Tie-breaking in Swiss-system tournaments

Last updated

Tie-break systems are used in chess Swiss system tournaments to break ties between players who have the same total number of points after the last round. This is needed when prizes are indivisible, such as titles, trophies, or qualification for another tournament. Otherwise players often share the tied spots, with cash prizes being divided equally among the tied players. If the players are still tied after one tie-break system is used, another system is used, and so on, until the tie is broken. Most of the methods are numerical methods based on the games that have already been played or other objective factors, while some methods require additional games to be played, etc. Strength of schedule is the idea behind the methods based on the games already played: that the player that played the harder competition to achieve the same number of points should be ranked higher.

Chess Strategy board game

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century. Chaturanga is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century; the modern rules were standardized in the 19th century.

In sports, strength of schedule (SOS) refers to the difficulty or ease of a team's/person's opponent as compared to other teams/persons. This is especially important if teams in a league do not play each other the same number of times.

Contents

Harry Golombek points out deficiencies in most of the tie-break systems and recommends a playoff if there is time. If not, he recommends Sonneborn-Berger and then the player who has the most wins. For Swiss tournaments, he recommends the Buchholz system and the Cumulative system ( Golombek 1977 :322).

Harry Golombek British chess player

Harry Golombek OBE was a British chess player, chess arbiter, chess author, and wartime codebreaker. He was three times British chess champion, in 1947, 1949, and 1955 and finished second in 1948.

The Buchholz system is a ranking or scoring system in chess developed by Bruno Buchholz in 1932, for Swiss system tournaments. It was originally developed as an auxiliary scoring method, but more recently it has been used as a tie-breaking system. It was probably first used in the 1932 Bitterfeld tournament. It was designed to replace the Neustadtl score.

For Swiss chess tournaments for individuals (not teams), FIDE recommends - in an Annex to the FIDE Tournament Regulations regarding tiebreaks:

FIDE international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world

The Fédération Internationale des Échecs is an international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world and acts as the governing body of international chess competition. It is usually referred to by its French acronym FIDE.

  1. The result of the direct encounter(s) between the players (if any)
  2. The greater number of wins
  3. The greater number of games with Black (unplayed games shall be counted as played with White)
  4. The Average Rating of Opponents Cut (the average rating of opponents, excluding one or more of the ratings of the opponents, starting from the lowest-rated opponent)
  5. Buchholz Cut 1 (the Buchholz score reduced by the lowest score of the opponents)
  6. Buchholz (the sum of the scores of each of the opponents of a player)
  7. Sonneborn-Berger

Median

The Median system is also known as the Harkness System, after its inventor Kenneth Harkness. For each player, this system sums the number of points earned by the player's opponents, but discarding the highest and lowest. If there are nine or more rounds, the top two and bottom two scores are discarded. Unplayed games by the opponents count ½ point. Unplayed games by the player count zero points. This is also known as the Median-Buchholz System ( Just & Burg 2003 :199–200).

Kenneth Harkness was a chess organizer. He is the creator of the Harkness rating system.

Modified Median

The Modified Median system is similar to the Median system, except:

Solkoff

This system is the same as the Median system, except that no scores are discarded ( Just & Burg 2003 :200). Ephraim Solkoff did not invent this system. He introduced it to the United States in 1950, but it was used in England prior to that ( Harkness 1967 :138).

Cumulative

To calculate this, sum the running score for each round. For example, if a player has (in order) a win, loss, win, draw, and a loss; his round-by-round score will be 1, 1, 2, 2½, 2½. The sum of these numbers is 9. Additionally, one point is subtracted from the sum for each unplayed win, and ½ point is subtracted for each unplayed draw. In the previous example, if the fourth-round draw was instead a ½ point bye, then ½ point would be subtracted and the final sum would be 8½.

This system places more weight on games won in the early rounds and the least weight on games won in the final rounds. The rationale for this system is that a player who scored well early in the tournament has most likely faced tougher opponents in later rounds and should therefore be favored over a player who scored poorly in the start before subsequently scoring points against weaker opponents ( Just & Burg 2003 :200–201).

