The 2024 Atomic Chess World Championship Rules

The 2024 Lichess Atomic Chess World Championship

1. Scope

1.1 The Lichess Atomic Chess World Championship for 2024 is to open the registration period on 1 August 2024. The registration period will end at 00:00 UTC on 1 September 2024. The first round of matches will commence at 00:00 UTC on 11 September 2024 and continue until a world champion has been determined per the tournament format.

1.2.1 The Head Tournament Director (TD) is Chronatog.

1.2.2 The Assistant Tournament Director is ijh.

1.2.3 Additional tournament staff assisting are ProgramFox and others.

1.3 The rules for the gameplay of said game can be found at https://lichess.org/variant/atomic. GICS/FICS style rules (check applies) take precedence. The kings may move next to each other.

1.4 The games will be played at https://lichess.org – disputes about the application of the game rules and any issues with the implementation of the rules must be addressed by the site administrators and programmers. However, if it causes a significant issue during a game played in the Championship, the Head Tournament Director may offer whatever resolution they see fit.

1.5 Any unforeseen circumstances that may arise or situation not covered within the rules and regulations set out therein shall be referred to the Head Tournament Director for the final decision. Their decision is binding and final.

2. Format of the Championship

2.1 The format for the 2024 Lichess World Atomic Chess Championship shall be a modified knockout format with a cut to a double elimination knockout top 16. The tournament main draw shall have either, 16, 32, 64, or a multiple of 64 players. If the number of entrants is below 16, the tournament will not occur. If the number of entrants is equal to 16,32,64 or a 64* number, then all players will play in the first round. Otherwise, the first round will involve the lowest seeded entrants and eliminate the required number of players for the new total of players to be the highest possible number out of 16,32,64, or 64* players. If a player loses a match prior to the top 16 cut, they are eliminated. After the cut to the top 16, if a player loses a match after that point, they enter the loser’s bracket and if they lose another match, they are eliminated from the tournament. The tournament ends when there is only one player remaining that hasn’t been defeated in two matches. The initial pairing will have the top seed playing the bottom seeded player (ie: in an 8 player event, 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5). There will be no randomizing of the initial draw in the 2024 event. The Top 16 will have their matches set up from highest seed to lowest seed, whatever seeds those may be (ie: 3v60, 5v55, 6v30, 8v16). Your AWC seeding is to be determined by your seeding rating in rule 7.1.1.

2.2. Withdrawals shall be handled in accordance with the policy as described here.

2.2.1 Any withdrawals prior to 1 September 2024 has no penalty associated with it. Withdrawals after this point but prior to the FIRST round of the tournament has a show-cause penalty attached to it (a very good reason must be provided to the TD in order to avoid a 1-year ban on participation in the AWC). Any withdrawal after completion of the first round and before the top 16 begins as long as notification is provided to both the TD and the opponent to grant them a “walkover” will have no penalty attached to it. If you simply do not show and disappear, then a 1-year suspension penalty may be issued, depending on the circumstances. A withdrawal in the top 16 before the first round of games in the top 16 will have no penalty, but your opponent immediately prior to the top 16 will replace you in the top 16. After that point, no penalty will be issued as anybody withdrawing that late in the tournament must have something happening that takes precedence over their participation. Any withdrawals due to disqualification for use of chess engines or cheating during their games will lead to immediate expulsion and a lifetime ban from all AWC tournaments, along with their names published on the public blacklist. Being disqualified for non-cheating reasons (such as repeated verbal abuse or unacceptable behavior in public) will lead to expulsion and a minimum of a 1-year suspension from AWC tournaments, with each incident being handled on a case by case basis.

2.2.2 The following players have a 1 year ban on registering for the AWC due to violating rule 2.2.1 during the 2023 AWC. They will be eligible for the 2025 AWC tournament:

  • chrisrapid
  • CasperyLiu

2.3 Disruptions to the tournament (due to disqualification or other factors) will be handled in accordance with the policy mentioned in 2.2. In the case that the scenario is not addressed by the policy as set forth, the Tournament Director shall make a decision regarding the event.

3. Eligibility of Entrants

3.1 The eligibility rules for the entrants must address the following items below:

3.1.1 The player must understand that this event requires a time commitment from them. If they have no previous experience with events with set time formats and arranging matches, the player may be placed into a provisional or non-preferred list at the TD’s discretion. A contact method with timestamping must be available for use for the TD and other players.

