26 January 2019

FIDE Chess960 Ratings

Believe it or not, a recent post about FIDE on my main blog, Spectating the 89th FIDE Congress (December 2018) is also relevant to chess960. Here are a couple of excerpts from the minutes:-
89th FIDE Congress; General Assembly; Batumi, Georgia; 3-5 October 2018; Minutes [...]

7.2. Qualification Commission. [...] Annex 10 is Proposal from Icelandic Chess federation for the rating of Fischer Random (Chess 960) Games.

Annex 10 can be found by following the links in the 'Spectating' post. It consists of a single page, pictured below. Titled...

'FIDE congress in Batumi 2018; Reykjavik, June 27, 2018; Fischer Random (Chess960) ratings - A proposal from the Icelandic Chess Federation',

...and signed...

'Gunnar Bjornsson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation',

...the document starts:-

'The Icelandic Chess Federation proposes that FIDE will start to calculate Elo. rating points for Fischer Random Chess (Chess960) as soon as possible.'

After a few introductory paragraphs it continues, 'The Icelandic Chess Federation proposes the following' with four main points:-

  • 'Initially, there will be only one Fischer Random rating. It's possible to have a rating for all time limits; for Blitz and Rapid combined; or Rapid and Blitz separated.

  • 'Tournaments must be played according to FIDE Chess960 rules (Appendix F) and all other FIDE rules should apply.

  • 'Current FIDE ratings should be used as a base rating; the same system as was used for implementing FIDE Blitz and Rapid.

  • 'If this experiment goes well, it is possible to continue with more choices of time limits for Fischer Random Chess ratings.'

The mention of 'FIDE Chess960 rules (Appendix F)' probably refers to an old version of the rules. The current version is under 'Handbook :: E. Miscellaneous', Fide Laws of Chess taking effect from 1 January 2018 (fide.com), in a section titled 'Guidelines II. Chess960 Rules'.

A report on the meeting of the Qualification Commission (QC), FIDE Congress Update: Chess 960 and an Illegal Move Quiz (uschess.org), by 'International Arbiter and Organizer Grant Oen (US Chess FIDE Events Manager)', explains,

QC is perhaps the most relevant commission to many of our members, as it regulates over-the-board titles and title applications, and the rating of all FIDE-rated games.

The report devotes four paragraphs to chess960 and starts,

The most heated topic of the QC meeting was the discussion of introducing ratings for Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess) following a proposal from the Icelandic Chess Federation.

I'm not completely convinced that a separate international rating system for chess960 is justified at this time, but anything which gets people to talk about Bobby Fischer's greatest invention is fine with me.

19 January 2019

First Post, New Year

The first post on this blog for the year 2019 is an appropriate time to reflect on the chess960 activities of 2018 -- and what a year it was! Of the 24 posts I wrote during the year, I count four that were for top-level chess960 events:-

Should I retire the 'rare birds' series, last seen in (Not so?) Rare Birds, Summer 2017 (July 2017)? No, I'm a patient person, so I'll give it more time. I haven't seen any relevant announcements and all of the events mentioned above could have been one-offs.

Chess960 was dropped for Chess.com's 2018 Speed Chess Championship, where Hikaru Nakamura defeated Wesley So in the final. It never made much sense to include a single chess960 game in a tournament for traditional chess, although the exposure for chess960 can only have helped. As for 2018's '1st Chess.com Chess960 Championship', I note that it wasn't the '1st annual' event and I'll keep watching for any announcement of a '2nd annual' tournament.

Does a decline in top-level chess960 events mean a decline in the number of posts for this blog? Of course not! I might actually find the time to study some of the many top-level chess960 games that were played in 2018...