Cumulative opponent's score

This sums the cumulative scores of the player's opponents ( Just & Burg 2003 :202).

Result between tied players

If the tied players played each other, if one of them won then he finishes higher on tie-break ( Just & Burg 2003 :201).

Most games with the black pieces

The player that had the black pieces the most times finishes highest on tie-breaks ( Just & Burg 2003 :201).

Most wins (Baumbach)

The player with the most wins finishes highest on tie-breaks. This is used as the first tie-break rule for individual tournaments in ICCF.

Kashdan

Invented by Isaac Kashdan, this system awards four points for a win, two points for a draw, one point for a loss, and none for an unplayed game. As a result, if players with no unplayed games tie, the one with fewer draws finishes higher on the tie-break (i.e. a win and a loss is better than two draws) ( Just & Burg 2003 :201).

Sonneborn–Berger score

Add the scores of every opponent the player beats and half of the score of every opponent the player draws ( Just & Burg 2003 :201). The system was named after William Sonneborn and Johann Berger, but it was invented by Oscar Gelbfuhs ( Harkness 1967 :137). The system is the main tie-breaking system in round robin tournaments, but is also used in Swiss tournaments. It is also called the Neustadtl score.

What we call the Sonneborn-Berger system was not invented by Sonneborn or Berger, and it was not originally designed for tie-breaking. It was invented by Oscar Gelbfuhs about 1873 to be used as a weighted score in round-robin tournaments. It would be used instead of the raw score for final places. In 1886 Sonneborn criticized the system and suggested an improvement that would give a better weighted score. His suggestion was to add the square of the player's points to the amount calculated as above. In 1887 and 1888 Berger studied Gelbfuhs' system and the suggestion of Sonneborn. This improvement became known as the Sonneborn-Berger system.[ citation needed ]

When the system is used to break ties between equally scoring players, adding in the square of the player's raw score does no good, so the Sonneborn improvement is omitted. However, the system has retained the Sonneborn-Berger name ( Harkness 1967 :136–37).

Opponent's performance

This method uses the average performance rating of the player's opponents. The "performance rating" of a player is basically the rating he would receive if he had started the tournament without a rating ( Just & Burg 2003 :202).

Average rating of opposition

The average rating of the player's opponents ( Just & Burg 2003 :202).

Time of loss

Among tied players, the player whose first loss came last gets priority. If player A's first loss was in round 4 and player B's first loss was in round 2, player A gets priority. This was a tiebreaker used by POP in 2004-2005.

Tardiness

If a player arrives after the first round is paired, the player loses priority. This tiebreaker is currently used by POP.

Speed play-off games

The tie is broken by one or more games played with fast time control, or Fast chess.

Single fast game

FIDE rules provide for a single fast decisive game. Black gets five minutes on the clock whereas White gets six minutes but must win (i.e. a draw counts as a win for Black). The player who wins the draw of lots may choose which color he wants.

Coin flip

As a last resort, ties are broken by a random process such as a coin flip ( Just & Burg 2003 :203).

The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) recommends these as the first four tie-breaking methods to be used ( Just & Burg 2003 :199):

  1. Modified Median
  2. Solkoff
  3. Cumulative
  4. Cumulative opponent's score

See also

Related Research Articles

Draw (chess) result of a chess game ending in a tie

In chess, a draw is the result of a game ending in a tie. Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.

Magnus Carlsen Norwegian chess player

Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. In addition to his success in classical chess, he is also a two-time World Rapid Chess Champion and four-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen first reached the top of the FIDE world rankings in 2010, and trails only Garry Kasparov at time spent as the highest rated player in the world. His peak classical rating of 2882 is the highest in history.

36th Chess Olympiad

The 36th Chess Olympiad, organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 14 and October 31, 2004, in Calvià on the Spanish island of Majorca. There were 129 teams in the open event and 87 in the women's event. In total, 1204 players were registered.

