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kenmorefield

Chess

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This guy's chess channel on YouTube is phenomenal. Might not be for a total newbie, but you certainly don't have to be an expert. His series on Fisher-Spassky really shows an insight into which moves are critical and why and thus helps you understanding strategy.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL5YbN5WLFD8dLIegT5QAbA

 

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He's doing a nice analysis of Carlsen-Caruana World Championship match.

Apparently Woody Harrelson is a Chess follower and confirmed that he is making Carnage, fwiw. He was also called upon to make the ceremonial first move and...messed it up! (Caruana said e4 and Woody thought he said d4!

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It's been awhile since I've been abreast of chess happenings, but apparently the rules have changed for World Championship so that if no winner is determined by a preset number of games they go to...blitz games?

Apparently the development of deep-thinking AI has changed the nature so that players can play to time control and then use computer helps to find lines through equal positions. Essentially, if I understand correctly, this makes people play not to lose by sticking with variations or lines that they are thoroughly familiar with--or familiar enough to recognize losing moves far enough in that they can play for draws every time. 

I confess this both makes perfect sense and is somewhat sad.

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On 11/16/2018 at 1:10 PM, kenmorefield said:

It's been awhile since I've been abreast of chess happenings, but apparently the rules have changed for World Championship so that if no winner is determined by a preset number of games they go to...blitz games?

Apparently the development of deep-thinking AI has changed the nature so that players can play to time control and then use computer helps to find lines through equal positions. Essentially, if I understand correctly, this makes people play not to lose by sticking with variations or lines that they are thoroughly familiar with--or familiar enough to recognize losing moves far enough in that they can play for draws every time. 

I confess this both makes perfect sense and is somewhat sad. 

That is indeed a great chess commentary site, Ken. Great commentary on the world championship games as well. Just the right combination of chess knowledge and accessibility. For the world championship, which is about the extent of my actually paying attention to chess as it happens, in the past I've enjoyed having the chess24.com commentary on while I've done other work. (Not this year, though--too busy.) When games are 4+ hours and moves can take 20 minutes, a video recap is plenty. I mostly enjoy the 538 coverage, great for a chess novice like myself. https://fivethirtyeight.com/tag/chess/

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So the World Championship will be decided by Blitz games....

I've heard some people make the analogy that the World Cup is decided by penalty kicks and college football by condensed possessions, but those don't seem to me to be as radically different from the underlying game itself. Taking the time controls away strikes me more like....ummm....maybe deciding the spelling bee by giving each player 1 minute and seeing who can make the most anagrams?


 

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On 11/26/2018 at 7:33 PM, kenmorefield said:

So the World Championship will be decided by Blitz games....

I've heard some people make the analogy that the World Cup is decided by penalty kicks and college football by condensed possessions, but those don't seem to me to be as radically different from the underlying game itself. Taking the time controls away strikes me more like....ummm....maybe deciding the spelling bee by giving each player 1 minute and seeing who can make the most anagrams?


 

It really did seem like Carlsen was playing for draws the whole match since he knew he was a much stronger rapid player and could win in the tie break. Sometimes he had to grind out a draw when he was weaker against the nearly as good Caruana, but when he was in a stronger position he didn't go for the win.

The format for world championships has been the same since FIDE regained its position as organizer of the matches 10 or so years ago: a match of 12 classical games, then for tie breaks a match of 4 rapid games, and then 5 2-game matches of blitz, and then an armageddon game. Before that the matches were longer and if tied the previous champion retained the title. I too dislike this new format, but I do think that there should be a mechanism for a decisive result in case of a tie. 12 games isn't enough. One suggestion I read is to have the tiebreak before the classical match, which would disincentivize draws for one player at least. I'm not sure why they don't play a series of 2-game classical matches until there's a winner. Probably because of venue booking, I guess, and players would just play for draws.

Rapid chess is different than classical, but it's still fundamentally the same game. (Heck, most chess games I play aren't even as long as a rapid game, but for entirely different reasons!) I think it's kind of like rugby 7s is basically rugby with fewer players and less time. I don't think the world championship has ever gone to blitz games. If it did, or especially if it went to an armageddon game, I'd view the result with skepticism. The problem with penalties in soccer (or away goals) as a tiebreaker is that it's fundamentally different, even if it includes an aspect of the game. Whether that is better than, say, playing sudden death periods of extra time without a goalkeeper is debatable. Still, at least the process doesn't include the arbitrariness of college football championships, a continuing problem that makes the national champ title mean little more than one of the best teams that beat another good team. But I'd amend the system so that it would never have to go to blitz or armageddon games, which unlike rapid games are really really fast, more antithetical to the depth of a classical chess game.

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My understanding is the armageddon win would also be a "must win" for white, which always struck me as kind of weird. 
I always assumed this was some sort of remnant of the Fisher-Spassky match where a player might be accused of drawing out the match in order to fatigue an opponent, but I don't really know. 

Another suggestion I heard is to play a blitz game after a game that ends in a draw. There's problems with that too. I think the underlying problem is that 12 games is too few. 

I guess I'm in the camp that says rather than blitz, I 'd like to see a rule that says if there is a tie after the set number of games, the champion retains the title. (That is, the challenger has to defeat the champion in order to become champion.) But I get how that might be seen as too much of an advantage. 

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