Main
Date: 27 Jan 2008 21:46:58
From: David Kane
Subject: Draw appreciation at Corus 2008
The recently concluded Corus 2008 is one of the chess world's premier events.
One of its features is the 250 Euro "Public Prize" awarded for "the most elegant
or most interesting game" in the GM sections (A, B, or C). These are voted-on by
all chess lovers via the Internet. .

According to the Corus website, drawn games received votes in just 3 rounds. The
percentage totals were 21, 30, and 13. If one assumes an equal number of votes
per round, then drawn games received just 4.9% of the votes, compared to
95.1% for decisive games.

The actual draw percentages were 67%, 52%, and 33% for Corus A, B, and
C, for an overall average of 51%. This means that decisive games were 20 times
as likely to receive votes as draws. (This ratio would be twice as high if
we considered that most of the votes were for games in the "A" section.)

These statistics are very similar to those of Corus 2007, where the same
analysis led to the conclusion that decisive games were 22 times as likely
to receive votes as draws.

In short, the oft claimed appreciation that "real" chessplayers have for
draws apparently doesn't translate into "elegant or interesting". Or maybe
people interested enough in chess to follow the tournament via the internet
and vote for the public prize still don't qualify as "real" chessplayers?








 
Date: 29 Jan 2008 06:25:23
From: Larry Tapper
Subject: Re: Draw appreciation at Corus 2008
On Jan 28, 4:54=A0pm, "David Kane" <davidek...@comcast.net > wrote:
> "Larry Tapper" <larry_tap...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
>
> news:3e5053f2-ece0-448f-a6af-8dd99670d283@j20g2000hsi.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
>
>
> >On Jan 28, 12:46 am, "David Kane" <davidek...@comcast.net> wrote:
> > The recently concluded Corus 2008 is one of the chess world's premier ev=
ents.
> > One of its features is the 250 Euro "Public Prize" awarded for "the most=

> > elegant
> > or most interesting game" in the GM sections (A, B, or C). These are vot=
ed-on
> > by
> > all chess lovers via the Internet. .
>
> > According to the Corus website, drawn games received votes in just 3 rou=
nds.
> > The
> > percentage totals were 21, 30, and 13. If one assumes an equal number of=
votes
> > per round, then drawn games received just 4.9% of the votes, compared to=

> > 95.1% for decisive games.
>
> > The actual draw percentages were 67%, 52%, and 33% for Corus A, B, and
> > C, for an overall average of 51%. This means that decisive games were 20=
times
> > as likely to receive votes as draws. (This ratio would be twice as high =
if
> > we considered that most of the votes were for games in the "A" section.)=

>
> > These statistics are very similar to those of Corus 2007, where the same=

> > analysis led to the conclusion that decisive games were 22 times as like=
ly
> > to receive votes as draws.
>
> > In short, the oft claimed appreciation that "real" chessplayers have for=

