penalty shoot-out ?

  13. James
    March 28th, 2016 at 17:33 | #13

    Karjakin fully deserves the victory, just like Caruana would have deserved it if he had beaten Karjakin today. These moaners about the tie breaks always moan when their favourite player doesn’t win. Facts are the players all knew and agreed to them before participating. If they didn’t like it, they should complain before signing the contract. Thankfully, I think the players are fine with the tie-breaks structure, it’s just some of their annoying fans that complain.

    I think what will be interesting moving forward is: will the World Championship still take place in New York? I’d think they might find it difficult to attract sponsorship, whereas they’d have little troubles hosting it in Russia. Perhaps even Norway may take a gamble and want to host it, as one assumes Carlsen will be overwhelming favourite to win. Although Karjakin’s performances in Norway may give them concerns, however, these performances were in a tournament situation not a match. I don’t think anyone is going to bet considerable money on Karjakin beating Carlsen. The players are too similar stylistically, the main difference is Carlsen is stronger in all aspects apart from perhaps opening preparation. I imagine Carlsen will have been pleased to see Karjakin confirmed as his next opponent.

  14. Soviet School
    March 28th, 2016 at 18:35 | #14

    The last 3 Candidates have all been excellent well fought tournaments with the resulting doubt till the last round. I like the tiebreakers as it means often one player in each game is usually obliged to play for a win making for more interesting games.

  15. Capodoglio
    March 28th, 2016 at 18:46 | #15

    I think it a very good cycle apart probably the elo pick-up.
    Karjakin has been in very good form lately and fully deserves the victory.

    Carlsen is not going to underestimate his opponent (as some guys are here), tough he remains the favorite, but that would be the case against any challenger.
    All in all has been a thrilling and interesting event, I’m looking forward to the match as well.

  16. Soviet School
    March 28th, 2016 at 19:19 | #16

    I do feel a little uncomfortable with all play all candidates because of possible collusion though Jacob addresed this above, also the back marker, Topalov here and Ivanchuk in London can have a big effect on the result. Maybe if the tie break was throw out the scores vs the last place player? Overall though I find an all play all candidates a much more involving tournament than Candidates matches.
    Although the current tie breaks were perfectly fair and everyone knew them to begin with.
    As regards qualifying for the Candidates I like the World Cup giving everyone a chance and like the mix of qualification routes.

    On the chess I wonder what people thought of Svidler and Caruana both misplaying a technical ending ROok and Bishop vs Rook which I thought players of 2750 plus would have down pat. I thought that level of GMmight have near eidetic memories?

  17. Gollum
    March 28th, 2016 at 19:31 | #17

    I think the current system is great and we have this tournament (and the Carlsen one) as a testament of nerve-recking last round games. I followed the game live at chess24 and the commentators went crazy when Karjakin played e5.

    There may be other systems which are fairer to chess players (the world champion has a very big advantage) but from the spectator point of view, the actual system is great. A little adjustment would be to have playoffs in case of a tie. That would make for even more tension. But other than that, the system is quite ok.

  18. Pinpon
    March 28th, 2016 at 20:03 | #18

    @ Soviet School : Caruana said he had studied R vs R+B ( no surprise here ) but he did not remember and did not found the win by calculation.
    Nothing about the emotional context ( !! )
    What surprises me here is the way top GM memorize ( or not ) these classical endings ( Philidor here ) : Are relying on calculation ? Are they ” slicing ” the process in steps/mini-plans ? Do they learn endings like openings ( maybe not a good idea ) and so on

  19. Patrick
    March 28th, 2016 at 22:10 | #19

    They should use a tiebreak instead of a stupid blitz playoff, but they need to modify the tie break system. It shouldn’t be who had more wins, and hence more losses. It should be based on who you beat and who you drew. You score your opponent’s score for each win, and half your opponent’s score for each draw. This would favor the player who beat the tougher players.

