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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent