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|Feb-15-12|| ||brankat: Happy Birthday Mr.Nickel!|
|Feb-15-12|| ||Penguincw: Happy Birthday GM Nickel! Any re-matches maybe?|
|Feb-15-12|| ||talisman: happy birthday!|
|Feb-15-12|| ||Karpova: Happy birthday, GM Nickel!|
|Feb-15-12|| ||WannaBe: Happy Birthday!!|
|Feb-15-12|| ||Penguincw: Say, where is User: Arno Nickel?|
|Feb-15-13|| ||Stonehenge: Happy Birthday :)|
|Jan-17-15|| ||Arno Nickel: Hi Chessgames.com!
Long time passing since my last visit here - shame on me.
Yet, I followed activities on chessgames.com from the distance, and dear friends, like Dalibor (if you know him), and of course Daniel, kept me up to date from time to time.
I need not point out that I am always very busy in promoting chess in Germany and sometimes in highly specialized matters. To cut a long story short - highly specialized matters... One of those is no less than the future of correspondence chess.
Is correspondence, at least on top level, going to die in near future because of the computers? Am I wrong, if I put this on the agenda in view of exorbitant draw rates between 80% and 90% ?
If you like, take a look at these tables, and you will know what I mean:
I am going to draw all my 16 WCCC games in the Final (at least I am more lucky in the 18th Olympiad, where Germany is again top favorite for gold).
Where will be fun anymore, if it goes on like this? Who will any time longer be able to achieve convincing results (not influenced by unpredictable luck like players exceeding time in drawn positions or just blundering due to private matters - see tour no. 1, where top seeded Papenin blundered several decisive games.)?
The thrill has gone.
This is, why I think, it's time for a change.
As a conservative man - in such matters - I go with Lasker and Réti, who proposed a slight change to the draw rules, when for the very first time a big disussion on the "Remistod" (death by draws - can we translate it like this) came up.
They pointed out, that in the ancient times of chess results were more differenciated than in modern times. If a player achieved to stalemate his opponent, he was awarded with half of the stake. In those times, before chess speeded up a lot due to the invention of a powerful queen (and due to some other changes), stalemate usually was the best of results to achieve apart from an ordinary draw. Exerting 'zugzwang' in endgames, when you cannot mate your opponent, but still have advantage of a pawn (or even more like wrong bishop and pawn) was awarded with half of the opponent's stake. It was considered as a minor win compared to the extremely rare win by mating your opponent.
If you like to know more about this, please read Rétis "Modern Ideas in Chess".
Look here for example:
Chapter 6, Reform in Chess, pp. 175-178
Or read wikipedia on stalemate (an exciting story, how that rule was quite different in various countries until the 18th and partly even in the 19th century).
For my part, I have always been a fan of counting a stalemate win as 3/4 point and a stalemate loss as 1/4 point, and I think, it would be an excellent try to revitalize correspondence chess by introducing this Lasker idea. I even suggested to call it Lasker Chess in difference to the other famous concepts like Fischer Chess, Capablanca Chess etc.
Two years ago I wrote a detailed essay on this subject, which hasn't been translated yet from German:
To come to an end. I would like to propose to chessgames.com to give this idea a try. Let's have a challenge in Lasker Chess, and despite being short of time I would be ready for such a challenge at any time you like. Let's make chess again a bit more complex by introducing a third option apart from playing for a win or a draw - the option of a stalemate win.
|Jan-17-15|| ||devere: That's an interesting idea, Arno, but I think that awarding 3/4 of a point for a stalemate would devalue striving for the traditional checkmate. Perhaps 3/5 of a point for a stalemate might work better.|
|Jan-18-15|| ||perfidious: It is regrettable that computers have rendered CC all but irrelevant; I enjoyed it some fifteen years ago. Now there is nothing for it but to use software or take a hiding from someone who does.|
|Jan-18-15|| ||jepflast: <Arno Nickel> I think it's a great idea. It will be interesting to see how the rule affects strategy.|
|Jan-19-15|| ||chesstoplay: Hi <Arno Nickel>,
A quote from the movie War Games...
How about a nice game of chess?
Yes, CC faces the endless draw problem,
but your <Lasker> innovation is well considered.
