The international chess organization FIDE will introduce a system of “knightly combat” for determining winners of tournaments in the case of ties this fall.
“Most chess games end in draws at the highest levels of play,” noted FIDE official Roy Lopez. “The classical portion of the Caruana-Carlsen match two years ago ended with twelve consecutive drawn games. Each game might have been fascinating to chess experts, but ultimately it was disappointing. And boring.
“That’s not the way to grow an audience. We need to spice up the game somehow.”
Hitherto, rankings in case of ties were determined by either games of rapid chess or by a complicated system of points. Beginning with the world championship match in November, ties will be settled by armed combat.
“If the classical games are inconclusive, the players will adjourn to an arena, where they will don armor and face each other in combat with sword and shield,” Lopez explained. “If that doesn’t get us an audience, nothing will. People will want the chess games to end in draws.”
Current world champion Magnus Carlsen, a descendent of Vikings, smiled but offered no comment when asked for his opinion on the new tie-breaking system. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, current co-leader in the World Championship Candidates Tournament, wiped his glasses and said that he was visiting armorers and interviewing swordsmanship instructors. Fabiano Caruana, Carlsen’s opponent in the previous championship match, declared that he has been bulking up and pursuing strength training to augment his calculating abilities.
“We’re looking forward to some thrilling melées,” Lopez said.