10 August 2014

Why Pakistan? in Round 8

Malaysia Men is paired with 158th seeded Pakistan in Round 8. Pakistan's lowly seeding is due only to the inclusion of two unrated players. However unrated does not mean weak, it only means FIDE doesn't know how strong.
In earlier rounds, the unrated players have drawn with 2 IMs and 1 GM, and beaten several 2200+ rated opponents. So Pakistan is definitely not weak. Nevertheless, this fixture presents Malaysia with a winnable opportunity. I can certainly see possibilities to get the required 2.5 points to win the match. With the right application, the heavens will move with you.

A win, by any margin, may just see Malaysia in the the top 50 after round 8. I am looking forward to that.

Why Pakistan?
Someone asks how is it that Malaysia is paired with Pakistan since both are seeded much lower than the other 8 pointers. The Olympiad Pairing Rules are set out in the FIDE handbook. It basically works as follows:

Step 1: All the teams with the same number of Match Points are pooled.

Step 2: The teams in the pool are then sorted based on Game Points (TB2) with Seed No. as the second sort key.

Step 3: Teams from the top half are then paired against those in the bottom half.

First cut of the Round 8 pairings for the 8 MP pool are thus as below. There are 25 teams with 8 Match Points after Round 7. Since there is an odd number, the lowest team (after Step 2) is floated down. Thus Zambia floats down.

Round 8 Pairings No. 26-37 and 86 (extracted from chess-results)

All the pairings agree with the official pairings except Row 11 in the Step 3. Malaysia cannot meet Guatemala as these teams had met in an earlier round. Guatemala thus switches with Pakistan. And that is how Malaysia ended up paired with Pakistan.

An interesting Note
Just imagine, if Malaysia had lost 0.5 point against Nigeria, Malaysia would drop to no. 14 in Step 2. That would have meant meeting Denmark, the No 40 seed and lower chances (skeptics might say 'No Chance') of winning.

As it is, now Malaysia has a reasonable chance of getting into the Top 50 and the team would then have something to brag about even if it were to be only for one round.

Best of luck to the Malaysian team. Do Malaysia proud.


  1. Mr Fong, thanks for your detailed explanation. It is an eye-opener for me.

  2. I am happy to hear that. Thanks also to you.