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In a recent FIDE rated tournament I officiated in one of the players complained to me afterwards that only 2 out of his 5 wins had been rated by FIDE. "What", he wanted to know, "was going on?"

Well, if you play somebody in a FIDE rated tournament who is unrated then FIDE will not use that game to calculate your new rating. They can't. Your opponent didn't have a rating. However they will use the game to calculate a first rating for your opponent. Of course your opponent will need to score at least half a point against a total of at least 5 opponents and get a rating of at least 1000 to get a rating.

Is this the only case where a game played in a FIDE rated tournament isn't rated for one or both players?

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What you describe was the position up until January 1st this year but FIDE have changed the rating rules regarding rating games where there is a points difference bigger than 400 elo.

Here is what the old rules say:

8.54 A difference in rating of more than 400 points shall be counted for rating purposes as though it were a difference of 400 points.

Here is what the new rules say:

8.3.1 For each game played against a rated player, determine the difference in rating between the player and their opponent, D.

A difference in rating of more than 400 points shall be counted for rating purposes as though it were a difference of 400 points. In any tournament, a player may benefit from only one upgrade under this rule, for the game in which the rating difference is greatest.

What this means is that if you play a tournament where more than one of your opponents has a rating 400 points or more lower than yours then only one game will count to your new rating using the adjustment. Any other games with more than 400 point rating difference will be used in your rating calculation but without the adjustment. If the rating difference for second and subsequent games is 735 or more then according to the tables you will get zero rating points for these games.

"So what?" you might say. Who will ever be affected by this? The answer is that world number 1 and world champion Magnus Carlsen just has been affected. In this Olympiad he has played (and beaten) two players with ratings more than 400 points lower than him and only one of those games will count to his new rating:

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Note, I don't agree 100% with what this screen capture shows. The difference was still less than 735 hence the Stanojoski game should still give Carlsen an additional 0.6 rating points. We'll have to wait and see what the official FIDE rating calculations show when the September list is published.

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    Where does your 735 come from? Aug 5 at 15:53
  • @PeterFischer Table 8.1.2 "Table of conversion of difference in rating, D, into scoring probability PD, for the higher, H, and the lower, L, rated player respectively" in the referenced FIDE document gives rating difference > 735 means probability of higher rated player winning is 1
    – Brian Towers
    Aug 5 at 17:55
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    Should have made it clear I'm not asking for this, but for your explanation as to why this would matter at all, given we have 8.3.1 being explicit about >400 once in a tournament. Also, Bwalya qualifies as Carlsens lowest rated opponent so far, given (cit.) "for the game in which the rating difference is greatest". Aug 5 at 18:45
  • Good job fide. This was what everybody wanted
    – cmgchess
    Aug 6 at 3:23

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