so it's no surprise to me that i'm just now reading about game 9 in the chess duel, a game which occurred six or so days ago. all due to the thanksgiving holiday and how i spent or misspent my time during it.
fortunately for me the reporting on said game addressed both appropriate uses of time and an issue that was touched upon briefly during the discussion appended to my prior chess-related entries, and which i had still been chewing over in my mind, namely at what point in an endgame does a human player (or even a computer player) decide that a draw is the only eventual outcome [clearly a player who realizes they do not have a winning outcome available but that there is, in fact, a losing outcome available, will be all too happy to participate in the persuasion of their opponent that a draw is inevitable.]
from the guardian:
'an impassioned carlsen bristled when asked by a reporter from norwegian broadcaster nrk why he continued to persist for so long in the endgame despite the high likelihood of a peaceful result. when did he understand it was a draw?
“i understood it immediately,” carlsen said, voice rising. “it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play. i’m trying to entice him to play h5 and if he does play h5 then i at least have a target. but obviously if he just keeps still and keeps his fortress just waiting for my king to enter then there’s nothing, but there’s no harm in playing. i really don’t understand the point (of the question).”'
so i would think that the only possible harm in playing through an endgame that seems destined to draw is the use of a possibly limited store of mental stamina and focus, the disuse of which might lead to a lapse and loss. the ends (an infinitesimal chance at victory) not justifying the means (the limited store). clearly not a problem for computers. i wonder how far they are programmed to play before admitting a draw (especially since, as nightspore pointed out, they can 'see' routes to mate that human players essentially cannot).
so i am curious how often an omniscient narrator would tell us that championship games which could have had a winner were instead agreed draws (could have had a winner in actuality, not in alternate realities where a computer player was allowed to substitute in during the endgame, et cetera).
when is playing on a waste of time (and other resources) and when is it not? few could say.