For the 2024 Lichess Atomic World Championship, a player must be able to communicate with another player via private messaging on the Lichess site. If you cannot communicate with another player in this method, you will not be allowed to participate in the tournament. If one player is muted, they may use another account that they must register with the TD solely for the purpose of arranging matches. If one player is blocking their scheduled opponent, they must unblock them to arrange the match and then to play their match. They may then block them again after completion of said match. If by chance they are scheduled to play again, then they will need to repeat this process as many times as needed until all matches have completed.

3.1.2 If a minimum rating, number of games, or other numeric factor is required for player eligibility (eg: 2200 rating, 100 games, RD 80 or below) – those thresholds must be listed as part of the eligibility rules published.

A participant must apply to join the 2024 Atomic World Championship only once and only using their “primary” account upon which they wish to have the championship trophy displayed on. You cannot use an alt and then demand the trophy be awarded to another account. You must be using the account you wish to receive the championship trophy on.

3.1.2.1 You must have played at least 100 rated atomic chess games on Lichess. The account you are registering with must have existed on Lichess prior to 1 March 2024 or you have closed a previous account that met this criteria and have 100+ games on the existing account you are registering with at the time of registration.

3.1.2.2 You must have had an established atomic chess rating at lichess.org at or prior to August 1, 2024. At least twenty-five rated atomic games on Lichess on the account being entered into the Championship must have been played between August 1, 2023 and July 31, 2024. Limited exceptions may be granted to this requirement for established players, but their tournament seeding rating will be affected.

3.1.2.3 A player must be able to play rated games on Lichess in order to be able to register and participate in the AWC. If you lose the ability to play rated games on Lichess before or during the AWC (without it being restored before your next match), you will be summarily forfeited.

3.1.3 The player must be able to understand and communicate with others about the date and time of matches to be played.

English is the standard language by default. A different language if both participants prefer to communicate in that language is accepted for their own personal negotiations. All communications that are posted publicly and to the TD must be in English as best as the person can render it.

3.1.4 The time format for all communications is to be UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). The onus is on the players to understand how UTC corresponds to them.

3.1.5 The registration for the 2024 Lichess Atomic World Championship will be handled by Lichess using a front end at https://awc.chessvariants.training which will become available for use on 1 August 2024. The TD (Chronatog) will receive the final list of registered players at the end of the registration period. All questions regarding eligibility and registration status will be handled by Lichess mods. Chronatog cannot view, modify, or answer any questions regarding registration status.

3.1.6 The core regulations for eligibility for the 2024 AWC is as follows:

  • Have not been marked for use of an engine since July 31, 2022
  • Be able to play rated games on Lichess
  • Boosters / sandbaggers / muted players / leaderboard banned are still eligible if they are capable of playing rated games and fulfilling rule 3.1.1
  • Having a “cheat detected” game does not disqualify you, only being marked for engine use does
  • You are not on the lifetime AWC ban lists (cheating, failed accusations, or disruption) for incidents in previous AWCs (rules 3.1.7 or 6.8 or 6.9)
  • You are not on the temporary AWC ban list (rule 2.2.2)

3.1.7 Lifetime AWC Blacklist is a short list of players who have been disqualified from previous AWCs for directly cheating in their AWC games. Being disqualified for other reasons will not cause you to be added to this exclusive list. These players are barred from all future AWCs as long as this rule remains in place:

  • AnthonyPower (2018 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Timofey (2019 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Gagarin-Vadim (2020 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Gannet (personal admission, lifetime ban)
  • Derekbum (2022 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Bobogokou32 (2023 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Advocaat (2023 AWC incident, lifetime ban)
  • Atomic_en_Cuba (2023 AWC incident, lifetime ban)

3.1.8 If you register and then close your account after registration, you are forfeited. Your opponent receives a walkover.

3.1.9 Any exceptions to the rules for registration is solely at the discretion of Lichess. Do not ask the TD for assistance about registration.

3.1.10 It is expected that each person only attempts to enter the tournament once and by attempting to enter the tournament, they are certifying that they will adhere to all published rules and will also not cheat during their games.

