Archive for the ‘Polls’ Category

Dominate the Future

October 4th, 2016 17 comments

Last week’s poll question asked “How do you remember Mark Dvoretsky?” For the vast majority, it is as an author of excellent books. To me that feels a fitting memorial: as an author Mark shared his chess ideas with many more people than he could coach in person.


This week we ask: Which country will dominate world chess ten years from now? For clues you might care to study the results of all sections at the recent World Youth Chess Championships. Countries with big populations such as China, India, USA and Russia must be strong contenders. Iran may not be quite so big, but it seems to have a promising crop of juniors, while Armenia is relatively tiny, but has an amazing chess tradition, as a couple of gold medals in those Youth events shows. Who else?

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Olympiad Quiz!

August 22nd, 2016 33 comments

Last week’s poll question was: ‘Is 3 points for a win a good system for chess?’ The vote was strongly ‘no’, but with some support in comments for ‘yes, but only occasionally and at the elite level’.


This week’s poll will be a Quiz! Our quiz topic is the Baku Olympiad.

The prize is the same as always: ten Quality Chess books of your own choice and ten Quality Chess books of our choice (see our typical freebie list of books where we published too many copies compared to the audience; or undiscovered masterpieces, if you like). We will send it with FedEx or UPS to your home address.

Deadline: one hour before the start of play on September 2nd, 15.00 Baku time.

Quality Chess will be the final and only arbiter of what the correct answers are! In this event of a tie, the tiebreaker will be how close to correct you are on Question 3.

The entry HAS to follow the following layout (see example below). If they do not, we will ignore your entry. The layout is based on making it easy to copy and paste it into an excel sheet. Here are the requirements:

Send an email to Write whatever you want in the topic line; we will ignore it anyway…

Answer 1
Answer 2

And so on. Each on a new line. Just the answer: number or one word.

Full name and address where you would like the books sent to. Please make sure that this is a place where someone can sign for the parcel. Updated with bold and underlining. No address, no entry!

If your entry does not follow this setup, sorry, you will not participate this time around. I do not want to spend time restructuring your entry in a competition where I donate the prizes :-).

The Questions:

Read more…

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3 points for a win?

August 15th, 2016 45 comments

Last week’s poll question was provocatively titled: ‘Should the World Championship match be for sale?’ And no, overwhelmingly you don’t think anyone who puts up enough money should have a shot at the world title.


One of last month’s poll questions was ‘Will the World Championship be held in New York this year?’ Most thought it would, and it seems you are right, as AGON announced a venue for the November match in “lower Manhattan in the historic South Street Seaport”. Good luck to all concerned.

This week, with the football season just started in Britain, a perennial topic seems timely. What do you think about changing the chess scoring system to 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw?

I was going to say that it has always been 1 point for a win, ½ for a draw, but I would be wrong about the ‘always’ part. Colin McNab reliably informs me that Dundee 1867 was the first international tournament to award half-points for a draw. Before that, drawn games were usually replayed until there was a winner.
So what do you think? 3 points would encourage attacking play, and discourage the Berlin draw-machine? 3 points is an abomination that devalues hard-fought draws?

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Buying a Shot at the Title

August 8th, 2016 22 comments

Last week’s poll question was ‘Do you have any chess superstitions?’ In general, you do not, but many are fortunate enough to own a lucky pen.


The Russian Federation has proposed (link to pdf of proposal) to reintroduce the World Championship rules from a decade ago, that allowed Vladimir Kramnik to challenge Veselin Topalov for, and win, the FIDE World Championship title, thus unifying the two titles into one. Another match was also planned between Radjabov and Topalov, but was abandoned when Topalov lost his title.
As this Chessdom article explains, the proposal is that “anyone guaranteeing a required prize-fund can challenge the reigning World Champion.” Another key part of the proposal is that FIDE takes 50% of the prize fund.
We have our personal thoughts on this, but would like to know your thoughts. In a world where chess is struggling to find millions for the match at the end of the cycle, but where some sponsors from (for example) Azerbaijan, the US, Armenia, Russia and France might be able to find sponsors for a challenge from their local hero, does it make sense for FIDE to solve part of their solvency problems by adding an additional World Championship match to their cycle or is this taking the wildcard phenomenon too far? It could also lead to more matches that are dramatic and fun to watch.
We presume that the World Champion will have the right to accept or decline such a match; just as we presume (in this poll!) that everything would happen in a reasonable and intelligent way…

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August 1st, 2016 8 comments

Last week’s question was: ‘Will the World Championship be held in New York this year?’ You believe it will, but there are a significant minority of doubters. As Mark Crowther astutely pointed out in a comment, AGON’s credibility depends on it being in New York, so they are likely to do all they can to make that happen. But sticking to the announced dates may be a different question.

