Do you want to be the # 1 chess player in the world?
If you’re a club player rated around 2000 USCF, then you’re probably kidding the question in the title. You are probably thinking, “Yes, I would like to be world number one, but what are my chances of pushing my rating above Magnus carlsen? One in a million? “
Well, according to the comedy classic Dumb and even dumber, you still have a chance:
All kidding aside, I have an idea that could make this really wacky scenario entirely possible. You see, most of the chess community’s effort goes to high-level chess. We already talked about it classical chess is constantly under attack. I’m glad that most Chess.com reviewers agree that good old chess still has a lot to offer without any dramatic changes. So why is everyone concerned about super tournaments then – shouldn’t we be more concerned with grassroots chess players instead?
In my article last year, we talked about rankings and how chess players really care about them. So, I have a proposal, but before I share it with you, please promise me not to laugh or call me crazy.
OK, here it is: what if FIDE had a tournament where the winner gets ranking points instead of a cash prize?
I’m not talking about the 40-50 points that the winner of an open tournament can earn for their excellent result. What if the winner gets 500 or even 1000 points? Yes, that sounds crazy, but let me explain what I mean. Let’s say this is a regular open tournament, which would normally have a top prize of around $ 5,000. Now, instead of money, the winner gets 500 points added to their current rating. The only condition is that this rating cannot be used to obtain titles and that after a certain time (say a year) the rating reverts to the pre-tournament level.
Let me give you an example. A 2450 ranked MI wins such a tournament and gets 500 bonus points, so his rating drops to 2950. Now he’s a 2950 player for all purposes except he can’t get a GM title based on his new rating. He can still get GM standards, but he won’t get the title yet. A year later, his rating goes up to 2450 and if after that he raises it to the required 2,500, he will get the title since he already obtained the standards when he was a player of 2,950.
Of course, such a tournament should not take place more than once a year to avoid odds inflation. The question: who would benefit from this bizarre idea?
First, it would benefit the player who receives the boost. Besides the right to boast of being the world number one and the media attention, he will get a unique opportunity with a very high rating. Imagine that a longtime dream of this player was to play a four game match against Magnus Carlsen. If he wins a regular open tournament and uses his first prize of $ 5,000 to entice the world champion to play such a match, Magnus would laugh.
But now, as a player of 2950, his wish may be granted, because by playing such a match and easily gaining ranking points, Carlsen would push his own rating above 2900, which is probably his last. goal not reached in chess.
Even if Carlsen declines such an offer, a 2,950 player will certainly be invited to many round robin tournaments to dramatically increase the tournament category. Here is an opportunity to play really strong players.
These days, we hear about major upheavals quite often. Here are some examples :
It’s an incredible upheaval of over 800 evaluation points! And who could forget the next game where a 12-year-old boy beat a former world title contender, super-GM Vassily ivanchuk?
I could go on and on with upsets like these indefinitely, but you see the picture. The main problem for lower-rated players is that they don’t play super-GMs too frequently. The simple opportunity to play a tournament with GM Ivanchuk is already similar to winning the lottery! But once you get a 500 point bonus it will become a reality!
Believe it or not, many highly rated players might also be happy with such a proposition as it will give them easy rating points. Let us return to the example of Magnus Carlsen. How long will it take him to hit the 2,900 in current tournaments, where a draw with another super-GM will knock him down? One year, two years, maybe never? But just playing four games with an MI rated at 2,950 will get him on goal.
To some extent, it reminds me of the situation that could have happened in the American Championship some 20 years ago. A convicted killer, Claude Bloodgood, found a way to play with the scoring system, and his USCF rating hit a truly astonishing high of 2789. He was the second highest rated player in the United States after Gata Kamsky at the time. So by ranking, Bloodgood qualified to play in the upcoming American Championship and he asked USCF to allow him to play. While it was clearly impossible to accede to such a request from a convicted killer serving a life sentence, as far as I can remember, America’s top players didn’t really care. Playing a 60-year-old guy with a rating of 2789, but who probably never played at a master’s level, even in his prime, would be like taking candy from a baby.
I checked Claude Bloodgood’s games in a database and in most of them he used questionable openings. Moreover, most of his opponents were pretty much newbies. Take a look at the next game:
So a seasoned pro playing Claude Bloodgood would mean very easy scoring points indeed.
Another party that might be happy with my proposal is FIDE. Such a tournament could bring him additional income.
Yes, there will be people who really hate this idea. Magnus Carlsen, for example, won’t be particularly thrilled with the fact that he’s suddenly no longer world number one. Well, like I said, that’s just an idea. If it’s too dramatic, the bonus might be smaller, so Magnus keeps his rightful place at the top of chess.
I’m a down-to-earth person, so I know FIDE will never accept such a proposal, but maybe the ever-creative Chess.com community can?
So, my fellow Chess.com members, what do you think of this idea?