Tuesday, January 03, 2006

An ever-evolving game

Over in Westford, MA they've come up with several innovations/ modifications to the traditional chess tournament experience most of us are used to.

First, why bother with ratings...
Kids wearing color-coded badges identifying their skill level (blue for beginner, green for intermediate, and red for advanced) played against kids of same skill level from different schools.
Wouldn't it be amusing if everyone in the U1800 section at the World Open had to wear red shirts?

Second, they have different ways to win...
The children played five rounds of games, each lasting a maximum of 20 minutes and ending with checkmate or counting points.
I must say again that I think this "counting points" concept is really ill-conceived. For example, it pretty much puts the King's Gambit out of existence -- 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Black waits 20 minutes and wins on points.

Third, they've developed a pairing approach which makes the Swiss system seem a model of clarity and simplicity...
Everyone played the first two games for points for their schools. Winners of either or both of the first two games, played the third game, and if they continued to win, the fourth and fifth games in the "points" rounds. Players who did not win "points" games played "ribbons" games.

Finally, winners have a special celebration ritual which involves...

...singing and strutting.
Although, come to think of it, I may have seen some post-game strutting before.

Read "Annual chess tournament has all the right moves" from the Westford Eagle.

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