3.1.11 If a player attempts or does register with a secondary account, the sanctions are as follows:

  • During the registration window – it is likely that Lichess will either decline your registration outright, or that you are asked to stay registered with the original account that you registered with.
  • After the tournament begins, if it is found that one player has registered two (or more) accounts in the tournament, all of them will be forfeited from the tournament and the player will be handed a 1-year AWC suspension.

4. Match Regulations (Gameplay / Matchplay)

4.1 The format of a match during the tournament is to be ten atomic chess games, five games of each color played against your opponent. During the tournament, either player can stop the match if someone reaches 5.5 points in the first ten games as long as the player stopping the match has not played more White games than their opponentIf you are up 6.5 to 0.5 and you stop the match, having played four whites, and refuse to play one additional game to even out the colors, you will be forfeited and your opponent will advance to the next round. The winning player may opt to ask the losing player to not play the remainder of the games. A written response must be provided by both players in the game chat in order for this requirement to be waived. Players have been forfeited in the 2021 AWC for failing to follow this rule.

4.2 The time control of a game in the match is 3+0.

4.3 The games must be rated.

4.4 The match ends when one player has reached 5.5 points out of the first 10 games or 1.5 points out of one of the tiebreaker pairs or wins the Armageddon Game.

4.4.1 If Tiebreakers are required, a pair of tiebreaker games will be played using the same rules as the match. If one player reaches 1.5 points in that first pair of games, the match ends. If the pair ended 1-1, another pair of games is played with the same rules. If the second pair of games ends again at 1-1, then an Armageddon Game is to be played.

4.4.2 If an Armageddon Game is required, Black will have 2+0 and draw odds. Both players must message an available TD with the lowest time offer they are willing to play as White. The lowest possible time that is available is 1/4+0. There is no increment for this game. If the offers are identical, the higher seeded player will play White. Ideally this game should be played only a few minutes after the tiebreaker games. If no TD is available, a trusted second party may be used to receive the time bids in order to ensure that the Armageddon game is played. The time offers must be in increments of 15 seconds, as the match will be begun with that lowest bid, and then both players must hit the “add 15 seconds” button prior to making his move to get the appropriate times on the clock. Example: Player A bids 1:15 and Player B bids 1:30, Player A wins and the game is begun by using 1+0, with Black hitting the “15 seconds” once, and White must hit the “15 seconds” button 4 times to get Black to 2 minutes.

4.5 Each player is allowed one break of up to 10 minutes in between games of the same match. If the player that called for the break does not return after 10 minutes, the next game is forfeited to the player that did not request the break. If the player that called for the break has not returned after 10 more minutes (20 minutes in total), the match is forfeited to the player that did not call for the break. If one player wants to leave the match and resume it later at another point – the opponent does not have to acquiesce, and can claim the win. If they try to reschedule and are unable to resume the match – the player leaving forfeits the match, regardless of if the opponent failed to show up for the resumption.

4.6 During the match, when a break is not requested, when the match has not ended yet according to the conditions in 4.4, the next game must begin within one minute of the previous game ending. Timestamped comments / messages shall be how one player claims the other was not following this rule. If a player is not starting the next game in a timely method, it is to be assumed that they are claiming their one break for the match and the rules of 4.5 are to be applied to this scenario. If a player has already claimed their break for the match and has not begun the next game within 5 minutes, the match is forfeited to the player that is waiting. In lieu of taking an official break – the player that needs to step away may accept the rematch, make their first move, and then step away for as long as their clock runs.

4.7 Players are not allowed to claim victory if the opponent has stepped away and there is still time on their clock. If a victory is claimed this way, the game is forfeited to the player that did not claim victory. Do not click the Lichess “claim victory” button in these scenarios.

4.8 If an automated system process on lichess.org as in 1.4 forfeits a player during a game for using external assistance of some kind, the match is suspended and it is to be assumed that the entire match is to be forfeited to the player not using assistance. Upon review, if this automated process has been determined to be incorrect, the match will resume when possible with an extension granted to arrange a new time to complete the match. If the review upholds the forfeiture, the offending player shall be added to the permanent blacklist for the Championship, with their name published as in 3.1.8.

4.9 You may not analyze your games using computer assistance (engine) during a match. You may however, analyze your games WITHOUT using an engine (stockfish, cloud engine usage, submitting games for computer analysis are all spiritually banned – but you may open previous games and look them over without using an engine) during an official break that you or your opponent called for as in 4.5.

