General Regulations for Competitions

05. FIDE General Regulations for Competitions (GR)

Approved by the 1986 General Assembly, 2007 PB
Amended by the 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 General Assemblies and 2011 Executive Board.


All chess competitions shall be played according to the FIDE Laws of Chess (E.I.01A). The FIDE General Regulations for Competitions shall be used in conjunction with the Laws of Chess and shall apply to all official FIDE competitions. These Rules shall also be applied to all FIDE-rated competitions, amended where appropriate. The organisers, competitors and arbiters involved in any competition are expected to be acquainted with these Rules before the start of the competition. In these Rules the words ‘he’, ‘him’ and ‘his’ shall be considered to include ‘she’ and ‘her’.

National Laws of the hosting country take precedence over FIDE Rules.

1 Scope

1.1 Where an event has a situation not covered by internal rules, these Rules shall be considered to be definitive.

1.2 These Rules apply to the following levels of competition:
L1 – Official FIDE events – see FIDE Handbook, Section D, Regulations for Specific Competitions (World Championships, Chess Olympiad, Continental Championships and so on)
L2 – Competitions where FIDE titles and title norms can be earned, according to FIDE Handbook B.01 (FIDE Title Regulations)
L3 – FIDE Rated Competitions, according to FIDE Handbook B.02 (FIDE Rating Regulations)

1.3 These competition rules may contain regulations defined by other FIDE Commissions, which are listed in the FIDE Handbook. Where possible, references to these external regulations shall be shown.

2 The Chief Organiser (CO)

2.1 The federation or administrative body responsible for the organisation of a competition may entrust the technical organisation to a CO. He, together with the federation or organising body, may appoint an Organising Committee to be responsible for all financial, technical and organisational matters.
Other rules hereunder may apply also to the role of the CO. He and the Chief Arbiter (see 3) must work closely together in order to ensure the smooth running of an event.

2.2 The CO is responsible in particular for:
(1) preparation of the Regulations of the Event – see Guidelines for the Organisers published on the RC website (
(2) anti-cheating staff and equipment – see FIDE Handbook A.10 – Anti-cheating Guidelines,
(3) dress-code regulations for the event – see FIDE Handbook A.09 – Code of Ethics
(4) appropriate registration of the tournament in advance – see FIDE Handbook B.02 – Rating Regulations
(5) Media regulations – see FIDE Handbook C.09 – Media Regulations
(6) supervising the work of the technical staff of the competition.

3 The Chief Arbiter (CA)

3.1 The duties of the CA are as specified in particular by the Laws of Chess, General Regulations for Competitions, Anti-cheating Guidelines and so on.
During the event he also:
(1) has to keep the record of each round
(2) to oversee the proper course of the competition
(3) to ensure order in the playing venue
(4) to ensure players’ comfort during play

3.2 Prior to the start of the competition:
(1) he may draw up additional rules in consultation with the CO;
(2) he shall check all the conditions for play, including the playing venue, playing area, lighting, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, noise, security and so on.;
(3) he must acquire through the CO all the necessary equipment, ensure a sufficient number of arbiters, auxiliary technical staff and assistants are engaged and ensure that conditions for the arbiters are satisfactory. Whether the playing conditions meet the requirements of these FIDE Rules is his final decision.

3.3 In case of different opinion between CA and CO regarding interpretation of the Laws of Chess, it is assumed that opinion of CA takes priority.

3.4 At the conclusion of the event the CA shall report as appropriate.

4 Preparation of the Playing Hall and Chess Equipment According to the FIDE Handbook C.02 Standards of Chess Equipment and tournament venue for FIDE Tournaments

4.1 If possible, a separate area outside the playing area shall be provided where smoking is permitted. This shall be easily accessible from the playing area. If local ordinances totally prohibit smoking on the premises, the players and officials shall be given easy access to the outside.

4.2 If smoking is completely prohibited, it shall be announced in the regulation of the event in advance.

4.3 All games must be played in the playing area at the times specified in advance by the organisers, unless otherwise decided by the CA (in consultation with the CO).

