Olympiad Pairing Rules (effective from 1 January 2022)
OLYMPIAD PAIRING RULES (Approved by Council on 27/10/2021)
1. Basic Pairing System
1.1 The pairing system will be a Swiss System.
2. Odd Number of Participating Teams
2.1 The organising federation shall be entitled to enter a second team ("B" team). If there is an odd number of participating teams the organising federation has the right to enter a third team ("C" team).
2.2 If the "C" team is paired and plays round 1, it shall remain in the tournament to the conclusion even if teams joining or withdrawing during the tournament results in there being an odd number of teams.
3. Ranking of Teams for Pairing Purposes
3.1 The teams shall be ranked in the following order for the purpose of assigning an initial pairing number:
3.1.1 Descending order of the average rating of its four highest-rated players
3.1.2 The rating of the fifth player
3.2 Before the start of subsequent rounds, teams will be ranked in the following order:
3.2.1 Descending order of matchpoints
3.2.2 The initial pairing number as per article 3.1
4.1 If there are an odd number of teams to be paired, then a bye is allocated to the eligible team with the lowest ranking prescribed by the order in article 3.2.
4.2 A team is ineligible to receive the bye if:
4.2.1 It has already received the bye
4.2.2 It won a match by default in a previous round because the opposing team did not arrive
4.2.3 It joined the tournament after the round 1 pairings were published
4.3 The team with the bye will be awarded 1 matchpoint and 2 gamepoints for that round.
5. Unfinished Games
5.1 For pairing purposes, if a round needs to be paired before the previous round has ended due to unforeseen circumstances, unfinished games will be considered drawn.
5.2 Pairings published in the circumstances described in article 5.1 will not be changed once the actual result of the game is established.
6. General Pairing Regulations
6.1 No team will play the same opponent more than once.
6.2 The difference of the matchpoints of two teams paired against each other should be 0 or, if this is not possible, as small as possible.
6.3 A group is defined as the set of teams having the same number of matchpoints.
6.4 Pairings will be made from the top group down to, but not including, the middle group; then from the bottom group up to, but not including, the middle group, and finally the middle group. The middle group shall be defined as that group in which the median team in the standings is located. If there is an even number of teams being paired, the lower ranked of the two middle teams shall be considered as the median team.
Example: Suppose there are 88 teams:
43 11 points
44 11 points
45 10 points ß Median Team
46 10 points
Therefore the 10 matchpoint group is the median group.
7. Colour Allocation
7.1 “Board 1” is defined as the first board of the team. It refers specifically to that board, and not to the player or players who have played and the colours they have had during the tournament.
7.2 In the first round the colour assigned to board 1 of the team ranked number 1 shall be selected by lot. All other odd numbered teams in the top half of the pairing group shall receive the same colour in the first round on board 1 as the team ranked number 1. All even numbered teams in the top half of the pairing group shall receive the opposite colour on board 1 to the team ranked number 1.
7.3 No team's board 1 will either:
7.3.1 Have a colour difference greater than +2 or less than -2, or
7.3.2 Receive the same colour three times in a row
7.4 If applying 7.3 would make it impossible to pair a group without introducing floaters, then the provisions of 7.3 will be disregarded.
7.5 Colours will be assigned to board 1 by giving priority to:
7.5.1 Equalisation, and then
7.6 If both teams have had white on board 1 the same number of times, then the colours should alternate from the most recent round in which they played with different colours. If both teams always had the same colours, then the higher ranked team shall be alternated from the last round.
7.7 If applying 7.5 or 7.6, for unplayed matches or the pairing-allocated bye, the team is deemed to have had no colour.
8.1 A “floater” is a team that is required to move out of their group, for any of the reasons set out elsewhere in these regulations.
8.2.1 If there is an odd number of teams in a group below the median group, the highest ranked team shall be floated up to the group immediately above and paired against the lowest ranked team in that group which it has not already played.
8.2.2 If the group from which the highest ranked team has been floated up is such that a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group cannot be made, then instead of floating the highest ranked team, the second highest ranked team in the group shall be floated up, and so on until a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group can be made.
8.2.3 If the highest ranked team floated up to the group immediately above has already played every team in that group, then it shall be moved back to its original group and the second highest ranked team shall be floated, and so on until a floater is found that can play a team in the higher group.
8.2.4 If every team in a group below the median group has played every team in the group immediately above, then the highest ranked team is floated up to the next group. The procedures in articles 8.2.1 – 8.2.3 apply. If a pairing still cannot be made, then the highest ranked team is floated up to the next group, and the procedures in articles 8.2.1 – 8.2.3 will apply. This will be repeated until a pairing can be made.
