The 2019 Atomic World Championships

Format: Modified single-knockout with a cut at the top 8, with potential additions beyond this point, transforming to double-knockout.

The 2018 Atomic World Championship was a double elimination knockout tournament that was run surprisingly well, but had a number of incidents that the rules have been changed/modified to address. First and foremost, the double knockout portion has been removed for the main part of the tournament. Once the cut to the top 8 occurs, the format changes to double knockout. If there are any additions to the player pool at this point, they will play in a series of modified knockout rounds until we reach the final 8.

This change is being done to speed up the tournament and reduce issues across the board. Hopefully the entire tournament will be wrapped up by December 2019.

The tournament is open for entries as of when this post was made. The games kick off on Monday, September 9th 2019 at 00:00 UTC. It’s a great day to start your favorite time of the year – the explosions of the Atomic World Championships!

The tournament is capped at 64 players with a hard cap at 68. A modified seeding system based on Wimbledon / tennis rules will be utilized. Only 16 seeds will be named – 4 in each quadrant. The rest of the pairings at the initial outset will be randomly assigned via (list of the remaining 48 players will be randomized and then the traditional seeding pairs (1-64, 2-63, etc.) will be assigned based on this randomization. The 1 and 2 seeds will be in opposite sides of the tournament. If the entrants list exceeds 64 players, then the players whose modified seeding does not place them comfortably within the top 60 players will need to qualify into the tournament. Any player within the top 60 that decides to withdraw prior to the first week will be replaced by the “qualifiers” in the order of their finishes from the qualifying tournament. Because of this qualifying system, the cut-off for registration is Sunday September 1st at 00:00 UTC. The qualifiers will need to complete their games in the week before the main tournament begins.

The time and date system for ALL COMMUNICATIONS will need to be based on the 24 hour UTC time system which does not account for Daylight Savings Time. If you do not know what UTC is, familiarize yourselves with how it works and how it refers to your specific time zone.

Please read all the major changes above, the rules below, and if you decide you want to participate – the instructions for how to register are all the way at the bottom of this post.

Entrant Eligibility:
Entrants who meet all the criteria below are eligible to apply to take part (and aren’t exempt by any of the disqualifiers) automatically:

  • You must have played at least 250 rated atomic games on lichess
  • You must have had an established rating on at or prior to August 1, 2019
  • This rating must be currently established at the time of registration (note – lichess has implemented RD growth in July 2019, so you may need to play some games to re-establish if you have not played since the last AWC).

Entrants who meet one of the criteria below are eligible to apply to take part (and aren’t exempt by any of the disqualifiers) automatically:

  • Played in and completed all your games in the 2018 Atomic World Championships.
  • Finished in the top 8 of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Atomic World Championships.

Disqualifying Elements:

  • Using or registering more than one account – you may use a duplicate account rather than your “main” account if it qualifies as above, but if you win, the permanent trophy is added to the account you are playing with. Make your decision accordingly and enter ONCE.
  • The account must have been created prior to 30 July 2019.
  • Have been marked for using computer assistance in any form.

Entries may still be accepted on a conditional basis by the TD (Chronatog). All decisions by the TD are final, as he is not participating as a player in this tournament. So for example, if some grandmaster called Magnus Carlsen wanted to play and applied to join, this scenario would be TD’s decision. This applies to any other scenario not covered by automatic entry rules.

Knockout Tournament Rules:
The tournament is single knockout until the top 8 players have been determined. At this point, if there have been any players knocked out of the tournament by a player found to have been using computer assistance, they will play a single knockout tournament with the lowest ranked player in their impacted quadrant as needed until we reach 8 players again. At this point, it becomes a double elimination knockout tournament.

You will be paired with a player for a round. There will be one week for you to arrange a time and complete the games. Please note the following stipulations:

  1. All games are by default unrated. If BOTH players agree then some or all games can be rated.
  2. Results AND games of each match should be communicated to the TD upon completion.
  3. Each match will consist of TEN games of 3 2.
  4. Either player can stop the match if someone reaches 5.5 points in the first 10 games, as long as the player stopping the match has not played more rated White games than their opponent.
  5. If the score is 5-5 after 10 games then two pairs of tiebreak games of 3 2 will be played, with the match stopping if one player is ahead after an even number of games.
  6. If the score reaches 7-7 without a winner then an armageddon match will be played. Black will have 3 minutes and draw odds. Each player will message the TD a time offer for White, with the lowest offer playing White. If the offers are identical the higher seed will play White. There will be no increment.
  7. A player can request a maximum of 2 breaks between games, of approximately 10 minutes, during a match.
  8. NEW for 2019 – this is a spiritual rule – do not request computer analysis of your current match’s games. I do not have a way to police this, but am stating that this is in poor form. You may analyze during the official requested break without submitting for computer analysis.
  9. NEW FOR 2019 – You must accept rematch immediately if you are not requesting a break. If you are delaying more than 1 minute multiple times without taking a break – you will be forfeited and the match awarded to your opponent. You may accept, make your first move, and then let the clock run if needed, but cannot analyze during this unofficial “break”.
  10. The tournament main draw will have either 16, 32 or 64 players.
    • If the number of entrants is below 16 the tournament will not go ahead
    • If the number of entrants is equal to 16, 32 or 64 then all players will take part in the first round
    • Otherwise, the first round will involve the lowest seeded entries and eliminate the required number of players for the new total to be the highest possible out of 16, 32 or 64
  11. If a player loses a match prior to the top 8, they are eliminated. After the top 8 players have been determined, after that point – if they lose they will enter the losers bracket. If they lose a second match they will be eliminated from the tournament.
  12. The tournament ends when there is only 1 player remaining who hasn’t been defeated in two matches.
  13. The initial pairing will have the top seed vs bottom seed, the second seed vs second from bottom etc. For example in an eight player event: (1) v (8), (2) v (7), (3) v (6), (4) v (5). The winner of (1) v (8) will then play the winner of (4) v (5) and the winner of (2) v (7) will play the winner of (3) v (6).
  14. If somebody is unable to complete a series, or has to withdraw, then their opponent is considered the victor. Byes may be issued in the case of an odd number of players.
  15. If someone knows they will not be able to play a certain week when a round is scheduled they must notify the TD BEFORE they play their PRIOR match. At the TD’s discretion their match may be moved to the following week. This will only occur a maximum of 1 time per player.
  16. NEW FOR 2019 – This shouldn’t really need to be stated, but if you are caught cheating in any form DURING the match, you will be forfeited and the match awarded to your opponent (consulting opening trees, receiving moves from spectators/others, and the like). You may however, take your phone to the toilet and play there using the lichess app. Hopefully no one is taking pictures of you in there.

