The eight draws of the London World until today between Magnus Carlsen, who today plays with white the 9th of the twelve scheduled games, and Fabiano Caruana revive the debate on what chess should change to adapt to the 21st century and attract new fans. Miguel Illescas, eighth champion of Spain, proposes a revolution: if a game ends in a draw, another is played with the colors changed and the remaining time of each player; and the process is repeated so that there is always a winner. But the radical defenders of orthodoxy are not few.
"I do not intend to end classical chess in terms of its essential rules," says Illescas, "but with the scoring system so that fans and journalists know that at the end of each round there will be winners and losers, as in tennis; that's very attractive. " The 53-year-old Spanish maestro's enormous experience is not limited to high competition; has been or is a coach, lecturer, advisor, entrepreneur, editor, writer and journalist: "In principle, my proposal is only for professional tournaments because the referees would go crazy if applied in the open with hundreds of players. In addition, I see no problem in that the ties are counted as such in each world list, either in the classic mode or in the fast ones ".
The idea of Illescas would end with the boring days, which have sometimes occurred even in the final of a World Cup; for example, in the duel Kasparov-Kramnik, London 2000, where Illescas was one of Kramnik's analysts, four of the fifteen games finished in less than 25 moves. But it is questionable whether the quick tie-break would be relevant after signed tables after six or seven hours of fighting: "We should adjust the pace of the game so that the total duration of each round has a reasonable limit," Illescas adds.
The enormous influence of computer training has changed chess. Above all, the defensive technique has improved a lot, which increases the number of draws. But whenever someone raises a change in the rules the debates are very sharp, and the networks are filled with protests, sometimes enraged, by the most conservative fans. This is the case, for example, with the call Bilbao Rule (three points for victory and one for a draw), whose main drawback, as in football, is that it can be unfair with the boards that are signed after a high quality fight. Or with the 960 chess: the position of the pieces of the first row is drawn immediately before each game, in order to avoid that 15, 20 or even the first 25 movements are made from memory; that is to say, that the scientific aspect (the home preparation) prevails over the sport and the artistic one. The problem is that a large part of the initial 960 positionals do not retain the harmony of classical chess.
The great Australian teacher and journalist Ian Rogers, 58, does not like the idea of Illescas: "It favors the young people, for their greater energy, and the specialists in quick modalities. In general, I am not attracted to anything that after playing a hard game you have to play another or several fast. I think we should keep the tie as one of the normal results, and put the accent on improving the quality of the live broadcasts over the Internet, which are already very successful. "
If the Carlsen-Caruana duel is tied (6-6) after the twelve scheduled games, there will be a quick tie-break on the 28th, as happened at the Carlsen-Kariakin in New York in 2016. Rogers argues that, with the idea of Illescas in vigor, Carlsen would have started with great advantage in London "because he is clearly superior to Caruana in the very fast rhythms". Illescas admits that his proposal requires players to focus globally on the different modalities (classical, semi-fast and fast): "The training should be comprehensive, and time would be very valuable from the first second, because it may be necessary in the following games " But both agree that the adjective "boring" would not have applied so many days to the final of a World Championship.