Not that it is of earth-shattering importance, but how is a Swiss bye entered in the Result header by default? 1-0? +? +-? +--? Is it different from a forfeit? (The latter can be additionally indicated by the "termination" tag, but I never saw it used, probably because the player field implies it...neither did I ever fill out this tag on a time loss as arbiter since nobody seems to care anyway, flag is a "normal" loss...)

PGN standard didn't answer my question. (And checking a random PGN might lead to a random result, see above.

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    This is one of those trick questions, isn't it? Like "A plane flying from country A to country B crashes in country C. Where are the survivors buried?" In this case, if a player gets a bye then there is no opponent, no game and therefore no PGN. There isn't even a first move as there would be when the opponent doesn't turn up.
    – Brian Towers
    May 6, 2022 at 14:27
  • @Brian: Not so! I asked with respect to a practical example, i.e. the games of my town's youth championship. The organisation is...not as perfect as a FIDE title match :-) Some games are incomplete due to gruesome writing. Some are plain amiss due to work overload of the organizers. A PGN entry "Patzer-Bye 1-0" in the PGN is very helpful to me, since it tells me Patzer got the bye (in contrast to, say, he won against Fisch but the game wasn't recorded), and even the round when it happened. I.e. it is sensible to enter byes as "dummy" PGN heads. May 6, 2022 at 18:30
  • Perhaps the tags may have: [White "player_name"] [Black "?"] [Result "1-0"] [Termination "bye"]. In the case for Dubov forfeiting some games due to positive PCR test, it can be: [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Dubov, Daniil"] [Result "1-0"] [Termination "emergency"]
    – ferdy
    May 7, 2022 at 14:54
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    @ferdy: For the record, the PGN of the championship I mentioned put a "kampflos" (=bye) into the "Black" header (consistent, you always play White against the bye). Also a possibility. (I doubt they even knew a "termination" tag exists in the standard - I didn't knew either before I checked :-) May 7, 2022 at 18:25
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    @ferdy: Addendum. Today I wrote up the PGN of the match I was arbiter in. A forfeit occured. My standard PGN reader neither accepted +- nor +-- as result. May 8, 2022 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


I suspect that the PGN standard does answer your question, though perhaps indirectly. says that the content of the Result tag "is always exactly the same as the game termination marker that concludes the associated movetext."

8.2.6 says: "The game termination marker is a symbol that is one of the following four values: "1-0" (White wins), "0-1" (Black wins), "1/2-1/2" (drawn game), and "*" (game in progress, result unknown, or game abandoned)."

So, no +- or other similar combination allowed. "1-0" is allowed, but seems fundamentally wrong for a bye game -- unless you keep the score to yourself and only use it with PGN software that doesn't interpret that as a real win.

It seems safer to use "*", and add a non-standard PGN tag to indicate that the game was a bye game for a particular player. (That is basically what ferdy suggests in his comment, but it seems unwise to extend an already established and defined tag (i.e. Termination) unilaterally.) This seems to be less disruptive of already existing software.

If the information is for human use only, use "*" and add a movetext comment to the effect that this is a bye game.

PGN was not designed to support FIDE rules. It was designed to be extensible, at least as far as tag pairs go.

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