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Chess Olympiad changes

FIDE approves new rules for the chess olympiads

FIDE Executive Board approved, in its recent meeting in Antalya, Turkey, new rules for the Chess Olympiads, which will come into effect at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad. As there are many significant changes, FIDE draws the attention of national federations to ensure that they and their players are acquainted with the new rules before they attend the Olympiad.

After 50 years (until 1974) of playing the Chess Olympiads under the round-robin system (mostly with preliminaries and finals), FIDE adopted (from 1976) the Swiss System. Mr. Almog Burstein, Chairman of the Technical Administration Panel, introduces the main important changes.

The changes at the Chess Olympiads

1. The number of boards in each match in the Women’s Olympiad was increased from 3 to 4; the number of reserve players in the Open Olympiad was reduced from 2 to 1. That means that all teams in both olympiads will be composed of four players and one reserve.

2. The number of rounds was reduced to 11 (instead of 13-14 rounds in previous Olympiads).

3. In the first round, two `imaginary` match points shall be added, for pairing purposes only, to each of the teams in the top half of the initial list. That means that in an Olympiad with 120 teams, the pairings for the first round will be 1-31, 2-32, 3-33 … 29-59, 30-60 and then 61-91, 62-92, 63-93 etc. (instead of 1-61, 2-62, 3-63 etc. in previous Olympiads).

4. In the second round, the winning teams in the top half will play with one another (i.e. 1-16, 2-17 etc.), the losing teams in the bottom half will play with one another (i.e. 91-106, 92-107), while the losing teams in the top half will play against the winning teams in the bottom half! (i.e. 31-61, 32-62, 33-63 etc.). This way we `save` one round which is very important towards the end of the Olympiad. The `imaginary` points shall be deducted before making the pairings for the third round.

5. The final standing shall be determined by match points (instead of game points). That means that the winning team in each match (by game result of 2.5:1.5, 3:1, 3.5:0.5 or 4:0) gets 2 match points while its opponent gets no match points. In case of a draw (game result of 2:2) each team gets one match point.

6. The position of teams that finish with the same number of match points shall be determined by the Sonnenborn-Berger system which is the sum of the match points of all opponents, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points, while each opponent’s match score is multiplied by the team’s game result against this opponent. The idea behind this new rule is to combine, in the first procedure of the tie breaking, both the strength of the opponents and the number of game points scored against each one of them. The more game points scored against stronger opponents, the better for the team. This way we also give the teams a substantial incentive to win as many game points as possible in each match and not to be satisfied with the minimal win of 2.5:1.5. The exclusion of the weakest opponent is made in order to neutralize the effect of non played matches on the final results.

7. If Sonnenborn-Berger does not break the tie, the next tie-breaking procedures are: (b = Buchholz) by the sum of the match scores of all the team’s opponents, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points; and (c) by the sum of the game points scored.

8. The standing after each round, according to the procedure explained in points 5-7 above, is also the basis for the pairings of each next round.


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