The game 12 draw

From an email I just sent:

My view was this: if you play out the main computer lines for 8-10 moves, Black’s position does not really improve, nor are White’s holding moves hard to find (he just has to shuffle back and forth).

Black does not have the structural advantage to enable a later transposition into a favorable endgame.

So it actually is a draw!  (sort of)

Does the agreement[to draw]  have to be non-Bayesian?  There is a “vague range,” and by Magnus Carlsen offering the draw maybe he, as Kasparov suggested, lowered his own chances for the rapid tiebreak (shows some loss of nerve), until they were in the same “vague range” as the game 12 final setting.

So Magnus is saying “I don’t have a way of pressing that is better than my chances in the rapid tiebreak,” and Caruana is agreeing and knows that Magnus knows this.

Maybe not “strictly” Bayesian, but it doesn’t seem crazy to me either.

I thank S. for a relevant conversation on these points.


The real problem is if you should be able to win the classical title when you only win rapid of blitz games.

If you're one of those who makes a deposit within the book and then makes bets until it really is gone, you will have
to alter your ways before you can start winning.

What in the event the development of this kind of
character was the sole available option. The Formula
- In today's computer culture, advanced mathematical calculations are just an app away.

Perhaps he's fine with foregoing some match win chances for three more days of world media attention.

And his outlook for Wednesday doesn't look terribly worse.

And this chess sports betting site (I finally found a chess betting site that's not 'seasonal' meaning you can bet on any chess game,not just the periodic WCC world championship, though at the moment they only have one other game besides the WCC) agrees that Carlsen is a 3:1 favorite in the first rapid game on Wednesday:

This match has taught us many thing. Or at least reinforced some already held views.
1) Chess has not been "solved" like tic-tac-toe has. But it feels like a solved game at the top level. These 12 drawn games, where only rarely one player had more than one pawn advantage and had very few blunders (and perhaps no real blunders), show that at the top level we see players who play very accurately, take few risks, and end in a draw. They do not follow the exact computer lines, but it looks as close as humans can get. All of us who followed these matches while "at work" were mostly looking for the moment where one player would crack and blunder. That did not happen.
1b) The quality of the moves was so good, that by now we should recognise that the best chess games will tend to be draws. Games that do not end in a draw boil down to a blunder of sorts or time pressure. So by definition cannot be the best quality of play.
2) Carlsen lost the aura he had five years ago, especially in the Anand matches . He is the favourite on Wednesday, but he looked more human this time. Alternatively, it could be that other players have adapted and neutralised the Carlsen style, very much how football/soccer teams have neutralised the once unbeatable tiki-taka style from Spain, Barcelona, etc. I am too weak a player to say.
3) I am hearing more and more that it is a shame that the championship will be decided with Rapid chess. But what makes one version of chess more real than other. Perhaps Rapid chess is the true version of the sport that we should embrace more generally. It is faster, and leads to more inaccuracies. If you want to watch perfect matches, just let Stockfish play against itself. Rapid and Blitz are about human intuition.


Perfect play, and the anticipation of perfect play is boring. If we want perfect we have Stockfish and its successors.

We don't want to see maximal human chess performance; we want to see human performance under relatable constraints. Make all World Championship matches rapid-play.

Interesting comments. My distinct impression from watching sports is that, under a given set of rules, over time, defense comes to dominate. American team sports often battle this by regularly and blithely rewriting rules to favor offense. More "purist" (hidebound?) games seem to tend toward nil-nil draws. Sounds like chess is on the same path.

This is true for most sports I think. Rapid and Blitz is more entertaining to watch for the audience but may not be the best platform to see some genius-level moves. Rapid/Blitz is the equivalent of muscle memory and instinctive shots played in other physical and fast-paced sports.
Something similar is happening in India with the game of cricket. People have abandoned Test and one day cricket and mostly moved to a much faster and shorter version of the game called T20 cricket. And they've changed the rules to favour batsmen. Boring as hell in my opinion. Sure, hitting sixes and fours is fun but in every other ball? thank you.

@londenio - however, neither player took that many chances either to unbalance the positions. And they did not play that accurately in that Carlsen missed a chance to win early on when he moved Q-to-first-rank rather than taking the a-pawn, and other inaccuracies. Compared to tournament play that I've seen at the same time controls, it seems this match was too conservative. My theory: the number of games, at 12, is too few, so players know if they take a chance they might not have time to recover. To make the match more even, they should play for 24 not 12 games, or, "first to win 6 games" or some such threshold. That way the players will be encouraged to play more 'unbalanced' chess. Anybody can draw if both sides play 'solid' chess (I've drawn a grandmaster in an informal game, and I'm only low expert).

I predict rapid chess will continue to rise in popularity while classical time controls languish. As a spectator sport rapid is far more excited.

Also there has been a shift in how high level chess is viewed since the arrival of computers. Now whenever an advantage is obtained by one player, it is ascribed to the blunder of the other player instead of some brilliancy or good play by the one with the advantage. Perhaps this is because with computers we now see immediately their calculation. Good play never changes the computer's calculation of advantage but one bad move is immediately picked up by the computers and the winning chances it calculates. I believe this leads players to play much safer, they are more risk adverse since there is an imbalance between the attention payed to perceived good moves versus bad ones.

"So Magnus is saying “I don’t have a way of pressing that is better than my chances in the rapid tiebreak,” and Caruana is agreeing and knows that Magnus knows this."

Carlsen doesn't have to choose between pressing as best he can here and having an advantage in the tiebreak. He can have both, which makes offering the draw a clear mistake, even if it's only a small one.

New idea: points can only be scored by winning as White.
Equlibrium: white plays aggressive chess looking for wins (black plays for draws)
Benefits: exciting, romantic chess, that breaks the (now boring) symmetry and possible future-proven-draw nature of the classical game

It’s nice to see the myths about gaming debunked. I remember several years ago

people complained that games like Go Action

Games turned kids into criminals; when in fact the FBI did a study and said

that teenage crime has dropped over the last 20 years because kids are inside

playing games instead of getting into trouble outside. Interesting.

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