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    Tuesday
    Jan012013

    Piterenka Rapid/Blitz: Karjakin Wins A Crazy Armageddon Game

    Four Russian super-GMs participated in the Piterenka Rapid/Blitz tournament in Moscow, Russia. Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Dmitry Jakovenko and Ian Nepomniachtchi battled it out on the 29th in two double-round robins. In the rapid (10' + 5") portion Karjakin and Grischuk tied for first with 4/6, ahead of Nepomniachtchi's 3 and Jakovenko's single point. In the blitz (3' + 2"), Karjakin, Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi all had 3.5/6; Jakovenko again brought up the caboose with 1.5.

    Since Karjakin and Grischuk tied in both disciplines they obviously tied overall as well, so they played an Armageddon game. Grischuk finally broke through with White and achieved a completely won position on the board, but by that point both players were very low on time. Up a rook and more, but nearly out of time, Grischuk blundered into a stalemate trick, and so Karjakin won the event - see for yourself.

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    Reader Comments (13)

    Exciting but not for the cameraperson who seemed to nod off a couple of times...

    January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

    That was like watching a symphony orchestra play twinkle twinkle little star.

    Also stalemate should be abolished (espcially in blitz)
    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8302

    [DM: Another person who wants to cure head colds with decapitation.]

    January 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermonster_with_no_name

    I don't mind armageddon games for relatively minor, spectator-centric events like this. And this cannot be said to lack excitement. However, I think this is a nice demonstration of why armageddon games are an ugly way to decide major tournaments. There ought to be at least a couple of seconds of increment or it becomes farcical.

    January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen

    I can't understand how a guy like Grischuk is so interested in blitz. To see insanely strong grand masters play such a crappy game (well, endgame) just makes me feel bad !

    January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIddor

    Its good that in your analogy stalemate is a disease...
    Although I would have chosen cancer, with a bit of radiation treatment we could evolve the game.

    January 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermonster_with_no_name

    ChessVibes carried a report saying the game ended in an unfriendly manner (and Sergey later apologized for "over-enthusiastic celebrations").
    But from the video it appears that Karjakin just walked away. Wonder what happened.

    January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaideepblue

    It is mortifying that a parcel of Land should be decided from such a random time scramble. But Grischuk is in no position to complain as he is a proponent of faster time controls.

    January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Karen

    In response to the monster_with_no_name post. I also don't understand why a stalemate is a draw. What's the logic behind the rule? I'm sure there must be some for the rule to have been changed this way, but I have never heard why. It seems to me that it's most logical that it be like the article suggested, to allow moving into check and the game ends when you have captured the king. Why should moving your king into danger be disallowed by the rules? Of course if moving into check were legal moving into check would never be a good move, but bad moves shouldn't be prevented by the rules. Also, imagine a real-life battle scenario where all of the soldiers die except the king and once trapped by the enemy he tries to claim the battle is a draw because he is trapped and has no soldiers left! Sounds a bit absurd.

    So it seems to me that in theory stalemate should be a win for the player making the final move. I haven't put any thought into how it would affect the game, so maybe the reason for the rule is that if stalemate is a win then there are issues with the game play. But like I said I haven't heard any arguments for the stalemate being a draw rule convincing me that it's necessary. Anyone care to enlighten me?

    [DM: At least two questions must be distinguished: (1) Is the stalemate rule logical? (2) If it's illogical, should we change the game? One could reasonably argue that the stalemate rule is illogical - but then so is much else in chess, if we're going to pretend that chess is real reflection of war: how is it that bishops can only move diagonally and rooks horizontally and vertically? Humans and horses, chariots and tanks can move in any direction on a plane as long as the terrain permits, and the terrain of the chessboard is as smooth as can be. Knight jumps are illogical as well - not the jumping part, but that it can only jump precise as it does and not, say, two squares straight ahead. And what about en passant, castling and promotion? And why must a player move? Real-life armies can wait. (Incidentally, having the ability to "pass" would wreak havoc with the stalemate rule.)

    Much about chess is illogical if we take the war metaphor too seriously. To play a game of any sort, certainly a board game, some suspension of disbelief must occur. So I don't see any special reason to chuck the stalemate rule. Further, eliminating it wouldn't be a minor change but a colossal one, to the point where countless trivially drawn positions would be instantly turned into lost ones. Others may (and obviously do) differ, but to me this is both a radical and unnecessary expedient.]

    January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommentercheVelle

    If you remove stalemate from Chess then you've effectively destroyed the game quite literally. I for one would quit, sell all my books, software licenses, quit directing, quit organizing and stop reading all chess related material. The game would die for me quite literally the second that law passed changing the game from chess to checkers. And no, I am not exaggerating in the slightest.

    January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

    There ought to be at least a couple of seconds of increment or it becomes farcical.

