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Tony Rich on the 82nd FIDE Congress Print E-mail
By Tony Rich   
October 17, 2011
Tony Rich, more photos on the Saint Louis Chess Club website
To paraphrase Mark Twain, “The rumors of my absence were greatly exaggerated.” I arrived safe-and-sound last night after over 24 hours of traveling. After some much-deserved jibbing, the rest of the U.S. delegation brought me up to speed and we prepared for the rest of the 82nd FIDE Congress.
Today saw meetings of a number of FIDE committees, including Swiss Pairings Programs, Rules and Tournament Regulations, Trainers, and Development CACDEC (Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries). The Ethics Commission meetings were cancelled.

The Trainers Commission started the day with a closed-session meeting; look for more information in Sophia Rohde’s  recap tomorrow, where she will interview committee member Michael Khodarkovsky for the inside scoop. The Trainers Commission has a full agenda and will be meeting throughout the week to complete their recommendations for the FIDE Executive Board, which meets Thursday and Friday to review the proposals from the various commissions for approval.

I had the pleasure of attending the Swiss Pairings Programs Committee, where discussion centered primarily around how software developers should interpret FIDE’s approved Swiss System rules, and on how best to facilitate the process of endorsing well-written programs. Of note, the committee prepared an algorithm-like document that software developers can use to ensure their programs meet with FIDE standards. In addition, committee member and software developer Roberto Ricca of Italy mentioned that he has written software that can test pairing programs to make certain they produce accurate pairings.
The only issue which was not resolved is related to ½-point byes and their use in pairing software. As many of you know, FIDE does not currently recognize the ½-point bye, despite its wide acceptance in the U.S. and abroad. Instead, the committee appropriately referred the issue to the Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission for their recommendation.

So the day went forward with the Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission. Possibly one of the most impactful committees, the Americans showed up en masse to ensure strong representation. The topics discussed ranged from the role of captains in team events to tiebreak systems. Due to the scandal involving French GM Feller at last year’s Olympiad, the RTR took appropriate steps to prevent captains from cheating in team events.

The RTR then switched gears to review tiebreaks. While FIDE approves of any tiebreak procedure that is announced prior to an event, they also have recommendations for a variety of events, including both individual and team Swiss tournaments and round robins. It was determined that playoffs should generally be preferred if time allows. If not possible, then mathematical options should be used and the full list was submitted for approval by the Executive Board.

In CACDEC the main focus was to determine methods to promote the game in countries with low numbers of chess players. This commission was attended by many high-ranking FIDE officials, including Treasurer Nigel Freeman, Secretary General Ignatius Leong, Vice President and CEO of Global Chess Geoffrey Borg, Vice President Beatriz Marinello, Continental President for Americas Jorge Vega, Executive Board – Americas member Uvencio Blanco, and committee chairman Allan Herbert. It is obvious that FIDE is focusing strongly on CACDEC, as promised in Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s successful reelection campaign for FIDE President in 2010.

So after a long day of meetings, the U.S. contingent retired to the dining hall to debrief.
USCF President Ruth Haring, and executive director Bill Hall

After a nice meal and great conversation, the plan for tomorrow was determined. The Qualifications Commission will meet again, as will the Technical, Trainers, Events, Medical, Verification and Constitutional Committees; The Americans will be there to represent our perspective on all things chess. Look forward to Sophia Rohde’s article tomorrow on the progress made at the 82nd FIDE Congress.

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