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  1. #1
    CC International Master Mischa's Avatar
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    When is a draw O.K?

    My kid was playing in a fairly friendly rapid play tournament and with two rounds to go he knew he only needed a draw to win the tournament. He elected to play a forced draw [so he tells me] against a player he would normally defeat 9 times out of 10. He ended up winning the tournament with a lead of 1.5 points...with a scorte of 6.5 out of 7. A great score. He elected to draw against one of his best friends, who, as a consequence, came equal second.
    The kids were happy with this result, and I was pleased that his friendships were considered during the tournament [he may not have offered a draw to anyone else].
    At what point do you suggest to a kid that a draw is not O.K? Or indeed is O.K?
    I was not really concerned at this tournament, but wanted some idea how to guide my junior in the future...mainly when he is playing friends. At what point should he not consider his friends? He is 10 years old, nearly 11.

    Can someone help me with the ethics?

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Teach your kid to act selfishly but honestly. That is to say, to pursue his own best interest. If a draw is good enough to win, to score money, or earn a norm - or whatever, then a draw it is.

    AR

  3. #3
    CC International Master Mischa's Avatar
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    when is a draw O.K?

    Thanks, and that is what I try to tell him. But it is not unknown for him to "give away' a draw to help a friend, or to feel sorry for an opponent. I guess my problem is how to keep him ruthless but nice

  4. #4
    Account Shoutbox Banned antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidea
    Thanks, and that is what I try to tell him. But it is not unknown for him to "give away' a draw to help a friend, or to feel sorry for an opponent. I guess my problem is how to keep him ruthless but nice
    I don't agree, if 9/10 he wins and if has decent position then no draw, no matter who offers what. He has a duty to other players to treat everyone equally so that they also have a fair chance to be runner up etc.. Other players can feel ganged up on if they are locked out by such tactics.

    My pride and my reputation will not let me ease off -- not that I am in many winning positons these days.

  5. #5
    CC International Master Mischa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antichrist
    I don't agree, if 9/10 he wins and if has decent position then no draw, no matter who offers what. He has a duty to other players to treat everyone equally so that they also have a fair chance to be runner up etc.. Other players can feel ganged up on if they are locked out by such tactics.

    My pride and my reputation will not let me ease off -- not that I am in many winning positons these days.

    You bring up an interesting point, and one I had not considered while being a focused mother. First I have to clarify that my junior only told me that he deliberately played for draw, [I actually believe him this time]. But what you say is correct..he effectively 'robbed' this junior from a maybe win. If my junior defeated him, he would have had a perfect score. Well and good for him but as you say he robbed his chance to score, and maybe do better. My junior nearly lost the last game..he knew he couldn't lose his section and got lazy.
    He says he made a wise tounament decision, but I think it was based not only on his position in the tournament but on the fact that he was playing his best friend. If my junior had won the game his friend may not have had a chance at a place [he came = second] If my junior had lost the game, he still[probably ] would have won the tournament.
    My question still remains, but modified. Do I tell my junior to go and win at all costs, or do let him make his own decisions about friendship groups and competition?
    Is winning at chess more important than maintaining friendships?

  6. #6
    Account Shoutbox Banned antichrist's Avatar
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    I suppose it would be an ideal world if friendships did not come into it. When you look at it from perspective of player 3, if he senses through watching the game or otherwise that a draw was "given" rather than earnt it would be discouraging and could cost your junior a potential friendship.

    As one who has not placed great value on freindships, thinking we should be respected for what we have done instead, I say play on. I was very good at maths and my best mate a dope, we could have cheated during exams but I never despiting his requesting, I still kept his friendship to this day.

    Winning at all cost could mean many things -- keep that section fair.

    In the final round it is supposed to be a tactic of George Xie to draw the final game, with the comp already in the bag. It could minutely affect ratings.

