Scanning my old club zines, I tripped over a 1989 article where it says the (then :-) new FIDE rules gave a half point for a Swiss bye. Possibilities:

  • a) The dude misunderstood the complicated rules. ("Pass bye" for 1/2 point - when a player can't play a certain round - still exist today, but I can't remember a bye bye - odd player number - for 1/2 and I play since ages.)
  • b) This existed way back but was changed (when?).
  • c) This is still a FIDE-legit way to run a Swiss tournament.

What is correct?

  • I'm not sure if I understand the question. Was the article referring about byes players can ask for when they can't show up to a round or about the bye assigned to the last player if the total number of players is odd?
    – David
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 16:20
  • @David: I already said that in a): Not the first bye you mention ("pass bye", can't come) but the second ("bye bye", odd player number). Edited. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 9:31
  • I think the article is stating that before the rule change no half point "pass byes" existed. They do ever since the introduction of this rule
    – David
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


The FIDE Handbook indicates: (https://handbook.fide.com/chapter/C0401) "Should the number of players to be paired be odd, one player is unpaired. This player receives a pairing-allocated bye: no opponent, no colour and as many points as are rewarded for a win, unless the rules of the tournament state otherwise."

This allows the organizer to decide whether to award a point or a half-point for a bye.

There are some exceptions. For example, when the organizer is in charge of a FIDE event like the World Chess Championship Under-20. In that case, the organizer does not have the power to change the rules that were established by the FIDE Congress.

Something interesting is that, in the United States, an organizer of an USCF tournament can give a bye for players who do not want to play or cannot play. It is my understanding that in FIDE events that option does not exist.

As far as I know, when a FIDE rule is changed there is no record of the previous version, only of the new version. For that reason, it is difficult to find a document of 1989. However, I was born in 1966, and I started to play monthly tournaments in 1977 for around 20 years. I clearly remember that at that time in a swiss tournament, under FIDE rules, half-point was the standard for a bye. In spite of that, my personal experience proves nothing. That would be only anecdotal evidence. According to Wikipedia, anecdotal evidence is evidence based only on personal observation, collected in a casual or non-systematic manner.

  • 1
    As Wikipedia says, the USCF "represents the U.S. in FIDE". So why does the conduct of USCF tournaments merit separate consideration from the conduct of FIDE ones?
    – Rosie F
    Commented May 13, 2023 at 7:49
  • 2
    @RosieF Because the majority of USCF tournament does not follow FIDE rules. They follow USCF rules.
    – Beginner
    Commented May 13, 2023 at 19:55

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