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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Armageddon blitz

Vladimir Kramnik earned the 4th place for the 2010 Bilbao tournament (October) by winning the sudden death blitz game against Levon Aronian. Before that they played two 4'+3'' games, Kramnik won the first and had an easy draw in the second but forgot his clock and lost by time.
Here you can see these 3 blitz games :
As we can see, the end of the last one was somehow chaotic, but that's forced with only a few seconds on the clock. I would even say that these player are really dexterous and nifty.
It would have been quite unfair if Kramnik wouldn't have qualified because in slow games he won 1,5/2 against Aronian. I have no idea why direct encounter is still not the first criterion to decide between 2 players when one of them won, it's an heresy!

But no chess fan could be satisfied with this kind of end between world class players. It makes me remember 2 famous cases of sudden death in 2008 :

Krush - Zatonskih (US championship)

Socko - Foisor S. (Women World Championship) (beginning at 1:15)

In Socko - Foisor, first the arbiter decided it was a draw, but then Socko made an official claim which was accepted and she won the game, thus qualifying for the next round.

Losing the way Krush lost or the way Foisor lost, are definitely unsatisfactory for chess. I understand that at a point organizers want to put an end to the match, but in my opinion armageddon blitz should never be played without increments. Why not playing these armageddon with 5+2 for white (forced to win) and 4+2 for black? Would this really be an advantage for black? I'm not sure.
What is your opinion?

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