I just received the following rule changes to be implemented in Dresden (see below). Besides the 4 starters and one reserve for both men and women and the shortening of the event to 11 rounds changes it is important to note that accelerated pairings will be used.
Considering that US teams have been notoriously poor starters, largely due to financial considerations that have often forced them to arrive on the eve of the event with resulting nasty jetlag, it would behoove the budget makers for Dresden 2008 to pay for a few extra nights lodging as there will be no “warmup” rounds there and fewer chances to make up for a bad start.
I note that from the 1970s to 1990s the USCF funded both the US Ch and Olympiad teams. Thanks to the generosity of the AF4C and Frank Berry the US Ch. has been funded this decade and the Kasparov Chess Foundation ( title sponsor – $30,000) ICC and several individuals including Joel Channing helped to fund the Olympiad team in 2006 with the USCF coming in at the end to make up the difference.
Regrettably the lack of dedicated funding in the months leading up to the event led to the need for an appeal to the USCF membership at the very last minute and much uncertainty for the players as to exactly what sort of conditions they would be offered. It would be very desirable to avoid this situation again, especially when we have the opportunity to field quite possibly our strongest team ever ( to mention just a few highlights in 2008 Gata’s brilliant performance in the World Cup, Alex’s tie for first in Biel, and Hikaru’s successes in Spain and Corsica).
Remember the USCF has few opportunities to show more than moral support for its top players and that the Olympiad is but every two years. I realize money is tight but what percentage of USCF dues are spent on our top players?
IM John Donaldson
To: All Chess Federations
Dear Chess Friends,
Re: 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. So, let me introduce the main important changes:
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.
The number of rounds was reduced to 11 (instead of 13-14 rounds in previous Olympiads).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almog Burstein, Chairman
Technical Administration Panel