    It could be that in many cases the perfect scorer going into the final round is more tired due to heavier concentrating and "ready" for a draw.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidea
    My question still remains, but modified. Do I tell my junior to go and win at all costs, or do let him make his own decisions about friendship groups and competition?
    "at all costs" is a bit harsh maybe, but "always try to win as hard as you can by any fair, sporting means possible" sounds good to me :-). When I was younger I would often go for the easy draw instead of trying to play for a win, it hasn't helped my strength. When I made a conscious decision not to accept draws except for dead-drawn positions, I improved quite a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by noidea
    Is winning at chess more important than maintaining friendships?
    Is a friendship worth maintaining if it wouldn't even survive an honest, fair loss over the chess board?

  8. #8
    CC resident nutcase Trent Parker's Avatar
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    I actually find that if i go into a game wanting to draw.... i tend to loose. So i think aim for the win with the option of drawing if the position looks roughly equal.

    (although my style of play is either the attack pays off or it doesn't and i loose)
    GO THE DRAGONS!
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    God exists. Short and to the point.
    This is the reason I do not wade into religion threads.

  9. #9
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay_vee
    Is a friendship worth maintaining if it wouldn't even survive an honest, fair loss over the chess board?
    Time for a hypothetical?

    OK you are a junior playing in a tournament. The tournament is a memorial named after your best friend's mother who was a tireless chess administrator and recently passed away. You are the second seed and your friend is the first but afetr a shock loss in the penultimate round you are out of the hunt for the top 3 places. You are drawn in the last round the play your best friend who leads the pack by a point and needs only a draw for an outright first. He also is notorious for feeling nerves and when he comes to the board is highly aggitated. You are both 17 and will not qualify to play inthe tournament again.

    After 12 moves the position is reasonably equal but far from dead. Your friend proposes a draw. What do you do?
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    CC International Master
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    There are two topics here.

    Should you offer a draw from a position that you could/should win because your opponent is a friend? Of course not, that's just silly. Think about it from the other side, would you expect a friend to give you a draw against their own interests?

    Technically playing to help another player rather than yourself is also cheating.

    The other issue is whether you should be prepared to take a draw, even from a better position, if that's all you need. Yes you should. A chess tournament is about the total score, not any individual result. Your responsibility is to yourself.

    However I think chess nut is right, the worst way to get a draw is to play for one - I recall Ian Rogers saying this at a lecture and it makes sense. Consciously playing for a draw may entail making inferior moves, and your opponent can keep the game going forever looking for a win if they are at no risk of losing. Better to be back in the pavilion with the point in your pocket, even if you only needed half a point.

    Edit: A good illustration of the last point is the final game of the Ponomariov-Ivanchuk "world championship" match. Although Ponomariov needed a draw he played aggressively, and when Ponomariov had what was practically a won position Ivanchuk was quite pleased to take a draw.
    Last edited by Ian Rout; 23-02-2005 at 08:05 AM.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    Your responsibility is to yourself.
    Exactly right. All these other issues like friendships and honour have absolutely nothing to do with it. You're there to compete. And, as I said, you should act selfishly and honestly.

    AR

  12. #12
    CC FIDE Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by arosar
    Exactly right. All these other issues like friendships and honour have absolutely nothing to do with it. You're there to compete. And, as I said, you should act selfishly and honestly.

    AR
    I completely disagree with this assesment. Playing chess isn't something that is divorced from who you are as a person. On occasion I have offered or accepted draws for the following reasons
    a) My (lower rated) opponent has outplayed me but has blundered at the death allowing me an easy win
    b) The result of the game is immaterial to me (either I am way out in front or have no chance of a prize) and my opponent has had a lousy tournament
    c) My opponent is relatively new to the tournament scene and I'm feeling generous
    d) The game has gone on long enough for my and my opponents liking
    e) My sad middle aged opponent has needed to nip off to the movies with his new girlfriend
    f) My opponent just needs a draw to get a FIDE rating

    In all these cases I have done this to feel better about myself as a person, not just as a chess player.
    So my advice on this topic is to decide what is really important when you sit down to play, and act accordingly.