Match Negotiations:

  1. Players may begin negotiating a playing start time as soon as their next pairing is known.
  2. Each player is responsible to offer at least 3 separate times for the match, by Wednesday at the latest, unless an offer has been accepted before that number is reached.
  3. The 3 offered times should be no closer than 3 hours to each other and no more than 2 on a single date.
  4. If 3 offers are not made in time the player at fault must accept a time chosen by the opponent.
  5. If both players fail to make 3 offers by the deadline then a match arbiter will assign a time.
  6.  A player should respond to an offer by accepting or making a different offer, preferably within 24 hours.
  7. If a player is excessively or repeatedly late for scheduled matches they may be forfeited.
  8. If both players make 3 offers but no agreement is made before the weekend then a match arbiter will determine if fault lies with a particular player.
  9. If a player is at fault then their opponent will decide the match time, if no player is at fault the match arbiter will assign a match time.
  10. There is a grace period of 15 minutes after the agreed upon match time prior to the match forfeit. Your opponent may waive this at their discretion, but the default action is that you will be forfeited. The appearing player must message AtomicWorldChamp on lichess at the time they appeared on lichess to find the missing opponent and again 15 minutes afterwards to claim the win.

Reporting (C)heats:

  1. Accusations of cheating must be made privately to the tournament director (Chronatog) via email or another means that is private. This will be passed on to the anti-cheat panel for evaluation.
  2. The accusation must make reference to at least one specific game.
  3. If an accusation is made publicly and does not lead to a guilty verdict the accuser will be forfeited & banned from future events.
  4.  The anti-cheat panel must all believe a player to be guilty for a player to be forfeited. 100% proof is not required.
  5. If a member of the panel is either the accuser or accused their place on the panel will be taken by another.

Seeding System:

  1. The seeding is a modified concept of the tennis/Wimbledon seeding system where we’re going to mix performance in high profile events with the best performance you’ve had over the past year to get a better idea of your expected performance (rating) to assign you a seed.
  2. Only the “top 16” players receive seeds. Your assigned “rating” will still matter in other cases as described above.
  3. If you have won a World Championship (only the 2005, 2016, 2017, 2018 editions count), you automatically get a base 2500 rating, with a 50 point bonus for any additional World Championship wins.
  4. If you have been a runner-up in a World Championship, you get a base 2400 rating, with a 25 point bonus for any additional World Championship runner-up finishes.
  5. If you’ve finished in the top 8 of any World Championship, you get a base 2300 rating.
  6. If you’ve participated in any previous World Championship and completed all your games, (even if you lost them all), you receive a base 1800 rating.
  7. Everybody else’s base rating will be assigned using the formula of (your current rating + your best rating – 800) / 2. For my own account at this moment in time, that would translate to: (2149+2362-800)/2 = 1855.5.
  8. Highest base rating prevails.
  9. Once the base rating has been determined, the highest performance rating you have posted within the time period of August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019 in any Atomic tournament with (time+inc >=3 and games played for you >= 10) shall compromise the performance rating.
  10. The only exception to the above shall be the two Feeder tournaments as described in Rule #12. Performance ratings from either of those tournaments shall be eligible for inclusion in the seeding rating. No other tournament past July 31, 2019 is eligible.
  11. (Base rating + performance rating)/2 = Seeding Rating
  12. There will be two Feeder tournaments run on August 17, 2019 by ijh. Winners of those two tournaments get guaranteed entry to the AWC regardless of if they don’t meet any other entry guidelines (still have to pass by the disqualifying list – ie: no engine use, no cheating, no 2nd entry). If winner is disqualified, benefit passes down to next ranked player in said tournaments. The base rating granted for those winners will be 2000 if they do not otherwise have a higher base rating. Feeder #1: Feeder #2:

Final rule: All decisions by the TD are final. There are other people working behind the scenes to assist the TD as well.

This post will be updated as needed.

If you’ve read this far and want to register, do one of the following:
Send a message to to register.
Send an email to to register. Please include all pertinent information needed. Especially your lichess account.

All eligible registered entrants will be listed in a separate post.

Thanks to all the AWC team members helping in some form:

  • tipau
  • ijh
  • ProgramFox
  • FischyVishy

Thanks to any and all streamers that will stream any form of the tournament matches (contact me if you want your shameless link posted).

The 2019 Atomic Chess World Championship has concluded. You can view the results on the entrants (and results) page now.

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