Sunday, 3 August 2008

What is the best form of tie-break?

Sometimes things are just too close to call...

The US Women's Chess Championship in May this year ended in controversy as the title was decided in an 'Armageddon' tie-break match.

The Chief Organiser of the event, Tom Braunlich, recently posted an interesting examination of the different types of tie-breaks possible and suggested firming up the guidance regarding tie-breaks in the FIDE (and USCF and other national) regulations, which are presently pretty thin. His article is here.

I generally like the ideas presented, but I must admit to being baffled by one suggestion:

Two-Game Sudden Death - The entire time available for the playoff is used to play no more than two playoff games. One player is given white (by any method of chance). If the first game is decisive, the winner wins the playoff. If it is drawn, another game is played, using the same colors, in which black will have draw odds.

Why would anyone want to be Black in these games? I find it hard to believe him when he says that when he canvassed opinion among GM's they were evenly split on whether they would prefer to be White or Black under these circumstances.

However, it's a well thought out article and worth a read (although he's clearly touchy about the criticism that the US championships received as a result of the Krush-Zatonskih playoff).

What do YOU think is the best method?


Glenn Wilson said...

"Why would anyone want to be Black in these games?"

Draw odds. All black has to do is draw twice to win the tie-break. At high level chess there are a lot of draws.

The best tie-break is to have no tie-break. Just declare co-winners. Tie-breaks should be used only when absolutely necessary.

I too thought the article was pretty good.

Ryan Emmett said...

I guess so. Still, having two Blacks makes getting two draws (at blitz) a lot harder I think.

CHESSX said...

I think the fide verson of a tie break although not liked is universeraly known.
(a) They play a two game mini-match at the rate of all the moves in 3 minutes add-on 5 seconds for each move from the first. If this match is tied:

(b) They play a one game Armageddon (sudden death), White has 5 minutes and Black four, in the case of a draw Black wins first prize."

The reason i think this system should stay is chess struggles to get enough sponsors, and this system far from perfect makes for an exciting finish.
Sponsors,players and spectators know even a tied tournament will finish only 30 minutes or so later.
Football has the penalty shootout.
Golden and silver goals have been used but not liked.After years it stuck with the penalty shootout.
I was at a London speed chess gran prix in 1995 i think it was and the fide type tie break was used.

CHESSX said...

I forgot to say welcome back soofpearl to the real blog site!!!!!

Ryan Emmett said...

Thank you CHESSX !!!!! It's good to be back. :)

chess addict said...

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Ryan Emmett said...

chess addict - That's great - I'll add you to my blog list. I visit your website regularly and I'm amazed you have time to post so much news. I take my hat off to you - you truly are a chess addict. :)

chess addict said...


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