  13. #13
    CC International Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    I completely disagree with this assesment. Playing chess isn't something that is divorced from who you are as a person. On occasion I have offered or accepted draws for the following reasons
    a) My (lower rated) opponent has outplayed me but has blundered at the death allowing me an easy win
    b) The result of the game is immaterial to me (either I am way out in front or have no chance of a prize) and my opponent has had a lousy tournament
    c) My opponent is relatively new to the tournament scene and I'm feeling generous
    d) The game has gone on long enough for my and my opponents liking
    e) My sad middle aged opponent has needed to nip off to the movies with his new girlfriend
    f) My opponent just needs a draw to get a FIDE rating

    In all these cases I have done this to feel better about myself as a person, not just as a chess player.
    So my advice on this topic is to decide what is really important when you sit down to play, and act accordingly.
    I think it's fair to say that there are other or higher principles, but I don't think giving away points or half-points to someone purely because they are a friend comes under that heading. You wouldn't deliberately let a friend score a goal/try in a football game if they were on the other team.

    Similarly you would be entitled to be annoyed if another group of friends were rigging games with each other to your detriment.

    I think it also has to be looked at in context - some of Shaun's cases are fair enough in tournaments that don't matter much or where they don't affect the outcome, but I wouldn't like to see a world championship determined that way.

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    a) My (lower rated) opponent has outplayed me but has blundered at the death allowing me an easy win
    That's his problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    b) The result of the game is immaterial to me (either I am way out in front or have no chance of a prize) and my opponent has had a lousy tournament
    Yeah . . . I've done that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    c) My opponent is relatively new to the tournament scene and I'm feeling generous
    Done that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    d) The game has gone on long enough for my and my opponents liking
    And this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    e) My sad middle aged opponent has needed to nip off to the movies with his new girlfriend
    Never done that. Why the hec should I concede a draw so he can go have a good root? He made the choice to play in the tourn and that's that.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    f) My opponent just needs a draw to get a FIDE rating
    Make the bas.tard earn it.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    In all these cases I have done this to feel better about myself as a person, not just as a chess player.
    I don't necessarily disagree with your general drift really. But it just seems to me that to make things easy upon the player - just simplify the whole issue by being brutally selfish. After all, we're there to compete. Leave all the fancy luvvy-duvvy stuff behind.

    AR

  15. #15
    Account Suspended Libby's Avatar
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    And don't forget the other guys in the tournament. Accept a draw in your own interest to guarantee a place (just such an offer was made to my daughter in the juniors, accepting the offer was in the interests of both players - although coach of said daughter was a little disappointed because position was actually good - not winning perhaps, but good).

    However, it did generate a number of unhappy faces from other players who were nudged out as a result. I do think that's tough bikkies in this instance because the draw was accepted by two players who gained an advantage personally so why knock it back. However, I have seen & heard of players giving a draw to a friend to guarantee their friend a place when the outcome was immaterial to themselves. That pretty much amounts to throwing a game in my book and the harm done is to other players. Losing or drawing to a friend (often pre-arranged) to guarantee them a money or trophy prize probably can't be stamped out but I would never, ever, ever condone my child doing it.

    I had two Curtin teams at the Aus Schools. The better team pretty much had the competition wrapped up on the first day but could have had an ironclad guarantee of a win by beating the second team 4-0 in the first round on Sunday. Instead, we had one major upset to win 3-1 making it possible (numerically)) we could be overtaken. Should I have told those kids to lie down and die 4-0? If I was going to do that, I shouldn't have entered them in the first place.

    I have even heard of a draw offer (between juniors) made from a clearly winning position because the winning junior was worried the other child would get in trouble from their parent if they lost the game.

    Fortunately (?) for me perhaps, Kayleigh almost never has a draw because she opts for the style of "blunder or brilliancy" and very little in-between and the whole issue really doesn't come up.

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