WCH Stage 1 rules


WCH Stage 1 rules

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Achim Mueller    (2007-04-21)
WCH Stage 1 rules

Hi all,

a few words regarding the rules for WCH Stage 1. As far as I know now one player (out of 7) qualifies for the 2nd stage. In case of having 2 or more players with the same points at the top the player with the highest rating will qualify.

This is already difficult enough for newbies (with lower raing) because their opponents will have an advantage of 0.5 points in these 6 games. It's getting nearly impossible if you play in a group, where three players lost all their games on time within 10 moves (so they didn't play a single game seriously).

You can't afford a single draw in the remaining three games then, because in reality you play a tournament with only four players, where at least one player has a nominell advantage of nearly 20%!

I for myself now decided not to play future tournaments having this exceptionell ruling. Sorry to say so, but I don't see a realistic chance of winning all three games in correspondence chess nowadays, but what is needed to have a chance.

Ciao acepoint

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-21 09:59:26)
One additional thought

Take this sample of group 12, where we actually play a tournament with 4 participants. A player with the nominell highest rating can easily play on draw (using todays computer programs) in the one or two important games.

You all probably know how difficult it is to win against such a blocking guy, no matter whether your "realistic" rating would be equal to his or 200 ELO points better.



Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-21 10:08:48)
WCH Stage 1 rules

Hello Achim.

I understand, it may look really difficult at first sight, the ideas behind this are first to make cycles not too long in order to organize a new one every 6 months (so you have more chances), second to have best chances to find the very best players in the final stages - this is the aim of a championship IMO.

Anyway, that's right the fight is often between the 3 top-rated players in these groups. So the easiest way : To get a good rating first (at least you can win some points in these groups).

It could be great to organize another event (like a cup) with different rules. Waiting for more players :)

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-21 10:13:26)
One additional thought

Blocking for draw is a bit losing already, I don't think it's a good strategy :) .. It is not so easy to get a draw against a good correspondence chess player, even with an army of computer chess programs, so don't trust it too much IMO. There are still many wins at a 2400+ level.

Jason Repa    (2007-04-21 10:35:27)
WCH Rules

Achim Mueller wrote: "In case of having 2 or more players with the same points at the top the player with the highest rating will qualify." This is completely logical. The higher rated player will tend to be the stronger of the group, especially if he isn't outscored by the lower rated player, so it's obvious that if you have to choose between two that are equal in points, you take the one that is more likely to be stronger. Can you think of a better and more fair way to choose between the two? Also, I disagree with your comments about how someone "can easily play on draw". This is completely wrong. Even with the Black pieces, games can be and are won all the time, even at the very highest level of chess. Top GM's constantly are winning with black, and what is arguably considered the top computer in the world "Hydra" was defeated more than once by a garden-variety GM who had the black pieces. Regardless of color and regardless of rating, chess is a game of skill and if you need a win against a certain opponent, the onus is on you to draw on all of your resources, including choosing the type of oppening that will not lend itself to an easy draw. A weak player who doesn't understand these concepts will have no chance in subsequent rounds in a tournament anyway and shouldn't worry about advancing. My experience is proof also. I had the black pieces against a significantly higher rated opponent in my WCH group and I beat him to secure my advancement.

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-21 10:44:59)
WCH Rules

Thanks Jason :) .. Actually I wouldn't say these rules are "best", "logical" or whatever, I just feel it is an exciting challenge and a quite interesting way to see interesting games and find the best player.

Jason Repa    (2007-04-21 12:16:39)
WCH Rules

I honestly can't see a more logical way to deal with a tie. My only complaint, as has been discussed in a previous thread, is that I prefer double RR's. But that's been mentioned already. Baring that I can't see a more fair way to proceed. Are you supposed to advance the lower rated opponent and punish players for doing well and getting a high rating? Alternatively, if you advance all the high scoring players in a group, too many will advance and the tournaments will take too long. What else can be done?

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-21 14:50:38)
Some answers

1) If the "higher rating" rule is best practise, as some players here do state, why isn't it used at _any_ FIDE tournaments? They have everything from SB, direct result, more wins, more wins with black pieces, but never ever used rating.

