FCO Hints and Tips

FCO icon 03Fantasy Chess Olympiad is a pretty easy game to play but of course your chances of winning a prize will very much depend on your skill in selecting a team of players who are going to perform brilliantly at Tromsø 2014 and your ability to predict outcomes and results of the tournament.

We can’t give you a great deal of advice about odds for your predictions but we can suggest a few aspects of the rules that you need to take into account when you are considering which players to select for your squad.

1. Once you’ve pressed ‘Submit’ you can’t change your team
You can enter as many teams as you like but you can’t amend them once they’ve been submitted. So, make sure you’ve done your research before you select and submit your team. The deadline for entries is 12.00 noon (GMT) on Saturday the 2nd of August (just a few hours before the start of the first round at Tromsø) so you have some time to think about your entry.


Magnus Carlsen will be a very popular choice for a huge number of FCO managers, but will he play in every round for Norway 1?

2. If they don’t play, then you won’t score
Remember that players don’t score you points unless they play (you even score 1 point when one of your players loses) so you need to select players who are going to appear in as many of the 11 rounds as possible. It’s also worth remembering that very often the highest rated players in an Olympiad team miss the opening round when their opponents are most likely to be one of the weaker sides

3. Wins with Black score more points
You’ll score 4 points every time one of your players wins with the Black pieces as opposed to 3 points when they win with White and 2 for a draw with either colour. That means you should be on the look out for players that you think will win plenty of games with Black even if that means risking they might lose a few games too. For example:

  • 1 lost game + 1 win with Black = 5 points
  • 1 drawn game + 1 win with White = 5 points
  • 3 draws + 1 win with White = 9 points
  • 1 lost game + 2 wins with Black = 9 points

You get the idea!

4. Choose ‘reserve’ players who’ll get plenty of games
The teams at Tromsø have five players but only four get to play in each round. That’s not the case at the Fantasy Chess Olympiad. You get to pick five players from each of the Open and the Women’s sections and if all ten play in any given round then they all score points for you. That means you need to consider carefully who to select from lists five and ten of our entry form. These are all ‘reserve’ players at Tromsø but some will play more games than others. Can you figure out which ones who will play most frequently?

5. Don’t discount the lower ranked nations
There are so many teams playing at Tromsø that it can be difficult to properly assess the merits of each team. However, it’s well worth thinking about picking players from the lower ranked nations because they may not play the strongest opposition very often during the course of the Olympiad. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the player you’ve selected beats a Russian or a Bermudan they still score the same number of points. Many of the most successful teams in FCO 2012 were the ones that included top performing players from Federations further down the rankings that other managers had overlooked or failed to consider.

Analysis Resources
If you’re really taking the competition seriously then you’ll want to research which players are likely to perform well at Tromsø. Here are some online resources that might help you to choose your line-up.

  • Tromsø 2014 official website: check out all the teams and get to grips with the players you can chose from for your FCO team
  • Olimpbase: a wonderful website that includes the results and data from all the Chess Olympiads. A happy place to spend your time if you have a historic interest in this competition.
  • FIDE player database: you can look at the history and performance of any player in the Olympiad including charts showing their performance with White and Black.
  • Chess24 player profiles: this excellent database of player profiles will give you an idea about the characters of the players participating at Tromsø so that you can get a feel for their style and personalities.