How to Make Chess More Exciting!

Good news everyone! I’ve finally figured out the ultimate solution to fix chess.

A lot of people are complaining about the World Championship Match right now, mainly due to the number of draws and the feeling that sometimes the players are avoiding risk. I honestly don’t completely agree that it’s so bad, and I think that:

  • There have been some really exciting moments both on the board (Game 1), and off the board (Magnus’s funny comments in press conferences, the whole video controversy and etc)
  • I think also that in a match this long someone will eventually win, and the mounting tension of draw after draw will make it that much more dramatic when it does happen.

But despite my feelings that things are okay, I also believe they could be much better. And it’s also clear that as time goes on these problems are only going to get worse and worse. Change is inevitable, it’s just a matter of time until we all realize it.

Another thing that fixed this idea in my mind was something that Hikaru Nakamura said. He said he’s rooting for Magnus because “It doesn’t feel right to him that the world champion shouldn’t be someone who’s not also one of the best at rapid and blitz chess”

What is my solution that will fix EVERYTHING? Simple:

You play a classical chess game. It should be sped up SLIGHTLY compared to the normal time control, probably by removing a half hour from each clock, and slightly speeding up the following time controls.

If you win this game, you get 5 points. If you lose you get 0

If the game is drawn, you reverse colors and play a rapid game. If you win the rapid game you get 4 points. If you lose the rapid game you get 1 point.

If the rapid game is drawn you keep the same colors you had in the rapid game and play a blitz game. If you win the blitz game you get 3 points, if you lose you get 2 points and if you draw you both get 2.5 points. 

Why do I love this solution?

  1. Someone will win most of the time, which is MUCH more exciting and interesting for fans of chess
  2. It requires players to be skilled at all types of chess in order to be considered the best in the world
  3. It helps negate white’s advantage a bit because in the rapid and blitz game, the player with black in the classical game will have the white pieces.
  4. It still puts a high emphasis on classical chess. If you win the blitz portion the first four games you’d have a lead of 12-8. That would be erased in one game if your opponent won the next classical game.

This works in head to head matches and also in round robin tournaments. Literally everything will be immediately more exciting, without massively downgrading the quality of the classical game.

What are the downsides?

  • In order to make sure there is time for the rapid and blitz portions of play, we will have to speed up the time control a little bit. I’m not sure the best way to do it. One idea could be to lower the increment from 30 seconds to 15 seconds, while also removing a little bit of time from the clock (for example 90 minutes to start with a 15 second increment).
  • You may think that blitz and rapid chess is an abomination and should have no business being involved in any serious chess tournament. I happen to strongly disagree.

I honestly can’t think of any other downsides but I’m sure the lovely people of the Internet will point them out for me in the most polite way possible!



5 thoughts on “How to Make Chess More Exciting!

  1. I’d rather change the structure of match. World championship is supposed to highlight best possible chess of that year. Rapid and blitz don’t allow that. I’d structure the match in one of two ways, either stop giving white 0.5pts for a draw and if you win you can choose your colour. Draw and you flip colours. At least that would add more match strategy.


  2. I have seen more interesting and exciting chess in every 30 minute chessbrah bullet stream or in 1 round of the chess pro league. Of course the quality of the chess is better in the WCC but it is boring. Chess games should last a maximum of two hours. Make it like basketball 4 15 minute quarters. This would allow chess to become a bigger better more practical more interesting more professional game


  3. The simple solution is to play the tiebreak _before_ the classical part of the match. The winner of the tie break gets draw odds in the classical part. This way there will never be a status quo, there is always one player behind, and always one player “going for it”.

    Start the tie break with the armagedon game, who wins gets draw odds for the blitz. Who wins the blitz gets draw odds for the rapid, and who wins the rapid gets draw odds for the real match.

    It functions as a warm up, with instant excitement, and the match itself cannot peter out. The tension will always rise towards the end of the match. And … this way the match gets ultimately decided by classical chess, as it should be!

    This solution also requires minimal change, so that the match tradition can be largely maintained.


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