2) Even if it may not that easy to play for a draw ... I guess besides the fact that you get half a point as a gift it's also undoubtfull an advantage at least in correspondence chess to _know_ that a draw will help you, if you are the better rated player.

And this is definitely true in a tournament with only 4 players where there is only one qualifier.

Nonetheless you have all the right to use every rule you like. And as long as a player participates he "accepts" theses rules. That's what I also do, though I didn't know before that we are only 4 players and though I wasn't aware of this certain rule before.

But I also have all the rights to make future decisions regarding playing a qualifier here depending on the rules.



Don Burden    (2007-04-21 16:56:18)
WCH Rules

In the first WCH tournament, I had a tied high score (5.5 out of 6), but didn't advance because of my lower rating. With only 7 players in each group, the chance seems to be very high that we will have matching high scores, especially if some players drop out. It makes sense (in my opinion) that the chance could be lowered significantly if the number of players are increased to 11 or 13.

Mikhail Ruzin    (2007-04-21 17:28:02)
Group 02 =)

Fight the 3 top-rated players in group 12? What about group 02? How match players fights in this group? =) Lets play in chess and go! And enjoy the games!

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-21 19:46:04)

Why FIDE didn't use such rules... Interesting question : IMO because OTB (over the board) chess is simply so different ! .. It is quite logical to use SB in open tournaments because it helps the player who is probably best "at this particular moment", meaning the best player of the event. In correspondence chess, it is quite different, I think using SB makes less sense here.

About draws, I think there's a real trap :) .. A player who thinks 'I must draw' will have difficulties against a good CC player IMO. And you probably noticed the players ratings in 7-players groups.. Even if all players fight, in most groups only 2 or 3 players probably really hope to win the tournament, the others have (at least) an opportunity to play stronger players and win some points... And you may be right (Don), 11 players groups may be more interesting. Maybe the next one...

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-22 00:42:15)
Some more answers ;-)

@Don Burden

Full ack! If the rules stay as they are now it definitely makes sense to have groups of 11 or 13 players with e.g. 2 qualifiers.

@Mikhail Ruzin

Believe it or not, I would have been glad to play in group 02! There are seven "life" players and I bet a score of 4.5 or maybe even 4 points may be enough to qualify. In group 12 it's only 4 life players, and a result of 5 points (maybe 5.5 points) won't be enough for one player. There are only two remaining games, and all three strong life players have 4.5(one game to play), 4.5(1) and 4(2).

In this special situation exactly three games will decide who will quailify if you take a deeper look at the results and the contents of the games.


I never said it's easy for a 2300 ELO player if he plays for a draw only. But it's a big advantage for a player in a region between 2200 and 2500 if is aware that a draw will have the same quality as a victory against a certain competitor. Take a look at the world class cc players. There is a ~70% draw rate in the big tournaments, so the probability will be more than 70% if a player seriously tries to force a draw by choosing a certain opening and avoiding complicated variations.



Mikhail Ruzin    (2007-04-22 10:40:23)

@Achim Mueller In 02 group exactly ONE game will decide who will quailify if you take a DEEPER look at the results and the contents of the games.

Mikhail Ruzin    (2007-04-22 10:46:47)
Group 02

Group 02 is WCH_STAGE_1_GROUP_02__000002

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-22 11:22:27)
Group 2

Why one game? the leaders have 1/6 yet.

Wolfgang Utesch    (2007-04-22 17:01:56)
Group 2

Own games are always the most difficult! :-))

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-22 18:10:20)
I still don't see the point

Regarding the rating as a decision maker I have one questions: Who showed the better performance if two players have the same number of points at the end? The player with the higher or the player with the lower rating? @Mikhail Ruzin I don't see what you mean.

Wolfgang Utesch    (2007-04-22 18:34:02)
Crying for a better world ....

...doesn't make it better - and so is it with rules, too!

Mikhail Ruzin    (2007-04-22 19:30:22)

Yes, of course Wolfgang =) @Achim Mueller DEEPER look at the results and the CONTENTS of the games.

