Chess tournament

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The 35th Chess Olympiad 2002 in Bled

A chess tournament consists of a series of chess games that are played to determine a winner, be it a person or a team. There are also computer chess tournaments, i.e. tournaments of chess computers or (rarely) between chess computers and people. Examples are the annual World Chess Championship (WCCC) and the Harvard Chess Cup , which was held from 1989 to 1995 as a “grandmaster against chess computer ” competition . Since the first international chess tournament in London in 1851 , these have been the standard form of competition between professional chess players.

The most recognized chess tournaments for single players include the Linares International Chess Tournament and the Tata Steel Chess Tournament . The largest chess tournament for team competitions is the Chess Olympiad , in which the participants compete for the team in their country, as in the Olympic Games.

Most chess tournaments are organized and administered according to the handbook of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) . The manual provides guidelines and rules for hosting chess tournaments. A chess tournament can be held in the following three tournament modes: round-robin tournament , Swiss system or knockout system .

A big youth chess tournament in Spain.


Even if modern chess emerged around 1475, the first chess tournament (in the sense of an organized competition) took place in Leeds in 1841. One tournament with a knockout system was held in London in 1849 and another in Amsterdam in 1851, with the first international chess tournament being held in London that same year during the Great Exhibition . It served as a guide for all future international chess tournaments and not only showed that a regulation of the cooling off period was needed, but also that the knockout. System had certain disadvantages. The winner of the first international chess tournament was Adolf Anderssen from Germany, who was then named the best chess player in the world.

As a result, the number of international chess tournaments rose rapidly, so that by the end of the 1850s chess tournaments had taken place in Berlin , Paris , Manchester , New York , San Francisco , Birmingham and Vienna . Up until the end of the Second World War there were 24 international chess tournaments a year, with this number increasing to one thousand by 1990.

Chess Olympiad

Tournament hall of the Chess Olympiad in Turin 2006

In 1924 an attempt was made to incorporate chess into the Olympic Games . However, this attempt failed because it was very difficult to distinguish professional chess players from amateur players. The first unofficial Chess Olympiad was held in Paris in 1924, at the same time and in the same city as the Summer Olympics, but separately from them. The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) was founded on the last day of the first unofficial Chess Olympiad and then organized the first official Chess Olympiad in 1927, in which 16 countries took part. At the time of the 29th Chess Olympiad in 1990, FIDE comprised 127 member countries. The Chess Olympiad has been held every two years since 1950.

Growth in the number of participants in the Chess Olympiads
1st Chess Olympiad.PNG
16 nations took part in the first Chess Olympiad in 1927.
37th Chess Olympiad participants.PNG
At the time of the 37th Chess Olympiad in 2006 there were 133 participating nations.


FIDE tournaments are held according to the rules of the FIDE Handbook, which is used as a guide for many chess tournaments. It contains nine chapters that deal with the regulation of chess tournaments.

The chess clock

A typical analog chess clock with two time displays.

A chess clock consists of two separate time displays, only one of which can be active at the same time. At the beginning of each game, the player with the black chess pieces operates the clock so that the opponent's time display is started. If a player exceeds their time limit, the other player or the referee may end the game at any time. The referee is also authorized to stop the clock if the game is to be interrupted.

Rule violations

In the event of a rule violation, such as a prohibited move, the previous position of the pieces must be restored. The referee decides whether and to what extent the time and move display is corrected.

Record of the moves

In games with a long cooling-off period, every player is obliged to record all of the chess moves made in algebraic chess notation on a game sheet. The recordings must be visible to the referee at all times during the game.

At the end of the game, the players must sign each other's notes and, if ordered, hand them over to the organizer. In blitz chess, players are not required to keep records. Each player must also know the meaning of the following abbreviations:

symbol meaning
= Draw (position)
0-0 Small castling
0-0-0 Great castling
x Blow
+ Chess requirement
# or ++ Checkmate
ep Beat en passant

The draw

Before a player offers his opponent a draw, he must first make his move and not stop his clock before that. If a player does not make his move but offers a draw, his opponent can claim a move for himself before accepting the offer. According to the chess rules, a player can request a draw and may stop both time displays until either the opponent agrees or the referee decides on the correctness of the request.

Final spurt phase

The final spurt phase is the last phase of the game in which all remaining moves must be made within a limited time. A player who has less than two minutes to think about may request a draw. If so, the clock will stop and the referee will evaluate the request. If the referee rejects the request or delays it, the requesting player will be given two additional minutes to think about it. Otherwise the game is drawn.


symbol Points
White wins
0: 1
Black wins
½: ½

A player receives one point for a win, half a point for a draw and no point for a loss. The format shown in the table (right) is used when the points are recorded.