> > draws apparently doesn't translate into "elegant or interesting". Or may=
be
> > people interested enough in chess to follow the tournament via the inter=
net
> > and vote for the public prize still don't qualify as "real" chessplayers=
?
>
> I continue to be unmoved by this argument, which David Kane has made
> several times before.
>
> Suppose that the NBA championship were broadcast over the Internet and
> fans were invited to vote on their favorite play of each game. Not
> just ordinary fans, really dedicated and knowledgeable basketball
> fans, only those who had played competitively themselves, if you like.
>
> Would we see many votes for a player positioning himself perfectly to
> defend against a high-scoring guard? Or sinking a pair of clutch free
> throws? Or fighting for a key rebound? I don't think so. The slam
> dunks, the spectacular passes, etc. will get most of the votes,
> naturally. Does this mean there's a problem with the less spectacular
> aspects of basketball skill? That the rules need to be changed so that
> every NBA game looks more like the All-Star game, fast-paced and high-
> scoring? Of course not.
>
> Consider Kramnik's victory against Aronian in Round 6, the one with
> the Nc3 innovation against Radjabov's piece sacrifice in the Slav.
> This game garnered 37% of the vote, just short of Carlsen's 41%, which
> took the public prize for the day.
>
> http://www.coruschess.com/public_prize.php
>
> In the Kramnik game, Aronian defended stubbornly and ended up on the
> short side of the notoriously difficult rook + f pawn + h pawn =A0vs.
> rook endgame. The position reached was objectively drawn, according to
> commentator Jon Speelman, but Aronian eventually faltered close to the
> final time control. Would this game have been somehow less noteworthy
> if Aronian had held the draw? On the contrary, it seems to me it would
> have been even more so.
>
> I'm sure that if we looked closely at several other games in
> contention for the Corus public prize, we'd find several other
> instances in which the eventual loser missed chances to put up better
> resistance. What do we learn from this? The obvious, which is that the
> heads of chess fans, like those of any other fans, are more easily
> turned by successful offense than by successful defense. So?
>
> LT
>
> ************
> end quoted text
>
> We often hear the argument that chess fans appreciate
> well-fought draws. We commonly hear that what they
> really like are "high-quality" games.
>
> One time, when I posited that the absurdly high draw rates of
> high level chess affect its popularity/ketability, one poster
> implied that I'd be better off watching "America's Top Model"
>
> The Corus public prize voting provides some real world evidence.
> It shows us that apparently those high quality Rook + f pawn
> + h pawn draws, really *don't* qualify as elegant or interesting
> to actual chessplayers, or at least they are so rare that they
> don't earn many votes.
>
> Now your theory that this is because there is a preference for
> successful offense over successful defense sounds plausible, though
> I can think of other explanations.
>
> But I'm not sure the reason is relevant. It stands to reason that
> if chess had more decisive games, then it would be more interesting
> to follow.
>
> Imagine that there is a failing transit system, and I argue that
> the reason for the failure is that the buses and trains are
> covered in graffiti, and that I have a plan to eliminate the graffiti
> believing that it will improve the condition of the system.
> My arguments might be wrong. There could be other reasons
> that the system is failing and cleaning up the vehicles would
> do no good. My proposed method to eliminate the graffiti
> might be totally unworkable. If that were the case, I
> should very well expect people to point out the flaws in my arguments.
> What you wouldn't expect to happen is for people to argue
> that they *like* graffiti, that it's really a good thing that
> we should learn to appreciate.
>
> Yet in chess that is exactly what happens, and the Corus vote
> provides us some real world data on chessplayers'
> preference for decisive games.
>
> By the way, I will say that the difference in draw rates
> among the A/B/C sections is very significant and
> also worthy of study. One of these days I may try
> to analyze the data from the point of view of Elo/Elo
> spread, but I wonder if anybody else has an explanation
> for the abnormally low draw rates of the C section.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

David Kane writes:

DK > The Corus public prize voting provides some real world evidence.
It shows us that apparently those high quality Rook + f pawn
+ h pawn draws, really *don't* qualify as elegant or interesting
to actual chessplayers, or at least they are so rare that they
don't earn many votes.

But here you miss the point of the only specific example I mentioned.
The game Kramnik-Aronian actually _was_ a contender for the day's
public prize, with 37% of the vote. But it was a win for Kramnik only
because Aronian faltered in the endgame after move 100! If Aronian had
held the draw, would the game as a whole have been less "elegant or
interesting"? Of course not. In my view, the game would actually have
been more interesting, because after all the tactical fireworks, we'd
also have gotten, as a bonus, an example of heroic endgame defense.

Your post caught my eye because one of my favorite pastimes is
following the action closely in top GM tournaments. I caught the Corus
games whenever I could, and I can report that were several draws in
that event that earned my rapt attention from start to finish. For
example, Radjabov, playing white against Topalov, outplayed him
beautifully in a queenless middlegame with all sorts of striking
tactical nuances. But Topalov is a wily and tireless defender, so
Radjabov was unable to score the full point an exchange for a pawn
ahead.

