Jerome Bibuld and the 100 Free Rating Points

Jerome Bibuld has posted a letter under the newsgroup heading: "Re: Another Murder In Russia" in which he again defends the award by FIDE of "100 Free Rating Points to Every Woman Chess Player in the World except for Zsuzsa Polgar."

Although this is a story going back to Dubai 1986, it is important that this story be repeated because it demonstrates how easily a person can be cheated of their hard-won victories at the chess board.
Jerome Bibuld, author of Bibud's Blacklist
Jerome Bibuld, author of the infamous "Bibud's Blacklist".

It needs to be pointed out that Mr. Bibuld is hardly unbiased. Every two years, Mr. Bibuld is appointed by FIDE as a paid arbiter to the World Chess Olympiad, in whatever far flung country of the world it happens to be held. These international trips which Mr. Bibuld gets every two years are clearly a reward for his being a hatchet-man for FIDE. Mr. Bibuld is such a poor arbiter that almost every major chess organizer in America has banned him from their events.

This is why you will see Mr. Bibuld, a self-proclaimed champion of the oppressed, defending almost every atrocity committed by FIDE everywhere in the world.

The background is that in Dubai in November 1986, Campomanes was campaigning for re-election as FIDE President. Campomanes was clearly in trouble because of the controversy resulting from his stopping of the World Championship match between Karpov and Kasparov. That match had been scheduled to be played until one of the players had won 6 games. This turned out to be ill advised, because after Karpov took a 5-0 lead, Kasparov hunkered down and, taking advantage of Karpov's drawish playing style, succeeded in steering game after game into a draw.

After a total of 40 draws were played, Raymond Keene, Kasparov's manager, sent a telegram to Campomanes, demanding that the match be stopped. To everyone's surprise, Kasparov won three games in a row and Campomanes decided to agree to the demands of Keene and stopped the match.

There were additional factors: The match was being played in a prominent public hall in Moscow and many planned events over a period of months had been canceled because the match had gone on far longer than anyone had anticipated. The match had even been delayed when the Soviet leader had died and his funeral had been held in that hall. (David Goodman, the AP Reporter and an International Chess Master, went to the hall that morning to cover the match and was later credited with breaking the news to the world that the Soviet leader was dead, because he was the first news person to learn of it.)

Because the match had gone on months longer than anybody had imagined, the Soviets were demanding that the match be stopped, because of the cost. In addition, there was a little known provision in the FIDE rules that every time there was a draw in a world championship match, 2% of the prize fund had to be paid by the match organizer to FIDE. Since there had been 40 draws, this meant that 80% of the prize fund had now been paid to FIDE. David Levy, the delegate from Scotland, later raised an issue over this at the Dubai meeting and was allowed to look at the books and discovered that the Soviet Union had in fact paid $160,000 to FIDE under this 2% rule.

For these reasons, when Campomanes acceded to the demand by Keene that the match be stopped, he was also acceding to the demand by the Soviet Union, the sponsors of the event, that the match be stopped.

However, the rest of the chess playing world, largely unaware of these considerations, did not agree with the stopping of the match and called for Campomanes's head. A nincompoop named Lucena (sharing the name of a famous chess position) who had been working as a newspaper reporter from Brazil at the Karpov-Kasparov match in Moscow, was recruited to run against Campomanes for the FIDE Presidency. Never mind that Lucena was previously known only for cheating because he had been caught signaling moves to a wealthy competitor in the Brazilian woman's zonal for the Woman's World Chess Championship. The world, not knowing much about Lucena, only knew that Campomanes, who had stopped the match, had to be done away with. The USCF sent its trusty delegate, Don Schultz, to Dubai with instructions to vote for Lucena and against Campomanes for FIDE President.

The campaign in Dubai was going well for Lucena. David Levy, one of the campaign managers for Lucena, even told me that he was on the verge of declaring victory for Lucena. Levy said that he was just a few votes short to guarantee an absolute majority. Moreover, Kasparov was urging the Soviet delegation, which controlled 13 votes including Afghanistan, to vote for Lucena.

Then came the crushing news: Grandmaster Krogius, head of the Soviet Delegation, publicly announced that the Soviet Union was going to vote for Campomanes. Within hours, support for Lucena collapsed. The night before the election, Don Schultz went to Lucena and convinced him to withdraw, in order to save Schultz the embarrassment of being forced to vote for Lucena in compliance with the resolution of the USCF Policy Board.

(It must be mentioned here that an additional factor was that Lucena had made a fool of himself at the scheduled debate between him and Campomanes by walking out, claiming that he did not agree with the rules and had not seen them, even though he had clearly been given a copy of the debate rules two days in advance.)

What went wrong? Why did the Soviets, in spite of the urgings of their world champion Kasparov (who had defeated Karpov in the rematch) suddenly decide to vote for Campomanes?

The answer: As usual in all politics, there was a deal. The Soviet delegation went to Campomanes with a wish list of things they wanted. One of the items on the list concerned the fact that their Woman's World Champion, Maya Chiburdanidze, was being supplanted by the upstart 17-year-old from Hungary, Zsuzsa Polgar, who was winning tournament after tournament and had defeated male 13 grandmasters in rated tournament games during a period when Maya was largely inactive. In the coming rating list, scheduled to be released on January 1, 1987, one month later, Zsuzsa was going to have a rating of 2495, far ahead of Maya's 2430. Since Maya was still the official world champion (and she was refusing to play in any tournament in which Zsuzsa was entered) the Soviets wanted 100 free rating points for every woman in the world except for Zsuzsa Polgar.

