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I want to organize an amateur chess tournament inside the company I work for. I am looking for a convenient way of creating groups, keeping the scores, and getting some statistics.

Is there an online solution to organize a chess tournament? Do you have some examples, stories, or tips for organizing similar office/company tournaments? Please share them!

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    Your greater challenge will be keeping the tournament on schedule.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 11:51
  • @TonyEnnis, yes indeed! Commented May 17, 2012 at 14:05
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    Oh, and you will find that it is possible to find Swiss freeware, but Tonys reminder is only one of the "soft" aspects. I have a (German) checklist for tournaments lying around somewhere on my PC, and the list is long (and doesn't cover the problems that are bound to happen by Murphy's Law - expect one new problem for each new tournament)... Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 14:34

13 Answers 13

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This isn't an online solution but one program you could use is swiss perfect, which manages tournaments and allows various options.

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    Unfortunately swiss perfect appears to be Windows-only.
    – g33kz0r
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 17:15
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The biggest problem with Swiss pairing programs for desktop is that there is nothing that is fully free for windows. Also they are very old and ugly.

I was glad to find Vega Chess which is a very good chess pairing program available with the least limitations. It is also FIDE approved.

It is fully free on Linux and free for 30 player tournaments on windows. It is also one of the better GUI compared to the more popular ones.


Android phones have a few interesting manager apps for organizing chess tournaments:

  1. Swiss System Tournament
  2. Quick Tournament Maker
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    I think it's worth mentioning that Vega will do a lot more than the two Android apps mentioned, e.g. calculate player ELO; it also offers various tie-break strategies.
    – Ralph
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 11:36
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The best way to do it is using Swiss Manager. Swiss perfect has a bug in which after it reaches a certain number of participants, it just fails on certain aspects.

I think Swiss Manager is not that user-friendly, but I was able to learn it by myself though. There you can even create a local rating exclusively for your own company. Swiss Manager takes care of that -- it counts how much ratings a player has earned/lost after the tournament.

Now if you are not that tech savvy you can do it manually. If it is just 30 or less participants it's pretty handy. Just make an initial list (the strongest player as the #1 seed).

Pairings for the first round goes like this and you have the option to reverse colors. Say there are just 8 participants (for simplicity purposes). The first half of the list, which are players #1 to #4 will play against #5 to #8 respectively:

Round 1: 1 vs 5 6 vs 2 3 vs 7 8 vs 4

Notice the alternating pattern in which #1 is white, #2 is black and #3 is white.

In the next round, probably the top 4 players won and the others lost. top seed and 2nd seed will face in the later part so You will just do the pattern again, this time among those on the same point groups: #1-#4 all have one point and hence will play each other while #5-#8 will also do the same.

Round 2 pairings looks like this and again, the ones on the upper part vs the lower parts ON THE SAME POINT GROUP. Hence #1 & #2 vs #3 & #4

and #5 & #6 vs #7 & #8:

Round 2: 4 vs 1 2 vs 3

5 vs 8 7 vs 6

Just note about the colors. As much as possible, players should change colors after every round. But there are exceptions in which some players can go two rounds with the same color BUT HE/SHE CANNOT GO FOR THREE ROUNDS WITH THE SAME COLOR.

Another thing to mention is sometimes, you need to pair a player to another player which is not of his point group simply because there are no other player whom he can play in the same group. Example is when one match ended in a draw in the first round. So these two players with half points might play against 1-pointers or even 0-pointers in the 2nd round. Just depends on the scenario of availability of players.

Basically that's what the pairing program's algorithm does. On the later rounds you can continue the pattern on which players on the same point group play each other as long as they haven't played each other.

By the way, two types of tournament styles are:

  1. Round Robin (Sub types of this type is double and triple round robins, etc)
  2. Swiss (could be 5 rounds, 6 rounds, 7 or 9, etc. Simply depending on the tournament size. You can calculate it in the form of 2x in which x is the number of rounds needed to produce. 2x should be equal or greater than the number of participants.

Say there are 100 participants, in order for 2x to be greater or equal to 100, x must be 7. So 7 rounds could do it.

But then again, the tournament manager has the right to increase the number of rounds. It will be stated in the so called "Ground Rules" or "Mechanics of the Tournament".

It is really pretty easy. For not so serious tournaments this should work, but for serious ones, Tie-breaks, on the later rounds, will also add complexities as to who should play who in the next rounds.

P.S.: Sorry this is just a quick reflection in my past experience. I know my answer is not well organized/formatted.

