1st FICGS chess championship started


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Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-01)
1st FICGS chess championship started !

Hello to all.

As you may have noticed, 23 new tournaments just started :


4 matchs (quarter final) started in the knockout tournament

QF 1 : John Anderson (SM) - Farit Balabaev (GM)
QF 2 : Daniel Cinca - Peter Schuster (SM)
QF 3 : Gilles Hervet (SM) - Gino Figlio (IM)
QF 4 : Petr Makovsky (SM) - John Knudsen (SM)

19 tournaments (groups) started in the round-robin cycle, 17 tournaments with an elo average between 1672 and 1732 (16 tournaments of 17 are in a 32 points range), and 2 "group M" with an elo average about 2390.

All round-robin tournaments are groups of 7 players as it was the best way to make it fair.

I wish you all good games and have fun :)

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 01:07:56)
Symmetrical games

The format used(8-game match with simultaneous games, 4 white and 4 black) brings up the issue of avoiding symmetrical games. I don't see a perfect way of doing this other than being conscious of the problem, and trying to deviate early on. If I see an opening chosen by my opponent that I am also planning to use, I have waited to respond in one(or more) of the games, until the position reached a point where I would normal deviate, and choose an alternate move with the opposite colour. Anyone else with better ideas about how to avoid this problem?

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 01:52:31)
Symmetrical games

Hello Gino.

What do you mean "symmetrical games" exactly ? (time is an important element)

First case, a player copies move after move another game played at the same time (a move after). Cheating is obvious and it's forbidden (rules)...

Second case, a game is symmetrical but moves are not played "at the same time" : It means suicide in the match for the player who has to win, with either Black or White... The same about the games played by the same player as White, there's no interest to play the same openings, as it would save his opponent's energy and loose chances to provoke a fault.

I had seen you were waiting to move with black in your match, but you can play the same opening with Black, it's up to your opponent to play different openings, otherwise it's good for you...

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 04:06:08)
Symmetrical games

I meant 2 identical games played with different colours usually against different opponents, but in this case against the same person. I'm sorry for not reading the rules, but there is no way to prove in simultaneous games, who is copying who since known theory in certain openings reaches 20+ moves. However, if someone delays his response until the opponent makes a decision in a critical point of the opening, he can then play the same opening without fear knowing that once that point is reached, he will make a different move.

John Knudsen    (2006-07-04 05:31:49)
Symmetrical games

This format (8 games against the same player at once) is really strange and not normal at all, IMHO. Don't get me wrong - I am enjoying my games. I would not recommend this format for future versions of the quarter-final. Most strong players that I know would not even consider playing in this kind of format for one minute. Better to have a RR, with X number of players advancing from that. If you wish to make the championship attractive to stronger players, you won't want to repeat this format in the future. John

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 12:17:36)
Symmetrical games

Playing the same opening until move 20 is not a problem IMO, particularly in correspondence chess nowadays...

John, about the format, that's interesting discussing... Why wouldn't it be "normal" in your opinion ? Not usual for sure, as round-robin tournaments are used everywhere in correspondence chess. So it will be a surprise for hardened CC players, but will it be for OTB players ? Why the "match format" couldn't be an acceptable alternative ?

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 16:34:00)
Symmetrical games

I disagree, the farthest you go with identical games, the closer you will get to a position where only one move wins. Once you get there with identical games, then whoever plays first wins, since the other one will be accused of copying the winning move.

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 16:55:10)
Symmetrical games

I don't understand how it could be a problem. If one consider a critical position at the end of the opening (ie. clear advantage for White), who plays White first knows the position is bad for Black... Why would he play the same opening with Black ? It's a wrong question IMO, there are very few cases where there's only a "good" move until the end of the game.

Anyway, this question is even more relevant when playing different tournaments in different organizations (a player may respond moves played by an opponent in a game at IECG in another game at ICCF....) than in two players matches. Nothing can prevent that, but what a shame and where's the satisfaction ? I think it's not a problem there.

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 17:55:59)
Symmetrical games

Chess is not a draw yet, someone wins in 70% of the cases(40% white, 30% black), the farther you go identical in two games, the more likely the player on move will find the critical position where only one player wins, even if one is weaker than the other. Players of similar strength or chess knowledge will realize this during the game, once the puzzle of a position becomes more clear, after every move.

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 18:26:07)
Chess game is a draw...

I understand what you mean... But this is theory. I can't see any pratical example illustrating a real problem with "symmetrical games"... Do you know such an example that happened in ICCF before.

