Thursday 9 December 2021

Changes to rating and titles

 The FIDE Qualification Commission is making some changes to how ratings are being calculated and how titles can be earned. These changes do not affect most players in a significant way, but it is still important to know what they are.

In the area of ratings the major change is that the 400 point rating limit is being restricted to one game per tournament. Previously any game where the difference in rating between 2 players was treated as though they were 400 points apart. This was to benefit higher rated players who did not enjoy risking rating points against lower rated opponents, and would therefore avoid a number of events. Now this happens at most once in a tournament (against the opponent with the greatest rating difference) but otherwise the actual rating difference counts. The other important change is that the limits for faster time controls (eg 60m+30s) has been raised by 200 points (so games with a player above 2400 will not be rated at 60m+30s).

For Rapid and Blitz, the rules have now been brought into line with the Standard rating system (eg the 400 point rule applies here as well). The method of generating new ratings from Round Robin events has been removed, as players only need 5 rated opponents (and a PR above 1000) to get on the rating list anyway.

For organisers and national ratings officers, the most onerous change is that events greater than 30 days have to report interim results. While this makes sense for team events (eg 4NCL) which run over a period of months, it will also require weekly club events (that are FIDE rated), to follow suit. 

On the topic of title norms, there have also been a few changes. The most interesting one is that any title application from 2022 must include on norm achieved in a swiss event that has at least 40 players and an average rating above 2000 (in all rounds). As was mentioned, this is a reversal of the previous assumption that swiss norms were somehow 'weaker' than round robin norms. Instead it is now round robin norms that are considered less worthy! 

Speaking of round robin events, it is also a new rule that a player has to complete all the rounds of such a tournament, and that the norm is based on all the rounds. This means that a player can no longer ignore results after a norm has been achieved, or withdraw from an event to 'protect' the norm. This in part was introduced as a number of events saw players being given a 'random' seeding number that gave them the easiest path to a norm (ie making sure they played the required number of  foreign players by round 9). 

The rule about 20 overseas players (10 with titles) has been clarified, in that it needs to be the same 20 players for each round, to prevent 'tag teaming' of players (2 OS players play have the tournament each). The main purpose of these changes is of course to prevent tournaments being 'title factories', and instead any titles earned are based on performance in a genuine competition.

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