4.10. If a player has to leave in the middle of a match, the match is forfeited to the player remaining.

4.11 If a player has to withdraw from the tournament for any reason after the tournament has begun, their upcoming opponent is considered to be the victor of the match that would have been played and advances to the next round.

4.12 Upon conclusion of the match, at least one player must report the results in the prescribed method that the TD has outlined in the tournament format. Games must also be reported as prescribed.

4.13 Players may claim victory in a game on time after the opponent’s clock has run out of time – they may not claim victory by flagging otherwise in this method as in 4.7.

4.14 If the opponent does not appear within 15 minutes of the agreed upon match time to begin the match, the match is forfeited to the player waiting for the match. This is determined by a pair of timestamped messages from the player claiming the match forfeit to the TD. The messages must be at least 15 minutes apart with no message from the opponent in between the messages (and no game played) for the match forfeit to be awarded.

5. Match Negotiations

5.1 Players may begin negotiating a match time as soon as their next pairing is known if the tournament format supports such conclusions.

5.2 Each player is responsible for proposing three separate times they are available for their match by Wednesday of the match week at the latest in an offer, unless a match time has been decided before that maximum number of offers has been reached.

5.3 The three separate offers must be no closer than 3 hours from each other and no more than two options on a single date.

5.4 If three offers are not proposed in time, the player at fault must accept one of the three offered times that their opponent proposed from the most recent offer made.

5.5 If both players fail to make an offer(s) by the deadline, then a match arbiter will assign a time for the match to be played.

5.6 A player should respond to a match offer by either accepting an option or by making a different offer, preferably within 24 hours.

5.7 If a player is excessively or repeatedly late for scheduled matches they may be forfeited from the Tournament as a whole.

5.8 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.

5.9 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.

5.10 Once a match time is arranged, rule 4.14 will address no-shows.

6. Accusations of Cheating

6.1 Accusations of cheating must be made privately to the head TD via a private message of some form. This accusation will be passed on to the anti-cheat panel for evaluation. A player or spectator may make such accusations in private.

6.2 The accusation must reference a specific game and at least some rationale behind the accusation itself. An accusation such as “they were playing way above their rating” will not be considered for evaluation.

6.3 If an accusation is made in public by either a player or spectator and does not lead to confirmation of the accusation, the accusing player/spectator is placed upon the blacklist, forfeited from the Tournament if they are still participating in it, and have their names published as in 3.1.8.

6.4 The anti-cheat panel must all believe that a player is guilty for the accusation to be confirmed valid and that player forfeited if they are still participating in the tournament. 100% proof is not required, merely 100% agreement from the entire panel.

6.5 If a member of the anti-cheat panel is either the accused or accuser, their place on the panel will be taken by another.

6.6 If a player is forfeited from the Tournament via 6.4., the match they were found to have been cheating in is forfeited to the opponent and the opponent moves on in the tournament.

6.7 If the cheating is discovered after the fact, and the cheater has already played another match and lost, the player that defeated them will be allowed to remain and proceed in the tournament. If the cheater has won another match, the players that the cheater won against will then play each other in order from first to last, until one player remains, as prescribed by the TD in the tournament format.

6.8 The lifetime ban list for failed accusations (as a spectator or player) is as below:

  • ATOZ47 (2023 AWC failed accusation)

6.9 There is now a lifetime AWC ban list for disruptions to the tournament by a spectator or player due to incidents outside the scope of cheating during the AWC (and failed cheating accusations). This list now compromises of:

  • ATOZ47 (2023 AWC mom tantrum)
  • Vannto (too many incidents to count and 2023 AWC tantrum)

7. Seeding and Alternative Rating Systems

7.1. Due to variations and the effects that certain chess variants can have on the various rating systems in place, sometimes an alternative method is needed to better predict/judge the performance of the players. The TD may communicate this alternative method of ranking/rating the players during the registration phase.

