When a USCF rated tournament is submitted for rating, the tournament director submits to the USCF a set of dBase III files (.DBF files) that include the tournament data. I've never seen a description of the structure of those files anywhere - I mean, I know they're dBase files, but as far as the fields and such. Does such a description exist?

A long while back, I was talking to someone at the USCF who worked on the website and online tournament submission, who told me that there was in the planning stages an XML-based format for submitting tournament results, and that it was in limited testing at that time. I've never seen nor heard anything else about this since then. Is anything like this still in progress? Is there a description of that format anywhere?

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    Just curious. What happens when you open one of those files with something like Excel or NeoOffice that can read those files? Do you get column headings you can understand?
    – Arlen
    Nov 15, 2019 at 22:23
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    I don't think Excel will open them, don't know about NeoOffice. I don't have a sample tournament report to look at (due to not having either WinTD or SwissSys), otherwise I could probably reverse engineer the structure. Maybe I could get Vega to generate a USCF-compatible tournament report, but I know Vega is rarely used for USCF tournaments, so I would prefer to have something generated by the software everyone uses...
    – patbarron
    Nov 17, 2019 at 0:34
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    Excel used to open dBase files, I have to admit I haven't checked that recently. I haven't submitted a tournament report in a decade or more.
    – Arlen
    Nov 18, 2019 at 15:30
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    Excel can still open dBase files, and there are several other programs that can view them.
    – Herb
    Nov 18, 2019 at 18:32
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    @ patbarron -- google turned up many ways to read or convert DBF files as well as detailed descriptions of the contents. Dec 6, 2019 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


Years ago I worked with these as just a hobbyist. I downloaded a resource document about an old piece of software called Tournament Administrator. The source site is gone, but the Internet Wayback Machine still had it from 2006 (2008 corrupted):


I can't find any resource for newer USCF file formats. Good luck!

  • Thanks! This is actually exactly what I'm looking for, except it's for the older file format (e.g., without color information). At least using this, I might have a better chance at reverse engineering the current format by looking at tournament report files from other events.
    – patbarron
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:55

Google turned up many ways to read or convert DBF files as well as detailed descriptions of the contents.

See the gory details here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.dbf#File_architecture_overview

and yet more gory here: http://www.dbase.com/Knowledgebase/INT/db7_file_fmt.htm

with more details still at this site http://web.archive.org/web/20150323061445/http://ulisse.elettra.trieste.it/services/doc/dbase/DBFstruct.htm

yet another view of the DBF file https://www.dbf2002.com/dbf-file-format.html

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    These are great links for the structure of the files, thanks! Now it would be convenient to be able to get a description of fields that USCF uses in these files, and how those fields are interpreted. Rather than just trying to reverse-engineer from tournament reports generated from other software....
    – patbarron
    Dec 6, 2019 at 21:56
  • And yet someone downvoted this today without any reason. Jan 22, 2020 at 20:11

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