Another example was Gelfand's draw with black against Kramnik. Kramnik
reached the kind of position in the early middlegame that he would
typically be able to win with ease --- slightly more active rooks,
control of c6 with a knight prepared to go there. But Gelfand defended
very precisely, taking skillful advantage of the possibility of
offering repeated exchange sacrifices because Kramnik could not afford
to open up the long diagonal. So, a hard-fought draw.

A weaker player than Gelfand could easily have given Kramnik the
opportunity to finish off the game with an elegant combination,
thereby winning the public prize perhaps. Would this have been better
for chess? From a keting point of view, maybe so. But few of us
are attracted to chess because of its potential ketability!

LT




  
Date: 29 Jan 2008 11:40:42
From: David Kane
Subject: Re: Draw appreciation at Corus 2008

"Larry Tapper" <larry_tapper@yahoo.com > wrote in message
news:ae128b8b-e5d9-4eb5-8364-29a8e1883f7b@v4g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...
On Jan 28, 4:54 pm, "David Kane" <davidek...@comcast.net > wrote:
David Kane writes:

DK > The Corus public prize voting provides some real world evidence.
It shows us that apparently those high quality Rook + f pawn
+ h pawn draws, really *don't* qualify as elegant or interesting
to actual chessplayers, or at least they are so rare that they
don't earn many votes.

LT >But here you miss the point of the only specific example I mentioned.
The game Kramnik-Aronian actually _was_ a contender for the day's
public prize, with 37% of the vote. But it was a win for Kramnik only
because Aronian faltered in the endgame after move 100! If Aronian had
held the draw, would the game as a whole have been less "elegant or
interesting"? Of course not. In my view, the game would actually have
been more interesting, because after all the tactical fireworks, we'd
also have gotten, as a bonus, an example of heroic endgame defense.


DK >I didn't really miss your point. But I think you are wrong. If Kramnik-
Aronian had been drawn, would it have received more votes, or fewer
votes? We don't know, but my guess is fewer. Why, because other similar
games that might have shown proper defense and ended in draws
didn't get many votes. You suggested that this was a preference for
"successful attack over successful defense". I think that might be
a factor, but I (and the voters, apparently) also believe that decisivity
itself is a factor. Draws are just not as satisfying as a competitive result.

LT >Your post caught my eye because one of my favorite pastimes is
following the action closely in top GM tournaments. I caught the Corus
games whenever I could, and I can report that were several draws in
that event that earned my rapt attention from start to finish. For
example, Radjabov, playing white against Topalov, outplayed him
beautifully in a queenless middlegame with all sorts of striking
tactical nuances. But Topalov is a wily and tireless defender, so
Radjabov was unable to score the full point an exchange for a pawn
ahead.

DK >I suspect you are paying far more attention to the games than the
average Corus voter. And that really is my point. The chessgames
most chessplayers like are decisive. While I certainly do not doubt
that your appreciation of these games is genuine, and I can share
in that appreciation at some level myself, it is useful to have a
broader understanding of chess' appeal. I think that you are too
good and too serious to be typical.

LT >Another example was Gelfand's draw with black against Kramnik. Kramnik
reached the kind of position in the early middlegame that he would
typically be able to win with ease --- slightly more active rooks,
control of c6 with a knight prepared to go there. But Gelfand defended
very precisely, taking skillful advantage of the possibility of
offering repeated exchange sacrifices because Kramnik could not afford
to open up the long diagonal. So, a hard-fought draw.

DK >Again, I don't really have anything against the hard fought draw.
I was merely pointing out that the voting data does not support that
this type of game is highly appreciated. And, of course, not all of the
draws *were* hard fought, were they?

LT >A weaker player than Gelfand could easily have given Kramnik the
opportunity to finish off the game with an elegant combination,
thereby winning the public prize perhaps. Would this have been better
for chess? From a keting point of view, maybe so. But few of us
are attracted to chess because of its potential ketability!

DK >As usual, you make a good case. But at some level I do believe
that making chess more ketable would benefit the game, including
its existing players. The Corus public prize voting gives us at
least a small amount of data that can be used for that purpose.





