Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Olympiad Pairing Rules for 2010

During and after the 2008 Dresden Olympiad, there was plenty of discussion about the pairing system used. The major complaints were Match points over Game points, Acceleration, Top v Bottom, and team ordering. At the FIDE Congress in 2009 a lot of these concerns were addressed by the Technical Administration Panel (TAP), and changes were made for 2010. Here is a summary of those changes.

Firstly, acceleration is out. So the pairings start with 1 v (N/2)+1 etc
However Match points remain for pairing ordering and placing.
The team ordering for pairings has been changed from the Olympiad SB system, to a simpler method. The ranking is now Match points, then game points and finally Team rating (as defined at the start of the tournament).
Pairings will be done in the order of top down to just above middle, then bottom up to just below middle, then middle.
Pairings with a pairing group will revert to top v (N/2)+1, rather than top v bottom. The pairings will also try and have top half v bottom half wherever possible. This is more achievable than under the normal swiss rules, as colurs in teams events is less important, and will not be an overriding criteria.
For colours, not team can have a colour imbalance >2 or >2 colours in a row. However teams that both have a +1 (or -1) colour imbalance already can still play each other. Colour allocation will follow the equalisation, then alternation system.

If you want to see a full description of the system then it is published here in the FIDE handbook.