Winning: It’s D Only Thang

In an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/winning/) I posited improving Chess by devaluing the draw to 1/4 point for each player. Lowering the value of a draw would obviously increase the value of a win. Winning is the point of any game, is it not?

The recently completed US Masters in Greensboro, North Carolina, using the traditional one point for a win and one half point for a draw, ended with four main score groups:

6 1/2

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM EVGENY POSTNY
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
GM TIMUR GAREYEV
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

6

GM ALONSO ZAPATA
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM SAMUEL SEVIAN
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
GM VLADIMIR BELOUS
GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN
IM MICHAEL W BROWN
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

5 1/2

IM JUSTIN J SARKAR
GM KAMIL DRAGUN
IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

5

FM JUSTIN WANG
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM KEVIN WANG
IM ERIK SANTARIUS
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI
GM JULIO J BECERRA
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA
IM MICHAEL LEE
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

If the tournament had ended with exactly the same individual game results the outcome would have been entirely different. Before you leave comments and/or send emails, please consider I am aware altering the distribution of points would, most probably, have ensured many of the results would have been much different because players would be FORCED to alter the way they play. There would have been more fighting Chess since a win would be worth much more than the method currently in use. How many players would opt for any bye in any round? How many would take a 1/4 point bye in the final round?

This is how the tournament would have ended using the new method of 1/4 point for a draw:

GM TIMUR GAREYEV 6 1/4

IM MICHAEL W BROWN 6

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE 5 3/4
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

GM ALONSO ZAPATA 5 1/2
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

GM EVGENY POSTNY 5 1/4
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
IM JUSTIN J SARKAR (Includes last round 1/4 bye)
GM KAMIL DRAGUN

GM SAMUEL SEVIAN 5
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA

IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ 4 3/4
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN 4 1/2
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM MICHAEL LEE

IM ATULYA ARYA SHETTY 4 1/4
IM SHIYAM THAVANDIRAN

IM ERIK SANTARIUS 4
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

You can find the final standings, along with the prize money won, at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/table.aspx#198/USMASTERS/result-round9.html)

It is more than a little obvious devaluing the draw would put a premium on WINNING! Players would no longer be willing to “settle” for a draw. Players would be forced to stop playing for a draw and stop considering splitting the point, which is the point. Who knows, maybe players would become more like Victor Korchnoi and play slightly “dubious” opening moves intentionally in hopes of creating problems for the opponent right from the beginning of the game. Maybe an opening like the King’s Gambit would make a return.

This departure from what has become ‘normal’ would infuse the staid game of Chess with new enthusiasm. Gone would be the short draws that have become all too common. “Buddy-buddy” draws and group hugs would become a thing of the past, which is where they belong.

Here are a few selected games “played” at the 2018 US Masters, which can be found at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/Games.aspx).

FM LEVY ROZMAN (2421) vs AUSTEN J GREEN (2066)

round 1

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. h4 d6 6. Nh3 Nc6 7. Qb3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Ng5 Qe7 10. Be3 Nd8 11. Na3 h6 12. Nf3 Ng4 13. Nc2 Be6 14. Qa4 Bd7 15. Qc4 Be6 16. Qa4 Bd7 17. Qc4 1/2-1/2

IM VISHNUVARDHAN ARJUN (2224) vs GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI (2540)

round 1

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Ne5 Nc6 5. d4 e6 6. Bb5 Qc7 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Qg4 g6 9. Qg3 Qa5 10. Nc3 Bxe5 11. Bxe5 f6 12. Bc7 Qb4 13. O-O-O Bd7 14. Rhe1 Kf7 15. Bd6 Qa5 16. Bc7 Qb4 17. Bd6 Qa5 18. Bc7 1/2-1/2

IM ADVAIT PATEL (2475) vs GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN (2625)

round 2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Nxc3 7. dxc3 g6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bh6 Bf8 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bh6 Bf8 12. Bg5 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV (2489)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Ne1 h5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Nxd3 Nd7 10. Nd2 1/2-1/2

GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL (2559) vs IM KEVIN WANG (2414)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Nbd2 f6 9. c4 fxe5 10. dxe5 Ndxe5 11. Nd4 Bb4 12. g4 c5 13. Qa4 Qd7 14. Qxd7 Kxd7 15. Nxf5 exf5 16. gxf5 Bxd2 17. Bxd2 Nh4 18. Bf4 Rae8 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs GM JEFFERY XIONG (2650)

round 9

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. a4 Be6 9. Be2 h6 10. O-O Qc6 11. Ne1 Nbd7 12. Nd3 a5 13. f4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Qxe4 15. Qd2 Qh7 16. Qc3 Qe4 17. Qd2 Qh7 18. Qc3 Qe4 1/2-1/2

WE HAVE A LOSER!!!

GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN (2556) vs GM EVGENY POSTNY (2586)

round 9

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O e6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Nbd2 1/2-1/2

A total of ELEVEN moves were “played” in this game by both players. Under the format used in this tournament it is a pity these “players” were unable to “call it in.” The time used to “play” this “game” could have been spent much more productively in the bar. THIS IS NOT CHESS! This so-called “game” is one of the main reasons Chess has never become popular in America. Most of the world wants a winner, not a drawer!

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Advancing to the Rear

While analyzing with some youngsters at the Atlanta Chess Center the Legendary Georgia Ironman was heard to say, “I never retreat. I only advance to the rear.”
On this date in 1863 the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began its retreat from Gettysburg. The logistics of moving such a large force of men and material is truly staggering. General Robert E. Lee had lost the battle, but the war still raged. To live to fight another day required “advancing to the rear,” to the safety provided in the South. Many books have been written about the retreat and I highly recommend this one: Retreat from Gettysburg: “Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign”, by Kent Masterson Brown (http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=706).
General Lee’s successful retreat was one of the most incredible maneuvers in the history of warfare and has been studied at the Army War College, and by military personnel all over the world. In his book, “Kent Masterson Brown reveals that even though the battle of Gettysburg was a defeat for the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee’s successful retreat maintained the balance of power in the eastern theater and left his army with enough forage, stores, and fresh meat to ensure its continued existence as an effective force.”
General George Meade had checkmate on the move, but, like Victor Korchnoi against Anatoly Karpov in a match for the World Championship, failed to deliver the blow. “The Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, was unable to maneuver quickly enough to launch a significant attack on the Confederates, who crossed the river on the night of July 13–14.”
“Confederate supplies and thousands of wounded men proceeded over South Mountain through Cashtown in a wagon train that extended for 15–20 miles, enduring harsh weather, treacherous roads, and enemy cavalry raids. The bulk of Lee’s infantry departed through Fairfield and through the Monterey Pass toward Hagerstown, Maryland. Reaching the Potomac, they found that rising waters and destroyed pontoon bridges prevented their immediate crossing. Erecting substantial defensive works, they awaited the arrival of the Union army, which had been pursuing over longer roads more to the south of Lee’s route. Before Meade could perform adequate reconnaissance and attack the Confederate fortifications, Lee’s army escaped across fords and a hastily rebuilt bridge.”
“The retreat from Gettysburg ended the Gettysburg Campaign, Robert E. Lee’s final strategic offensive in the Civil War. Afterwards, all combat operations of the Army of Northern Virginia were in reaction to Union initiatives. The Confederates suffered over 5,000 casualties during the retreat, including more than 1,000 captured at Monterey Pass, 1,000 stragglers captured from the wagon train by Gregg’s division, 500 at Cunningham’s Crossroads, 1,000 captured at Falling Waters, and 460 cavalrymen and 300 infantry and artillery killed, wounded, and missing during the ten days of skirmishes and battles. There were over 1,000 Union casualties—primarily cavalrymen—including losses of 263 from Kilpatrick’s division at Hagerstown and 120 from Buford’s division at Williamsport. For the entire campaign, Confederate casualties were approximately 27,000, Union 30,100.
Meade was hampered during the retreat and pursuit not only by his alleged timidity and his willingness to defer to the cautious judgment of his subordinate commanders, but because his army was exhausted. The advance to Gettysburg was swift and tiring, followed by the largest battle of the war. The pursuit of Lee was physically demanding, through inclement weather and over difficult roads much longer than his opponent’s. Enlistments expired, causing depletion of his ranks, as did the New York Draft Riots, which occupied thousands of men that could have reinforced the Army of the Potomac.
Meade was severely criticized for allowing Lee to escape, just as Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan had done after the Battle of Antietam. Under pressure from Lincoln, he launched two campaigns in the fall of 1863—Bristoe and Mine Run—that attempted to defeat Lee. Both were failures. He also suffered humiliation at the hands of his political enemies in front of the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, questioning his actions at Gettysburg and his failure to defeat Lee during the retreat to the Potomac.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_from_Gettysburg

Like many a chess player General Mead had reached a won position, but failed to convert. This prolonged the War For Southern Independence and caused more death and destruction for the South. If the war had ended with Gettysburg, General William Tecumseh Sherman would never have perpetuated war crimes against Southern citizens.(“War Crimes Against Southern Civilians” by Walter Cisco) He would instead have been free earlier to head west and start performing genocide against the Native Americans. The Northern force won the battle in spite of, not because of General Mead, who was not one of the better Generals of the War For Southern Independence. Sherman is famous for saying about U.S. Grant, “I stood by him when he was drunk and he stood by me when I was crazy.” The devil Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, who was mentally ill (her oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, took legal action to have her declared insane and a court placed her in a private sanatorium), said this about U.S. Grant, “He is a butcher and is not fit to be at the head of an army. Yes, he generally manages to claim a victory, but such a victory! He loses two men to the enemy’s one. He has no management, no regard for life.” Conversation with Abraham Lincoln regarding General Ulysses S. Grant. SOURCE: Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (New York, Penguin Books, 2005), p. 59.
Benson Bobrick, in his masterful book, “Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas,” posits the best General in the yankee army was from the Great State of Virginia. His sisters considered him a traitor and turned his picture to the wall and never spoke to him again. The yankees never trusted him and wrote deprecatingly concerning his accomplishments and disparagingly of him in general. It is only now that more objective historians are giving the man deserved recognition.