Wrecking the Chess Olympiads

From: Yasser Seirawan

I'm copying this message to Sam that he might post it to the group.

Dear Stewart Reuben,

Thank you for your message below. As you know, while I deeply respect your opinion, I must emphatically disagree with you in this particular case.

Let us consider the Chess Olympiad as a whole. The Olympiad is an amateur event. Amateur players must take time off from their jobs or from school for nearly three weeks. That is quite a burden for themselves and their employers. When you factor in that most amateur players must also pay their travel costs, participation in the Olympiad becomes quite an expensive proposition for them. A shorter event would significantly lessen their sacrifice.

In the case of professional players, you correctly point out:

"What prevents them playing is that their federations are unable or unwilling to recompense them adequately for their time."

Payment to professional players for a three week long event is inadequate. The same current payments for a 9 day long event would be a significant improvement.

To sum up, both Amateur and Professional players would benefit from a shorter Olympiad.

I am under the impression that in the case of two Rapid games per day proposal, the Olympiad would remain 14 rounds of 7 playing days and two free days. A 9 day long event. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Would doubling up the rounds really, "wreck the Olympiad." Not at all. In my view, there is not much difference between a one game a day of, "Rate of play all in 90 minutes, add on 30 seconds from the first." It is fair to say that such games should last approximately 4 hours. Playing two Rapid games at, "the rate of all the moves in 25 minutes, add on 10 seconds per move cumulatively from the first." Would also be approximately 4 hours of playing time.

The schedule in the case of two rapid games a day would feature a morning round from 10 AM - Noon and a second round from 3 PM - 5 PM. Allowing plenty of time for evening socializing in both cases. It is this socializing that makes the Olympiad so special as players from all over the world have the opportunity to meet with one another. Not allowing the Bermuda team to host a party WOULD wreck the Olympiad!

My third reason for supporting a move to two games of rapid chess is to favor the organizers. As you point out, the Olympiads are extremely costly. The organizers must lodge and feed nearly 1,200 participants for 20 odd days. Some Olympiad budgets have ranged from the four million US dollars to twenty million US dollars. The costs of the Olympiad soar higher when the event is held in nations with a high cost of living.

In my view, everyone would benefit from a 9 day Olympiad and I would urge FIDE delegates to consider these advantages and vote to support Willy's proposal.



-----Original Message----- From: StewartReuben@aol.com Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 2:24 AM Subject: [fide-chess] Wrecking the Chess Olympiads

There is a proposal from Willy Iclicki, a member of this group, in Annex 12 of the FIDE Agenda that the Olympiads become a rapidplay tournament. Two games a day to be played at the rate of all the moves in 25 minutes, add on 10 seconds per move cumulatively from the first. There would be 6 playing days.

My good friend Willy believes the only real disadvantage of this is that people would be unable to gain title norms. He overlooks the possibility that amateurs are hardly likely to travel halfway across the world in order to play two hours of chess per day. I cannot understand why the proposal does not go the whole hog and make the event blitz. It could then be completed in one day. For those who do not know, the Bled Olympiad will be played at one game a day with two rest days. 14 games. Rate of play all in 90 minutes, add on 30 seconds from the first. This is unnecessarily fast and disliked by many of the players, but certain FIDE officials have a bee in their bonnet that such a game is more attractive to television than a 6 hour game. The current proposal for the 2004 Olympiad in Spain is that 11-14 rounds will be played at that time limit by the system of one game one day, two games the next and so on. That would reduce it to 8-10 playing days. That is also pretty awful in my opinion. It is true the Olympiads are extremely expensive to put on. Also they are time consuming to play in. The proposal to go to rapidplay I believe has some support from some leading players. It is not correct to save their schedule prevents them playing in the Olympiads. There is nothing else on at that time. What prevents them playing is that their federations are unable or unwilling to recompense them adequately for their time. That is not the responsibility of FIDE. When the issue of all in 90 + 30 seconds was first raised, Jonathan Berry suggested there be a questionnaire to go to all players. He prepared one in good time, but somehow it proved impossible to get it printed in time. He was thwarted by bona fide Office, possibly unintentionally. If Willy wants the proposal to receive respect, then there should be a questionnaire go out. To my mind the main issue is whether the federations or their players would prefer to pay to have a more leisurely Olympiad. Certainly countries would not be able to afford to pay. These CACDEC countries would have to be subsidised. Naturally people would need to know the costs in order to make a reasoned decision. The idea of consulting the players seems alien bona fide.