    For example:

    Player A – 8.5 (Beat player H twice and player G)
    Player B – 8.5 (Beat player C twice, player D, player F, and lost to player G)
    Player C – 7.0
    Player D – 7.0
    Player E – 7.0
    Player F – 6.5
    Player G – 6.0
    Player H – 5.5

    Player A Tiebreak = 4.25 + 4.25 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5+ 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.25 + 3.25 + 6 + 3 + 5.5 + 5.5 = 56 Tiebreaker points

    Player B Tiebreak = 4.25 + 4.25 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 6.5 + 3.25 + 3 + 0 + 2.75 + 2.75 = 58.25 Tiebreaker points

    Player B would move on in this case, and not because he got 4 wins to Player A’s 3, it’s that he beat stronger players. If Player A split with Player F, also going 4 and 1, the result would have have changed. 58.25 to 56. It’s that Player A did nothing but draw all the top guys.

    This is similar to the Modified Median system in the USCF, only the USCF takes away the highest and lowest score.

  20. Ian
    March 28th, 2016 at 22:53 | #20

    I agree with Jacob that this Candidates system is the best we have ever had.Either Karjakin or Caruana would have been a worthy winner.However,it was interesting that the need to win compelled Caruana to play an opening he had not played since 2009,and which all Russian players would learn how to attack when they were having their milk and cookies as children studying with their coaches at the pioneers palace.One thing I would like to point out is how close Vishy Anand came to winning.To still be that strong in his mid forties,having learnt the game in a country without (at that time) many masters,and to have won the world championship in many formats,speaks to the fact he is one of the best players in history.

  21. Tobias
    March 28th, 2016 at 22:57 | #21

    Win your games, instead of complaining about the unfair tie-break rules afterwards (apparently a ‘fan’ issue, not a ‘player’ issue). At least in a round-robin event like this. I am not too fond of rapid-chess play-offs – the players qualify for a match with long time control, after all.

    (And yes, I would have preferred Caruana to win)

  22. Wallace Howard
    March 29th, 2016 at 02:21 | #22

    I think using the World Cup and Gran Prix as a qualifier is a fantastic. It’s a way for new blood to get in and for old lions to prove they still got it. However, the tie-breaks are silly. If two players have the exact same score, they are equal. There should be a playoff; even rapid games would be better than simply counting number of losses.
    Also, isn’t it odd that we use a tournament to decide who’s the best opponent in a match? I prefer the old way . . . candidate matches.
    Here’s my proposal: use the Gran Prix, World Cup, and perhaps ratings to determine a field of 8 contenders. Have them play short matches until there are two finalists. These two will play a more substantial match to determine the challenger.
    This system would have the drama of the World Cup and Gran Prix tournaments, the grandeur of the candidate matches, and the sensibility of playoffs.

  23. Thomas
    March 29th, 2016 at 04:36 | #23

    A great tournament, great chess and a great player as the well deserved winner.
    There’s nothing to complain about.
    The round robin is clearly much more interesting than short matches decided by one single game. Another problem with matches is the drawing of lots – remember poor Polugaevsky always having to play Korchnoi?
    The double-round tournament gave a fair chance to every player. And the strongest players in this tournament came out on top. So there cannot be too much wrong here.

  24. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 06:47 | #24

    A few points to defend the Candidates as it is.

    Tie-break. I do not want to know who thinks he has the best chances in rapid or blitz, as we saw in 2011. To me this was a disaster. We need a tie-break system so that it is decided in classical chess and not on who moves fastest. Also, not matter the format, we always end in a crunch point where people’s nerves and ability under pressure comes to the test. Let’s have this in classical chess.

    The matches were only there because the Soviets were cheating. There are not enough cheaters around for them to be needed and all give all-play-all tournaments have been great. When you look at the chess at the times of the World Championships, we had the right World Champion at every turn. The only one people were criticising was Anand in 2012. But looking at him now, people have changed their mind. Also, Carlsen did not want to participate in that cycle and wanted what we have now, finding it fairer. You can only pick your winners from the people who play.

    Matches would reward certain types of chess. You would get people who were focusing on not losing. To me this is a waste. And you would put the qualification for the matches into an open tournament at the start, which is really a lottery. Or the World Cup. By having several entry-points to the Candidates, we end up with 8 of the best 15 players in the World, who have all qualified (or paid for the event!).