Behavior of the players

During a chess tournament, the participants must observe certain behavior. For example, players are not allowed to perform activities that could damage the reputation of the game of chess. Furthermore, the players are not allowed to use any information from outside, such as notes, advice or analysis from other games. In addition, competitors are not allowed to leave the tournament grounds without the referee's permission, and no cell phone or similar communication device may be used or held close by during a game, and failure to comply with this rule will result in the opponent being the winner. Another rule is that players must not distract their competitors in any way and that smoking is only allowed in a specially designated area.

The role of the referee

The referee's job is to check that the rules of chess are being followed. The referee should make decisions in favor of the tournament but should not interfere with a game in any other way. In the event of a rule violation, the referee can choose a penalty from the following list:

  • issue a warning
  • extend the opponent's remaining cooling-off time
  • shorten the remaining cooling off time of the player to be punished
  • announce the game as lost by the player to be punished
  • reduce the number of points scored by the player to be punished
  • increase the opponent's score
  • exclude the player who broke the rules from the tournament

Tournament category

According to FIDE , the tournaments are divided into several categories according to the rating of the participants. The higher the category, the higher the rating of the participants and the stronger the tournament. The following tables show the category with the associated range of the Elo rating.

category Elo rating
I. 2251-2275
II 2276-2300
III 2301-2325
IV 2326-2350
V 2351-2375
VI 2376-2400
VII 2401-2425
VIII 2426-2450
category Elo rating
IX 2451-2475
X 2476-2500
XI 2501-2525
XII 2526-2550
XIII  2551-2575
XIV 2576-2600
XV 2601-2625
XVI 2626-2650
category Elo rating
XVII 2651-2675
XVIII  2676-2700
XIX 2701-2725
XX 2726-2750
XXI 2751-2775
XXII 2776-2800
XXIII 2801-2825

See also

Portal: Chess  - Overview of Wikipedia content on chess

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b David Hooper: The Oxford Companion to Chess . 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 1992, ISBN 0-19-866164-9 , pp. 426 (first edition: 1984).
  2. ^ Edward Winter: Chess Notes, note 5869. Retrieved May 8, 2017 .
  3. ^ Edward Winter: Chess Notes, note 5874. Retrieved May 8, 2017 .
  4. ^ Richard Eales: Chess: the history of a game . Harding Simpole, Glasgow 2002, ISBN 0-9513757-3-3 (first edition: 1985).
  5. ^ Reuben Fine : The World's great chess games . 2nd Edition. Dover Publications, New York 1983, ISBN 0-486-24512-8 , pp. 14-15 .
  6. Anne Sunnucks: The Encyclopaedia of Chess . Hale, London 1970, ISBN 0-7091-1030-8 .
  7. Kenneth Whyld : Guinness chess the records . Guinness Superlatives, Enfield, Middlesex / New York 1986, ISBN 0-85112-455-0 .
  8. Władysław Litmanowicz, Jerzy Giżycki: Szachy od A do Z . Part 1: A-M . Sport i Turystyka, Warsaw 1986, ISBN 83-217-2481-7 (Polish).
  9. a b History of Chess. Retrieved May 8, 2017 .
  10. a b c Edward R. Brace: An illustrated dictionary of chess . Chartwell, Secaucus, NJ 1989, ISBN 1-55521-394-4 , pp. 64 (first edition: 1977).
  11. ^ Bill Wall: FIDE History . Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  12. FIDE Handbook. Retrieved May 8, 2017 .
  13. ^ The FIDE Laws of Chess. Retrieved May 9, 2017 .
  14. Article 6: The chess clock. Retrieved May 8, 2017 .
  15. a b c d e f g Ralph Alt, Klaus Deventer, Jürgen Kohlstädt, Matthias Möller, Werner Stubenvoll, Michael Voß, Thomas Wiedmann: The FIDE rules of chess German translation 2014 . Ed .: Referee Commission of the German Chess Federation e. V. July 1, 2014.
  16. Algebraic notation. Retrieved May 9, 2017 .
  17. ^ Tim Just, Daniel B. Burg: US Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess (=  McKay chess library ). 5th edition. Random House Puzzles & Games, New York 2003, ISBN 0-8129-3559-4 .
  18. Article 13: The role of the referee (see foreword). Retrieved May 9, 2017 .