Campomanes really had no choice but to agree. Otherwise, the Soviets were going to vote for Lucena and Campomanes would be sent back to the Philippines. A deal was struck. Campomanes was re-elected and Maya got her 100 points and was back in as the world's number one woman.

This was not a secret. Everybody in Dubai knew that this deal had been made. Jerome Bibuld was in Dubai, too. He was working as an arbiter. But for some reason, Bibuld continues to insist that there was no deal.

All this has been recounted many times before. However, I want to address one point which Bibuld makes in his latest posting. Bibuld, and many others as well, believe that the 100 point increase was confirmed when many of the ratings on the woman's list went up even further on the subsequent list. However, this was misleading.

For example, after receiving the 100 free points, Maya came out as 2530 on the January, 1987 list and then came out as 2560 on the July 1987 list. Does this not prove that she was entitled to receive the 100 free points?

The answer is "no". As was explained to me by Dr. Lim Kok Ann, the FIDE Secretary, who was also in charge of the FIDE rating list, all of the women who received 100 free points had their subsequent rating for the next list calculated as though they had not received the 100 points, and after that the 100 points were re-added.

For example, in the case of Maya, if she played in a tournament in March 1987 and her opponent had a rating of 2480 and she got a draw, one would assume she would lose points because her rating was published as 2530.

However, in reality she would gain points, because her rating would be calculated as though she had not yet received the 100 free points.

Dr. Lim Kok Ann explained to me that the reason for this was that the rating list is not published until one or two months after the list becomes effective, and tournament invitations are usually sent out months before a tournament is played. Anybody inviting Maya in November, 1986 to a tournament to take place in January, 1987 would assume that her rating for the event would be 2430, not knowing about the 100 free points to be given of course. Thus, to avoid the unfairness which might result, the 100 free points for the purpose of calculating changes in rating would not take effect until the July list.

One good thing about the FIDE rating system at that time was that the exact rating formula was published. Also, unlike the USCF system, a player's rating did not change in the middle of the six month rating period, but only at the end. As a result, a player always knew the exact rating of his or her opponent and knew exactly how many points would be gained or lost.

Zsuzsa and I had calculated her rating. Because we knew every game she had played and the exact rating of every one of her opponents, and because the rating formula was published, we knew that her rating was going to be exactly 2495 on the coming January 1, 1987 list. We also knew that Maya had not played much, except for a drawn match with GM Popovic (which was widely reputed to be rigged) and so her rating would not change much. Thus, we knew and everybody else who had made the calculations knew that Zsuzsa Polgar was going to be the number one woman chess player in the world on the coming list, with a rating of 2495. That is why FIDE gave every woman in the world, except for Zsuzsa Polgar, 100 free rating points.

Here is what the FIDE hatchet-man, Jerome Bibuld, says about this:

"Certainly, the FIDE ratings lists of January 1987 and January 1988 seem to confirm the proposals. .... So let's compare the three women on the two lists.

Player 1987 1988

Chiburdanidze 2530 2560
Gaprindashvili 2475 2485
Polgar 2495 2475

"We see, then, that, while the ratings (not the strengths) of the two Soviet grandmasters, Chiburdanidze and Gaprindashvili, were raised, so that one "jumped over" the rating of Hungarian international master Polgar and the other approached it, the two players from the USSR both improved their ratings -- even though their bases were higher -- while young Zsuzsa's declined, during the first year after the reestablished list. This may not be definitive, but appears to me to be prima facie evidence that the FIDE corrections -- and that's what they were, corrections -- were justified."

I believe that Mr. Bibuld probably does not know that both the rating of Chiburdanidze and the rating of Gaprindashvili were calculated on the lower standard, even after the 100 free points had been added. Thus, when the rating of Chiburdanidze appeared to rise from 2530 to 2560, in reality, for purposes of calculation, 100 points were deducted from her rating of 2530, then her games were rated on the basis of a 2430 rating, so her rating went up to 2460, and then the 100 points were added back, giving her a rating of 2560. Thus, Maya's real rating under the standard formula was 2460, not 2560, and the rating of Nona Gaprindashvili under the normal rating system was 2385, not 2485.

Had it not been for this additional manipulation of the rating system, the rating for both Maya and Nona would have dropped during 1987 and would have quickly fallen back to their rating levels before receiving the 100 free points.

If you do not believe me, check the Chess Informants for 1987-1988 and see if you can find any tournaments where Maya and Nona achieved such good results as would justify a rating for Maya of 2560 and a rating of Nona of 2485. You will find that there are none.

Some times I have a dream. It is a nice dream that Jerome Bibuld would realize that he is wrong or has been misinformed. However, in the more than 30 years that I have known Jerome Bibuld, I have never known him to admit a mistake.

Sam Sloan

Raymond Keene responds:

Hi Sam - Of course you can reproduce any of my comments - the true account of what happened in 1985 is in my two books "The Moscow Challenge" and "Maneuvers in Moscow" - the latter co-authored by David Goodman, who was there! If you get the chance, take a look at them. Just for the record - I was not then and never have been Kasparov's agent. Also -I suggested that Campo offer they should share the title only after he had stopped the match! I was never in favor of stopping it and I told Campo this very clearly, when he asked my opinion in Dubai. Some people have claimed I called for the match to be stopped before Campo did so - but they have forgotten the three hour time difference between London and Moscow! For example - a telex timed 9-00 AM from London may look on the surface like it comes before Campo's cancellation - but if you notice that 9-00 AM in London is 12 Noon in Moscow, things take on a different slant!

Best Wishes

Ray Keene

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