    I definitely think the tie-break system is correct. First off it…

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 06:57 | #25

    I definitely think the tie-break system is correct. First off it is individual results. Then it is most wins. It rewards beating the rivals and winning games. I do not want someone to qualify for being more solid. This includes taking risks against the 1-2 players who are out of form.

    Finally, I think Giri played great chess. The tournament was amazing. I might write a bit more about the hidden topic in this later on.

  26. Fer
    March 29th, 2016 at 07:31 | #26

    For me the current system is ok, but playing a semi-final with the 3 first of candidates and the world champion would be better.

  27. chessmatic
    March 29th, 2016 at 08:07 | #27

    Jacob, how about including your “hidden topic thoughts” in a tournament book on the candidates tournament?

  28. Wallace Howard
    March 29th, 2016 at 08:50 | #28

    “We need a tie-break system so that it is decided in classical chess and not on who moves fastest.”
    I don’t like rapid either. My point was only that “even rapid games” would be better than rewarding a player because of style. Is a win and a loss better than two draws? Why is “risky” better than “solid”? I think a series of G60 games is pretty decent chess and wouldn’t just reward “who moves fastest” — at least not more than time-trouble already does.

    “It rewards beating the rivals and winning games.” – it also rewards losing games. If a player holds a draw from a losing position (great save) then blunders in a winning position the next day allows a second draw, why would you call that “solid”? Is it better than a player who had one horrible loss followed by a lucky win in a bad position? Why reward one way of getting points over another? They both earned the same score, didn’t they?

    “The matches were only there because the Soviets were cheating.”
    This is a surprise. World Championships have been settled by matches since the 19th century. It seems quite logical to choose a challenger based on his match play rather than his tournament play. And it doesn’t seem like the candidate matches of the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s, had any effect on soviet domination. But I honestly don’t know enough chess history from that era to know why they started the matches. I thought it was so people couldn’t refuse a challenger the way Alekhine had done to Capablanca…

  29. Phille
    March 29th, 2016 at 09:04 | #29

    To me matches are crap because you cannot really make them long enough these days. What you get is players who play fantastic chess, than blunder in one game and are out. Or people who just try to draw everything and win the rapid tiebreaker.

    The only problem with tournaments is that there can be one player in bad form, who very unevenly gifts points to his colleagues, distorting the competition (I’m not an Ivanchuk fan anymore since London.).

    I’m ok with the tiebreakers, though I would prefer a rapid tiebreak. That’s just more fun.

    So yes, the current system is really good. The only problem is that you cannot trust Fide not to mess it up again.

  30. Remco G
    March 29th, 2016 at 09:06 | #30

    The tiebreaks are still quite unsatisfying. In round robins, they all played the same opponents with the same colours, and got the same score. Can you really base a tiebreak on the same games?

    If one player has a better score in the games against his co-leader, then that means he has a worse score against the rest. Are a win and a loss really better than two draws? Games with black isn’t relevant here because it’s double rounds, but usually it’s problematic because it’s outside of the players’ control. And Sonneborn-Berger assumes that it is better to beat a high ranked player and lose to a low ranked player than vice versa, also dubious.

    The only alternative I can think is to use rating as a tiebreaker. In case of ties, the person with the highest pre-tournament rating wins.

    This has three advantages: it is based on classical games, players can “qualify” for a good tiebreak by improving their rating before the tournament, and it’s known in advance so it’s clear to everyone what is needed. Statistically it should also have slightly higher chance of selecting the strongest challenger.

    Another one might be to give bonus points for number of rated games played in the last year, or for playing in the World Cup or Grand Prix, because FIDE might want to promote playing. But those aren’t related to actual chess strength, which feels wrong.