 
Date: 28 Jan 2008 10:35:37
From: Larry Tapper
Subject: Re: Draw appreciation at Corus 2008
On Jan 28, 12:46=A0am, "David Kane" <davidek...@comcast.net > wrote:
> The recently concluded Corus 2008 is one of the chess world's premier even=
ts.
> One of its features is the 250 Euro "Public Prize" awarded for "the most e=
legant
> or most interesting game" in the GM sections (A, B, or C). These are voted=
-on by
> all chess lovers via the Internet. .
>
> According to the Corus website, drawn games received votes in just 3 round=
s. The
> percentage totals were 21, 30, and 13. If one assumes an equal number of v=
otes
> per round, then drawn games received just 4.9% of the votes, compared to
> 95.1% for decisive games.
>
> The actual draw percentages were 67%, 52%, and 33% for Corus A, B, and
> C, for an overall average of 51%. This means that decisive games were 20 t=
imes
> as likely to receive votes as draws. (This ratio would be twice as high if=

> we considered that most of the votes were for games in the "A" section.)
>
> These statistics are very similar to those of Corus 2007, where the same
> analysis led to the conclusion that decisive games were 22 times as likely=

> to receive votes as draws.
>
> In short, the oft claimed appreciation that "real" chessplayers have for
> draws apparently doesn't translate into "elegant or interesting". Or maybe=

> people interested enough in chess to follow the tournament via the interne=
t
> and vote for the public prize still don't qualify as "real" chessplayers?

I continue to be unmoved by this argument, which David Kane has made
several times before.

Suppose that the NBA championship were broadcast over the Internet and
fans were invited to vote on their favorite play of each game. Not
just ordinary fans, really dedicated and knowledgeable basketball
fans, only those who had played competitively themselves, if you like.

Would we see many votes for a player positioning himself perfectly to
defend against a high-scoring guard? Or sinking a pair of clutch free
throws? Or fighting for a key rebound? I don't think so. The slam
dunks, the spectacular passes, etc. will get most of the votes,
naturally. Does this mean there's a problem with the less spectacular
aspects of basketball skill? That the rules need to be changed so that
every NBA game looks more like the All-Star game, fast-paced and high-
scoring? Of course not.

Consider Kramnik's victory against Aronian in Round 6, the one with
the Nc3 innovation against Radjabov's piece sacrifice in the Slav.
This game garnered 37% of the vote, just short of Carlsen's 41%, which
took the public prize for the day.

http://www.coruschess.com/public_prize.php

In the Kramnik game, Aronian defended stubbornly and ended up on the
short side of the notoriously difficult rook + f pawn + h pawn vs.
rook endgame. The position reached was objectively drawn, according to
commentator Jon Speelman, but Aronian eventually faltered close to the
final time control. Would this game have been somehow less noteworthy
if Aronian had held the draw? On the contrary, it seems to me it would
have been even more so.

I'm sure that if we looked closely at several other games in
contention for the Corus public prize, we'd find several other
instances in which the eventual loser missed chances to put up better
resistance. What do we learn from this? The obvious, which is that the
heads of chess fans, like those of any other fans, are more easily
turned by successful offense than by successful defense. So?

LT


  
Date: 28 Jan 2008 13:54:59
From: David Kane
Subject: Re: Draw appreciation at Corus 2008

"Larry Tapper" <larry_tapper@yahoo.com > wrote in message
news:3e5053f2-ece0-448f-a6af-8dd99670d283@j20g2000hsi.googlegroups.com...
>On Jan 28, 12:46 am, "David Kane" <davidek...@comcast.net> wrote:
> The recently concluded Corus 2008 is one of the chess world's premier events.
> One of its features is the 250 Euro "Public Prize" awarded for "the most
> elegant
> or most interesting game" in the GM sections (A, B, or C). These are voted-on
> by
> all chess lovers via the Internet. .
>
> According to the Corus website, drawn games received votes in just 3 rounds.
> The
> percentage totals were 21, 30, and 13. If one assumes an equal number of votes
> per round, then drawn games received just 4.9% of the votes, compared to
> 95.1% for decisive games.
>
> The actual draw percentages were 67%, 52%, and 33% for Corus A, B, and
> C, for an overall average of 51%. This means that decisive games were 20 times
> as likely to receive votes as draws. (This ratio would be twice as high if
> we considered that most of the votes were for games in the "A" section.)
>
> These statistics are very similar to those of Corus 2007, where the same
> analysis led to the conclusion that decisive games were 22 times as likely
> to receive votes as draws.
>
> In short, the oft claimed appreciation that "real" chessplayers have for
> draws apparently doesn't translate into "elegant or interesting". Or maybe
> people interested enough in chess to follow the tournament via the internet
> and vote for the public prize still don't qualify as "real" chessplayers?

