FOM: Reply to Gonzales Cabillon on whether chess is a draw

Fri Mar 20 00:43:16 EST 1998

  Julio -- what do you mean in your reply to Harvey by "Incidentally, 'the
original chess position is a draw' is not a 'plausible conjecture'?"
  A chess "theorem", like a math theorem, ought to be undeniable.  Anyone who
denies that White wins when receiving Queen odds will get checkmated.  Of
course, if Kasparov denies to me that White does not lose the initial position
I can't prove it to him by drawing with White every time, but I can prove he is
kidding by putting up some money for a 10-game match against any top GM and
asking him to choose between taking White in all games or Black in all games.
  So "White does not lose" if not a chess theorem is at least an axiom, but
"the initial position is drawn" does not have that status.  Though 98% of GMs
would agree, it is just a plausible conjecture (if it ever reaches the status
of undeniability that "White does not lose" now has it will mean chess will have
become "played out" like checkers already has).
  By the way, there was a typo in my previous post, I should have said "Q or F"
not "Q or S".                        -- Joe Shipman

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