  31. Wallace Howard
    March 29th, 2016 at 09:07 | #31

    @Wallace Howard
    “Finally, I think Giri played great chess. The tournament was amazing. ”
    I agree. Giri played well throughout and took interesting risks in the later rounds. He simply hallucinated against Nakamura, and Caruana pulled a rabbit out of a hat to save that game against Anish. That’s part of why I don’t like punishing two draws and rewarding a win and a loss. πŸ˜‰
    But in the end, Karjakin’s amazing defense against Caruana in their first game (28…d4!!, 33…Bd5!) followed by his excellent attack in their second game (37. Rxd5!) means he deserves the shot at Magnus more than Fabio. Well done Sergey!

  32. gerando
    March 29th, 2016 at 09:18 | #32

    Fide has messed up a lot of things, so it would be better if they do not change the system. With a stable candidates systems, the players can adjust their strategy, and the winner is the one who plays better at critical moments, like Karjakin did.

  33. Thomas
    March 29th, 2016 at 10:25 | #33

    Just red Greg Shahades suggestions. Oh my goodness.
    That “Gran Chess Tour” was quite boring. And I definitely do not want to see the same guys over and over again.
    Greg has no useful suggestion how to qualify for that “Tour”. A big swiss? Oh No!
    When he finally comes to the conclusion that a big rapid tournament is better than classical chess this is simply ridiculous.
    Maybe next he suggests to choose the world champion from one of the hustlers in Washington Square park? A new Champion every day?

  34. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 10:48 | #34
  35. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 10:54 | #35

    @Wallace Howard
    Of course we need to reward the style that people want to see. I find it hard to argue this point as it is so obvious. Some tournaments go three points system, which is a bit too much for me, but makes more sense than not rewarding wins.

    Obviously it does not reward losing games. Ask Topalov how he did. But it does encourage risk taking. Giri for example played well, but could have taken more risks earlier in the event.

    Matches and cheating. Please. We have a match now as well. But the candidates tournament was abandoned after the 1962 tournament where Petrosian, Geller and Keres had pre-arranged all their games to be drawn.

  36. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 10:55 | #36

    @Phille
    Ivanchuk beat both Kramnik and Carlsen in London. The player in really poor form there was Radjabov.

  37. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 10:57 | #37

    @Remco G
    Rating as a tie-breaker is the most ridiculous of all possibilities. If you are a better player you are penalised. I played a tournament once where this was the tie-breaker and did not know till afterwards. I will not play it again. The tournament should be decided on what happens at the board.

    But in some ways you can say that stalemate is unfair. It is a rule, but clearly unfair. But what makes it fair is that it is known in advance and people adapt. As with all other rules. The tie-break system has given us three fantastic finishes and three times the right candidate. So far it has withstood the test of time.

  38. Capodoglio
    March 29th, 2016 at 11:15 | #38

    Not sure exactly what people are moaning about, we have the best cycle in decades.
    Sure it can use some improvement here and there…

  39. Remco G
    March 29th, 2016 at 11:17 | #39

    @Jacob: I don’t mean on TPR (makes no sense in a RR tournament). I propose to let the highest rating win. Basically let the collection of all your rated games before the tournament serve as the tiebreaker.

    The problem with “the tournament should be decided on what happens at the board” is that what happened at the board is the same for both players, hence the need for tie breakers.

  40. alaska
    March 29th, 2016 at 12:21 | #40

    It is awful. It is better than it used to be, but it is still awful. 75% draws is too much. A winner through mathematical tie break is almost like not having a winner at all. A system where the elite of 15 players is almost completely disconnected from the top 100 of the world is flawed. What do you need? Just look at tennis! Or keep on sitting in an ivory tower ignoring the public and let most of the chess professionals pay the price.

