ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

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Chris Rice
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ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Chris Rice » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:05 pm

Following yet another example of an Iranian player refusing to play an Israeli player in Stockholm recently the ECU has started the ball rolling on this with a resolution requesting that the FIDE Presidential Board issue:
  • A statement that such individual boycotts will no longer be tolerated;
  • A resolution from the Board banning the practice of ‘ special pairings’ at the Chess Olympiads, FIDE tournaments and in all FIDE rated events. This refers to the practice of deliberately keeping players or teams from certain countries apart by adjusting the pairing software; and
  • If required, to take such steps at the next General Assembly to ensure the two points above are on the agenda for the next FIDE GA.
It's interesting timing, Iran have recently become an extremely strong chess nation and have a number of world class players who will no doubt suffer if FIDE decide to take the action requested.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:27 pm

"Special pairings" in FIDE-rated events is impossible to police. There's no obligation for a FIDE-rating submission to be a tournament; it can be just a collection of club internal games. A bit like how CCF operates, for example. I don't see how it would be possible for anyone to go through the huge numbers of FIDE-rating file submissions to determine which pairings have been changed in this way, and which haven't. And even if we did, FIDE rates games not tournaments - the games of chess that were played, albeit against "the wrong opponent", are still perfectly good games of chess for the purpose of rating.

FIDE can do it for official FIDE events, and I guess titlenorm tournaments too, but beyond that there isn't a satisfactory way of policing it that I can see, so it's just words on a page.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:47 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:27 pm
"Special pairings" in FIDE-rated events is impossible to police.
The volume might make it impractical, but isn't it the case that the chess-results software permits anyone with the pairing software to download the data and attempt to reproduce the pairings? This was done for Gibraltar when there was that allegation involving Hou Yifan and excessive numbers of female opponents. What that also threw up was that the no play flag involving Israeli and Iranian players had been set as one of the rounds didn't exactly replicate.

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:50 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:47 pm
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:27 pm
"Special pairings" in FIDE-rated events is impossible to police.
The volume might make it impractical, but isn't it the case that the chess-results software permits anyone with the pairing software to download the data and attempt to reproduce the pairings? This was done for Gibraltar when there was that allegation involving Hou Yifan and excessive numbers of female opponents. What that also threw up was that the no play flag involving Israeli and Iranian players had been set as one of the rounds didn't exactly replicate.
I know that it was done for Gibraltar - I was the one who did it. :wink:

There's no obligation for the submission to be a tournament. Indeed, if it is a tournament there's no obligation to use the FIDE pairing system. We paired the British Championship using the CAA pairing system for years and years. Other countries have pet systems too.

If it is a tournament, there are a number of endorsed pairing programs. For example, Vega is quite popular in Spain and Italy. They don't all necessarily have that feature - I haven't used them so I don't know, but it certainly isn't one of the requirements to become an endorsed program. So even if it is a tournament and it is using an endorsed pairing program, it's not so easy. There's no obligation to use an endorsed pairing program, so you could use UTU Swiss. You could shuffle cards around and not publish anything to web.

So I'm happy with my use of the word "impossible", rather than merely "impractical".

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:25 pm

Chris Rice wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:05 pm
the ECU has started the ball rolling on this with a resolution requesting that the FIDE Presidential Board issue:
In the link I read
All the related material presented at the ECU General Assembly has sent already to FIDE by the International Director of the English Chess Federation Mr. Malcolm Pein.
So is this an ECF initiative or a Malcolm one?

Competitions under the auspices of British arbiters have long followed a lead set by Stewart Reuben in avoiding problematic pairings.

NickFaulks
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:11 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:27 pm
"Special pairings" in FIDE-rated events is impossible to police.
True, but the proposal would mean that Chief Arbiters who were asked directly whether their pairings had been perverted would have to lie. That is a big step.

