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Chess tournament rules

Round Robin Tournaments

The rules of these tournaments are simple, each of the players plays each of the others. If five players take part in the tournament each of them plays four games. All in all, there are 10 games. Players who win receive a point, those who draw receive half a point and losers receive no points.

Any number of players can take part in the round robin tournaments. In the classic chess tournaments, players get their colors after the sortition which is made automatically at random. In the battle chess tournaments, computer allots colors and the right of the first move to players before each game.

A player can register in one or several tournaments of the same class her/she has. Games with players who have been the first to register in the tournament begin automatically. That means that the tournament begins before it is fully subscribed.

As far as the battle chess is concerned, the tournament time control limits time for a setup. If both players fail to complete their setup in time, the game ends in a draw. If one player fails to complete his/her setup in time, his/her opponent wins.

The tournament league table is renewed on a real-time basis. As soon as a tournament game is finished its results automatically get into the table, players' scores and additional coefficients are calculated. Players who win receive a point, those who draw receive half a point and losers receive no points. Places are given according to the following principles.
  • The more the number of points, the higher the place.
  • If two players have equal number of points, the one with higher SB gets the higher place.
  • If two players have equal number of points and SB.
SB, or the Sonneborn-Berger score, is calculated as two times the points of the opponents you defeated plus the points of the opponents you drew with. It takes into account different weightings of victories making it more important to win against a stronger player since in that case youl get more points.

The last game ends the tournament. At that moment, places are awarded to the players.

The time period for the registration for the first round is limited and is indicated separately for each competition. This period can be extended (for tournaments without preliminary registration) if less than 60 per cent of the potential number of players were registered in the most recent standings (one week at most).

The time for the registration for the second and the following tours is limited, and the player can only register within 2 weeks starting from the beginning of the respective round.

A higher class or level round is held in case at least 11 players can take part in it. If there are 11 players at a certain level or class they can apply for a round among them to the administration.

Regular Tournaments

  1. Regular tournaments are distinguished into five types:
    • A «weekends» tournament is held on a Saturday or a Sunday. The next tournament begins accordingly next Saturday (or Sunday), etc. The time of the beginning of the tournament is indicated when the first tournament of the series begins.
    • A «working days» tournament is similar to a weekends tournament except that it is held from Monday till Friday.
    • A «weekly» tournament is similar to the daily tournament except that it starts once a week on the day of the week stated during registration, for example, on a Wednesday or a Friday.
    • A «monthly» tournament is similar to the weekly tournament except that it is established once a month on the day of the month stated during registration, for example, on the first day of every month.
    • An «ordinary» tournament — every subsequent tournament starts right after the end of the previous one.
  2. The preliminary registration for the first round is performed by the users independently. Before the beginning of the first round the user can refuse to participate in the tournament.
  3. Games begin after the completion of the registration by the players. If less than 15 players registered to participate in the tournament the beginning of the first round is postponed (for example, for the «working days» tournament — for the next working day, and for the «weekends» tournament — for the next day off).
  4. The number of groups and the number of players is calculated automatically, and all games are created simultaneously!
  5. After the end of each round the news is published and awards are granted.
  6. Registration of users for the finals and super finals is performed automatically.
  7. Every subsequent tournament begins right after the end of the previous one.
  8. Before the beginning of each round information is sent to all participants.


Playoff — is a system of tournaments, when the losing party drops out of further competitions.

Conducting Competitions
  1. It is required to have 2n participants, where ’n’ is an assumed number of tours.
  2. Participants apply for participation.
  3. As soon as there are enough participants the registration stops.
  4. Games start automatically at the time, which was determined well in advance (all players are enlisted in a random way, the first player plays with the second, the third -with the fourth and so on).
  5. Each subsequent round starts after the end of all games of the current round (for bullet-chess tournaments one round is held over one day).
  6. Each pair either plays a double game, or consecutive games with the alternating first move, or just one game.
  7. The winner is the player scoring maximum points. In case of a draw the player with the lower rating wins.
  8. Only winners proceed to the second and the following tours.
  9. The player who did not lose a single game is considered to be the winner of the tournament.

Swiss System Tournament

The Swiss system was first used in a Zurich chess tournament in 1895. It helps to choose a winner in less number of games then in the round robin tournament.

Tournament Principles
  1. Players need to be paired to face each other.
  2. The players are seeded by computer according to their ratings and are divided into two score groups. If there is no rating the first round is drawn at random.
  3. Then the top score group is paired with the bottom score group. For instance, if there are 20 players, number 1 is paired with number 11, number 2 is paired with number 12 and so on.
  4. In the second round the players are divided into three groups,
    • winners,
    • those who drew
    • losers.
    If one group gets an odd number of players then the last player of the upper group is moved into the lower group and is paired with the upper player of the latter group.
  5. In the second and following rounds the players of each score group are determined according pp. 1-3.
Additional rules
  1. No player is paired up against the same opponent twice.
  2. Colors should alternate. If both players played the same number of games with each of the colors then white goes to the player who played his/her last game with black. The same color should not be assigned three times in a row. The rule is not relevant to the battle chess where the right of the first move, and thus the color, is drawn at random.
  3. If a player missed the game, his/her opponent becomes a winner and receives a point.
  4. The number of the rounds is the same as in the play-off system for a given number of participants.
Score Calculation
  1. Players are ranked by their score.
  2. If this is tied then the Buchholz chess rating can be used. A player's Buchholz rating is the sum of all his/her opponents' scores, irrespective of the results of the games between them.

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