  41. Steve
    March 29th, 2016 at 12:32 | #41

    I think the current system is close to the best we can realistically have. The last three candidates tournaments have been great, as were the 2005 and 2007 all-play-alls. On tie-breaks, I can see both sides of the argument: any tie break is an artificial way to separate players who performed equally well; this is also true for rapid play-offs. I think I would prefer something that rewards better scores against better performing players, such as SB or eliminating the lowest player’s score. It is always a pity to see someone lose out because of a freak loss to the guy who lost most of his other games.
    In qualifying, the only thing I object to is qualification by rating, rather than playing. I can’t understand why anybody would think it is a good idea; why not just declare the highest rated player world champion? I also think the grand prix series would be more attractive to players, and hence sponsors, if there were more qualification places available. Four places from the GP (for playing three tournaments) doesn’t seem more generous than two from the world cup. I don’t object too much to the sponsor’s wild card, but again I think the rating restriction is bad. Better to say they have to pick from the world cup quarter-finalists or top 10 in the GP, or something similar. This would also give players more incentive to keep trying hard in the GP even after their qualifying chances have gone.

  42. Phille
    March 29th, 2016 at 13:43 | #42

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Phille
    Ivanchuk beat both Kramnik and Carlsen in London. The player in really poor form there was Radjabov.

    That’s exactly the problem, he basically gave away free points by losing on time against some players and played with full strength against others. It was pure luck that it evened out in the end because he beat both Carlsen and Kramnik. There needn’t be collusion for a player to massively contort the competition.

  43. GM Rob
    March 29th, 2016 at 16:01 | #43

    @Remco G
    Using your suggestion if we were to run the next candidates tournament starting today you would like to give Kramnik (current live rating 2801) a half point start on the rest of the players? That is effectively what you are saying,
    The difference between the top players is so small and this would be giving one player a huge advantage over the rest of the field.
    I hope you can now see how absurd and unfair the suggestion is for a tiebreak.

    The current system although not perfect is the best system for some time.
    You can argue which is the best tiebreak system to use but I would rather have some form of tiebreak rather than any quick play decider.
    I think this should also go for the world championship match itself. We want a world champion of classical chess decided by games played at classical rates of play.

  44. dfan
    March 29th, 2016 at 16:23 | #44

    @GM Rob
    It’s more like a quarter-point head start than a half-point head start. Kramnik with 8.0 points wouldn’t be considered equal to some other player with 8.5 points.

    In principle I think it’s okay to reward previous performance with tiebreak advantages, but this might cause some artificial behavior in tournaments leading up to the Candidates.

  45. Soviet School
    March 29th, 2016 at 17:08 | #45

    I like the idea of having a blitz tournament before the main tournament and then use the blitz result to split ties, in this way the big pressure games at the end will be classical games but the tie will be split on a chess competition rather than an arbitrary way of deciding what sort of points vs what sort of players are worth most.
    I do think it’s is good to have the tie break positions set up as thi asymmetry in the scores discourages the situations when both players are happy with a draw as the player with the worse tie break will be encouraged to push for the win.

  46. GM Rob
    March 29th, 2016 at 17:29 | #46

    @dfan
    Sorry I did not know you could score a quarter point in chess πŸ™‚
    It doesn’t matter, it could be 00.00001 advantage for all I care the principle is the same and unfair. The participants would not start with a even playing field.
    How would you like to be the 8th seed knowing you would have to outscore everyone else competing by half a point before a pawn is pushed?

  47. dfan
    March 29th, 2016 at 17:50 | #47

    If I were the 8th seed I would probably feel lucky to be invited at all.

    Note that higher rated players also have an advantage in the World Cup (because of the seeding system, the higher rated you are, the worse opponents you face). This is a real qualitative advantage, though I don’t know how it compares to having the tiebreak advantage in a round robin. People seem to be okay with that.

  48. Remco G
    March 29th, 2016 at 18:40 | #48

    @GM Rob: it wouldn’t be unfair, as long as the system is known early enough. Want to start with a tiebreak advantage? Win some games and get your rating to 2802 then.

  49. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 20:01 | #49

    @Remco G
    But it is what happens at the board at the moment. It is more important to beat your closest rival and it is more important to win games than to be solid. Both fair and easy to apply. To let rating decide it is horrible, simply horrible.

  50. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2016 at 20:05 | #50

    A simple reason why rating is much less important than a lot of people think is that the player that qualified by highest rating (over a year long period) was the only player with a minus score and of the lowest three rated players, two of them ended in top 3, one of them even winning.

