Walter Brown on FIDE Congress: Nine New US Titles & Anti-Cheating News

My ninth FIDE Congress was hosted at the Avantgarde Hotel Resort in Antalya, Turkey with a very nice view to the Mediterranean and small mountains. The food was excellent, and I'd love to visit Antalya again. The Congress was organized very efficiently. Adding to Grant’s earlier report, the USA title requests for players and arbiters, including arbiter category upgrades were all approved!  That was not necessarily the case for applications from other federations.  All told, congratulations are in order to: IM Raven Sturt IM Alexander Kaliyksteyn (effective on November 19, 2017*) Zhaozhi Li (IM title conditional on 2400 FIDE rating; now at 2394.6*) IA Mike Atkins IA Michael Kummer IA Rudolph Abate (effective October 31, 2017*) IA David Hater (effective November 6, 2017*) FA Daniel Parmet (effective November 24, 2017*) FST Robert Hungaski * Title requests must be posted for 60 days on FIDE website before they become effective. In addition, the following IA Classification upgrades were approved: IA Franc Guadalupe – to Category A IA Chris Bird – to Category B IA Ken Ballou – to Category C
Walter Brown (right) at the 88th FIDE Congress
IA Franc Guadalupe becomes the only USA Category A and joins IA Carol Jarecki of BVI as the only two Category A arbiters residing in the U.S.  IA Chris Bird becomes our only Category B, the same Category held by IA Sevan Muradian before his untimely passing early last year. A proposal was presented to include "Congresses," like the Gibraltar Chess Festival in the list of events allowed for upgrading to arbiter Categories B and C.  This would likely include other high-level chess “festivals” like the World Open but implementation details are still to be published.  The inclusion of these events in the FIDE Regulations for the Classification of Arbiters will help USA arbiters qualify for IA Category B. The Qualification Commission, of which I am a Councillor, reviewed over 90 title applications.  Although the three applications of USA players were approved, three from other national federations were rejected.  This is a relatively small number of rejections compared to previous years.  The reasons for rejection were:  1) A 12-player RR and the applicant had only three opponents with the required title level (1/3 is required). Rounding up, four is also be requirement for an 11-player RR as well.  2) FM and WFM opponents not qualifying for the WIM titles, as the rule has been since July 1, 2013.  FMs and WFMs, however, do qualify for the 50% of titled opponents in general. At the QC meeting, there was also an interesting discussion about matches and how they are rated.  The current rule is that match games are rated until the match has a winner, and any games played after that are not rated. New rules would allow all games to be rated for all matches of 8 games or less, subject to the approval of the QC. New regulations for Rapid and Blitz ratings were approved and will be available on the FIDE website, as a separate document from the Standard rating regulations. Rapid and Blitz events must be registered, with FIDE, at least three days in advance (was seven days before) except if it is a playoff for a championship. US Chess requires an additional three days for processing, for a total of six days.  The registration deadlines for Standard (seven days to FIDE, 10 days to US Chess) and Norm (30 days to FIDE, 33 days to US Chess) events remain unchanged.  The maximum number of rounds per day for Rapid and Blitz is still under consideration. At the meeting, it was decided that it should be 11 rounds for Rapid and 22 rounds for Blitz. Why eleven and 22? This allows for a 12-player RR for Rapid and a double RR of similar size for Blitz. It was also mentioned that the number of hours to be played should be considered. A new player to either Rapid or Blitz must score at least one point to achieve a rating and will need to have five games for it to be published, the same as for regular ratings now but scoring one point is different, as only ½-point is needed for the initial standard rating. For players with standard rating, that will be the starting point to compute the Rapid or Blitz ratings.  More information about the technicalities of the FIDE rating system will be published soon. The Anti-Cheating Commission (ACC) meeting was next for me. Members of the Commission feel that the measures in place at the 2016 Olympiad in Baku were a good starting point but can and must be improved. An example would be a player who is to play in a round and takes his cell phone with him. He is checked when he walks in and hands over the cell phone for safe storage. He finishes his game, and goes out and collects his cell phone. He must now exit. He cannot go back in to watch his teammates if he has his cell phone with him. They want even arbiters and other officials not to have cell phones in their possession while in the playing area.  Some cases were discussed and it was mentioned that in a few countries, cases are being prosecuted by the civil authorities on fraud charges. In the Systems of Pairings and Programs (SPP) meeting, it was discussed that only one previously approved pairing program, Vega, has been re-approved. The other developers, including the ones for Swiss Manager, Swiss Master and SwissSys, have been working on it and have sent in their revisions, yet to be approved.  In the meantime, those programs may still be used pending re-approval, hopefully, at the next FIDE Presidential Board meeting. Lastly, I attended the Events Commission meeting. Of particular interest to me was the creation of the World Youth and Cadets Rapid and Blitz Championships which are scheduled to be held in Minsk, Belarus in June 2018. A proposal was discussed that these events could be better served and draw greater attendance if they were combined with the regular event, as they expect that many players playing in the main event would stick around and play in the Rapid and Blitz Championships. One drawback would be the children may already be missing school and they would probably need to miss three additional days. The other interesting discussion was regarding the senior event venues as their needs are different. A critical point, in my opinion, is distance from the host hotel to the playing site. Obviously, a playing site within the host hotel is best and gets the most points for this part (distance to the venue) of the analysis of the bid. The next highest would go to a site less than 10 minutes away, and going up to more than 30 minutes away which I would find unacceptable. We also recommended that FIDE event organizers should try to cover as many languages as possible. This is a good suggestion, especially with the World Cadet with U12, U10, and U8 sections. Having arbiters and officials being able to talk with the young kids in their native language would be very helpful. In spite of concerns with the newly implemented visa restrictions for travel to Turkey, all members of our delegation returned home safely. For more on the FIDE Congress, see Grant Oen's previous report and look for more later this week from Ruth Haring and Michael Khodarkovsky. 

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