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I'm part of a local chess club and we play once a week, 4 or 5 games.

The way pairings are done is by Swiss style pairings where in the first round the top half is paired against the bottom half. Which is fine if it's a one off but what ends up happening is the pairings are the same every week. There are people who I haven't played in months even though we've come every week just due to the pairings. The chess club only has about 10-15 regular members.

Is there a way we can mix up the pairings so everyone plays everyone but it still preserves the "tournament" feel?

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The effect you are seeing is a result of the initial ranking which is done automatically on ratings. When you set up the new tournament you can choose either to have the players sorted by rating or to leave the sort order as the order the players were entered.

You can then do what big international tournaments sometimes do to make the first round more exciting and draw for start number. In regular FIDE rated tournaments this is normally fine. A few years ago when the Isle of Man did this for a tournament which was also a qualifier for the Candidates FIDE objected but for your small local tournament there should be no problem.

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  • Absolutely agree. You can also assign numbers randomly as a simple alternative. Aug 10, 2023 at 9:24
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Well, sure. You can do pairings however you like, so long as your tournaments aren't rated by some external organization like FIDE.

The best way might be to just swap the seeds of some of the players sometimes. If 1 always plays 7, wins, and then plays 4, then if you swap 7 with 8 and 4 with 5 they'll have different opponents for the first two rounds. Then maybe next week you instead swap 6 with 7 and 3 with 4. If you keep the swaps small you preserve the general style of top half vs bottom half in the first round, without having the exact same pairings every time.

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