A few weeks ago, the FIDE Council approved a new set of rules to be applied to official online chess competitions. The document also established the framework for “hybrid” events, a format where the games are played online, but the participants are physically present in a public place like a club, federation headquarters, hotel, et cetera. In this format, all games are played under the supervision of an arbiter present on site.
Considering that the conditions under which a hybrid tournament is played are very similar to those of “over the board events”, having these events rated has always been a possible - and desirable - outcome.
After receiving some additional input from the Qualification Commission, and adding some minor amendments to the first version of the regulations, the FIDE Council has approved that hybrid competitions are officially rated in equal terms with traditional games.
As stated in point 0.2 of the newly approved regulations, “The tournaments to be rated shall be pre-registered by the federation that will be responsible for the submission of results and rating fees. The tournament and its playing schedule must be registered one week before the tournament starts. The QC Chairman may refuse to register a tournament. He may also allow a tournament to be rated even though it has been registered less than one week before the tournament starts. All tournaments played under Hybrid conditions as described in 2.1 must be approved individually by the QC Chairman.”
The requests will be examined on a one-on-one basis, and FIDE’s Qualification Commission reserves itself the right not to rate a specific tournament. This is a precautionary measure to protect the rating system from any unforeseen circumstance, as we enter uncharted territory. In that eventuality, the organizer of the tournament has the right to appeal to the QC.
The best way to prevent this from happening is that organizers send requests with as much notice as they can, and include as much detail as possible, to the Qualification Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org. This will ensure that there is a margin to make whatever adjustments are considered necessary so the event can be rated.
These regulations are the result of a joint effort by a dedicated task force, in which several FIDE Commissions were involved. This included the Rules Commission, Arbiters and the Qualification Commissions, Fair Play, and the FIDE Commission for people with Disabilities. During the final stage, the Global Strategy Commission was responsible for consolidating all the inputs. The last bit was added to the document by the Qualification Commission, and it gives a green light to what many members of the chess community had been asked for: the possibility of rating chess games played through the internet.