Thursday, October 24, 2013

Swiss gambit

Even in tournaments with a modest prize-fund we see today more and more grandmasters participating. This was also the case in the Open of Gent this summer in which 7 grandmasters played for 5 full days despite only 2 serious prizes, see info about the prizes. I can't remember an earlier edition in which 7 or more grandmasters participated. As indicated in my blogarticle shooting a mosquito with a canon it is also crisis for professional chess and players can't be too choosy when selecting tournaments. Worldwide we count already more than 1000 grandmasters so the internal competition is very tough. Besides we can't deny that the title of grandmaster doesn't have the same importance as before so without doubt the commercial value has decreased. Therefore within Fide some people would prefer to create a new title like super-grandmaster or elite-grandmaster. Personally I don't think this is a bad idea as with a strong marketing-strategy it could make chess again more popular with the mainstream-media. 

I wrote already quite some articles of the past Open Gent, see gambits , sportsmanship , green moves , a Dutch gambit part 2 , chessintuition part 2 , which games to analyze , iccf , revolution in the millennium but I didn't mention yet how the tournament ended for me. Well for the first time I scored 7/9, twice my score of 20 years ago when I participated for the first time. This also meant that I received a prize which after the abolishing of the prizes for the best Belgium players had been a while. However as 2 players achieved 7,5/9 and 10 players obtained 7/9, it was only a very modest sum (if I remember well then it was 105 euro). 5 grandmasters also had to be satisfied with such remuneration after 5 days 'working' so once again it is clear that  chess is not an easy choice as profession today. 

Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that I didn't meet in any of the 9 rounds a grandmaster or even a higher rated player than myself. After an unexpected defeat in round 3 which I discussed in detail in my blogarticle chessintuition part 2, I was thrown back in the pack which caused me avoiding all the stronger players. In the last round I had some luck as I was again paired to the bottom, received white and on top was able to use my limited preparation. Due to the early starting-hour (11 am) and the playing hall on a distance of an hour driving from home, it was important to use my limited time optimal for the preparation. First I checked the repertoire of my opponent and afterwards I made a choice about which variant was most likely to pop up on the board. At last I searched with that specific variant some recently played games by strong grandmasters in the databases (mainly twics) as explained in to analyse with the computer.

Afterwards my opponent Johan Goormachtigh told me that he didn't have time to prepare. So on one side it is understandable that he chose something of which he had experience. On the other hand if you just like my opponent of round 7, see revolution in the millennium are not aware about the latest theoretical developments then this is looking for troubles.

This surely doesn't mean that I have now a fitting answer for my defeat against Negi, see shooting a mosquito with a canon but I am glad to win once again against the Scheveningen. Besides with Rxf7 I also show with reference to my blogarticle  my most beautiful move, that playing such moves isn't a matter of knowing the patterns but rather of calculating correctly which is of course not very difficult in the case above. 

Despite I played some good chess since the third round, I won't deny this is also the merit of the pairings. I mean scoring 7/9 via the help of the Swiss gambit isn't the same as obtaining the same score with playing continuously on the topboards. By using the tie-brake system based on progression scores, fortunately some distinction is made in the final standings. Hereby I also want to mention that it is good to notice that the organisation has abandoned Bucholts as tie-brake in favor of progression scores because of the unavoidable dropouts in the last rounds (this change I recommended in my blogaticle result in open gent agreed or not in advance).

Nevertheless I still see despite the chosen tie-brake, players choosing for a Swiss gambit as they consider money more important than a little meaning honorary place. It seems to me no bad tournament-strategy to link prizes to the tie-brake system. Personally I find the easy Hort System a fair choice in which half of the money is divided between the players with the same score and half linked to the tie-brake system.

As we had to wait for the prize-givings, it probably would be a good idea to use a program for the calculations. I triggered Ruben Decrop whom recently founded chessdevil. The program seems to me an nice add-on of the tournament-program but it is not clear if it is also commercially viable. In any case if amateur-programmers are willing to help for a more smooth prize-givings, then this will certainly be welcomed by the tournament-organisations.

Brabo

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