The 19th National Sport Festival commenced their Chess Tournament on the 9th December 2018 in Abuja with 25 states competing in the Male Section and 17 states in the female section. For the first time in history, the chess event would be rated due to the large number of rated players in the country as opposed to the time past. This makes it the largest rated Team Chess Tournament in Nigeria. The Nigerian Chess Federation (NCF) was in charge of the technicalities/officiating of the event.
Below is the leaked list of officials for the Chess Event.
- Lekan Adeyemi (President)
- IA Oyebode Aliyu (Technical Director)
- IA Amisu Omotayo (Chief Arbiter)
- IA Obinna Ogbonaya
- IA Dudieffa Dickson
- FA Mike Eduamodu
- FA Kenny Adeyemi
- FA Ademola Oyebanji
- Bisi Azeez
- FA Solaja Femi
- Abdul Pam Dio
- Kingsley Otuchere
- Bashirat Atinuke
- NA Samuel Ojikutu
- NA Chris Ojeleye
- NA Bola Adejumo
- NA Segun Adeyemi
There was a captain’s meeting as at 8th December 2018, where some technical details where explained to the team captains by the officials. Some flaws which have been occurring before were raised by the captains but most reoccurring is the method of getting the top best for individual recognition.
Right from time, percentage performance is used which was a flaw even recognized by the world governing body of chess (FIDE) in determining the top best individuals in a team chess tournament. At the Olympiads, a team at the bottom board can get a medal on any of their boards provided their player is on perfect score. The tactic mostly employed is the strongest player of the weaker team is often rested playing against a very strong team. The moment they lose their first team match, they get paired with another team that just lost which is 80% guaranteed a weaker team. Then the player comes in and starts winning on his board while his team members willingly or unwillingly loses their game in other to lose the match points. At the end of 9 rounds of continuous match loss but a 10 straight game points for the said player, he is on 100% hence qualifies to win a Gold medal whereas the strongest teams would be battling it out at the top boards hence having 90% chances of not making 100%. The solution was to use Tournament Performance Rating (TPR). TPR is a number reflecting the approximate rating level at which a player performed in a particular tournament or match. It is often calculated by adding together the player’s performances in each individual game, using the opponent’s rating for a draw, adding 400points to the opponent’s rating for a win, and subtracting 400points from the opponent’s rating for a loss, then dividing the total number of games. For example, a player who beat a 2400 rated player, lost to a 2600, drew a 2500 and beat a 2300, would have a performance rating of 2550 (i.e. 2800 + 2200 +2500 + 2700)/4 = 2550.
For those that were asking how TPR would be hard in calculating for players that have no rating, you can see here that it does not matter. Worst-case scenario, the Chief Arbiter can give a base rating of 1500 for every unrated player for this sole purpose and remove the base rating before submitting to FIDE for ratings.
It is so bad in Nigeria, the team captain or coaches already panned out the idea before they got to the tournament venue. Check this strategy out: a prospective player for the silverware is rested during round 1 and 2. The team loses their two matches outright, fields in the player and starts bargaining for a full point for him. A simple agreement of, please let us win on this board and we will give you the remaining boards or we will give you a win on board 1, give us the win on board 4 and let us fight on board 2 and 3. This trend continues until the player meets the required number of games that qualifies him or her for silverware for his team.
The Nigerian Chess Federation is of the opinion that many states can exploit this flaw to get medals, hence encouraging their states to send them down to the next National Sports Festival increasing more players and making the game more popular as against a criterion where best players stands more chances to win. We understand their plight, the question is, how long will this go on? How long would mediocre players or average players be winning medals over best players in the country?
…watch out for part 2.