Tuesday, 20 January 2015 00:00


Following a section of misleading reports in the media entailing distortions of facts, quoting complaints from Haruna Nsubuga, who finished third in the just ended Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship and alleging that it is a “change of rules” that cost him first place after tying on the same number of points with the deserved winner - FM Harold Wanyama, Uganda Chess Federation has deemed it prudent to clarify the situation and clear the air.

The pairing system used for the event was Swiss Manager, an official pairing programme recommended by FIDE (the world’s chess governing body) for use at international events of this nature. The programme follows scientifically proven methods to rank players who complete an event at the same number of points to determine winners based on performance. It normally puts into consideration the following factors (none of which is looked at in isolation): Direct encounter, the greater number of wins, the greater number of games with Black, AROC, Buchholz Cut 1, Buchholz, Sonneborn-Berger.

Once the tournament Arbiter enters the results, the programme sorts them based on the above parameters and ranks the players. The Arbiter cannot manipulate the programme as it does not operate manually. Therefore allegations that a change of tie break rules affected the final ranking are farfetched and can not apply. The truth is that the programme actually considered the ‘direct encounter’ between Nsubuga and Wanyama (which the later lost) but ranked Nsubuga lower in the final standings because he had a ‘bye’ (un played game against Arthur Ssegwanyi), which is recorded as a forfeit and scores much lower than an actually played game.

The unplayed game that Nsubuga registered implies that out of the scheduled 8 games, Wanyama had a score of 7 points out of 8 played games while the other two contenders Nsubuga and IM Elijah Emojong both had 6 points out of 7 played games. Nsubuga and Emojong both had walkovers against John Kikonyogo and Ssegwanyi respectively. In actual standings, they only raised 7 points, same as the winner (Wanyama) because of the additional point from the ‘bye’ (un played game). All possible tie breaks rank a player with an unplayed game lower than one who has played all the games. The fact that Nsubuga’s loss came in as early as the second round against weaker opposition also makes his tie break inferior to Wanyama who lost in the last round against stronger opposition.

The Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship Arbiters therefore did not change any rules as alleged and insinuated but acted within the parameters of FIDE rules and awarded the deserved winner based on the Swiss Manager programme’s calculations, which they do not have ability to manipulate as insinuated by the complainant. While Nsubuga beat the eventual winner in the last round, it was unfortunately not enough for him to win the crown based on the other results especially the point he registered from an unplayed game.

Robert Katende, the Chief Arbiter of the event is a very highly professional FIDE Arbiter that has arbitrated at even higher levels (including the World Youth Chess Championships and Africa Junior Chess Championships) with an impeccable reputation in running other businesses while displaying a high level of integrity. This is a reputation he has built over years. IM Elijah Emojong, who also had 7 points and finished second has played in many international tournaments and is familiar with the tie break systems. It is no wonder that he had no qualms with the final ranking.

Organizers of this event put in a lot of effort to pull it off and are therefore extremely disappointed by reckless insinuations of this nature.

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