05 March 2013

Bilbao Scoring System

On yesterday's post, Carlsen TMER 2008-2012, I wrote,

One complication that I hadn't encountered before are events that use the 3/1/0 scoring system (three points for a win, one for a draw). The first chronologically was the 2008 Grand Slam Final, after which I identified seven other events. I'm not even sure what the system is called.

As usual, it wasn't hard to find the commonly accepted name. A search on 'chess soccer scoring', which it resembles, leads immediately to 'Bilbao scoring system', as in Some thoughts on the Bilbao scoring system in London on Chessbase.com. The Bilbao reference brings us full circle to the 2008 Grand Slam Final, played in Bilbao, Spain, where the system was first used for a world class chess event. Mark Crowther wrote,

The Bilbao Grand Slam final was won by Veselin Topalov who was a convincing winner of the event in the end. There was a system of 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw which I'm not a fan of; it's an ugly system which had only the small effect of promoting Carlsen up a couple of places and I think none on the way the players competed. [...] Rightly or wrongly I'm going to stick with 1, 1/2 and 0 in the actual results part of the table. [TWIC723; 15 September 2008]

In December 2009, the same system was adopted for the 1st London Chess Classic, organized by Crowther's sponsor and won by Carlsen. Crowther wasn't the only chess fan who initially turned his thumb down on the Bilbao system. The comments to Bilbao Grand Slam Chess Final (2008) on Chessgames.com, written at the time of the event, show an overwhelming dislike and distrust of the system. Change always comes hard to the chess world, at all levels.

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