E Riccio on his win in the 10th CC WCH


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Thibault de Vassal    (2015-07-11)
E. Riccio on his win in the 10th CC WCH

Once again, Eros kindly answered a few questions after his win in the 10th FICGS correspondence chess championship. His answer on tie break rules meets the discussion in this thread:



- Hello Eros and congrats again for this new win in the FICGS correspondence chess championship! This time, your opponent was Peter W. Anderson and you're playing him once again in the next final match. Actually, all games finished in less than 3 months, which looks like superfast, how did it happen?

Hello once again Thibault! Yes, the match with Anderson was very quick. The reasons are that he moves very fast, and like me, I don't seem to remember that he took any day of leave.

Also, our games were not played until the very end; many draws were agreed with many pieces on the board, as soon as we thought that none of us had winning chances.

- For many players, it is quite impossible to beat you in such a 12 games match (probably because of the tie rule). After all these won matches do you start to think that the advantage is too big?

It's a fact that a very high percentage of correspondence games played at the top level ends up in a draw... (and that percentage is even higher in my case, as my strategy is to avoid taking risks) so yes, talking against my interests, I think that something in the rules should be changed.

- By the way, your opponent suggested an interesting tie rule in the forum ( Chess, Poker & Go forum - Topic 11773 ), in the context of more general new ideas for correspondence chess rules (e.g. article by GM Arno Nickel - Correspondence Chess the draw problem ) in order to increase the interest of the game. Do you have any opinion on all this?

The idea GM Nickel launched could be interesting, even if before we can say for sure if it can be applied in serious tournaments, it needs to be tested.

If I understood correctly, having a piece more in a draw endgame, after the game is over, a little plus on the score would be given to the player who had the small advantage.

I always thought like: How unfair! That player had King and two Knights against a lone King of his opponent... still he only got a half point anyway! Or even worse, in theory, one player could have this position: King in e1, Bishop in h1 and 6 Pawns from h2 to h7. (Black King in h8) Counting the value of pieces that would be a a +9 advantage, like a Queen more, but still it would be a draw. Another crazy scenario, more common, are those blocked positions were 16 pawns block the center (or more simply any fortress position) and not rarely it happens that a color has a huge material advantage but can't break through in any way. In this last case the player with material disadvantage could have found a genial idea to reach that blocked position, should his opponent with extra pieces still be given an advantage after the game?

Another important consideration is that this rule could discourage attacking players to play gambits or make sacrifices, as if the attack fails, their efforts to try to win would be punished! This last case would even increase the draw rate.

Probably Nickel didn't talk about giving a plus after games finished with advantage but still many pieces on board, anyway those positions (except the 16 Pawns one) could very well be played on until only one piece would be left.

After these examples we can see that there are so many different ways that a position with material advantage can be reached... but it's not always fair that the player with the advantage should be given a plus after the game. As a paradox, an advantage should be given to the opponent if he smartly managed to sacrifice one or more pieces in order to reach a draw endgame which he would have lost if he didn't give away material.

- Of course, the level of chess programs is for much in it. Do you feel that high level correspondence chess and centaur chess evolved much this year, or did it reach a kind of peak?

The level of correspondence chess increases in a parallel way as computers, databases and chess programs improve. Slowly everything keeps improving. Of course, due to the more thinking time, correspondence chess will always have a higher draw percentage than blitz games played by computers.

- Finally, what can you tell us about your correspondence chess path this year, particularly at ICCF where you're currently ranked #13?

On ICCF I am fighting with the Italian Team (I am playing in second board behind the World Champion Finocchiaro) in the 9th European Team Championship.
---> https://www.iccf.com/event?id=44123

Alvin Alcala    (2015-07-11 09:43:19)
E. Riccio on his win in the 10th CC WCH

Congratulations! long live the king.