Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tie break systems

I have just been chatting with the reknown South African FIDE arbiter and organiser Gunther van den Bergh who has written his own pairing program using the FIDE-approved Dutch System about tie-breaks.

He echoes what I have always said that tie-break systems are not an exact science. In my estimate they are about 90% accurate. At end of tournament many parents were at pains to understand the Berger system of the pairing program Swissperfect in the round-robin option.

He was the Chief Arbiter in the All Africa Games in Maputo last year and here is what he writes:


Firstly, there is no perfect tiebreak system. All are flawed in some way.

If I have to use tie-breaks (for Individual Swiss tournaments). I use the following four systems (in the order listed with the first listed being the most important):

- Median Bucholz (a.k.a. Bucholz Cut).
This is the same as bucholz BUT deducting the highest and lowest opponent scores. This tries to correct for opponents who did not play all their games, etc.

- Median Bucholz 2
Same as above but deductin the two highest and two lowest opponent scores.

- Sonneborn Berger
Sum of the scores of the opponents you have beaten plus half the scores of the opponents you have drawn with.

Depending on the size of the tournament. If the tournament is large (with many players) then use the above 3 systems. If there are few players in the tournament, then just use normal Bucholz (that is, no deductions are made as in Median Bucholz).

For Round-Robin tournaments:
The following are the best systems just for Round-Robin tournaments. In order:
- Direct encounter (the results between the players with the same score).
- Sonneborn-Berger
- Koya (your results against players who scored 50% or more)
- Greatest number of wins

As mentioned, there is no perfect system - all systems are flawed. But, if you do decide to have tiebreaks, make sure that these (the tie-breaks to be used) are advertised (made known to the players) in advance (before the start of the tournament).

The best possible tiebreak for a round-robin is to have a play-off between the players tying for 1st place. Usually they play two rapid games and the winner is the one scoring 1.5 or two. If the scores are still tied, then they play two blitz games. If the scores are still tied they play one armageddon game (black declared the winner if the game is drawn).

Hope this helps.


G√ľnther van den Bergh
Article by
John Mubaki

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Candidate Master Patrick Kawuma was the biggest beneficiary from the last phase of the Olympiad Chess Qualifiers as he is destined to gain 41.4 points to improve on his current rating of 2168 to 2209. Similarly, another Candidate Master Bob Bibasa is set to gain 35.1, which will propel him from a rating of 2178 to 2213, making him the highest rated active Ugandan player.

The duo have strengthened their title credentials by catapulting themselves to the summit of the active rated player list ahead of veteran Grace Nsubuga (2197) and National Champion, Arthur Ssegwanyi (2178). 

On the other hand, FM Elijah Emojong still has an uphill task awaiting him if he has to reduce the rating gap between him and the two CMs. Emojong had the third biggest gain from the Qualifiers (of 36 points), elevating him from 2110 to 2146, a rather dismal rating for an FM. He however deserves a pat on the back for the manner in which he disposed off the Olympiad team pretenders. It was a performance with credentials to validate the long standing adage of separation of boys from men.

Rwabushenyi Memorial Champ and probably East Africa’s favourite, Harold Wanyama made a rather paltry gain of 19.5 to elevate himself from 2139 to 2158. Wanyama’s small gain may be attributed to the uncharacteristic mature display in the Qualifiers which saw him play much longer games than he is popularly known for.
Ex Olympians Shadrack Kantinti and Kenneth Kakooza are set to lose 11.7 from 2133 to 2122 and 66 points from 2176 to 2110 respectively. The other big loser is the most recent entrant on the FIDE rating list, Farouk Fauza who is set to lose a whooping 76 points from 2178 to 2002. Details of the upcoming changes are already on the FIDE website.

The Qualifiers Chief Arbiter, FA Stephen Kisuze attributes the disparities in the losses and gains to ill preparedness on the part of most participants and lack of strategy. According to him, a good strategy entails aiming at qualification plus rating points gain through avoiding losses to weaker opponents.
By  Vlanney Luggya

Friday, May 11, 2012

An African Chess Federation

Its not everyday that you get a chance to impact positively on a global scale!

