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Different formats of Chess Tournaments

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Formats of Chess Tournaments Today Chess has become a very competitive sport with 1000’s of tournaments conducted on a daily basis. This chess tournaments are conducted in 3 Formats – Swiss System, Round Robin and Knockout system. This can be conducted either through Offline mode or online mode. (There can be more formats like Skalitzka System, chess 960, etc. but is not captured here as it is not much popular)


A. Swiss System: Most tournaments are conducted according to the rules of the Swiss system. · The Swiss system orders all players by their rating (and ranks unrated players alphabetically) and splits the list in half. The top player of the top half is paired against the top player of the bottom half, and so on, until the bottom player of the top half is paired against the bottom player of the bottom half. In case of an uneven number of players, the bottom-most player is usually given a full-point bye (which means he is paired in the next round as if he had won — after all, it wasn’t his fault that an opponent wasn’t available). · Swiss tournaments can accommodate a large number of players — even a thousand or more. Winners get one point, draws score one-half point, and losers get zero points. In the next round, winners play winners, losers play losers, and so forth, following the same procedure of dividing the lists in half and pairing the people in the two halves accordingly, within the various score-brackets. B. Round-robin tournaments: · Round Robin is a format where number of players are less and everyone has to play everyone else. This is better format as the pairing is not random/ based on ratings, but players has to fight with every other player to get their ranking in the tournament. There is very less scope of luck in this pairing format. · Generally less than 10 players participate in Round Robin Tournament. C. Knock-out System: · The main advantage of a knock‐out system is to create a big final match. · The whole schedule is known in advance. Mostly a knock‐out match consists of two games. As it is necessary to have a clear winner of each round another day for the tie‐break games has to be foreseen. Such tie‐ break games usually are organized with two rapid games followed by two or four blitz games. If still the tie is unbroken, one final sudden death match´ shall be played. Thanks, IA Anurag Singh

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