8.3.1 If there is an odd number of teams in a group above the median group, the lowest ranked team shall be floated down to the group immediately below and paired against the highest ranked team in that group which it has not already played.
8.3.2 If the group from which the lowest ranked team has been floated down is such that a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group cannot be made, then instead of floating the lowest ranked team, the second lowest ranked team in the group shall be floated down, and so on until a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group can be made.
8.3.3 If the lowest ranked team floated down to the group immediately below has already played every team in that group, then it shall be moved back to its original group and the second lowest ranked team shall be floated, and so on until a floater is found that can play a team in the lower group.
8.3.4 If every team in a group above the median group has played every team in the group immediately below, then the lowest ranked team is floated down to the next group. The procedures in articles 8.3.1 – 8.3.3 apply. If a pairing still cannot be made, then the lowest ranked team is floated down to the next group, and the procedures in articles 8.3.1 – 8.3.3 will apply. This will be repeated until a pairing can be made.
8.4 If in a group including floaters from higher or lower groups a complete pairing is only possible by choosing another floater, another floater will be chosen.
9. Detailed Pairing Procedure
9.1 As far as possible, teams in the top half of any group shall be paired in sequence against the teams in the bottom half of the same group.
9.2 For teams in the median group and higher, priority shall be given to find the correct pairing for the highest ranked team in that group, then the second highest ranked team in that group, and so on. For teams below the median group, priority shall be given to find the correct pairing for the lowest ranked team in that group, then the second lowest ranked team in that group, and so on.
9.3 Assuming 2N teams in a group, it is first attempted to pair the first team in the group with the N + 1 team. If that is possible, a subgroup of 2N - 2 teams is left. The same procedure is now applied to the subgroup. Wherever a match is not possible because the teams have already played each other, or the subgroup is unsolvable, the first team in the group (or subgroup) is matched with N + 2 (instead of N + 1), then N + 3, until 2N, and if still unsuccessful, against N - 1, N – 2 and so on.
Example: Suppose there are six teams in a group, 1 to 6. There will be 15 combinations of pairing within the group, in the following descending order of priority:
1 1 x 4 2 x 5 3 x 6
2 1 x 4 2 x 6 3 x 5
3 1 x 4 2 x 3 5 x 6
4 1 x 5 2 x 4 3 x 5
5 1 x 5 2 x 6 3 x 4
6 1 x 5 2 x 3 4 x 6
7 1 x 6 2 x 4 3 x 5
8 1 x 6 2 x 5 3 x 4
9 1 x 6 2 x 3 4 x 5
10 1 x 3 2 x 5 4 x 6
11 1 x 3 2 x 6 4 x 5
12 1 x 3 2 x 4 5 x 6
13 1 x 2 3 x 5 4 x 6
14 1 x 2 3 x 6 4 x 5
15 1 x 2 3 x 4 5 x 6
9.4 If any team in a group has already played against all other teams in the group it has to be floated down for all groups above the median group; or up for all groups below the median group.
9.5 Priority shall be given to making as many pairings as possible of the teams in a given group before floating a team to another group. The same general logic described above shall be followed.
10. Unpaired Teams
10.1 Only the following teams will be paired for round 1:
10.1.1 Teams with at least three players known to be present in the host city at 1900 local time the day before round 1.
10.1.2 At the discretion of the Chief Arbiter, teams who have given notification of their travel arrangements, and are known to have departed towards the venue, and be scheduled to arrive in time to play round 1.
10.2 Any paired team that has less than three players for two rounds, consecutive or otherwise, will not be paired for the rest of the Olympiad.
10.3 The FIDE President reserves the right to make exceptions to articles 10.1 and 10.2 at his sole discretion.
11.1 The pairings will in generally be published in the following order:
11.1.1 The matchpoints of the higher-ranked team in a pairing.
11.1.2 Sum of matchpoints of both teams in the pairing.
11.1.3 The average rating of the higher-ranked team in a pairing, calculated in accordance with article 3.
11.2 Notwithstanding the provisions of 11.1, the order may be changed for any reason, including but not limited to:
11.2.1 At the request of the sponsor or from the media, permission may be granted by the Global Strategy Commission for particular teams to play on specific boards.
11.2.2 The host nation may assign their “A” team to a specific match number at their discretion.
11.2.3 To cater for the specific needs of players who have disabilities.
11.3 After the team pairings are officially published, they shall not be changed except if the published pairings breach either article 6.1 or 7.3 of these regulations. In case of any change of published team pairings or individual pairings the Chief Arbiter has to inform all team captains concerned. At the discretion of the Chief Arbiter, the start time of one or more games may be postponed.