Mikhail Ruzin    (2007-04-22 19:39:29)
WCH Rules

If you stronger simply win the game. Or increase you rating and get advantage. =) Sorry, my english wery bad.

Achim Mueller    (2007-04-22 23:55:20)
Final statement

Guys, I see that noone has a plausible answer. Doesn't matter. I only made the hopeless attempt to understand the logic of the rules and what is behind it. Don't mind. I'm probably too stupid for it.

See you at iccf or bdf.



Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-23 01:05:39)
Performance / Rating

Achim, you just pointed it : "Regarding the rating as a decision maker I have one questions: Who showed the better performance if two players have the same number of points at the end? The player with the higher or the player with the lower rating?" .. of course the player with the lower rating :)

Once more, the aim of these rules is to find the very best player, NOT the best 'performer' in a group, tournament, match or whatever... ICCF & IECG do it well already and I thought this system could be more exciting. Maybe there could be some improvements in the rules yet, but the idea makes sense IMO. Does it really make sense to speak of performance in correspondence chess ? .. It makes sense in OTB chess because it reflects the level of players at a particular moment. But you can play a good CC tournament and a bad one at the same time...

Best wishes, Thibault

Nick Burrows    (2007-04-23 01:50:31)
my 64 pence worth...

I must admit that i have always disliked the Fide WC rule. It seems to be there to protect the champion rather than creating a level playing field.
The fide WC is also played over 24 games rather than 5 in the groups here.
My humble opinion is that for the WC groups of 11/13 or double round robin, would be fairer and give the skillfull players more oportunity to demonstrate that skill.
It is quite likely that in a group of 5, with just 1 or 2 critical games - the better player could finish even and be eliminated. Fine for class groups, but surely the in a 'World Championships' its worth exploring a little extra detail to find the real deserving winner.
A healthy debate! No matter what, thankyou for the provision of such a great site :)

Sandor Marton-Bardocz    (2007-04-30 11:54:47)
WCH Stage 1 rules

Hi everyone! Let me introduce my self :-) I'm the highest rated player in the Wch stage 1 group 12 "the blocking guy" how Achim described me...whatever that means.. 1. there is no dead draw in my opinion likewise there is no absolute winning lines, openings in a chess game...And this is most true in our "centaur, human-engine tandem" era where lines are very "unstable" to say the least..so I don't believe that one can play for a absolute draw without any risk..avoiding complicated variations...the variations complexity is very relativ...line can be "cristal clear" for one and most complicated for other..In my opinion high rates of draws among world class cc player isn't because they all play for draws ...It's a tendency..like it was in otb chess among super gm-s...not long ago...until the "no draw alowed" rules were aplied...i don't want to speculate why this happens.. 2. If someone really want to win...then should play for a win ...no matter what regulations are applied for that particular tournament 3. I think that if someone might want to take a look to the game that I played against mister Deeb in the same tournament ...starting from the move 17 of mine...hardly can to argue that I wanted to play for draws just to achieve equal points to advance. I think that none of the engines can even "smell" the outcome of the game in that position after 17..d5!?...so...saying that nowdays it's easier to achieve draws because of engines....it's a little bit exaggerated The plan started with the move 17 ...d5!? that I have played it was an absolute rejection of a drawish (by repetation) position...and it was played just because i wanted to ...play.. not to advance in a higher stage of the tournament or something...even though the final outcome ( just in my opinion! and this isn't an absolute true by far) is probably ...still a draw. 4. The regulations regarding the advance in the higher stages of the tournament..now this are definitly arguable!there are pro's and con's...and always be. We don't have plausible answers for this kind of issues...because it's is a subjectiv matter. I'm not convinced too that "higher rated player advance"is the right regulation..few examples...just look for example ...Kramnik - Leko WCH . a. ..challenger and his fans can say.."hey he didn't beat him...why should remain WChampion?! He didn't proved that he is better!" b. ..Wchampion and his fans can say.."hey u want my crown?! than beat me, and take it! draw isn't enough!" The line of examples doesn't stops here ..i don't want to prolong this subject...No rule can satisfy both sides...polemics, flame are always present :-) 5. None can predict what will be the process in a group...If 2-3 or even 4 players changes they mind and doesn't really play..that's it, and none can't do a thing about that ...maybe some sanctions later...i don't believe it will do any good anyway... 6. In the game betwen me and Achim...I don't think that I choosed a draw line...I think that I had the initiative but probably it wasn't enough for a win, Achim overforced it ....which isn't a bad thing but probably not with the plan he had preferred. good day for everyone!