  51. Wallace Howard
    March 29th, 2016 at 23:13 | #51

    @Jacob Aagaard “Of course we need to reward the style that people want to see. I find it hard to argue this point as it is so obvious.”

    I see the root of our disagreement. I think points are points regardless of how you earn them. You think how you get them matters. Fair enough. But it’s not really about style. Player A could be safe and boring but gets 2 losing positions, thanks to poor form. Luckily, one opponent blunders and he gets a free point. Player B sacrifices all his pieces in two exciting attacks, but one opponent finds a miracle perpetual and the other defends a R+B vs R ending for 50-moves. Player A is safe, boring, and in bad form. Player B is aggressive, exciting, and never had a worse position. Which one deserves the tie-break? Or imagine a player who starts +4, but loses 2 at the end because he’s physically out of shape. That player would perform horribly in a long championship match, but he gets the tie-break over a guy who gets 2 wins at the end because of his superior physical shape. Again, this has nothing to do with style. It has to do with how physically fit they are. There are many scenarios like this, that have nothing to do with style, which is why I think shouldn’t matter how you get your score. Head-to-head is a great tie-break, otherwise, I think they should have a playoff, preferably at classic time controls.

    “Obviously it does not reward losing games.” – Actually, it does. It reward winning as much…

  52. Wallace Howard
    March 29th, 2016 at 23:19 | #52

    @Jacob Aagaard β€œObviously it does not reward losing games.” – awarding wins is mathematically IDENTICAL to rewarding loses, when discussing tied scores. Topablov isn’t a counter because he wasn’t tied for first. We choose to phrase it as “most wins” because it sounds better that way. But it is the exact same system as “most losses”. It’s like saying “left-handed chopsticks”. They’re the same as “right-handed chopsticks”.
    If the tournament explicitly said “most loses”, people would be upset, but the same guy would get the tie-break as now. It doesn’t award winning anymore than it awards losing.

  53. Thomas
    March 30th, 2016 at 04:59 | #53

    A naive question: What is so wrong with the good old Sonneborn-Berger system?
    Rewarding points (and draws) against those who score well in this tournament?
    In a round-robin it’s definitely better than calculating rating performances.
    So in this tournament a point against Karjakin was much better than a point against Topalov.
    And a draw against Karjakin was better than a draw against Topalov. Although Topalov has the higher rating.

  54. Larsen_fan
    April 3rd, 2016 at 07:18 | #54

    Ok Karjakin is not just good but very very good. He has that ability to win when it is important. He will get all the help he need, etc. BUT will he stand a chance against Carlsen? GM S. B. Hansen (2599) seems not to think Karjakins odds are too good. In a newspaper column he brings Karjakins fine win against Topalov and praise his play but ends up concluding that K will not get the chance to play that kind of chess against Carlsen (too good sence of danger from Carlsen) and that “move by move Carlsen is in another weight class”.

  55. Jacob Aagaard
    April 3rd, 2016 at 10:11 | #55

    @Wallace Howard
    This one is a common mistake in arguments. You turn to logic, when actually, the World is not operating in a logical way. Statistics and observation should be your means of measurement.

  56. Jacob Aagaard
    April 3rd, 2016 at 10:16 | #56

    @Wallace Howard
    From the perspective of the public, the chances that the games are more interesting when they are decisive is overwhelming. Thus it is a good idea to reward the action that leads to greater interest and appreciation of the event.
    Wins are rewarded with the same points as two draws, losses are rewarded with no points. But what the tie-break system is doing is putting wins at 1.01 points. I like this better than putting them at 1.5, where one win is equal to three draws, yet there are tournaments that do this, because it makes them more exciting.

  57. Jacob Aagaard
    April 3rd, 2016 at 10:17 | #57

    @Thomas
    SB is not easy for the public at large to follow.

  58. Jacob Aagaard
    April 3rd, 2016 at 10:19 | #58

    @Larsen_fan
    Replace Karjakin with anyone! I don’t think anyone can go into this match without being an underdog. But underdogs have won before. 1927 was described exactly like this!

  59. Zagreb1959
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