Chess: A winning coupon of no-score draws

Share
Related Topics
When Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov played seven consecutive draws at the start of their world title match in 1978, they had the excuse that the match was of unlimited duration. Since the winner of the match would be the first to six wins, draws did not count. The important thing was not losing.

When Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov drew 17 games in a row in their 1984 match, they had the same excuse, magnified by the fact that each was trying to prove the other to be a total wimp, afraid to come out and fight.

Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand have no such excuses for the seven draws at the start of their current match in New York. With only one game having stretched to 30 moves, we have seen five no-score draws, one game (the third) in which Anand may have missed a chance of a brilliant win (but so complicated that still nobody is sure), and one (game six) that was building up to a thrill-packed finale when the players decided it was all too complicated and they had better agree a draw and go home before one of them got hurt.

In each game it has been the champion, Kasparov, 32, who offered the draw, which the challenger, Anand, 25, accepted - generally without thinking long about it. For the time being, both men seem to have decided that draws are fine. But why?

"I don't blame a player for not taking too much risk," said Kasparov after game seven. "There is too much at stake."

But the longer the drawing sequence goes on, the more there is at stake. With fewer games remaining to fight back after a loss, the risk of playing for a win becomes greater with every draw.

Putting aside the possibility that the players are still acclimatising themselves to the rarefied atmosphere on the 107th floor of the World Trade Centre - Anand did, after all, train at altitude in the Spanish mountains - there is an inescapable conclusion: they are both quaking with nerves.

Kasparov gives every sign of being physically and mentally under-prepared for the contest. Anand is patiently learning what a world championship match is about. He does, after all, have 200 games' less experience of such contests than his esteemed opponent.

Each man must, by now, have realised the vulnerability of his opponent. Soon the match will start. Someone will take risks. Someone will win a game. Then the contest will burst into life and have a good chance of living up to its promise. Then we shall all forget the turgid beginning.

So far, however, it has been dull, dull, dull.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Syrian refugee 'Nora' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project