    Yeah, but that almost totally negates the advantage Black has from starting out with less time.

    But perhaps we should just go back to spinning roulette wheels to settle tie breaks....

    [DM: I for one have no problem with Armageddon games, but one or two pairs of blitz games first would have been nice. They had already played six (quick - 10' + 5") rapid games and six blitz games already, so they might have been a bit tired by then and happy to get it over with in one shot.]

    January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

    I dont respect tradition for the sake of tradition.. If it is a good tradition we keep it, if bad lets drop it. People used to kill people for being witches. Should we respect this "tradition"?

    You must move at all times, EXCEPT (we tack on this stupid stalemate exception rule) when you actually cant move (precisely the moment you should be punished for violating the rule), the game is ubruptly over with equality, of all things.

    or the fact that if we removed stalemate, the natural way to end the game (which already elegantly exists in the rules!) is if you cant move your clock will run out.
    Stalemate not only contradicts the "you have to move" but also the "clock runs down = loss" rule!

    Stalemate is totally unecessary and like a bad appendix needs to be removed.

    Also all other exception rules actually make sense.. they are shortcuts for what would have happened anyway
    (eg moving pawns 2 times in beginning, castling) En passant is an "exception rule TO AN exception rule!" (the pawns move 2 squares at once, to correct for the imbalance that causes!) Stalemate not only unbalances the game, it turns it on its head.

    [DM: I'm not interested in continuing the discussion, which is only tangentially related to the post, so I'm afraid I'm going to pull "host's privilege" and stop the discussion on this topic here.

    1. Tradition: Tradition isn't absolute, but it is prima facie justified; that is, the burden of proof is on the other side to eliminate it. And as I noted last time around, the objection that stalemate is somehow "illogical" isn't even remotely compelling, unless one chooses to change a host of other rules as well. And to what end? Why should 500 years of the history of the game be rendered obsolete for the sake a few people's aesthetic preferences?

    2. You must move at all times, except...: This isn't a case of special pleading. One is NEVER allowed to put one's own king in check, so there's no reason why this should be any different. At any rate, my point in bringing up the issue of "passing" is that the inability to stay put is another bit of irrealism in chess. (See point 1.) And in real life, one doesn't necessarily "lose on time" in a siege - it might turn out that those under siege have more resources than the enemy, cut off from supply lines.

    3. Stalemate is unnecessary: Chess is necessary? More seriously, it's a rule. It's arbitrary and other rules could replace it, but there's no need to do so, and there's no good reason to render much of 500+ years of chess and chess history irrelevant. I don't study chaturanga or pre-Renaissance chess, and other than a very few seriously history-minded individuals, neither does anyone else. Maybe the change to chess wouldn't be as dramatic, but it would be dramatic enough. Find some like-minded friends and play stalemate-free chess, and leave the current version to the rest of us, please. :)]

    January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermonster_with_no_name

    Grischuk almost made it to the World Championship match, thanks to his amazing Blitz skills. If this format shows that he is fallible, and encourages him to be more combative in regular games, then this format is welcome!

    January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterguidok

    I agree with your points that other things are illogical as well in the context of a war scenario, so to pick on the stalemate rule for being illogical in that sense it not enough to change the rule. It's a game so it can't mimic real life perfectly, of course. To be clear, I wouldn't change the rule if I could. I've already put in enough study to the game with the rule as it is and so changing it would be a hassle to me. So I'm not a proponent of changing the rule.

    The real question I want to know is why was the rule changed to a stalemate being a draw in the first place? As you noted, changing the stalemate rule is a colossal change to the game. So it should only be changed if it's really necessary, and probably not even changed if it doesn't make any sense. In the article cited in the comments the stalemate rule has changed much throughout history, first being a win, then half-win, not being allowed, and even a loss! As we know, the game eventually settled with it being a draw. My question was essentially, why did the rule become a stalemate being a draw in the first place? Is there logic behind it being that way or was it just some sort of compromise between the previous rules?

    I understand that some rules in games just don't make sense in a real world context and it doesn't really matter because it's just a game after all. But from looking at the wiki page of stalemate in that article, it shows that the stalemate rule being a draw isn't just a randomly decided rule, it's been altered over time, and you'd hope, improved upon previous editions of the game. So if I were to ask the creator of a game, "Why does this piece move like that?" and they answered, "No reason, it's just the rules." That answer would suffice for me, but it's a bit different with the stalemate rule in chess. If the original creator of the game said stalemate was a draw and that rule is here today because it was handed down from someone who didn't really think about it, that would be fine. But since the rule was changed, you'd expect there to be a reason for it. Obviously I don't know why, but my guess would be as a compromise between previous rules, since at times it's been a win and a loss, so just make it a draw.

    January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommentercheVelle

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