Dead Man's Attack

Sherwood, Russell  Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Most CC players have heard of Dead Man’s Defence, the unsavoury technique used to put off the result of the game (generally a loss for the person using DMD). Here I want to discuss it’s cousin, Dead Man’s Attack!


Picture the situation. You are playing a game, which is into the early endgame. Engine Analysis shows a nice +1 core in your favour but neither you nor the engine knows how to make progress.  What then tends to happen is that the moves played shuffle the pieces around without making any visible progress and after a little while longer a draw is agreed as its one of the positions the engine does not understand. It tends to be in practice that a Fortress was in place which secured the position.


That is what is supposed to happen……in a minority of games we see the “winning” player refusing the give up his “win” and continue shuffling. Now I am on the wrong side of one of these games at the moment and am at move 110! An interesting fact for me is that my opponent will not lose any rating points for a draw which is often the motivation to keep shuffling, hoping your opponent makes a mistake.


This piqued my interest, how often does this take place? Using my trusty Chessbase I took a look at the longest ICCF games in the database and the results are interesting……..


137 games more than 120 moves long

56 of them since 2012

33 of these turned into draws, leaving 23 as decisive


So the message to those playing DMA is quite clear – don’t its chance of success is less than 50%

Updated Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Russell Sherwood

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