Monday, February 25

New Idea for a Playoff

On Susan Polgar's chess blog, I read that the rules for this year's US Senior Open (April 28 - May 3 in Boca Raton, FL) offer an interesting alternative to settle the age old question of how to most fairly resolve a tie for first place. Since the winner receives an invitation to the 2008 Frank K. Berry US Championship, it is important to determine a single champion.
In case of ties, there will be a one-game "Modified Armageddon" playoff. White gets 120 minutes in sudden death. Black gets draw odds. Players open bid against the other player for black. The player willing to play the black side with the fewest minutes gets black and draw odds. The game will not be rated.
How low would you go? I think I could manage between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on my opponent's opening repertoire and style of play. At less time than that, I would simply let my opponent have black and I would play to win with white.
Of course, the same principle can apply to a blitz playoff. White starts with 5 or 6 minutes and then the players can bid for how much time black gets, decreasing in 30 second increments. This is a variant on the traditional 6 minutes versus 5 minutes. A faster player who is confident in his ability to draw with black might take 3 or 4 minutes just to earn draw odds.


Anonymous said...

I like that people are thinking out of the box.

Unknown said...

I like this idea! I can use this for blitz playoffs in my events. Usually I let the player with better tiebreaks choose colors.

Anonymous said...

pdeck tells you: great blog!

Anonymous said...

I am not really sure of any tiebreaking system.


ADH said...

Mr. Aigner,
I watched you play the White side of the Caro-Kann at the 2007 North American Open. I never saw the finish of that game.

Anyway, do you mind adding a link on your blogspot and website to our website This is a site dedicated to the promotion of chess knowledge within the military community: active, reserved and retired.


Michael Aigner said...

Ties and tiebreaks are simply a reality in sports and chess when the prize cannot be divided between two players. In this example, there is only one qualification spot for the US Championship, which cannot be split amongst two or more people. In other tournaments, there is just one big trophy or special cup for first place.

If you don't like tiebreaks, how do you break the inevitable ties? There are computer tiebreaks and playoffs at a faster time control. Most people prefer a playoff, but what do you do if the playoff is tied. You can't go on forever, e.g. the playing hall closes or participants have a flight to catch to home. That's where Armageddon comes in handy.

Michael Aigner said...

I misplayed the middlegame after the Caro Kann opening at North American Open and ended up losing. Juan Luaces is a skilled and creative opponent.

[Event "North American Open"]
[Date "2007.12.29"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Aigner, Michael"]
[Black "Luaces, Juan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2267"]
[BlackElo "2102"]
[Opening "Caro-Kann: classical"]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.h4 h6 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bf Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Bb4 13.c3 Be7 14.c4 Qc7 15.O-O-O Ngf6 16.Kb1 O-O 17.Ne4 Rad8 18.Bc3 a5 19.Rdg1 Ng4 20.Qe2 Bb4 21.Nfd2 f5 22.f3 fxe4 23.fxg4 Bxc3 24.bxc3 e5 25.Nxe4 exd4 26.g5 Rfe8 27.Qg4 dxc3 28.Nxc3 Ne5 29.Qg Qb6+ 30.Ka1 Rd3 31.Qe1 Qd4 32.Rh3 Re7 33.Qc1 Rxh3 34.gxh3 Nd3 35.Rd1 Re1 36.Kb1 Nxc1 37.Rxd4 Ne2+ 0-1

ADH said...

Thank you for posting the game. I will replay the game because I play the line you used as well. I came back to see the progress and saw that you never got your kingside attack going.

Also, thank you for the link. Do you have plans of updating the opening monograph you have on your website?