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Kenneth Rogoff vs Lawrence Day
World Student Olympiad 1971  ·  English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Old Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-29-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Is black in this game the player who sometimes visits ChessGames as <IM Day>?

I hate draws where there is still life in a position. Rogoff, white, stands better here and he should keep playing.

Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <HeMateMe> Yes, Black is <IMlday>.

Don't judge White too harshly. In team tournaments, there are many situations when taking a sure draw is more beneficial for the team than pressing for a risky win.

Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: It's lenient organizers and complacent fans who are ultimately to blame for such disgraceful non-games. Who can blame the players for doing this if it is allowed?

Sofia Rules FTW!!!

Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  shalgo: If this game troubles you, what would you think of Huebner vs K Rogoff, 1972?
Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: I for one would be thinking exactly the same thing I'd be thinking if tennis players or boxers put on a similar display. But I suppose one has to consider whatever it was that Huebner and Rogoff were protesting, exactly.
Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: But tennis players and boxers do put on a similar display. Neither go full strength in every single round or on every single point. Their result is not based on what happens at any particular moment, but their performance over the course of an entire event.

This happens in most sports. For example, a baseball team will not use its best pitcher in every single game. Sufficient rest is vital to long term success.

Of course there are situations where this doesn't apply. If the outcome is doubtful at the very end of a contest, a participant must give of their best.

This is not to say that some chess players--and, for that matter, other athletes--don't take this to extremes, constantly taking short draws not in attempt to maximize their result, but simply to collect a paycheck. Those players need to be put out to pasture, and a simple method is not to invite them to tournaments. But a player who takes the occasional draw to rest is not to be condemned if he gives full strength most of the time.

Look at Tal's later years, full of short draws. Do you begrudge any of those to him?

And, yes, I know you're going to bring up Fischer always giving 100%. Need I remind you what happened to his chess career, and to him? Was winning the World Championship really worth the 35 years of hell that followed?

We duffers think of chess as a pleasurable recreation, and find it hard to imagine why anybody would not want to play a game. But the guys at the top, whose livelihoods and reputations depend on their tournament results, need their mental health days just as we do.

Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: This is the last round of the World Students team championship and the U.S. needs 1.5/4 to guarantee the silver medal (The Soviets have gold locked) Bruce Amos and Peter Biyiasas defeat Bill Martz and Jim Tarjan. On top board Andy Soltis seems much better against Suttles. As Ken expected, Soltis wins giving U.S. Silver; Canada wins the match 2.5-1.5 to assure bronze. The position is also drawn after White's very safe strategy. Even though White has a slight positional edge there is no serious way to play to win. Here is Houdini's try: 22. fxe5 dxe5 23. h4 Nxd5 24. exd5 Ba5 25. Rbf2 Rad8 26. Be4 Rd7 27. g4 Re8 28. Kg2 Bc7 29. Kh3 a6 30. Bd2 Bd6 31. Kg2 b6 32. Bc3 Rde7 33. g5 h5 34. Re1 g6 35. Rf6 Rd7 36. Kf2 Red8 37. Bg2 Rb7 38. Kg1 Nc2 39. Re4 Nd4 40. Bh3 Be7 41. Rf2 Bd6 42. Re1 Ra8 43. Kg2 Rd8 44. Rf6 Be7 45. Rff1 Bd6 46. Re4 and the program shuffles on, still claiming advantage while making no progress whatsoever.
Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <IMlday> Thank you for the explanation.
Oct-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<Look at Tal's later years, full of short draws. Do you begrudge any of those to him?>>

No, I begrudge lenient organizers and complacent fans.

But this stuff about "short draws" is a red herring. It's not the shortness of the game (I have nothing against Adorjan vs Karpov, 1967, for example), or even the drawn result, but rather the premature cancellation of the game, in media res, by mutual agreement, that is rather obscene. No one else in any other sport does this.

Draw agreements came about historically because people were reaching dead drawn positions, and needed a way to end the game without playing on forever in futility. But for such dead drawn positions we wouldn't have a rule allowing players to agree to a draw (do they have such a rule in Othello or Scrabble?). Draw agreements were never intended to preserve the mental health of top players, or give them a rest day, or protect their standing in the tournament, or allow them to avoid having to defeat their best friend or their countryman, etc.

Fischer always had signs of mental health issues, so I don't think you can say that the cause was that he played every game to the bitter end. I'm not buying it. And Kasparov rarely took premature draws during the last decade or so of his career, and he's doing just fine.

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