Team chess

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Team fight in the Bundesliga: OSC Baden-Baden - SF Katernberg

Team chess describes the team competitions in chess . In contrast to team sports (for example in football ), this is not about performances as a team but about individual games that together deliver the team result. The number of players per team is regulated differently depending on the competition. The same rules apply to every single game as to all other chess competitions.

Number of players per team

For league games in Germany, a team consists of eight players, and women's and youth teams of six. Depending on the national association, deviations mainly occur in the lowest division. In Switzerland, team championships are played with teams of eight players, while in Austria there are six members per team. In cup competitions, the teams are smaller. In Germany they only consist of four players.

Internationally, four players per team are competing at the Chess Olympiads , the World Team Championships and the European Team Championships . Since the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, this has also been the case for the women's teams, which until then usually competed as a team of three. In the clubs' European Cup competition , men play with six players per team and women play with four.

The team report

Before the start of the competition, the leader of each participating chess team must report a list according to which the players will be deployed. The strongest player is usually placed on the first board , weaker players on the back boards. As a result, the strongest players of the respective teams usually meet.

The team line-up cannot be changed within a competition and is binding for the line-up for the games. In Germany, depending on the national association and league, there are sometimes different regulations with regard to strict adherence to the ranking order. In some associations there is a fixed board order according to the ranking list, in others players can swap places up or down in the ranking list.

In the event of a violation of the line-up rules, the boards concerned are counted as lost without a fight, so the opposing team receives one board point .

The team fight


In the classic form of a team match, the players of both teams sit directly opposite one another. All games are played at the same time.

Scheveningen system

The Scheveningen system is ideal for team fights that are carried out in several rounds . Each player on one side plays against each other on the other team. The number of passes corresponds to the strength of the team. Every single round is handled like a classic team fight. According to this system z. B. the top leagues in the GDR .

Skalitzka system

The Skalitzka system is a variant for holding a tournament among exactly three teams with an even number of teams. The system is explained in detail in the FIDE Referees Manual. In the example below, the three teams A, B and C take part in the tournament. Each team consists of four players who are designated as A1, A2 ... C3, C4 within their team according to the reported line-up. In the Skalitzka system, two tournament rounds are completed one after the other, in which all 12 players are involved.

1st round 2nd round
A1 - B1
A3 - B3
C2 - A2
C4 - A4
B2 - C1
B4 - C3
A2 - B2
A4 - B4
C1 - A1
C3 - A3
B1 - C2
B3 - C4

This results in three full team fights. The highlighted colors indicate the assignment to the two time-separated runs.

A - B C - A B - C
A1 - B1 C1 - A1 B1 - C2
A2 - B2 C2 - A2 B2 - C1
A3 - B3 C3 - A3 B3 - C4
A4 - B4 C4 - A4 B4 - C3
  • Only the time required for two rounds is required instead of three rounds in a classic event.
  • There is no team free of play and the u. U. possible distortion of competition in the last round does not occur.
  • The team fight is resolved in terms of time and space. The elements of team tactics are partially lost.
  • In a team fight, each team has the same color on all boards. Overall, however, there is color balance for each team and each individual player.
  • Changing players (and moving up accordingly) between the two rounds can lead to unwanted effects, including: a. that a player competes twice in the same team competition. You should therefore be excluded.
  • In one of the three competitions the pairing is canceled according to the order of the boards. By placing the players "crosswise" an equalization is achieved (here in competition B - C).

Color distribution

As a rule, the assignment of the colors between the teams is alternated from board to board. The guest (or the team in second place in the list) has white on the top board. In competitions in which a winner must be determined via the Berlin rating , a different distribution (e.g. white - black - black - white in a team) can be useful in order to compensate for the advantage of the right to dress on the higher-quality boards .

Individual players not appearing

If one of the teams has left a board free, this is counted as a loss without a fight. In individual cases, if both teams release the same board, this is counted as a defeat for both players and neither team receives a board point.

In German team chess, a player who does not appear is marked with a "-", the opponent receives a "+". (Notation: "+: -" or "-: +" or "-: -" if both sides fail to appear). In Austria, a non-appearance is called a Kontumaz and accordingly a “K” is added to the result of both players, for example “1K: 0K”. In Switzerland, this is referred to as a forfait or a forfait lost game (noted as: "1: 0ff").

