All About Draws

“The phenomenon of draws in chess I think is a completely different topic than what occurred with the 3-move fixed game.”

The above comment in my last post about the 3-move Eljanov-So draw prompted this post.

I haven’t heard from any credible source that this 3-move draw was pre-arranged. The ChessVibes article collecting quotes and statements from various people about regular draws and quick draws makes no such claim; nor does the tournament report that first broadcast the draw’s length to the reading public. My points were mostly about short draws in general.

I’d imagine that if it were actually pre-arranged, they’d play a few more moves knowing the draw was in hand. In such a situation, I might offer a draw on move 3 precisely because I didn’t know in advance that my opponent wanted the same result. And to support that, I’ll say that 2 of my 4 pre-arranged draws made it over 10 moves, and one of them was even over 20 moves.

For comparison sake, in what turned out to be my last GM norm, I offered a draw to my opponent on move 5. I had no idea where he stood, and that’s why I wanted to get it out of the way before things got too serious in a middlegame (we’d tie for first with a draw, I’d get my final norm; the randomness of open-tournament tiebreaks would determine who actually got 1st prize). He declined though, indicating to me that I really had to focus. And then a dozen moves or so later, when he stood marginally worse, he offered a draw, and I happily accepted.

Anyway, I’m not in favor of pre-arranged draws. Like some chessplayers, I’m guilty of having taken some in the past.  One secured clear first (when even a loss would have given me first); one secured at least a tie for first (it did end in a tie); another secured clear second place; and another one left both me and my opponent nowhere near the winner’s table (I think both of us were just tired of the tournament and wanted to stop the bleeding).

I managed to grow out of that though, having progressively fewer as my rating went up and none after my rating went past about 2400.

So while I brought up a few pre-arranged draws I had, that didn’t really have anything to do with the Eljanov-So game in particular. I decided to just talk about a lot of the types of draws I had.

Similarly, the point about possible consequences of eliminating draws as a legitimate result of a game had to do with regular draws. I agree that pre-arranging a result is not terribly clean.

I probably won’t say too much more about this for a little while … unless the Candidates turns into a real short-draw-fest.


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