Handbook ::  C. General Rules and Technical Recommendations for Tournaments

01. Recommendations for Organization of Top-level Tournaments

Regulations for Organisation of Top-Level Tournaments
Approved by 1983 General Assembly.
Amended by 1991 and 1992 General Assemblies.

1. Invitation

Invitations should be sent out well in advance, preferably half a year before the event takes place.


Players shall be invited either through their federations or personally.


The invitation should be as complete as possible, stating clearly the expected conditions and giving all details that can be of use to the player. Attached are guidelines for the Tournament Invitation Agreement.


The following gives an example of what an invitation should contain:

  1. Dates and site of tournament.
  2. Information as to accommodation: hotel, meals (money for meals).
  3. Financial arrangements (including pocket money, appearance money, expenses, prize fund and distribution, point money if any, and the currency in which each shall be paid).
  4. The intended category of the tournament, the number of participants and the names of the players invited.
  5. Whether any special prizes will be awarded, e.g. for the most brilliant game, the best endgame etc.
  6. The tournament time-table, which should contain the following information: date of arrival, date of departure, dates and times of opening ceremony, drawing of lots, closing ceremony, the schedule and rate of play, i.e. days and hours of regular play, adjournments and free days etc.
  7. The date by which a player must have given a definite answer to the invitation.

Once an invitation has been extended it must not be withdrawn unless the event is cancelled. (See C.03, Guidelines for Tournament Invitation Agreement).


Once a player has definitely accepted an invitation he must not withdraw his promise to participate except in case of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity. Acceptance of an alternate invitation will not be condoned as a valid reason. Infringements under 1.3 and 1.4 are to be referred to the FIDE Players' Council. (See C.03)

2. Accommodation

The rooms of the players must be comfortable and quiet single rooms.


The organisers should arrange the accommodation in such a way that the players can enjoy a substantial meal after each playing session.


The organisers should endeavour to offer the players recreational facilities.


When looking for a suitable accommodation for the players, the surroundings should be taken into account (park, woods, possibilities for outdoor exercise).


It is desirable that the playing-hall be in the hotel. If the walking distance between the hotel and the playing-hall is more than 10 minutes, or if adverse weather conditions are likely, private transportation or taxis must be arranged for the players if they so desire.


Organisers should keep in mind that players prefer to receive daily sums of money for their meals rather than full board at the hotel.

3. Playing Schedule

The tournament time-table must not be subject to any change by the organisers unless the players have first been consulted and their advice sought.


There must be no main playing session before 13.00 hours, local time.


To maintain the rhythm, all rounds must begin at the same hour, the last round being no exception. Preferred starting time is 15.00 hours.


It should be kept in mind that most players prefer to continue their adjourned game in the evening after a break of 1-1/2 to 2 hours, not next morning.


It is the duty of the arbiter to inform every player personally as to any deviation from the normal schedule.


The arbiter should also inform the players when and where the adjourned games will be played.


There should be a free day before the last round to totally clear any adjourned games, which can, in this case, be played to a finish.


The last round may be adjourned once and then played to a finish without further adjournments.

4. Playing Conditions

The playing area must be large and comfortable for the players; their tables arranged in such a way as to give them enough room to walk up and down the area and easy access to their chairs.


"Rest room" facilities must be ample, well appointed and within easy reach of the players, who should not have to fight their way through spectators to reach them. "Rest room" facilities for Category 15 Tournaments and above and Candidates Matches should be accessible directly and exclusively to the players. This provision is mandatory for such events and desirable for all other Top Level Tournaments.


Spectators must be seated, and at a fair distance from the playing area and not be permitted to enter it. They must be able to follow all games on demonstration boards while play is in progress. No spectator shall be allowed to smoke.


The playing area must be roped-off (or otherwise clearly separated from the audience). It must have excellent conditions of lighting, temperature, silent air-conditioning etc. Care should be taken to avoid light reflected on the chessboards.


For team events (under 7.2) each individual match must be roped-off (or otherwise clearly distinguished). Only arbiters, plus players, reserves and officials, from teams involved in each roped-off match may enter that particular enclosure. Accredited FIDE officials have universal access.


It should be ensured that players' concentration is in no way disturbed by noise from the audience or from outside.


Ample room and chess sets for post-game analysis and for the chess press must be provided near the playing hall.


No player shall be permitted to analyse his game in the playing area while rounds are in progress.


Chess equipment for play must be of the highest quality and of accepted FIDE standards where these have been established. Pieces should be of wood, properly loaded and felted. Cheap plastic sets must be avoided, as must cheap plastic roll-up boards.


Refreshments shall be offered to participants during play.


Flash photographing of the players shall be allowed only during the first 3 minutes of each round. Film video and TV coverage is to be encouraged, but cameras should be unobtrusive and not disturb the players.


N.B. Play is not over while the games are being adjourned. The same conditions of quiet as during the playing session must prevail when players are sealing their moves.


Organisers should attract maximum press coverage and encourage any journalistic activity connected with the tournament. A prompt tournament bulletin must be published and distributed to players and journalists with one full copy to reach the FIDE office within two weeks of the end of the event.

5. Medical Care

A physician should be at the disposal of the players and provision should be made for any health emergency.

6. Players' Duties, Arbiters

All participants are bound by the Laws of Chess and should behave at all times during the tournament in accordance with the FIDE statutes and the highest principles of sportsmanship, settling all controversial issues by agreement and in the spirit of FIDE.


Nevertheless, an Appeals Committee should be selected by players at the start of the tournament to act in case of any serious dispute.


The Chief Arbiter should be a respected and experienced FIDE International Arbiter.

7. Application of these Regulations

A top-level tournament is defined as any event in the FIDE individual world championship cycle or a private tournament of at least category 10.


Furthermore, sections 3, 4.1, 4.11, 4.4, 4.5, 4.51, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 5 and 6 also apply to all matches of the following top-level team events:

  1. The Olympiad.
  2. Continental Team Championship.
  3. World Team Championship.
Sections 4.2, 4.3, 4.31, 4.6 and 4.7 apply as follows:
  1. Olympiad - minimum 5 top matches.
  2. Continental Team Championship - minimum 4 top matches.
  3. World Team Championship - all matches.

Agreement by organisers to fulfilment of all applicable clauses of these regulations must automatically form part of the bid for any offer to stage a FIDE cycle or team event.

8. Miscellaneous

The Commission on Chess Publication, Information and Statistics (CHIPS) stresses the need for all chess players to take more care in their personal appearance. The image of the chess player should be a dignified one, and dressing properly would not only show respect for the game, but also to sponsors, potential or otherwise, to make it worth their while to spend their money.

For example, some federations have barred slippers, sleeveless T-shirts and vests in their tournaments. Those with unkempt and greasy hair should be admonished, as well as those wearing old or torn jeans and battered attire generally.


CHIPS stresses the need to publicise the games played in tournaments especially those Category 12 or higher, Interzonal or Candidates' levels.

The Commission strongly recommends organizers to use fax facilities as an expedient measure to publicize their games. It is not necessary to own the fax machine in order to take advantage of their ease and speed of communication. Organizers should inform FIDE Secretariat of the proper fax number in order for all press people to contact them. Relaying the information immediately, on the inquirer's time will bring about no cost at all to the organizers.

Media: press@fide.com
General inquiries: office@fide.com

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