Yorkshire Chess Association





British On-Line Championship 2021, Round 9


The 9th and final round of the 2021 on-line British Chess Championships was NOT played on 07/08/2021, although scheduled so to be!!


Looking at the https://www.chess.com/events/2021-british-online-chess-championship web page found the event stuck at the end of round 8, played on 06/08/2021.  Perhaps there was a technical problem with the website, or maybe my internet connection was playing up again and the browser was uploading a page cached on the day before.  However, recourse to the https://chess-results.com/tnr569793.aspx?lan=1 web page revealed that “a number of issues”, though rain was probably not one of them, had stopped play, and the following message was addressed to players who were expecting the round-9 pairings to be published, as previously advertised, at midday:


Dear Player
There are a number of issues that need to be resolved before we can publish the pairings, and we have decided to postpone the final round of the Championship Standardplay.
The final round 9 will now take place at 7 pm (1900) tomorrow (Sunday, 8th August).
The pairings should be available by 12 noon tomorrow. We apologise for the short notice and any inconvenience this causes.


Note how the previous day’s “will” had become a more cautious “should”.  Sunday was originally when any necessary play-offs would have been played.


With so small a number of players in a 9-round Swiss, leaders tend to have played each other towards the end, and pairings can get awkward, with a number of leading players having to be down-floated, possibly by 2 or even more score groups.  Just getting a sensible “legal” pairing can be difficult.  Working alternately top down and bottom up, meeting in the middle tends then to be the best approach.  As a former computer programmer with a good deal of experience doing manual Swiss pairings at congresses, the webmaster is led to wonder how well Swiss-pairing software handles difficult situations.


The late Eric Croker was once controlling the British Police Individual Championships with the webmaster assisting.  Eric did the final-round draw, with difficulty, and was not happy with the result, thinking there must be a better solution.  He gave the cards to the webmaster, who independently came up with the same unsatisfactory but “forced” set of pairings.


The plural nature of the phrase “number of issues” leads one to wonder what other issues there might be.  One wonders if there is confusion as to eligibility of certain players to win the title, or perhaps uncertainty as to what rating to use in the pairings, given that at least one player shown on Chess-Results as zero-rated in actual fact has a FIDE rating.


Is there suspicion of cheating, so that a player might be expelled from the final round?


It is all almost as exciting as the chess, which was not played, might have possibly been, had it been played.


“Watch this space.”