A Swiss-system tournament is a non-eliminating tournament format that features a set number of rounds of competition, but considerably fewer than that of a round-robin tournament. In a Swiss tournament, each competitor does not necessarily play all other entrants. Competitors meet one-on-one in each round and are paired using a set of rules designed to ensure that each competitor plays opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. All competitors play in each round unless there is an odd number of players.

The Sonneborn–Berger score is a scoring system often used to break ties in chess tournaments. It is computed by summing the conventional score of each defeated opponent, and half the conventional score of each drawn opponent.

37th Chess Olympiad

The 37th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between May 20 and June 4, 2006, in Turin, Italy. There were 148 teams in the open event and 103 in the women's event. In total, 1307 players were registered.

In a group tournament, unlike a knockout tournament, there is no scheduled decisive final match. Instead, all the competitors are ranked by examining the results of all the matches played in the tournament. Typically, points are awarded for each match, with competitors ranked based either on total number of points or average points per match. Usually each competitor finishes with an equal number of matches, in which case rankings by total points and by average points are equivalent at the end of the tournament, though not necessarily while it is in progress. Examples with unequal numbers of matches include the 1895 County Championship in English cricket, and the U.S. National Football League prior to 1972, when tie games were excluded from the winning percentage used for regular-season standings.

38th Chess Olympiad Chess tournament

The 38th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between 12–25 November 2008 in Dresden, Germany. There were 146 teams in the open event and 111 in the women's event. In total, 1277 players were registered.

The Norwegian Chess Championship is an annual tournament held in Norway during the month of July, in order to determine the national chess champion. The tournament is held at different venues each year as part of the Landsturnering. Clubs may bid for this tournament, which is awarded by the Norwegian Chess Federation.

Johann Berger Austrian chess player

Johann Nepomuk Berger was an Austrian chess master, theorist, endgame study composer, author and editor.

30th Chess Olympiad

The 30th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between June 7 and June 25, 1992, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines.

23rd Chess Olympiad

The 23rd Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 25 and November 12, 1978, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

World Chess Championship 1969

The 1969 World Chess Championship was played between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky in Moscow from April 14 to June 17, 1969. Spassky won.

Chess tournament

A chess tournament is a series of chess games played competitively to determine a winning individual or team. Since the first international chess tournament in London, 1851, chess tournaments have become the standard form of chess competition among serious players.

39th Chess Olympiad Chess tournament

The 39th Chess Olympiad, organised by FIDE and comprising an open and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place from September 19 to October 4, 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. There were 148 teams in the open event and 115 in the women's event. In total, 1306 players were registered.

A chess rating system is a system used in chess to calculate an estimate of the strength of the player, based on his or her performance versus other players. They are used by organizations such as FIDE, the US Chess Federation, International Correspondence Chess Federation, and the English Chess Federation. Most of the systems are used to recalculate ratings after a tournament or match but some are used to recalculate ratings after individual games. Popular online chess sites such as chess.com and Internet Chess Club also implement rating systems. In almost all systems a higher number indicates a stronger player. In general, players' ratings go up if they perform better than expected and down if they perform worse than expected. The magnitude of the change depends on the rating of their opponents. The Elo rating system is currently the most widely used.

40th Chess Olympiad Chess tournament

The 40th Chess Olympiad, organised by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 27 August to 10 September 2012. The city also hosted the event in 2000.

Norway Chess is an annual closed chess tournament, typically taking place in the May to June time period every year. The first edition took place in the Stavanger area, Norway, from 7 May to 18 May 2013. The 2013 tournament had ten participants, including seven of the ten highest rated players in the world per the May 2013 FIDE World Rankings. It was won by Sergey Karjakin, with Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura tied for second place. Norway Chess 2015 took place in mid-June 2015 and was a part of the inaugural Grand Chess Tour. The tournament has since decided to withdraw from the Grand Chess Tour.

Candidates Tournament 2018

The Candidates Tournament 2018 was an eight-player double round-robin chess tournament, which was held in Berlin, Germany, between 10–28 March 2018. The winner, Fabiano Caruana, earned the right to challenge the defending world champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, in the World Chess Championship 2018 match.

References