[Retros] reward for stalemate

Kevin Begley kevinjbegley at gmail.com
Wed Jun 18 15:25:48 EDT 2014

Hi Bernd,

 *GM Short actually covered this option (awarding 0.25 for the stalemated
player, 0.75 for their opponent). *
*I am struggling to recall why he concluded that this would be a terrible
mistake. *
*I know he was adamant that stalemate should be worth the full point. *

>From my perspective, it does not matter so much.
Whatever might improve the game, for fans of the game, is certainly worthy
of the college try.
The "game of the mad queen" was never logical (not in my eyes, nor in the
eyes of most theoreticians in the day -- even Capablanca and Bird
considered it theoretically improperly balanced) -- it just happened to
win-out, over other alternative rules (becoming the default -- the
"orthodox" -- version), because it happened to play better, as a game.

The default rules for Problem Chess require a completely different
orthodoxy (because the rules of the game are becoming increasingly
turbulent, given how significantly computers have impacted play).  Nobody
scoffs at Capablanca's "Draw-Death," for example, after carefully observing
the statistics from high level correspondence chess matches, today!

I think we all probably share the opinion that stalemate is an important
component of great studies (even GM Short goes out of his way to concede
this point), but I find no credible reason to believe that a great study
can not be based upon an alternative set of rules -- even within rules
which completely eliminate stalemate (by regarding it equivalent to
checkmate), a talented composer will manage to find (and exploit) new

And, regardless what changes the board game may experience, in the interest
of securing a television audience (or for whatever purpose FIDE may deem
desirable), the orthodoxy of problem chess should be divorced from FIDE's
healthy turbulence. Our default rules require consistency (after all,
virtually every fairy problem ever constructed will have stipulated a
default to a specific set of rules, which can not evolve).

The trick for the problem community, in my view, is to achieve two goals:
1) Seek an optimal default, which will endure (even if the chess game sees
radical changes), and
2) Keep bridges flowing between chess problems and the chess game, which
can be easily instantiated, for every subtle change to each FIDE rule book
(past, present, and future).

On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM, "Bernd Gräfrath" <retromode at web.de> wrote:

> Dear retro-friends,
> in SCHACH 10/2013, Arno Nickel discussed the increasing number of draws in
> correspondence chess; and against this, he recommended something which was
> previously suggested by Emanuel Lasker:
> While a win would give 1 point and a loss 0 points, stalemating the
> opponent might be rewarded with 0.75 points (and the stalemated opponent
> receives 0.25 points).
> Best wishes,
> Bernd
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> Retros at janko.at
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