When we set out to form African Chess Lounge, we had a vision of making Chess in Africa an everyday sport where the welfare of the players was guaranteed and people could make a living through playing chess the same way they do in other sports like soccer, golf, athletics, cricket ad infinitum.

The more we  travel this road the more we see it as a reality. If anyone says otherwise, they have no best interest for the sport, or alternatively they benefit from the sport living in the shadows. We don't want that.
The Movement 
Our approach has been 4 pronged, from online chess, chess equipment and supply, chess training  and a chess awareness campaign ranging from chess on Tv, broadcasting live tournaments and a chess blog http://africanchesslounge.blogspot.com/ .
We have taken the African continent as our playground and are making giant steps in our stated vision. One thing however has become obvious, to really do this, we need the whole African chess community to speak as one voice and this way we can implement some actual reforms which will be of benefit to people.

To give you an idea. Other sports like soccer for instance are run by FIFA, an equivalent to FIDE, which in turn works through CAF ( a Continental body) something we don't have for chess, which in turn works with country federations like SAFA (South African Football Association) or ZIFA (Zimbabwe Football association) equivalent to our chess federations like BFA ( Botswana Chess Federation), Malawi Chess Federation and so on.

Now you can appreciate the efficiency of such an organization, when it comes to implementing goals and supporting local federations in their initiative. If we had such a body for instance in chess and its only goal lets say for arguments sake was to organize 10 Fide rated tournaments per year which is a fairly easy task. Now being modest lets say we got 5 international Masters from this exercise you can imagine the rate of progress we would make in terms of opportunities for the players.

Not to write a manifesto but, lets say pursuing the same line of thought, this body was responsible for funding the tournaments with the support and back up of FIDE, you can see how easy it would be to get a company thats continental like FNB (First National Bank), BP (Fuel Company), Total, Castle and so on. With the help of local federations its easy to see how this could easily produce results.

Having said that, at the end of the day having a bright idea alone has never been the cause of success. It needs to be implemented. Now to do this we propose to get all chess players to speak as one voice here on African Chess Lounge. We want to get support of 10 000 chess fans, and as one voice do a petition to FIDE to formally put an organization of this nature in place.

We currently are around a fan group of 400-500 on Facebook. We want to push this to 10 000. We want to do this by 10 July so that we put it forward to FIDE! We have very capable people in Africa who can head this group and I believe this is a way forward. 

 What can I do?
 If this appeals to you, just visit 

and hit the like button! If you only did this we would be 1 more person closer to this goal and in your zone of control you will have done your part.

If you decide to expand in this activity and invite other people too, we would now place your actions to revolutionary activity and you will start walking in the direction of real change, because part of responsibility is getting others too, to do their part. Lets carry the torch and meet on the other side of the finishing line, 10 000 people on board. What do you say?

Reuben Salimu
Executive Director
African Chess Lounge

Sunday, May 6, 2012

De Villiers takes April Rapid

We host monthly rapid Tournaments and congratulations to Charles De Villiers for lifting the April Rapid open with a clear 7/7  ahead of Daud Amin and Bryan Aguire who were both tied at 6 points.
Rules of the tournament meant Amini and Bryan had to do a do or die speed chess game to decide clear 2nd. In dramtic fashion infront of a television crew this was won by Daud Amini who faces Charles De Villiers in our first ever Chess Reality show pilot.

TV Show
Concurrent with the tournaments we have been flat out in the studio working on the television show and hopefully by the end of this week we will be able to share with you a finished product of this effort.

Imagine the impact we can make in introducing more people to chess. The benefits  of chess to academic performance and general positive impact to the intellect have long been demonstrated and we feel its upon us to make this tool available to more people. 

This is something we have been passionate about here at the lounge and we have pushed for it in the different activities of our organisation and we feel we are at a watershed of that change with what we are about to accomplish.
About African Chess Lounge
Our main purpose is to drive chess into every home, and we would like to say with your support we are accomplishing that, so thank you in whatever capacity you are involved with us. I think we are winning and are glad to have you on the same boat.

African Chess Lounge
650 The Six
Cape Town, Western Cape 8001