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:15 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:11 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:27 pm
"Special pairings" in FIDE-rated events is impossible to police.
True, but the proposal would mean that Chief Arbiters who were asked directly whether their pairings had been perverted would have to lie. That is a big step.
Or tell the truth and say "Yes". If the tournament rules permit this to happen - given there is no obligation to use one of the FIDE pairing systems - and people enter on those terms, then I don't see what the problem is.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:58 am

"A resolution from the Board banning the practice of ‘ special pairings’ at the Chess Olympiads, FIDE tournaments and in all FIDE rated events. This refers to the practice of deliberately keeping players or teams from certain countries apart by adjusting the pairing software; "

I thought fiddling the pairings (e.g. to help selected players with norm chances) was already banned?

NickFaulks
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:03 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:15 am
Or tell the truth and say "Yes".
Then you frame the question better. Did they pervert the pairings with the specific intention of separating players from certain federations?

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:12 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:58 am
I thought fiddling the pairings (e.g. to help selected players with norm chances) was already banned?
Indeed, but to the best of my knowledge the pairings have been quietly adjusted to avoid the Israeli problem even in those. The Olympiad is a direct title event, let alone a norm event.

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:14 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:03 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:15 am
Or tell the truth and say "Yes".
Then you frame the question better. Did they pervert the pairings with the specific intention of separating players from certain federations?
"Yes, in accordance with the rules we published before entries were opened."

Or in the case of somewhere like Coulsdon's internal games on their speed night, "No, we just paired people randomly, and as luck would have it, the Israeli never played the Palestinian."

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:31 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:12 am
Indeed, but to the best of my knowledge the pairings have been quietly adjusted to avoid the Israeli problem even in those. The Olympiad is a direct title event, let alone a norm event.
There's been nothing quiet about it, everybody knows. The suggestion is that this practice should cease.

Tim Spanton
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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Tim Spanton » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:41 am

It is interesting comparing ordinary continental swisses where, in my experience, pairings are almost invariably computer-generated with no favours asked (or at least none given) - it is not all that unusual for two players from England to travel hundreds of miles together only to find themselves paired against each other in round one - with the procedure at English tournaments where, at least until recently, pairings were sometimes fiddled to increase norm chances, and sometimes players are actually asked if there is someone they would rather not play against

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:32 pm

Tim Spanton wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:41 am
It is interesting comparing ordinary continental swisses where, in my experience, pairings are almost invariably computer-generated with no favours asked (or at least none given) - it is not all that unusual for two players from England to travel hundreds of miles together only to find themselves paired against each other in round one - with the procedure at English tournaments where, at least until recently, pairings were sometimes fiddled to increase norm chances, and sometimes players are actually asked if there is someone they would rather not play against
I have learned that in continental Europe, there are far more regulations applied than in England, and they are far harsher and more strictly adhered to. Of course, that is up to them - in many cases they must answer to their national Olympic committee. If there were a chess forum in those countries, I don't think Roger would ever get off his computer due to writing posts on the forum complaining about them. :lol:

Pairings have not been fiddled in England to increase norm chances throughout my time being involved in chess tournament administration, and I suspect for quite some time before that too.

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Re: ECU General Assembly Resolution on Boycotts

Post by Stewart Reuben » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:12 pm

It took me 25 years, but I eventually got the QC rules for title norms amended to be more user-friendly. It would be very, very rare now for a player to be unable to get a norm in Britain because he did not get the correct mix or zverage rating of opponents.

Siblings, and even more so twins, often hate to play against ech other, as do husband and wife.

There is, or was, a special FIDE Rule that where countries were at war with each other, pairings fom those federations could be avoided. The problem with Israel is that several countries believe themselves to be at war with them, but Israel does not. Palestine, UAE. Yemen., etc.
It is all very well for the arbiter to say, you must play against an Israeli. But, it is a persuasive argument when he is from Palestine or Yemen and responds, 'Then, when I return home, that will be the end of me.'
Possibly the best way, is for the player to work out with whom he is going to be paired and then forfeit the round before the pairings are made.
We are very odd in Britain, favouring the idea of the players enjoying themselves by playing chess. And trying to minimise forfeits.

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