More interesting openings, less “dreaded” openings and only 745 of them. International grandmaster Dmitry Tsinman describes his new table of openings.
The draughts world has long awaited the advent of a new table of openings with serious debates surrounding this subject. And now the much-anticipated table has emerged with an official announcement coming from the International Draughts Foundation (IDF) on 5 January. We can now expect draughts tournaments to become even more interesting and productive as players will have 745 opening variations to choose from.
The mastermind behind the new table of openings, which starting this year will be used at men’s draughts tournaments, is Dmitry Tsinman, an international grandmaster, Kazan native and winner of the 2016 World Cup. We asked Dmitry to tell us more about his brainchild and opened with a provocative question:
Q: Did we even need a new table?
A: As the saying goes, there are as many opinions as they are men. I think we all remember the debate on your website about whether or not we needed a new table. In my view, the table needed to be somewhat modernised though. The IDF left it to me to reduce it to a common denominator, so to speak.
Q: Where did the new 745 openings come from? Did you come up with all of them yourself?
A: Of course not! I used the existing table as a starting point. I eliminated the semi-unsuccessful positions as well as the boring forcing positions. Then, with what was left, I partially added positions from the table of grandmaster Nikolay Abatsiyev, which includes 528 openings, a number of two-moves that were in the 1984 table, several positions from classical openings as well as a few positions I came up with myself.
Q: So what are the main differences in the new table?
A: There are a few of them. The number of positions has increased significantly. Now there are 745 of them. Consequently, preparing all openings in advance has become even more difficult. I eliminated overly simple positions in which, as experience has shown, there are only one or two forcing openings. I excluded a number of “dreaded openings” in which one of the players has to virtually play with single moves from the very first minute in order not to lose. I added interesting openings that were used back in the 1980s.
Q: But purely classical openings have appeared as well, including half moves. Is this justified?
A: This is largely connected with the draughts-64 development concept around the world that is employed by IDF leadership. We must understand that if we want our favourite sport to continue to successfully develop and “take over the world”, we must not only think about elite competitors, but other draughts players as well. For some of them, just taking part in a world championship is a huge event. The presence of classical openings in the table will definitely enable them to make a smoother transition into our draughts family. In addition, it should be noted that the classical openings included in the table are entirely competitive.
Q: Did you do everything yourself or did you have assistants?
A: I sent letters to several draughts players asking them to forward me specific proposals on particular openings. Only a few of them responded though. Nikolay Abatsiyev, Gennady Shapiro, Yevgeny Kondrachenko and Vasily Khristich were particularly active, so a special thank you goes out to them! Once again, it would be impossible to take everyone’s opinion into consideration. I am sure that there will be both proponents and opponents of the new table as is usually the case. Only time will tell in terms of how good it actually is.
Commenting on his own plans for 2017, grandmaster Tsinman is much more succinct than the table he created. Dmitry says his immediate goal is to hold onto the title of World Cup champion that he earned in 2016. In addition, he plans to take part in the World Championship in St Petersburg this autumn and will try to assemble a team for the World Team Championship that will be held in Bulgaria this summer.