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How to increase the return on investment
in chess world championship match markets


11/15/2018 Chess world championship matches are not showing the return on investment that they use to. Decisive games in these matches are down sharply. Three out of the last five world championship matches have had a less than 17% decisive game rate.  This has impacted the prize fund as well. The issue accelerated with the incorporation of computer technology into match preparation. We saw this sharp down turn occur in the 2000 brain game world championship match between Garry Kasparov vs Vladimir Kramnik. Out of 15 games there only two decisive games. Kramnik won both of them and could have won two more had it not been for heroic defensive effort by Kasparov.

    Prior to computers Chess world championship matches were very decisive. Early championship matches had over 70 percent decisive games  This has steadily declined every decade due to increase in openning knowledge, and an increase in  chess knowledge in general.  Chess playing computer/software started to hit the market in late 1970's. Chessbase database opening software was developed for Garry Kasparov in 1987. In 1988 Deep Thought a chess computer defeated GM Bent Larsen in a game in 1988. It was the first time a computer ever defeated a GM. Garry Kasparov made quick work of Deep Thought by winning both games in a two game match. Chess software started to be used in match preparation for keeping track of opening novelties and used to do blunder checking. I believed they were being used to help with adjournments. To prevent the use of computers during the 1992 Fischer vs Spassky world championship match, there were no adjournments. The game had to be completed in the same day. Computers started to play an increasing role in the preparation of world chess championship matches. In the 1993 world chess championship match computers and computer chess databases were used to help prepare Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short. Kasparov easily won this match with 6 wins and one loss. In 1996, 1997 Deep Blue took over for Deep thought  took on the Chess World Champion. In 1996 Deep Blue was the first computer to defeat a the number one player and  current world champion in a game of chess.  Garry won this match 3-1-2. However things would be different in 1997, Garry would resign in a game who could have drawn and he would blunder badly in the last game in the opening. Deep Blue became the first computer to defeat the reigning world champion by a score of 2-1-3. In the 1990's GM level computers were available on mini-computers. This would change in early 2000's,  affordable world class chess playing software was available on pcs. GM's could now  trust these chess engines to help them create new opening ideas. In the early 2000's Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik were able to draw Deep Fritz and Deep Junior.

   Prodigious improvement in opening theory has also forced chess into more drawish waters. Opening theory now encroaches into the middlegame. World Class players know the theory and know all the traps and how to avoid them. White's goal with first move is to secure and advantage and blacks goal is to neutralize that advantage. World class players find themselves in many openings in safe positions. Why? Pieces and pawns have been exchanged and the kings have castled into safe areas. these players now know how to play these safe positions. Game databases can tell a player how many games were played with a certain move in an opening and what the winning percentages are. Chess is an infinite game, and the possible legal moves exceeds the number of atoms in the universe. Based on this chess is a draw when both sides play correctly. White having just first move odds is not enough of an advantage to guarantee victory. Chess computers have increased players defensive skills and are helping young people become masters and grandmasters quicker. So when world class players use world class chess software draws are inevitable outcome. These computers can help a GM hijack the opening plan of his opponents. This just happened in game 2 of Carlsen vs Caruana. Caruana hijacked Carlsen opening play in move 10 and steered the game into Caruana's waters. Carlsen had to grovel for a draw.  Chess computers can show  a player how to play an opening when opening book ends and the computers are creating new opening moves. In this match the players might be using the same computer software so they will get access to the same ideas. Chess computers are creating the ideas for the players and not the other way around. Chess is now becoming a game of memorization of moves. The creativity of the game is suffering. The great, exciting swindling attacks of Tal and Kasparov are now disappearing  from the game. World chess championship match  is now a game of accumulating small advantages and nursing this advantage to the endgame in hopes of winning the  endgame.

   How do we get more value from world chess championship matches and make them more decisive and exciting. We need to remove the computers and the opening book from the match. We need to let the players creativity and chess talent take over. According to Wiki, there are 1327 named opening variation. Well we could introduce chess960 for world championship matches. There are 960 possible positions for the  start of game. So that could lead to over 1 million opening named variations. This would take decades to evolve. So chess 960 eliminates or severely reduces computers and opening books from impacting the outcome of a chess game.This is because the players don't know the starting position until the game starts. This doesn't have to mean that classical chess is dead. Lets keep classical chess for tournaments. Another idea  is to have a mixed world chess championship match. Play classical chess and let the players have 3 opportunities to change the format to chess960. You could let dthe player with white to have this option or the player with black to have this optione. This decision could be decided  just before the game starts. In Classical games when does a world champion start using his chess talent and not his memorization. This could be 20 plus moves and maybe more. With chess960 a world champion will start using chess talent in move 1.

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