Saturday, 19 July 2008

3,2,1,0 Lift-Off

From the fertile mind of Stewart Reuben comes a report of a different scoring system used in a recent Romanian tournament. Instead of 1, 1/2, 0 it awarded 3 points for a win and 0 points for a loss. In the case of a drawn game "Armageddon Blitz" was used. White had 5 minutes while Black had 4 minutes. If White won they would get 2 points (and Black 1) while if Black won or drew, they would receive the 2 points (and White 1).
In his report Stewart remarked that the system worked without controversy or complaint. There were a couple of organisational issues with it (such as finding a separate area for the blitz replays) and the role of the arbiter in managing Blitz games.
This latter comment is interesting in that the role of the arbiter is somewhat reduced in blitz chess, bot by custom and by rule. The principal of letting the players sort it out themselves is usually followed, and only the most egregious rule breaches result in arbiter intervention. However in the case of the tournament being discussed, games of blitz don't exist as a separate entity but impact on the results and standings of a "proper" tournament. This has lead Stuart to observe "It is clear to me the FIDE Laws for blitz are inadequate for an event where there is adequate supervision and the games are important". He goes on to state the the laws of blitz should be amended to include the following: "Where there is adequate supervision of a blitz game, the arbiter shall intervene if he believes commonsense suggests an irregularity should be corrected."
I can already hear the howls of outrage from legions of blitz "specialists" but given the drive towards introducing Armageddon playoffs maybe such a rule change becomes necessary.

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