Wolfgang Utesch    (2007-04-30 17:32:08)
Rules and morals

Rules just have to be clear before a tournament starts – whether this rules are bad or good will be defined by the individual sight of everyone, so never mind because the rules are known and accepted by all members. Just a bad looser is searching his lost by the rules! Another thing is the abuse of rules – you can play in accordance with the rules and nevertheless break moral fundamentals. I.e. definitely lost or drawn games (known by both opponents) will not finished (by resign or draw offer/accept) because of the hope that the opponent will have a heart attack before the time control is coming. Or taking care of your rating, it will be done in next rating period later on. Perhaps it is purely a matter of taste!

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-04-30 22:34:37)
WCH rules

Thanks Sandor & Wolfgang for sharing your views.

As you said, there's no perfect rule for everyone, particularly in a correspondence chess championship, where time is a predominant factor. As for me, I like much FICGS rules so far because of these major points :

1) The best players have the best chances.
2) A new cycle can start every 6 months.
3) There's no external influence in a knockout tournament.

I think the lowest rated player has to prove he's stronger than the highest rated player or champion, so it's coherent in round-robin and knockout tournaments. I particularly like the special rule in the knockout tournament (stage 1, 2 & 3). I'm now playing an exciting quarter final against Wolfgang, that I'm to lose because of this rule - the winner is the player with the strongest TER is all games are draw, the player with the lowest TER if not all games are draw - even if it finishes with a 4-4 score. Simply because I'll lose most probably at least one game. I think it's fair ! .. I knew the rule (of course, I made it :)), I knew I had to draw all games or to win by one point at least. Rules are the game ! .. It's not more unfair than to draw a game with one or two pawns more ;)

However I agree that WCH round-robin tournaments should be 9, 11 or 13 players groups to give more place to chess. I'll take care of this in the next cycle.

Finally, not only rules are to be taken in consideration... To attract players, there must be a real challenge ! .. To take the title to the champion will be really hard for sure :)

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-05-01 00:57:44)
Achim's answer

Achim Mueller asked to close his account, but he wanted to respond to Wolfgang & Sandor, here's his answer :

"A last clarification:

@Wolfgang Utesch: I wasn't aware of the "ELO-prefering" rule and I still don't find it here on the webpage. I opened a thread here in this forum and besides "then win all your games" or "in this case we ensure that the better player will qualify" there were no substantial arguments for this pretty unused and unknown rule (not that I agree with these two "arguments"!). Nonetheless I accepted the rule for this tournament.

My decision to give up and leave this server is based on an easy calculation how many games I have to play here to get a - what I call - competitive rating that somehow equals the advantage, players with a nominal rating of 2200 - 2500 will have in every tournament where this rule exists. Because my time is limited my decision was to leave the server, that's all. I don't complain, I don't take anything as an excuse. It's simple as it is: I gave it a try here, became aware of the rule and decided this is the wrong place for me, ok?

@Sandor Marton-Bardocz : I didn't say with any word that you are a blocking guy. This was a _general_ thesis how the player with the best rating can take an overwhelming advantage at this ruling. All good players (ask anyone in the region of 2400up at remoteschach, dbf, iecg or iccf) will confirm that it is most difficult to get 3.5 point out of 4 if at least 2 players know how to use computers and choose certain openings.

Finally ... ficgs is a nice place to play, the interface is good and I assume Thibault put a lot of work into it. So, enjoy your games here, but also accept that from time to time there might be players that will leave because of certain issues.



Rules (and chess WCH rules) - http://www.ficgs.com/membership.html

Thanks Achim. Best wishes & have good games :)

Wolfgang Utesch    (2007-05-01 08:28:28)

@Achim: It is just your failure to start in a tournament without knowing the rules! @Thibault: I think, in our match we need not the use of the special rule. :-) A problem in corresponding game is, that rating is showing the right strongness seldom. By the way, you should put the rules on the home page!

