The South African Candidates Tournament is an annual tournament forming part of the South African Closed Championships. It is organized by SAGA, and is only open to SAGA members who are South African citizens. It is the second stage of the South African Closed Championship, after the Qualifying stage. One’s position in this tournament determines the amount of placing points one gets for the year. Good performance in at least one tournament in the Qualifying stage is needed to qualify to play in the tournament.
The aim of the Candidates’ stage is to select up to 4 players to proceed to the Contenders’ stage.
Selection of Candidates
Qualifying tournaments for the Candidates’ tournament are held from the beginning of June the previous year up to the end of May. At the end of May, after the last qualifying tournament, the 12 players who have achieved the highest standardized MacMahon scores in the qualifying tournaments during the preceding 12 months, qualify to proceed to the Candidates’ stage, provided that they have at least 100 participation points for the year ending 31st May. (Note: the participation point requirement was 50 points in 1999).
Standardizing: Because different qualifying tournaments tend to set the bar at different levels, the tournament results for different qualifying events must be standardized. The MacMahon scores for each tournament are standardized as follows: all participants are assigned initial scores based on the latest available rankings at the time of the tournament, with the bar set at 1-dan (so all ranks above 1-dan are set to be equal). All players above the bar have a start MacMahon score of 30 and those below the bar have a start MacMahon score of 30 minus 1 for each kyu. The winner of each game in a tournament has his/her MacMahon score increased by 1, as usual, and SOS is determined as usual.
If in any year ending 31st May no qualifying tournaments are held then the 12 qualifiers for the Candidates’ stage will be the 12 highest ranked players on the SAGA ranking system on 31st May, who are SAGA members and SA citizens, and have at least 100 participation points for the year ending 31 May.
The 12 qualifiers will be advised of their status by mid June, and if they wish to proceed to the Candidates’ stage they must lodge their entries before the end of June. A weekend towards the end of July will be set aside for the tournament each year. It is assumed that all candidates will be playing unless they have indicated otherwise.
The tournament format depends on the number of candidates who enter the tournament.
- Up to four candidates – no tournament is held – the relevant candidates proceed directly to the Contenders’ stage.
- 5 or 6 candidates – a 5-round round robin tournament will be played
- 7 or 8 candidates – a 3-round Swiss tournament will be held
- 9 or 10 candidates – the lowest-ranked 4 players will play a 3-round round robin on the first day, the top players in the round robin joining the remaining 5 or 6 players to bring the number to 8. These 8 players then play a 3-round Swiss tournament on the second day
- 11 or 12 candidates – All but the top 4 strongest candidates play in a 3-round Swiss tournament on the first day. The top 4 players proceed to the second day, where they join the top 4 strongest candidates in another 3-round Swiss tournament
In all cases, strength here refers to relative ranking on the SAGA ranking system at the end of June. For more than 5 candidates, the top 4 players in the final phase of the tournament proceed to the Contenders’ tournament.
Rules: All games will be even with 6 1/2 points komi and time limits of 1 hour thinking time per player plus 20 moves for each 5 minute overtime period. Clocks will be started at the appointed starting time of each round and players who do not arrive within 45 minutes from the start of each round will forfeit their games.
Draw schedule for three round eight (or seven) player Swiss:
The 8 players are listed in order of strength (rank, index) according to the SAGA ranking record at the end of June. If there are only seven players, then player No. 5 will be the dummy.
Game 1 Player No. 1 vs. Player No. 5 (or dummy)
Game 2 Player No. 2 vs. Player No. 6
Game 3 Player No. 3 vs. Player No. 7
Game 4 Player No. 4 vs. Player No. 8
Game 5. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 3
Game 6. Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 7. Loser Game 1 (or dummy) vs. Loser Game 3
Game 8. Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 9. Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 10. Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 6 (was Game 5 prior to 2006)
Game 11. Winner Game 8 vs. Loser Game 5 (was Game 6 prior to 2006)
Game 12. Loser Game 7 (or dummy) vs. Loser Game 8
If both players drawn to play each other do not play then neither player scores a point but, to enable the draw of the next round to be made, the stronger player will be considered to be the winner.
2005: Victor Chow (6d)
2004: Chris Visser (1d)
In 2003, the tournament was held on 26-27 July at Westdene Recreation Centre.
The 1999 tournament was scheduled for 10-11 July.
The rules for tournaments to be qualifying tournaments for the candidates, as well as more details on the tournament structure and tournament rules, are available in this MS-Word document.
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