John Knudsen    (2006-07-04 18:50:05)
Symmetrical games

Hi Thibault: The format is unusual, and not desired, IMHO, because you do not need an 8-game match with one opponent to determine who is the superior player. Think about it - it is 4 games with white, and 4 games with black. Overkill. You mention OTB chess players. What OTB player has played an 8-game match with the same opponent, lately? Never happens. It also never happens in serious correspondence chess, except here. I do not want to complain too much, because I thank you for the neat server, and the opportunity to play some serious games for free. However, the format will need to change, in the future, if you want to attract excellent players. John

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 18:54:07)
Difficult to prove

If it's difficult to prove who is "cheating" in a match like this, it's practically impossible to prove foul play when the incident occurs in 2 different tournaments, against 2 different opponents. I'm sure this has happened in ICCF but unfortunately there is no way to detect it. I remember chessfriend claimed to have this figured out, but it was just one person's opinion. Players need to be aware of this problem and avoid it, nothing worse than being forced to play against yourself.

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 19:08:38)
8-game matches

Just to clarify my position about this format, I think it's just fine if the players are alert and avoid playing symmetrical lines/games. I actually think it's a good idea to play a simultaneous 8-game match to see who's better. It's just a bit different than your normal round-robin tournament, perhaps that makes your site unique!

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 19:33:17)
Symmetrical games

It's not possible to reach such a situation so that a player would have to play against himself... Cheating is obvious !

If you play your moves with a small delay (2 or 3 moves) in the other game, it will be always possible to find another line. Then it is mentioned in the rules there's an algorithm in FICGS that detects (!) symmetrical games. If needed, I can bring the proof with the moves dates.

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 19:40:02)

How many identical moves do you need to decide "cheating" is occurring? It will have to be an arbitrary number since there is no reason to say one or three moves before or after a certain number...what if the player shows a previous game played exactly the same way he has played? How do you know he is "cheating" instead of following a previous game? What if previous game was played by himself?

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 20:15:35)
8-game matches

John... ??? :)

Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Leko (match for WCH classical title)
Vladimir Kramnik - Deep Fritz...

Of course it is desired... Who will remember the names of the players in the last ICCF final tournament ? Even if ICCF doesn't use this format, and (as you say) serious CC players didn't have the opportunity to play such tournament, knockout format is still desired.

My first idea was a pure enormous knockout tournament, but it's obviously not possible (too much rounds, a time problem), that's why I thought about this combined system.

Now look at the chess world : Many players don't understand why FIDE progressively reduces the number of games and time controls in WCH matches. It is the main reason why FIDE world champion title looses value. Not hard / accurate, not spectacular enough !! ..

What many players (me, at least :)) expect is a classical world championship with a big final match. You may have noticed that FICGS champion will have the opportunity to defend his title in a... 24 games match against his challenger... (!!) That's real fight, that's real challenge and that's what I expect to see from a championship, a big opposition between 2 players, and not a round-robin more or less aleatory, with too much names, not understandable for the most.

Now, as we said on TCCMB : FICGS is not "official" matter, chess is for fun here, but chess must be a show and I'm convinced it is relevant in correspondence chess too. We'll see that ;)

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 20:22:29)
Symmetrical games

Gino, it's easy : Symmetrical games are a way to cheat if all (!) moves are played at the same time. The algorithm detects players who MAY have played such games (different numbers of moves are tested), then there must be a human decision by a referee. If such a situation happens, knowing the moves dates, there obviously can't be a single doubt about the player's honesty...

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 20:36:39)
Symmetrical games

Dear Thibault, I respect your opinion about the ability of a referee being able to detect who has cheated and when, but I don't share it. That is the main reason why I am planning to avoid these situations, when a third party's opinion(very valuable of course but still not error-free) will decide the outcome of a game.

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 21:03:47)
Symmetrical games

Understand me, referee has to validate the evidence, nothing more. There can't be any ambiguity in this case (all moves are copied ad tempo, or not). Rules are written in this way : No human factor.

However I can't let the program close an account because of cheating :) .. There are a few players trying to use several accounts, they are automatically detected, but we can discuss (and finally close the facticious one). This site is friendly, we are not in Matrix :>

Gino Figlio    (2006-07-04 21:19:14)

Dear Thibault, I don't have the answer, I suspect there is no solution for this problem. If you apply statistics to extreme situations, there will always be some outliers that will prove your prediction wrong. One good example is ICC(internet chess club) and their self-proclaimed perfect method to detect online cheaters. I can tell you some OTB 2100-2300 players can perform sometimes close to 2600 strength, and sometimes more than 95% of their moves coincide with one of the chess engines...statistically you can call this a cheater, but reality is not respectful of normal distributions

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-07-04 21:40:51)
statistics and cheating

Gino, this is one thing sure : symmetrical games played on FICGS will be detected... No statistics here in question.

Anyway, symmetrical games (cheating) consequences won't be the same in correspondence chess and on ICC, that's obvious. A computer is much stronger than any human in rapid chess, and computers are easily available on ICC. In correspondence chess, very strong players are not so easy to reach ;)

Actually that's not so comparable. Note it is mentioned in the rules "any kind of help is authorized", so a player could be helped by a computer, or even by other players...