The International Qualification Tournament, 1999

By Peter Jonsson, 1999

Personally I think that the Qualification Tournament is almost as exciting as the A-tournament.
When you listen people it is a lot of speculations going on.

a) How many points should be taken to get at least fifth place and qualify for the AT? Most people thought that 4.5 points should be enough, like in the previous QT in St. Petersburg 1997. These people made correct guesses.

b) Should any of the players from China and Chinese Taipei reach to the AT?
To be honest, most people did not know very much about of these players strength. Anyway, the majority thought that it would be a difficult task this time because of lack of experience of playing in international tournaments. Well, after a few rounds it looked promising for some players. Shihwen Li from Chinese Taipei got a good start by taking two points in the first three rounds but later on he lost some games and finished on three points. Yifong Chang, Chinese Taipei made a good finish. He won his last three games and finished on four points. But when you play in a Swiss tournament it is important to make some points in the beginning in order to get a good Buchgolz coefficient.

c) Should Russia, who had five very strong players succeed to take all of them into AT?
Some people believed that but in the end "only" four Russians got into AT. Sergei Filippov won his first three games but followed up by three losses and finished on 7th place.

Mihail Kozhin played really impressive and did not lose any game, five wins and two draws. Vladimir Sushkov (2nd in the European Championship) played also strong and finished second. Second rated Stefan Karlsson got only 1.5 points in the first three rounds then played better and finished at third place.
Note! Andrey Khramov, 11th rated had a chance to reach top five place by defeating Petter Gardström in the last round.

The regulations for the QT will from now on be changed a little. As before RIF members have the right to participate with three players each. All other nations have the right to one player and the three best players from the previous B-tournament also have the right to take part. From QT 2001 the 20 best players from RIF's International Rating List will have a personal right to take part.

[Editor: The QT regulations have changed a bit after this article was written. For most recent info, please see the Qualification System page in RIF website.]