Do we want to introduce the title of

12/17/2008 – Are there too many grandmasters, and do we need a new title of "Elite Grandmaster" (EGM) for the very strongest of them? Should the FIDE rating list be published more often? Or would that slow down players too much on the Elo scale? What to do about cellphones, coming late for games, draw offers? GM Bartlomiej Macieja reports for the ACP on the FIDE Congress in Dresden.

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FIDE Congress 2008

Bartlomiej Macieja – Wed Dec 17th, 05:39

During the recent FIDE Congress in Dresden several important topics have been discussed and several important decisions have been taken. As I had the opportunity to participate in meetings of some committees and commissions, the Executive Board, and the General Assembly, I have decided to prepare this small report with a few comments.

Registration of FIDE
FIDE Deputy Chairman Georgios Makropoulos officially informed that FIDE had never been registered and promised to "improve" the current situation. Obviously, it was a shocking news.

New "Elite Grandmaster" title
Several officials proposed to introduce a new title "Elite Grandmaster" (higher that "Grandmaster"), due to the enormous growth of the total number of Grandmasters. The proposal was rejected. According to my statistics, the situation is not as obvious as it may look at the first glance, as the total number of rated players grows even more rapidly. Let's compare the total number of Grandmasters to the total number of rated players, as well as to the total number of players rated over 2200:

83 / 794 = 0.105
83 / 692 = 0.120

1158 / 96509 = 0.012
1158 / 21023 = 0.055

Relatively, there is less and less Grandmasters...

Frequency of rating lists
A decision was taken to publish rating lists every two months.

K-factor (development coefficient)
Publishing more frequently rating lists leads to an effective decrease of the development coefficient. To understand this effect it is enough to imagine a player rated 2500 playing one tournament a month. With 2 rating lists published yearly, if he wins 10 points in every tournament, his rating after half a year will be 2500+6*10=2560. If rating lists are published 4 times a year, after 3 months his rating becomes 2500+3*10=2530 so it gets more difficult for him to gain more rating points. After 3 more tournaments the player reaches the final rating only about 2500+3*10+3*6=2548. With 6 rating lists published yearly, the final rating of the player is only about 2500+2*10+2*7+2*5=2544. Obviously it is only an approximation, the exact values may slightly differ, however the effect is clear. It looks like FIDE officials "forgot" to increase the K-factor some years ago to compensate the effect of more frequent rating lists. Or they were not fully aware they should have changed the K-factor in order not to change the whole system. The increase of the K-factor is essential not for the reason to make the system more dynamic, but for the reason not to make the system less dynamic! Eventually, it has been decided to increase the value of the K-factor to K=20 + K=30.

Rating floor
The rating floor has been decreased from 1400 to 1200.

Olympiad 2012
With +95-40 result (and one invalid vote) the organisation of the Chess Olympiad 2012 was granted to Istanbul (Turkey). The only opponent was Budva (Montenegro).

Mobile phones
According to the new rules it becomes possible to have mobile phones (or other electronic means of communication) in the playing venue, if they are completely switched off.

According to the present rules, a difference in rating of more than 350 points shall be counted for rating purposes as though it were a difference of 350 points. The rule played a very important role when rating changes were calculated based on the average rating of opponents. Nowadays, when all games are counted separately, it has lost its statistical value. There was a discussion if to leave it as it is or to abolish it completely, eventually a kind of compromise has been agreed and the value of 350 has been substituted by 400.

Requirements for title norms
The requirements have been basically increased, for instance to achieve a GM norm at least 33% of opponents must be GMs.

Standardisation of time controls
The following standard has been set for classical games:

a) (G-90') + 30"
b) (90'/40 + G-30') + 30"
c) (100'/40 + 50'/20 + G-15') + 30"
d) 120'/40 + G-30'
e) 120'/40 + G-60'
f) 120'/40 + 60'/20 + G-30'

Tournaments, in which other time controls are used, shall not be taken into consideration for title purposes (GM, IM, WGM, WIM norms) starting from the 1st of July 2009.

Coming late for a game
The Rules and Tournament Regulations Committee proposed to add the following article to the FIDE Laws of Chess: "Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game, unless the arbiter decides otherwise. Thus the default time is 0 minutes. The rules of a competition may specify a different default time.". The proposal was accepted by the Executive Board and recommended for the General Assembly to be approved. The final decision was however postponed till the Presidential Board Meeting.

A draw offer
A very emotional discussion regarding a possibility to offer a draw took place during the Rules and Tournament Regulations Committee meeting. Eventually, the Committee decided to propose to add the following point to the FIDE Laws of Chess: "The rules of a competition may specify that players cannot agree to a draw in less than a specified number of moves or at all, without the consent of the arbiter."

The majority of changes will come into effect starting from the 1st of July 2009.

Best regards
Bartlomiej Macieja
The Association of Chess Professionals

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