7.1.1 For the 2024 AWC the seeding method to be utilized is one of the options as follows:

  • Your base rating shall be your peak established rating in atomic chess reached on lichess.org between 1 August 2023 and 31 July 2024. So if you reached a rating of 2330 in October 2023 with a best rating of 2400 in 2019 and you are currently 2110, that 2330 rating is the base rating to be used for the AWC seeding calculation. This is why the 25-rated game requirement is in place. There are a series of exemptions described below to replace this formula to grant base ratings to players that have performed well in previous AWCs.
  • If a player hasn’t played a recent rated game, then the base rating will be derived by taking their current atomic rating and then taking -100 from it for each year older than 2024 that the last rated atomic chess game was played in. So if this player has a 2700 rating with the last rated game being played in 2021, the deductions would make it a 2400 base rating for the AWC seeding calculation.
  • If you get an alternative base rating as described below – the higher of the two base ratings applies to your seeding rating (formula, or any of the below):
  • If you have won a World Championship (2005, 2016-2023 editions only), you automatically get granted a 2500 base rating with a 50 point bonus for any additional World Championship title.
  • If you’ve been a runner-up in the World Championship (2005, 2016-2023), you get a 2400 base rating with a 25 point bonus for any additional runner-up finishes.
  • If you’ve finished in the top 8 in a World Championship (2005, 2016-2023), you get a 2300 base rating. You also receive a 15 point bonus for any additional top-8 finishes.
  • Once the highest base rating has been determined using either of these methods, the highest tournament performance rating you have achieved between 1 August 2023 and 31 July 2024 in any lichess.org rated Atomic tournament with time+inc >= 1 (eg: 1+0 and 0+1 are eligible, but ½+0 is not) and games played for you >= 10 shall compromise the performance rating.
  • Performance ratings from Lichess-created tournaments where the count of games for the player in question >=30 will have 50 points added to their performance rating. If the game count is >=50, 75 points will be added, and if the game count is >=100, 150 points will be added. These bonuses are not accumulative, only the highest bonus added rating is applied.
  • (Base Rating + Performance Rating)/2 = Seeding Rating.
  • If players have the same seeding rating, the higher seed(s) will be granted in order from most to least to whoever has played more atomic games in the time period of 1 August 2023 to 31 July 2024. In the case of this count somehow being a tie, the most overall games of atomic shall be the tiebreaker, with the final tiebreaker being the oldest registered account.
  • In extreme cases, the Tournament Director (TD) reserves the right to manually adjust a player’s tournament seeding rating to better reflect that player’s abilities. Such adjustments will be flagged with an asterisk next to that player’s name in the tournament player listings.

7.2 Any other variations to the standard defined tournaments must also be communicated before the tournament begins, preferably before registration opens.

As announced, this is a standard knockout tournament that will produce a “top 16” upon which it shifts to a double knockout tournament.

8. Impartiality and Partiality

8.1 If possible, the Tournament Director shall not be a participant themselves in the same Championship they are organizing. If this matter cannot be resolved, prior to the start of a tournament, a neutral party arbiter must be defined by the Tournament Director to resolve matters directly involving the Tournament Director’s own games. This arbiter’s decisions regarding the Tournament Director’s games and/or incidents is to be considered final. The Tournament Director cannot override these decisions in matters that involve them.

8.2 The Tournament Staff must be impartial and fairly treat all matters and players alike.

8.3 In early rounds of the tournament, if both players are at fault for an incident or failure to play, in most cases, the higher ranked player by the tournament system being used will likely be the player advanced in case of a double forfeit. If the player receiving the benefit of this leeway then is also found at fault again and repeats this incident later in the tournament, their opponent will be granted this benefit instead if they have not already received such a benefit in the current tournament (example: two players do not show up for a match, both are at fault, the higher ranked player is advanced – then in the next round, the same person is involved in another no-show match, the other player (having completed a match) would then be advanced instead in this scenario. If both players have already received such a benefit, both players are then simply forfeited for the benefit of the tournament and their upcoming opponent simply advances to the next round of the tournament.

9. Guidelines for Tournament Director Decisions

9.1 The Tournament Director will endeavor to follow the published rules and to resolve any and all issues in a timely matter for the good of the Tournament as a whole, and not to benefit any specific Player(s).

9.2 The Anti-Cheat Panel must be kept secret until the conclusion of the tournament. The Panel must consist of an odd number of members. Replacement members must also be recruited if any member sitting on the panel is also playing in the tournament so that 6.5. can be implemented without delay.

9.3 If possible, partnership with the site(s) the Tournament is being run on is ideal, especially if an administrator is able and willing to assist with certain aspects of the Tournament, including the qualifying and disqualifying of players both prior to and during the Tournament.

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