A brand new tiebreak format in Wijk aan Zee

by ChessBase
1/13/2022 – The first super-tournament of the year is about to kick off, and the organizers have just announced that they will be using a new tiebreak system. After last year’s edition finished with an unpleasant controversy, the organizers of the Tata Steel Masters have decided to avoid chaotic time scrambles to break a potential tie for first place. | Photo: Official website

ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2022 ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2022

Your key to fresh ideas, precise analyses and targeted training!
Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.

More...

Dealing with the problem

Going into the last round of last year’s Tata Steel Masters, three players stood a half point behind sole leader Anish Giri. Fabiano Caruana, Jorden van Foreest and Alireza Firouzja needed a win to catch up with the in-form Dutch number one. Caruana drew Aryan Tari and Van Foreest took down Nils Grandelius, while Firouzja had a better position with the white pieces against Radoslaw Wojtaszek.

By then, the spectators and players that had already finished their games knew that even if Firouzja won his game and joined the leaders, Giri and Van Foreest would be the ones participating in a playoff as they had better tiebreak scores. We do not know whether Firouzja was aware of this, but while he was still trying to convert a sharp position into a win, the arbiters asked him and Wojtaszek to move to another board in order for the Dutchmen to occupy centre stage.

As shown in the official webcams, Firouzja was visibly upset when they asked him to move to another board, as he either thought he still had chances to reach a playoff or was trying to finish a remarkable event with a win over a fellow top grandmaster.

In the end, the then 17-year-old finished his game while Giri and Van Foreest were already playing blitz, and only managed to get a half point in his last-round encounter.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Alireza Firouzja

Radoslaw Wojtaszek facing the brilliant Alireza Firouzja | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit

A public apology by the organizers followed shortly:

Chief arbiter Pavel Votruba offered a more detailed explanation of what had transpired in an open letter published by chess.com.

Given these circumstances, and the fact that Magnus Carlsen recently complained about a similar tiebreak rule at the World Rapid Championship in Warsaw, the organizers have decided to fully adjust the tiebreak rules for this year’s edition.

Unfortunately, Firouzja will not participate this year (he asked for compensation for the 2021 incident and was not satisfied with the financial offer made by the organizers), but with the presence of Carlsen, Caruana, Giri and a host of young talents, we still expect to be thoroughly entertained by the long-standing event.


Read the full preview...


The new tiebreak format

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament organization has introduced a new tiebreak format. There are two reasons for this change:

  1. We want to avoid flying pieces, as seen in several Armageddon games
  2. If more than two players end in first place, we want to allow all of them to participate in the tiebreak

Tiebreak regulations Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022

A. General

  1. If the top two or more players score the same number of points in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022, a tiebreak to determine the tournament winner will be played. All players with this highest score will participate in the tiebreak games. Irrespective of the outcome, the prize money will be divided equally among all the players in the tiebreak.
  2. Tiebreak games are only played to determine the tournament winner. All other players (except the winner) in the tiebreak will share second place. As soon as there is a clear winner, other scheduled tiebreak games will no longer be played.
  3. The tiebreak games will be played as soon as possible after all (potential) players in the tiebreak games have finished their games in the main tournament. Every player will have a minimum rest period of 30 minutes before the start of the tiebreak games.
  4. In principle, there will not be a rest period between tiebreak games, i.e. the next games will be played as soon as possible. However, the chief arbiter may decide on granting a limited rest period.
  5. The tiebreak games will be played in the main tournament hall if all games in the Tata Steel Masters and Tata Steel Challengers section have finished. Otherwise, an alternative tournament room will be used.

B. Time control

  1. The time control of the tiebreak games for both players is 3 minutes with a 2 seconds increment per move as of the first move, with an exception for ‘sudden death’ tiebreak games.
  2. The time control of the ‘sudden death’ tiebreak games (see paragraph C.2) is 2½ minutes for white and 3 minutes for black with a 2 seconds increment per move as of the first move for both players.

The playing schedule of the tiebreak games depends on the number of players in the tiebreak games (see paragraphs C to F). If the top two or more players score the same number of points after a series of tiebreak games, these players will advance to the next series of tiebreak games, following the relevant schedule related to the number of remaining players (see paragraphs C to F).

C. Two players

If there are two players in the tiebreak, the following playing schedule will apply:

  1. A play-off match of two games will be played. A drawing of lots will decide which player will start with white.
  2. If the play-off match as per section 1 above results in a tie, a ‘sudden death’ game will be played. If this game is a draw, the next ‘sudden death’ game will be played. This will continue until a player wins a game. A drawing of lots will decide which player will start with white. The other player will play white in the next two ‘sudden death’ games. After three ‘sudden death games’ the first player will play white in the next two games, and so on.

D. Three players

If there are three players in the tiebreak, the following playing schedule will apply:

  1. A single round robin tournament (following the Berger tables) will be played. A drawing of lots will decide the pairing numbers.
  2. If there is a tie with three players in the play-off tournament as per section 1 above, a new single round robin tournament will be played, with the colours reversed.
  3. If there is a tie with three players in the play-off tournament as per section 2 above, a new single round robin will be played according to section 1 (and 2) above. This continues until one or two player(s) win(s) the play-off tournament.
  4. If there is a tie with two players in the play-off tournament as per section 1 to 3 above, the tie break games continue according to paragraph C above.

E. Four players

If there are four players in the tiebreak, the following playing schedule will apply:

  1. Two semi-final play-off matches will be played simultaneously, following the play-off match schedule as per paragraph C.
  2. The pairings of the play-off matches will be based on the following criteria related to the final standings of the main tournament, where number 1 will play against number 4 and number 2 will play against number 3:
  3. the mutual result,
  4. the Sonneborn-Berger score,
  5. the player with more games with black,
  6. drawing of lots.
  7. The two winners of the semi-final play-off matches will play a final play-off match, following the play-off match schedule as per paragraph C.

F. Five or more players

If there are five or more players in the tiebreak, the following playing schedule will apply:

  1. A single round robin tournament (following the Berger tables) will be played. A drawing of lots will decide the pairing numbers.
  2. If there is a tie with all players in the play-off tournament as per section 1 above, a new single round robin tournament will be played, with the colours reversed.
  3. If there is a tie with all players in the play-off tournament as per section 2 above, a new single round robin will be played according to section 1 (and 2) above. This continues until not all players have the same score after the play-off tournament.
  4. If there is a tie with five or more (but not all) players in the play-off tournament as per section 1 to 3 above, a new single round robin tournament will be played according to section 1 (to 3) above.
  5. If there is a tie with two, three or four players in the play-off tournament as per section 1 to 3 above, the tie break games continue according to paragraphs C to E above.

Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition

Let our authors show you how Carlsen tailored his openings to be able to outplay his opponents strategically in the middlegame or to obtain an enduring advantage into the endgame.


Links


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.

Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register