I logged on relatively early on Thursday for the last round of the World Team Championship, I guess an hour or so in, which is relatively early when it's kicked off at seven in the morning, Anyway I checked Chessbomb for early results and I could see that there were three of them, all in the Azerbaijan v Egypt match.
Naiditsch-Amin on board one had already finished early in a popular repetition
as indeed had Adly-Mamedov on board two, in another popular repetition
one so popular, in fact, that you could also see it on board four, in Hesham-Safarli.
Guseinov and Fawzy still seemed to be playing on board three, so I took a look, expecting to see another draw unfold before my very eyes.
Not a bit of it.
In fact I'm not totally sure whether it was before or after Black's twelfth when I looked in, but it's not of any importance, since the game was pretty much up already
and had been for a couple of moves.
So what's going on there then?
What I mean is, you don't get three grandmaster draws in a team match spontaneously. It must have been agreed beforehand. But I've never before heard of anybody arranging for three draws and leaving the other game to follow its own course: a package deal is usually the whole package, no?
I'm not saying that didn't happen here - far from it, it's very much what happened. What I don't understand is how it happened. Did Guseinov - with 203 Elo points and the White pieces to his advantage
say beforehand that he didn't fancy it, so they played three draws instead of four? Or did Fawzy want to play?
And has a team match ever been reduced to single combat in this way before?