And just in case anyone wrongly thinks asking this poll question showed hostile intent from me: I hope AGON manages to organize an exciting World Championship, in New York, on the announced dates.


This week’s poll question was brought to mind by the anti-cheating rules planned for next month’s Baku Olympiad: players will not be allowed to bring their watches or pens into the playing area. This would have bothered the younger me – “How can I play without my lucky pen?!” The newly-rational me is unperturbed. But superstitions are rife among chess players. For example, Karpov avoided washing his hair while he was on an unbeaten streak. And Karpov was usually on an unbeaten streak.

What about you? Do you have any chess superstitions? Instead of a simple Yes/No, I will offer a range of varieties of Yes.

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Will the World Championship be held in New York this year?

July 26th, 2016 8 comments

Last week’s question was: ‘Who will win the British Championship?’ Of course Mickey Adams was the top choice, but I am encouraged that Gawain Jones took second place. I also think Nick Pert has a far better chance than our poll would suggest.


The question asked in the name of this blog post seems an easy one. Of course it will. The World Championship match between Carlsen and Karjakin will be held in New York from November 10-30 2016. That’s the official announcement. Except, with less than four months to go, there is no venue announced.

Just over a week ago on the ECF Forum Andrew Murray-Watson, AGON’s Communications Director, said: “I appreciate that there is a degree of doubt about New York being the venue for the championship match. But all I can say is that it is definitely happening in New York and we will make an announcement in the next two to three weeks.”

So that’s crystal clear, except Karjakin in an interview with Norwegian paper Dagbladet made it clear he was not keen to play in the US, and hopes for a move to Moscow.

I hope it all works out somehow, as a healthy World Championship cycle is good for chess. But what do you think? Will the World Championship be held in New York this year?

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Who will win the British Championship?

July 19th, 2016 2 comments

So, ‘Will you be combining a family holiday with chess?’ In general, ‘no’ you will not. Following on from the number of tournaments you will play equalling ‘zero’, this is consistent.


The Scottish Championship concluded with GM Matt Turner winning the tournament, and GM Keti Arakhamia-Grant becoming Scottish Champion. Congratulations to both.

GM Colin McNab finished a respectable 4th equal, with the consolation of becoming joint Senior Champion with IM Steve Mannion. IM Andrew Greet played in a frankly not-so-strong weekend event, and cruised to 5/5. The following link has a few photos of the winners.

On Saturday, the British Championship starts in Bournemouth on the south coast of England. I see three Quality Chess authors in the top ten entrants (as of today) but: Who will win the British Championship?

Naturally, Adams must be the favourite, but I am curious how many votes the others will get. Not just out of QC loyalty, I will tip GM Gawain Jones for the title, and IM Richard Pert for a GM norm. No pressure, though.

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How to play more tournaments?

July 11th, 2016 13 comments

Last week’s question was: ‘How many tournaments will you play this summer?’ And the answer is: ‘not a lot’. ‘Zero’ was our clear winner, followed by ‘one’, followed by ‘two’, followed by…

I see a pattern.


Perhaps you are all too busy over the summer with work, family, and reading excellent chess books. But I am curious about what could be done to get more people playing tournaments. Any ideas?

And for those of you who will be playing tournaments: Will you be combining a family holiday with chess?

We do have one Quality Chess person in tournament action right now. GM Colin McNab is playing in the Scottish Championship. The games start at 1 pm (that’s a link to Round 3 on Monday 11th; links to later rounds will eventually appear on this page) and the playing hall is about a 5-minute walk from our office in Glasgow, so Colin’s solution is to work in the morning, then play chess in the afternoon. A fine work-life balance.

Meanwhile Andrew and I are here, working away all day…

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