17 August 2014

Malaysia@Tromso: Tournament Review Part 3 (Final)

FIDE changed the ranking basis at the Olympiads to Match Points (previously Game Points) starting from the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden. . At the same time, the event was reduced to 11 rounds (previously 13), and team size reduced to 4 players + 1 reserve (previously 4 + 2).

Since there have been only 4 editions with the new format, it is easy to directly compare the 2014 Malaysian team performance with those of the 2008, 2010 and 2012 teams. All 4 events were played with the same format, tie-breaks, etc.

Swiss Manager (chess-results.com)
An important development took place at the 2006 Olympiad. For the first time, the Swiss Manager pairing program was used to do the pairings. More importantly for researchers like me, the results and other information since 2006 are archived in the chess-results server maintained by Heinz Herzog, the owner of the Swiss Manager software. This makes it much easier to obtain and reorganise information to generate the required report, as in the summary table below on Malaysia Men's performances since the 2008 Olympiad.

Summary: Malaysia Men's Olympiad Team Performance 2008-2014

Some Observations:

1) Starting Rank (Seeding) does not give a good indication of how well a team would actually do. The highest seeded 2008 Malaysian team was the worst performer. It finished very much lower than the 2014 team which was only seeded no.103. Even the 2010 team, seeded no. 86 finished lower than the 2014 team.

2) Since seeding is based on the average of the 4 highest rated team members, higher rating does not mean the team will do better. Thus the significantly higher rated teams, 2008 team (rated 2362) and 2010 (rated 2325), did much, much worse than the lowly rated 2014 team (rated 2221). Ratings don't count.

3) All 4 teams struggled against Top 50 teams. Only the 2010 team managed a draw against a top team. However that 2010 team also struggled and actually conceded a draw and suffered a loss against teams ranked below 100 (Category C).

4) The 2014, 2012 and 2008 had a 100% score against Category C teams (ranked below 100). They won all their games as expected. Only the 2010 team struggled (as mentioned in 3) above.

5) The 2014, 2012 and 2008 teams performed largely within the Category B range with similar results for all 3 teams.

6) The 2010 lost both matches it played against Category B teams, indicating that perhaps that team was really playing at Category C standard. Arguably the 2010 team was the worst performer of the last 4 Malaysian Olympiad teams. The 2008 team was not much better.

7) The indisputable conclusion is that the 2014 team did much, much better than the 2010 and 2008 teams.

2014 v 2012

8) Only the 2012 team performance bears comparison with that of the 2014 team. The 2012 finished ahead only on tie-breaks by just a few ranks

9) My detailed analysis (not presented here) is that the difference in tie-breaks is due to the 2012 team scoring 1.5 points against 6th ranked Netherlands in R1, the only match this team played against a Category A opponent.

10) There is a strong case to say that the 2014 team actually performed better than the 2012 team, just on the strength of the 2 draws with 51st-ranked Switzerland and 56th-ranked Tajikistan.

Ultimately, whether 64th or 72nd, it is really not a big deal. Malaysia should aim for a Top 50 rank, which would be a big step up from how our teams have been performing for the last 22 years.

On this note, I conclude my analysis of the performance of the Malaysia Men's team at 2014 Tromso Olympiad. Thanks for reading.

For those interested, the round-by-round results of Malaysia Men's Team at the 4 latest Olympiads are made available below.


  1. You are hardcore!

  2. Thanks. Somebody's got to do it.

  3. Job well done, Mr Fong. Review and Analysis based on fact and figures. MCF should use this review, take note and DO WHATEVER NECESSARY to improve the Malaysian chess in future especially in the Chess Olympiads.

    Hope your BIG effort will be appreciated.



  4. Thanks, Encik Saleh. I am concerned the MCF situation is reverting into a 'supremo' situation again. The supremo has no incentive to do proper selection when he has the power to just pick his close friends and favoured players. Only hope is for a benign supremo who really cares for Malaysian chess development. Also there should be an MCF elections before the next Olympiad. Let's see what happens at that AGM