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-05-01 17:53:22)

You may be right, we'll see :) .. About the rules displayed on the home page, I'm afraid it's too big :/ .. But it's quite difficult to register without seeing it now.

Wolfgang Utesch    (2007-05-01 18:19:14)
Display of rules

It is displayed only under MEMBERSHIP (with a lot of scroling). It will be much better you can display it also on the personell sites under the special term RULES!

Heinz-Georg Lehnhoff    (2007-05-01 19:57:43)

The rules are two clicks away: First click "Help" and then "FICGS general rules".

Are the WCH rules visible on the side of the WCH waiting list, if the waiting list is open?

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-05-01 21:12:25)

... you can't enter a waiting list without seeing the rules for the tournament. It is visible even when the waiting list is closed. But anyway Wolfgang may be right, "Rules" could probably be displayed in the menu.

Garvin Gray    (2007-05-02 18:48:43)
sb tie breaks

I notice that for deciding ties for first in the round robin sections of the wch, the sb tie break, followed by number of wins, has only been mentioned once or twice.

I think it really does deserve more consideration. It is my opinion that the current way of deciding who goes through to the next round- higher rating- is patently unfair. While I understand some of the arguments for (higher rating), I still think it is unfair to reward someone for something they did outside of the round robin group play.

In their rr group, they were not good enough to achieve first place on their own, so a player should not advance based on results achieved outside of that rr group.

In my opinion the tie break order should be: 1) Berger tie break 2) Total number of wins in the group 3) Result between the two or more players.

I also noticed that a few people have mentioned that more players are required in each rr group. I certainly agree with this.

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-05-02 19:10:02)
sb tie breaks

... it will be discussed every 6 months for sure ;)

While writing WCH rules, the main goal was not only (or firstly) to make it fair. It should be a spectacular and exciting challenge first ! .. Nothing was more unfair than the old FIDE WCH cycle and that was great. Once more these rules have not be designed to 'choose' the best player in the tournament, but more probably the best player. Another advantage of rating preference is you know the challenge when each group starts, result is not decided during the tournament, according to the games of your opponents with the same number of points.

At last, I just wanted to make it different. So you may play in the ICCF & IECG world championship tournaments if you prefer the classical round-robin system :)

Dan Rotaru    (2007-05-03 00:32:46)
sb tie breaks

I believe that Garvin’s idea regarding the tie break makes sense. The higher rated player in a group is not always the best player, especially in correspondence chess where it takes time to achieve one’s real rating or players can get an established equal rating from ICCF or IECG. I also believe that games will be spectacular and exciting even with new rules. I played to win in both my games against the highest rated players in my group and wouldn’t have played different no matter the rules. In the end the rules are rules and equal for everybody so we must obey. However from the number of replies it seems that the topic is hot and maybe it is worth debating for the next WCH. I don’t want to play in the ICCF & IECG world championship tournaments because I enjoy FICGS too much :-)

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-05-03 01:17:03)
sb tie breaks

"The higher rated player in a group is not always the best player"... I agree of course, no rule can say surely who is the best player at a particular moment or period (in this case I meant during a quite long period), it's a question of probability only !

Ok... In my opinion these WCH rules are great, different and shouldn't be changed. However there should be a Cup multi-stage tournament with different rules to give equal chances to everyone, also a new section for double round-robin tournaments. I must 'finish to' launch money tournaments, attract more players after that, then it could be done...

Garvin Gray    (2007-05-15 23:53:11)


Would it be possible to also show the waiting list in rating order? Not just in entry order.

At least something to click on that will show the players in rating order?

Garvin Gray    (2007-06-29 18:51:43)
digging out old thread

I do remember some discussion regarding group sizes for the 3rd wch. I also remember that it was likely that the group sizes will be bigger than the current 7 player used currently.

Please tell us that each group will be 9 or 11 players, to reduce the odds of players tieing for first :)

Thibault de Vassal    (2007-06-29 20:26:40)
WCH groups

Hello Garvin, yes there will be 9 players in WCH groups at stage 1 :)