I continue to be unmoved by this argument, which David Kane has made
several times before.

Suppose that the NBA championship were broadcast over the Internet and
fans were invited to vote on their favorite play of each game. Not
just ordinary fans, really dedicated and knowledgeable basketball
fans, only those who had played competitively themselves, if you like.

Would we see many votes for a player positioning himself perfectly to
defend against a high-scoring guard? Or sinking a pair of clutch free
throws? Or fighting for a key rebound? I don't think so. The slam
dunks, the spectacular passes, etc. will get most of the votes,
naturally. Does this mean there's a problem with the less spectacular
aspects of basketball skill? That the rules need to be changed so that
every NBA game looks more like the All-Star game, fast-paced and high-
scoring? Of course not.

Consider Kramnik's victory against Aronian in Round 6, the one with
the Nc3 innovation against Radjabov's piece sacrifice in the Slav.
This game garnered 37% of the vote, just short of Carlsen's 41%, which
took the public prize for the day.

http://www.coruschess.com/public_prize.php

In the Kramnik game, Aronian defended stubbornly and ended up on the
short side of the notoriously difficult rook + f pawn + h pawn vs.
rook endgame. The position reached was objectively drawn, according to
commentator Jon Speelman, but Aronian eventually faltered close to the
final time control. Would this game have been somehow less noteworthy
if Aronian had held the draw? On the contrary, it seems to me it would
have been even more so.

I'm sure that if we looked closely at several other games in
contention for the Corus public prize, we'd find several other
instances in which the eventual loser missed chances to put up better
resistance. What do we learn from this? The obvious, which is that the
heads of chess fans, like those of any other fans, are more easily
turned by successful offense than by successful defense. So?

LT

************
end quoted text

We often hear the argument that chess fans appreciate
well-fought draws. We commonly hear that what they
really like are "high-quality" games.

One time, when I posited that the absurdly high draw rates of
high level chess affect its popularity/ketability, one poster
implied that I'd be better off watching "America's Top Model"

The Corus public prize voting provides some real world evidence.
It shows us that apparently those high quality Rook + f pawn
+ h pawn draws, really *don't* qualify as elegant or interesting
to actual chessplayers, or at least they are so rare that they
don't earn many votes.

Now your theory that this is because there is a preference for
successful offense over successful defense sounds plausible, though
I can think of other explanations.

But I'm not sure the reason is relevant. It stands to reason that
if chess had more decisive games, then it would be more interesting
to follow.

Imagine that there is a failing transit system, and I argue that
the reason for the failure is that the buses and trains are
covered in graffiti, and that I have a plan to eliminate the graffiti
believing that it will improve the condition of the system.
My arguments might be wrong. There could be other reasons
that the system is failing and cleaning up the vehicles would
do no good. My proposed method to eliminate the graffiti
might be totally unworkable. If that were the case, I
should very well expect people to point out the flaws in my arguments.
What you wouldn't expect to happen is for people to argue
that they *like* graffiti, that it's really a good thing that
we should learn to appreciate.

Yet in chess that is exactly what happens, and the Corus vote
provides us some real world data on chessplayers'
preference for decisive games.

By the way, I will say that the difference in draw rates
among the A/B/C sections is very significant and
also worthy of study. One of these days I may try
to analyze the data from the point of view of Elo/Elo
spread, but I wonder if anybody else has an explanation
for the abnormally low draw rates of the C section.