Would there be a 5 game match minimum required
if you played against our CG World Team to insure there would be a winner?
If the first 4 games go a win, a loss, a 3/4 draw and a 1/4 draw
then it would seem to require a 5th game for a final result.
Of course, if you won 2 games in a row, that would be final!
Or a win, a loss and 2 3/4 draws would also produce a final match result.
|Jan-19-15|| ||Everett: Like the idea!|
|Jan-19-15|| ||OhioChessFan: What % of games is anyone thinking might end up in stalemate? At first blush I hardly think it would be significant. My German is way too rusty to read the link.|
|Jan-19-15|| ||isemeria: I think the idea is very much worth a try.
<OCF> There are a lot of stalemates, and the effect on strategy would be huge. For example, the K + P vs. K endgames would be 3/4 wins for the stronger side. And I guess many other traditionally drawn endgames too.
The stalemate % in databases could be misleading regarding this, because usually those endgames are not played to the end.
|Jan-19-15|| ||AylerKupp: <<OhioChessFan> What % of games is anyone thinking might end up in stalemate?>|
I was unsuccessful in finding any hard data about that. I suppose that it should be possible to find that out but, as <isemeria> pointed out, that wouldn't be the true story since a certain number of games would end in a draw because of the <possibility> or <likelihood> of stalemate, even though the final game position is not a stalemate. However, I would still think that the number would be (much?) less than those ending in a draw because of the actual, possibility, or likelihood of 3-fold repetition, insufficient material, the 50-move rule, or just plain unwillingness of both players to continue playing for whatever reason.
Maybe GM Nickel addressed this issue in his detailed essay but, not knowing any German, I can't tell. It would be great if someone could translate and post (or provide a link to) the essay, even if it is computer translated.
I did look at the 2 crosstables he referenced. In the first link there were 78 games with 65 (83.3%) resulting in draws, one (1.3%) No Result, and 12 (15.4%) decisive results. In his second link there were 136 games with 98 (72.1%) resulting in draws, 28 (20.6%) No Result, and 10 (12.8%) decisive results. For comparison the 2013 Candidates Tournament consisted of 56 games with 21 (55.4%) resulting in draws and 25 (44.6%) decisive results. The 2014 Candidates Tournament also consisted of 56 games with 34 (60.7%) resulting in draws and 22 (39.3%) decisive results. It would be interested in comparing these percentages with the same percentages of correspondence and OTB games before computers became sufficiently strong to influence the percentages.
What should be possible is to compare the percentage of draws and decisive games yearly for both correspondence and OTB games and see how the percentages change. If use of computers is definitely influencing the number of draws, then I would think that the percentage of decisive correspondence games would decrease over time as engines became stronger and their usage more widespread, and the number of decisive OTB games would stay roughly the same. Maybe someone with access to correspondence and/or OTB databases could calculate this information.
|Jan-19-15|| ||AylerKupp: <<isemeria> For example, the K + P vs. K endgames would be 3/4 wins for the stronger side. And I guess many other traditionally drawn endgames too.>|
I am not so sure. According to this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_..., (see the Frequency table near the end), the number of K+P vs. K endgames represent 0.43% of all games which, although that might be a large total number, it’s a relatively small number of games. And other traditionally drawn endings like R+P vs. R and BOC are likely the result of other considerations (50-move rule, insufficient material, etc.) rather than stalemating possibilities. But, as I pointed out to <OhioChessFan> above, I don't know how to go about finding out how many games were drawn because of the possibility or likelihood of stalemate.
|Jan-19-15|| ||isemeria: <AK> I dont have hard data either, and I could be wrong. I'm just thinking of those endgames.|
For example R+P vs R is either win or draw with current rules. But in Lasker chess some/many/most of those draws are 3/4 wins if the stronger side can force excange of rooks. This adds a new resource to the endgame play.
|Jan-20-15|| ||Check It Out: GM AN: Thank you for your extensive post! And, thank you for your generous interest in the world team format. You have interacted more with us than any other challenger and it is greatly appreciated.|
I would support another match with modified draw rules!
