John Foley wrote:
Geoff Chandler wrote:How about something that sounds totally stupid until you think about it.
Players are only allowed 2 draws per tournament.
This is not crazy at all. It is probably a reasonable profile of tournament chess in the future.
One way of achieving draw-restriction is to make offering draws increasingly unattractive. My suggestion is that, in the context of deferred draw acceptance, the first draw offer grants the opponent one grace move; the second draw offer grants the opponent two grace moves etc.
If the draw offer count were cumulative through a tournament then, by the end, the players would be reluctant to offer a draw lest their opponent have several grace moves i.e. the opponent could embark upon a sequence of moves without fear of losing.
How much of a difference would a couple of grace moves make, really? In most cases, the player still has to decide for themselves objectively whether the position is drawn or not. They would have to choose between nuturing a small advantage to a win, or playing a risky set of moves and at the end of that deciding whether to accept the still-valid draw or carry on with the risky plan. I would hazard a guess that at top GM levels, the results of unbalancing the position won't become clear for at least another 10 moves or so, so I think you have to be radical and say that a draw offer stays on the table until the end of the game. That really would
discourage draw offers!
No, seriously, it is a very small change. Leave draw offers open permanently. I think you would instantly see a decrease in the number of draw offers. Or at least leave them open up to the next time control. For games without a time control, you would need to have draw offers left open permanently. You would also hardly ever get the position where someone would make a counter offer of a draw (it is simpler to accept the previously made draw offer that is still open), and you would never get the situation where people decline a draw offer and later lose (which is a pity in a way).
Are there any downsides to this? It doesn't eliminate short draws or arranged draws (you have to have other things in place to discourage that - link number of draws to prize fund and also appearance money), but it does eliminate the psychological tactic of offering a draw to find out what your opponent is trying to do. Or maybe make the process slightly more complicated in that player A initiates the process of submitting possible draw offers
, and you have something like a sealed bid situation (both player A and player B submit their 'offers' independently) and if both players submit a draw offer, the game is drawn, but otherwise it carries on, but both players reveal whether they would accept a draw without the imbalance of one player revealing their hand first. Is there a practical way to do this (other than the tried and tested question "are you playing for a win?")?