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Why There Shouldn't Be a Chess World Champion 284

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Slate makes the case that the time has come to stop crowning World Chess Champions. This week, challenger Magnus Carlsen is trying to take the title from reigning champion Viswanathan Anand. Despite currently holding the title, Anand is very much the underdog, which only serves to illustrate why the current system is broken. The article suggests measuring greatness the same way tennis does. Quoting: 'Here's what Carlsen should do: Beat Anand for the title, and then work with FIDE to institutionalize four big tournaments as chess's Grand Slams, simultaneously eliminating the title of world champion. Corporate funding for even major chess tournaments can come and go with frustrating regularity, meaning FIDE itself has to get involved. Perhaps the grand slam tournaments could be located in three cities permanently—Moscow, Amsterdam, and a Spanish locale such as Linares would be natural picks—with a fourth that would rotate from year to year. This would give chess the same clear and predictable yardstick for greatness that golf and tennis have instead of the extremely crude world champion benchmark.'"
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Why There Shouldn't Be a Chess World Champion

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  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `epopcitsonga'> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:42AM (#45343061) Journal

    Clearly, the current 3-year cycle makes no sense.

    At the same time, people LIKE tournaments. If you want to be the true world champion, why not have regionals, as the author suggests -- but limit them to residents and let them be "open" (single elimination in round 1). We have brackets in other sports. This would allow people to compete regardless of wealth.

    Each "continental champion" (think "North American Champion" or even "East Asian Champion") could face off in a tournament with the other regionals. This would let each population cheer for its hometown star from New York to New Dehli. Sure, maybe the two "best" don't face off in the "World Championship" but it also allows underdogs to win more easily and makes it more competitive.

    Or we could just crown Deep Blue every year.

  • by LainTouko ( 926420 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:00AM (#45343131)

    I think the problem the author has is that he wants to believe that there is a singular notion of "best chess player". In reality, there are multiple notions of the best chess player. Ratings measure more the ability to stay consistent throughout your career and never let your form dip, tournament wins measure more your ability to take points off weaker players and shift our mindset rapidly to deal with the next style which comes along... and the world championship measures more your ability to present an impregnable wall of defensive ability and be unbeatable.

    These are all very valuable things to have, and wanting to take one of them away just because your mind isn't flexible enough to cope with them all existing simultaneously is selfish.

  • Re:locations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:26AM (#45343205)

    Why should all three locations be in Eurasia? Fuck that.

    Why should the US baseball finals be called "the world series"? Why should the US rugby-ripoff-for-sissies-in-padding-who-need-a-rest-every-twenty-seconds be called the same name the rest of the planet had long been using for a completely different game? Fuck that, in the wrong'un.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:47AM (#45343295) Journal

    we've always brought in big talent from elsewhere

    Einstein 'nuff said

    Arguably, we have a certain talent for importing talent... Scoring all the Jewish physicists when the Nazis drove them out, in order to build a bomb, and then scoring all the Nazi rocket scientists when the Soviets drove them out, in order to build something to deliver it with...

    Playing both ends against everybody, awww yeah...

  • I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:02AM (#45343361) Homepage

    I've yet to RTFA, but the sentence "Despite currently holding the title, Anand is very much the underdog, which only serves to illustrate why the current system is broken" does nothing to illustrate the point. Rather the opposite: a contender who beats the incumbent happens all the time. The fact that this is possible, is the prime motivator for trying at all, and thus the reason for the existance these tournaments.

  • by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:42AM (#45343475)

    Truly the greatest thing about America is its ability to attract immigrants that then add to its greatness. We should be very careful not to ruin that, either through policy or xenophobia. It's the one thing we can compete in better than anybody else, and that fresh infusion of energy and labor keeps our economy and culture going.

  • Re:locations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pscottdv ( 676889 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:31AM (#45344055)

    Well, and the whole football name criticism is a bit disingenuous as well.

    In America, technically it's American Gridiron Football

    "American" and "Gridiron" make sense. But "Football?" The players feet hardly ever contact the ball. And it's not even a ball.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:40AM (#45344079)

    We only have Olympics and world cups every 4 years, so why can't these chess people wait 3 years to update their stats?

  • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @02:56PM (#45347629) Homepage Journal
    Parent does have a point. I spent some time studying chess openings and competitive play, and it is kind of stale. There isn't a lot of variety in openings that won't get your ass kicked all over the board, and to be really competitive you have to spend a lot of time examining openings and positions that haven't changed much in several hundred years. I believe that a few chess masters have advocated changes to the game to mix it up a bit, and chance it from a game of who can memorize more openings and positions and into more of a dynamic strategy game.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman