Chess

The women’s world championship is happening right now. 3 decisive games in the first 8! Compare with the men, who drew 12 out of 12 last time.

This one in particular was a wild game.

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Sitting at Union Square right now, waiting for some people to start playing Chess.

Gonna try and win against one of those folks? Ya get a good game outta it but also generally a good way to lose $5. There’s surely some cheating but mostly they’re just really good at chess.

I’d love to, but I’m terrible at chess. And also on another continent.

Certainly not. I’m a weak enough player I can still play against a free app.

Don’t feel bad, free app is better than any human ever.

I miss the ones that used to hang out in Harvard Square.

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I think a lot of games would benefit from adding a chess clock. Crank up the time pressure. Now time is a resource you need to manage. Also people screw up under duress.

Another bonus, games that were killed by full calculation paralysis are more fun again!

I assume the guys talk about chess clocks in Take Your Fucking Turn?

The 2020 Candidates tournament is starting today, despite corona.

8 guys, round robin. The winner earns the right to play Magnus for the title later this year.

  • Fabiano Caruana, USA (previous world challenger)
  • Ding Liren, China
  • Wang Hao, China
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russia
  • Alexander Grischuk, Russia
  • Anish Giri, Netherlands
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, France
  • Kirill Alekseenko, Russia

If you only pay attention to the world championship, this is likely going to have a lot less draws - all 8 are trying to win, rather than 1 person trying to not lose.

The first round had 2 draws and 2 decisive games - 50% less ties than the last world championship!

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And halfway through, it’s suspended.

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Magnus is running an 8 player online tournament:

Factors that should increase the spice:

  • Each match is rapid time format games. Generally you see more crazy stuff than classic time format.
  • Winner of a match gets 3 points. That matters because…
  • If the 4 regular games end up 2-2, they have one armageddon game, and the winner takes 2 points and loser 1. So both players are incentivized to go for the win in regular games.

Starts the 18th! I’m really jonesing for a sports fix, so this should be fun.

The time format and the go-for-the-win incentive are fantastic rules!

I think it’s not for nothing that his tournament is using this format. Magnus in 2018 on the world championship:

My current favourite, which it has been for a while, is to keep the same format as now, except that each day you play 4 rapid games instead – relatively short rapid games, let’s say 15+10, as you play in the World Rapid – and you get one point for each day.

If you want to see who the best player is make them play as many games as possible, and if you keep the rapid format then there’s still room for opening ideas, preparation and everything, but the time allowed to conceal your weaknesses and everything is not there. You just up the stakes, you increase the chances for errors and everything, and I think it makes it more exciting and it gives a more real picture of the best players.

Unfortunately, go-for-the-win kind of only works for competitions with more than 2 players. So not the world championship. Unless you changed that to a tournament as well, but I like the idea of the reigning champ being the final boss for whoever wins the candidates.

The Magnus Invitational starts tomorrow. They announced the lineup:

  • Magnus Carlsen. Reigning world champion, world #1, world blitz #2
  • Fabiano Caruana. Defending world challenger, world #2
  • Ding Liren. World #3
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi. World #4
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. World #5, leading the candidates tournament as of the time they suspended it, and world blitz #3
  • Anish Giri. World candidate, world #10
  • Hikaru Nakamura. World blitz #1
  • Alireza Firouzja. 16 years old. Just beat Magnus in an online blitz tournament.

This is looking :hot_pepper:

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Magnus Carlsen vs Hikaru Nakamura had 4 out of 4 decisive games. Already like where this is going.

That was a pretty good tournament. The 4 semifinalists were Carlsen vs Ding and Caruana vs Nakamura. AKA the world #1, 2, 3, and world blitz #1.

In the round robin stage, 57 out of 112 games (over half!) were decisive. 10 out of 28 matches went to armageddon.

The final ended up being 3 wins and a draw, but the last game Nakamura was playing to win, since Magnus only needed a draw to clinch the match.

Imagine if Tiger Woods also owned the PGA.

The players have had a lot of power over “the league” in chess for a long time. Bobby Fischer refused to play in some tournaments as far back as the 60’s. FIDE declared Anatoly Karpov the world champion in 1975 when Fischer refused to play according to their chosen format.

Garry Kasparov took his ball home for a few years in the 90s. In 2012, Magnus was already world #2, but dropped out of the candidates tournament over a dispute about the format.

Imagine quitting the world championship before you’ve ever even competed in it because you didn’t like the rules!