|Jan-20-15|| ||Lambda: In a single game, I think you'd just conceptualise it as "stalemate: you've won small. Checkmate: you've won big". (Or agreements that such results are inevitable, like resignation for checkmate is inevitable.) There are five possible results.|
In matches or tournaments, instead of coming up with an arbitrary value for stalemate 0.5 < x < 1, I'd propose just calling them "little wins", which get taken into account only where the number of "big wins" is equal. (So in practice, stalemate might be worth 0.51-0.49 if everyone plays less than 50 games.) This achieves the goal of making things more interesting and more likely to produce decisive results, while minimizing the alteration to the game.
|Jan-20-15|| ||savagerules: In draughts/checkers stalemate means a loss, why not do this in chess too. This would increase decisive games by a lot. Checkmate means the king has no legal moves and stalemate means the king has no legal moves also. So both should be losses.|
|Jan-20-15|| ||paulalbert: This is my own personal opinion, but I think a couple of times before I probably expressed my view that I would not advocate a change to the stalemate rule, feeling that the possibility of stalemate adds a complexity and artistic richness to chess, as inequitable as it sometimes might seem to the player who loses a half point in spite of a superior position. Also if you change the stalemate rule, what about other logically inequitable aspects of chess rules? Emanuel Lasker at one time I think proposed that "baring " be a win, i.e., for example K and B or K and N vs. K be scored a win for the superior side. What about K, B, and Rook P, but B is wrong color ( leading to an eventual stalemate )? Equitably a win? Changing the stalemate rule sends one down a slippery slope related to many chess laws and illogical results, so I am for keeping the status quo, but strictly my personal opinion.|
|Jan-20-15|| ||Xenon Oxide: I support Arno Nickel's proposal! It's a great experiment to try, even if we don't agree with it in the end!|
|Jan-22-15|| ||jepflast: It just occurred to me that with the stalemate proposal, we would need a slightly different protocol for resignations, because you could resign "1/4 - 3/4" (as opposed to "0-1"), but then your opponent could decline it in order to pursue checkmate.|
This would be like backgammon, where you can resign 1, resign 2 (gammon), or resign 3 (backgammon), because these outcomes are multipliers for the value of the game in a match.
|Jan-22-15|| ||Arno Nickel: Thanks all for your feedback. May be I will find time to set up a FAQ document on all these questions, that I had discussed with various people over the years. Unknown territory is always a bit slippery.|
1) Will stalemate become less exciting and worthy, if we introduce the Lasker rule? - No. If you need to find a stalemate in order not to be mated, you will be happy as before, if you find one.
2) Must I throw away my Averbakh, Chéron and other endgame books due to huge changes in endgame theory? - No, all techniques and concrete lines for winning remain unchanged. But you need a new approach and theory regarding draw and stalemate.
3) What are the major changes for endgame theory? - Pawn endings. If you get forced into an endgame K vs. K+P you cannot longer draw by just opposing, as this would lead to being stalemated in the end. So the defending side will always try to avoid such endings, if ever possible. I know only one rare occasion, when you could achieve a draw by perpetual in such an ending: wKh7, wPh6, bKf7 - White to move. He will have to move Kh8 and back to h7, as h6-h7 "loses" to Black's move Kf7-f8 stalemating White.
4.) Will chess strategies become more materialistic, if pawns get more important in endgames? - Not quite, though that's a point, we can only find out by testing in a large series of games. In my German review I showed some rook endings, where active play by the defending side, which is a pawn down, holds a draw. Example: Philidor position. The stronger side cannot force exchange of rooks without losing the pawn. So, what really happens, is just repeating moves. BUT, if you get into a passive position, you will no longer be able to avoid simplification and you will get nothing from it except from being stalemated. - I am convinced, with the Lasker rule chess will remain as dynamic as it always has been in modern times.
5.) Should we also follow Lasker's second idea, called "Beraubungssieg", which applies, if you captured all your opponent's pieces, but can't either stalemate or mate him? - No. This ancient rule in chess is really outdated and of no practical importance. It would apply only in very rare cases: K+B or K+N, where you can't force a stalemate. Although it might appear unfair, if you don't get anything for your material, that should remind you on one thing: chess is not just winning material... Material has to be useful for any idea on the board. (Tartakower and others suggested similiar ideas regarding win by material, but that might have been a dead duck, fascinating him only for a short time at the end of the 1920ties.)
See you again next time,
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