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We have been organizing an amateur tournament every month for five years. We have tried different options. In my experience, the best solution is to divide the players into groups of 4 players based on their chess strength. For example, if you have 8 players. That would produce 2 groups of 4 players. If you have 7 players, that would produce 1 group of 4 players, and 1 group of 3 players. Every player would pick randomly a number between 1 and 4. Automatically, all the pairing is done. You can see it in the following link: https://handbook.fide.com/chapter/C05Annex1

Round Robin 3-4 players

The main advantage of this system is that you can reduce the chess strength difference between the groups. For example, if you have 4 extraordinarily strong players and 4 very weak players, if you put the weak players against the strong players, the weak players will feel very bad, after the games finished. Most likely, they will not play the next tournament. Also, it would be boring for the strong players. With this system, people will be motivated after the tournament because if you have 3 groups, you will have 3 gold medals winners, 3 silver medals winers, and 3 bronze medals winers. One big plus is also that you would not need chess software to run the tournament. Using a chess software is a big challenge for some people. Also, it takes some time to input the information into the program. Finally, a big advantage of this system is that you would need at most 3 games for each group. Sometimes a Swiss system needs 11 rounds. Everything depends on the number of players. This is my experience. Of course, it is not a perfect solution. Any questions, let me know. Good luck with your chess journey!

P.S. If you have a number that is not multiple of 4, you need to play with the numbers.

For example, if you have 9 you can make 3 groups of 3 players, or the arbiter can play and have 10 players. After that you can make 2 groups of 4 and 1 of 2. The group of 2 players would play a match of 3 games. You can go for the solution that you consider the best because there is no optimal mathematical solution when the number is not a number like 8 or 7.

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    I wish I could also organize the tournament for Shadyantra. But my concern is to make lichess like community and I dont know how??
    – ShadYantra
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 8:00
  • @ShadYantra My suggestion would be that you post a new question for that purpose. Most likely somebody will post an answer.
    – Beginner
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:05
  • Chess exchange has banned me in posting nee questions. They are afraid of discussing the real chess
    – ShadYantra
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 5:56
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    @ShadYantra You always can create a new account. Just follow the rules when you create a new account.
    – Beginner
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 19:18
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If you are looking for an easy-to-use, FIDE-approved online platform, take a look at ChessManager.

enter image description here

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You can create online tournaments on http://www.chessmoon.com/ it supports both Round Robin and Swiss with different time controls and options.

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[...] keeping the scores and getting some statistics.

Do you have some examples, stories or tips for organizing similar office/company tournaments?

Rankade, our free ranking system, can be used in office/company for tracking results. It doesn't fit your need in organizing a tournament, but it allows you to keep the scores and getting some statistics (including Elo-like - here's a comparison - rankings and matchup stats) in a playing group (even through different tournaments).

Here are some examples for chess, foosball, and table tennis played at workplace, and we host many company/office playing groups for videogames, pool, crokinhole, carroms, boardgames, and more.

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If you want online solution you should try https://www.swips.eu, it is easy to use and free.

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Here's another Swiss pairing solution (fully free :D)

good luck with the tourney

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I run a chess school where I conduct chess tournaments very often. I prefer Swiss Manager over other software because it is simple and free if the number of players is less than 60.

enter image description here

This software is very similar to Swiss Perfect but better in many ways. I have written a tutorial on how to use it: Swiss Manager Tutorial

I hope that helps you conduct small tournaments.

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How big is the tournament? How many people, how long? What type of tournament will it be? How often will it be re-run?

Before PCs I ran moderately sized tournaments quite easily with just 5x8 cards.

Computers are great for really big tournaments and to stop complaints that the director was biased; but they are not needed for a smaller more friendly tournament.

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If you want to do it clean and simple - you could try Chess Tournament. It's an app you can buy very cheap at google play or apple store. It works on any device. And it's easy to use for a quite simple tournament. Supports both Swiss and round-robin. And I also hear rumours about a new version coming soon. You can find it here:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chess-tournament/id805482640?l=nb&ls=1&mt=8 ANDROID: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=no.dcapps.chesstournament

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I use Eniblo Tournament Maker: https://www.eniblo.org/en/apps/all_leagues

There is no option for Swiss tournament but you can choose for Round-Robin ore Double Round-Robin.

The Android app works great, with the others I have no experience. If the number of player is unpair I add a Bye, but I don't know if this is necessary.

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