Thursday, July 01, 2010

Idiotic Draw Riles GM

I've just been catching up with some news over at ChessVibes and noticed an item from 2 weeks earlier. Actually, it's thanks to this recent post that I found my way to what I want to talk about.

In a recent encounter, the game Bok - van Wely ended a draw after an amazing 13 move repetition. Yes, you read that right: thirteen moves. And these guys were a FIDE master and a long-established super GM, respectively.

But, let's be serious. Why did these guys play on for so long? Here's ChessVibes quoting van Wely:

I didn’t want the draw, and I didn’t want to give the impression that I was happy with a draw. I wasn’t. Whatever opening you play these days, these youngsters always know the theory. Why didn’t he play something sharp, like against Smeets? Then he dropped a piece. I got very angry when I realized he was going for a draw right from the start. I mean, the organizers give him a wildcard, but then instead of getting some experience here, this idiot just goes for a draw.

One important fact that we should point out immediately is that this encounter was in the recent Dutch Championships. It was no casual, exhibition, simul or any other kind of inconsequential contest. Score tally, FIDE ratings and, of course, money were at stake.

To my mind, the situation was simple. Bok was perfectly entitled to steer the game to whatever direction he saw best fit his interest in the tournament. For the sake of fair play, players must decide for themselves independent of outside pressures. Most of all, players have no business worrying about the prima donna sensibilities of their opponents.

And another thing: as pointed out by some CV readers, if van Wely didn't want a draw, why didn't he simply deviate himself? There a couple of possible answers. Either van Wely judged the alternative variation to be risky or he just didn't know any better. So all in all, he was equally to blame for what happened.

With all that said, van Wely was way out of line in calling his opponent an idiot. I suspect that having been the centre of attention (he was involved in an experiment), van Wely's head expanded just a little bit bigger.

But there is one last thing to be added. These two guys really ought to have been charged by the organisers with bringing the game into disrepute. Such farce in a premiere national tournament is simply unacceptable.

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