Scoring the competition

If a player on a team wins against his opponent, his team receives one board point. If a team starts with too few players, it has to leave one of its boards free and the opponent receives a board point without a fight. The results of the games are usually entered in ready-made forms immediately after the decision. If the home player has won his game, the result is “1: 0” regardless of the color of the pieces. In the event of a draw, "½: ½" is noted, in the event of a victory for the guest player, "0: 1". When all games are over, the board points are added up and entered (for example 3½-4½ means a close away win). The team that has received the most board points at the end of all games wins the competition and receives two team points. If a game ends in a tie, both teams receive half a board point each. If the competition ends without a winner, both teams will each receive one team point. In some leagues (temporarily in the entire German Chess Federation) it is necessary to achieve more than half of the achievable points in order to achieve a team victory. So if both teams release the same board (see above) and this results in a 3½-3½, this is counted as a defeat for both teams. A 4-3 is a draw for one team and a loss for the other.

If a winner has to be determined despite a draw (e.g. in the cup with a knockout system), the Berlin ranking is used. Victories on the front boards are weighted higher than those on the back boards.

A much discussed (and in some classes also used) alternative is that the draw games are not included in the rating. Win z. B. Team A three games and team B one game, a 5: 3 comes about according to conventional scoring (with 8 boards). In the case of winning points, a 3: 1 would have to be noted. This has two main advantages:

  • The result is e.g. B. easier to represent in the press
  • The result shows immediately how many games have been won, lost or played.

However, the rating also has disadvantages and was therefore not generally accepted:

  • The result does not show how many boards the competition was held on.
  • Games that both players lose without a fight (see above) are counted in the same way as draws for profit point scoring.

Team tactics during a competition

Team fights often have a significant impact on the outcome of ongoing games, since not only the result of one's own game applies to a competitor, but the overall result of the team. If their own team leads clearly, players often offer a draw even in advantageous positions so as not to endanger the team victory through possible mistakes. In individual competitions, the game is often played much longer in order to take advantage of positional advantages.

The players of a team are not allowed to consult with each other. In the case of a draw offer, the team leader alone is entitled to advise the players on his team to accept or reject them.

time to think

The higher the league in which a team plays, the higher the demands on the players and the more time they have to think about. In the district class, players usually have 90 minutes. If 40 moves have been made during this time, the clock will be put back 30 minutes if the leaflet falls , the reflection time has expired. In higher classes, the basic thinking time and the time allowance increased considerably, in the Bundesliga there were two hours of time available per player until the 2008/09 season, after 40 moves each player got another hour to think about it.

By using electronic chess clocks it is also possible to credit the time per move. Since the 2009/10 season, the Bundesliga has been played with a time limit of 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game. From the first move on, each player receives a time credit of 30 seconds per move until the end of the game. A similar system is to be introduced gradually in lower leagues.

Overall ranking in chess leagues

In Germany it is generally customary that the ranking within a league is determined by the team points earned. In the event of a tie, the board points are used as a fine scoring. The reverse weighting (board points before team points) is also possible and is used (e.g. in the former GDR and at chess Olympiads up to 2006).

Major team chess competitions

In Germany, the highest division has been the Chess Bundesliga, which has been made up of 16 teams since 1980 . Thanks to the support of financially strong sponsors and patrons, the teams of many Bundesliga clubs were and are equipped with numerous top international players. The Bundesliga is therefore often referred to as the strongest chess league in the world, a claim that is also often made for the French and Russian 1st leagues. A special feature of chess is that a player can compete for clubs from different countries during one season. But this also leads to conflicts again and again when the various national leagues overlap and therefore players cannot be used by their clubs.

Internationally, the Chess Olympiad, which has been held every two years since 1927 - has been the most important competition for national teams. The introduction of a team world championship in 1985 , which was initially held every four years and has been held every two years since 2009, did nothing to change this. This is probably due not only to the long tradition of the Chess Olympiads, but also to the unlimited number of countries participating in the Olympics. Team world championships, on the other hand, are held with only ten teams.

The competitions between the USSR and the rest of the world , held on ten boards each in 1970 and 1984, attracted a great deal of attention , both of which were just barely won by the USSR team.

The biggest team tournament in the world is the competition between the right against the left bank of the Alster , held annually in Hamburg , in which teams of eight from schools on both banks of the Alster compete against each other. A record attendance was achieved in 2017 with 4,240 students.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. FIDE referee manual, there on page 103/104 explanation of the Skalitzka tournament system for teams of six
  2. Explanation of the Skalitzka system at