In my opinion, if Willy's proposal is passed, it will wreck the Olympiad and with it FIDE. You may feel that is a good thing. But they have achieved a great deal particularly in popularising international chess and international junior chess.

Stewart Reuben

Sam, once more please post to our group.

Dear Stewart,

Thank you for your message.

I've written a number of articles that speak directly on the topic of time controls: my report of the Grandmaster Steering Committee; my report of the 2002 Prague event; and the Prague Agreement itself. In these articles, I spoke at length about the overwhelming preference of grandmasters to play at THREE and only three time controls. They are:

1) Professional or Classical Chess (7 hour games) 2) Rapid Chess (25 minutes + 10 second bonus) (1 hour games) 3) Blitz Chess (5 minutes per player) (10 minute games)

Grandmasters particularly despise multiple time controls that seem to be proliferating at alarming rates. (I make note of your own unique time control. Bill Goichberg has his preferences as do other key organizers.)

While in Bled, there will be a meeting of the Grandmaster Steering Committee, its elections and a vote by the players on the time controls. We both agree that it is high time the players tell us their choices.

The current FIDE approved time control of 90 + 30 seconds seems to be in jeopardy. The Prague Agreement for the World Championship specifically approves a return to a 7 hour time control.

I understand you are against Rapid chess due to the quality of the games. I'm curious, did you think the games of Prague 2002 or the games of Russia V the Rest of the World were poor?

Regarding, the time control for the Olympiads, I would like to make another try. Let me again boldly state the obvious, the Olympiad is an amateur event. By way of comparison the World Team Championship played every four years is an event clearly designed for professional players. If the world's leading grandmasters were to endorse three and only three time controls, future Olympiad organizers could face a choice: Play at a professional/classical time control or play at a Rapid Chess time control. For an amateur event like the Olympiad, where the vast majority of the participants are amateur players, the preference for Rapid Chess time controls seems an obvious choice. I am not speaking for my colleagues but for myself when I say that the Olympiads provide a wonderful meeting opportunity to discuss the chess issues of the day. Why spend 7 hours behind the board and 2 hours in preparation? Play two rapid chess games a day and let us have an enjoyable outing!



-----Original Message----- From: Stewart Reuben Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 2:40 PM To: fide-chess@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [fide-chess] Wrecking the Chess Olympiads

You are a bit confused.

My total objection is to the Olympiad being played as rapidplay games. I personally do not like the fast rate of all in 90 + 30 seconds, nor do my constituents. However, if this is what is democratically preferred, that is fine. Nobody knows, because no survey has taken place.

I do not like the format of 1, 2, 1, 2 games per day. Nor do my constituents, the English team.

I am on record as stating that, if play is to be at all in 90 + 30 seconds, then the logic is to play two games a day against the same opponent.

I have total control of the Gibraltar Masters. This will be all in 120 minutes + 30 seconds. Consultation suggests players agree this is satisfactory.

Surely everybody can agree, if the games are too fast, then their quality diminishes. The rich heritage of chess and its marketability lies partly in the quality of the games. Look at the games from the World Championship in Moscow. They were full of blunders.

Surely, at least some of the amateurs travel halfway round the world at their own expense, in order to play the highest quality chess of which they are capable?

Stewart Reuben

UPDATE: On October 23, the USCF passed an important resolution on Drug Testing by FIDE.

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