Friday, March 10, 2006


My house (not a fraternity, but similar) has a tradition of going to the center of campus and drinking champagne at the end of every term which I just came back from. Tradition is something I'd like to talk about. The tradition of the US Championship used to be two round robins of which the winners would play a match. The format more recently changed to a 64 player format and a giant swiss. For financial reasons this was probably a good decision, but this year's event has problems that I believe completely outweigh any financial benefits that could've come from forcing a rapid playoff. Let us look at one example: Let's say Zatonskih won her group and a man won the other group. Zatonskih would then play the playoff for the overall championship, but due to the format if she lost that match she would not even be the women’s champion when potentially the girl that scored fewer points than her in the same group could hold the title. The fact that this is possible shows that there is a flaw in the current system beyond the fact that the title will be determined in rapid chess.
I realize having a rapid chess playoff is exciting for the fans, but this is a ridiculous system. This is equivalent to having the basketball playoffs played out normally until the finals, but then instead of the finals having a slam dunk contest to decide the championship. I realize that a lot of people would find this very entertaining but I think as a whole this would be bad for the sport and I think as a whole this format is bad for chess in the US.

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