4.4 For FIDE events (L1) with 30 players or more, at any stage, a large digital timer or clock shall be installed in the playing hall. For FIDE events with fewer than 30 players an appropriate announcement shall be made five minutes before the game is due to start and again one minute before the start of the game.

5 Pairings

5.1 The pairings for a round robin should be made in accordance with the Berger tables (Annex 1), adjusted where necessary for double-round events.

5.2 If the pairings are to be restricted in any way – for example, players from the same federation shall, if possible, not meet in the last rounds – this shall be communicated to the players as soon as possible, but not later than the start of the first round.

5.3 For round-robin competitions this restricted drawing of lots may be done by using the Varma tables, reproduced in Annex 2, which can be used for competitions of 9 to 24 players.

5.4 For the pairings of a Swiss-system competition the pre-announced pairing system shall apply. (C.04)

6 Drawing of lots and withdrawals

6.1 Responsibility for the drawing of lots and the actual pairings rests with the CA.

6.2 The drawing of lots for the first round of a round-robin competition shall be arranged by the CO, to be open to the players.

6.3 In L1, L2: round robin competitions and preferably Swisses, the drawing of lots shall take place at least 12 hours before the start of the first round. In L1 all participants shall attend the ceremony of drawing of lots. A player who has not arrived on time for the drawing of lots may be included at the discretion of the CA. The first-round pairings shall be announced as soon as possible thereafter.

6.4 If a player withdraws, or is excluded from a competition after the drawing of lots but before the beginning of the first round, or there are additional entries, the announced pairings shall remain unaltered. Additional pairings or changes may be made at the discretion of the CA in consultation with the players directly involved, but only if these minimise amendments to pairings that have already been announced.

6.5 A player who is absent without notifying the arbiter shall be considered as withdrawn (to have withdrawn), unless the absence is explained, with acceptable reasons, before the next pairing is published. The rules of the competition may specify otherwise.

6.6 Round robins
(1) Each player has entered into a contract to play throughout the tournament.
(2) When a player withdraws or is expelled from a tournament, the effect shall be as follows:
1. If a player has completed less than 50 % of his games, the results shall remain in the tournament table (for rating and historical purposes), but they shall not be counted in the final standings. The unplayed games of the player are indicated by (-) in the tournament table and those of his opponents by (+). If neither player is present this will be indicated by two (-).
2. If a player has completed at least 50 % of his games, the results shall remain in the tournament table and shall be counted in the final standings. The unplayed games of the player are shown as above.

6.7 Swisses
(1) If a player withdraws, the results shall remain in the cross-table for ranking purposes. Only games that are actually played shall be rated
(2) If a player cannot play a particular round it is essential to inform the Pairings Officer and CA before the pairings for that round are made.
Unless the rules of a competition specify otherwise:
(3) In an L2 or L3 tournament: If, after the round has started, two players do not have a game, then they can be paired against each other. This is only allowed when the arbiter and both players agree and they have not already played in this tournament. The arbiter shall adjust the clock times in an equitable manner.
(4) In an L2 or L3 tournament the rules may permit a player to take a half point bye in a given round. It is only allowed once during the tournament, if adequate notice has been given and is agreed to by the arbiter. Such permission might not be granted to a player who receives conditions, or who has been given a free entry to the tournament.

7 Team competitions and Team Captain’s Role A team competition is one where the results of individual games contribute equally to the final score of a defined group of players.

7.1 Depending on the rules of the specific competition, the captain shall be required to deliver, at a specific time, a written list naming the players in his team participating in each round. If the list is not delivered by the appointed time, the team list for that round shall be the first named players in the list submitted by the required time before the start of the event. The captain shall communicate to his players the pairings.

7.2 In L1 tournaments, at the start of any round a participating team has to be present with more than 50% players. If 50% or less of the players are present at the start of any round the players present are not allowed to start their games. For other levels this is not obligatory, but recommended.

7.3 The captain shall sign the protocol indicating the results in the match at the end of play.

7.4 A team captain is allowed to leave or re-enter the playing venue only with the permission of the arbiter.

7.5 The team captain (as well as players) must not stand behind the opposing team during play.

7.6 If the team captain wishes to speak to one of his players, he shall first approach the arbiter. The team captain shall then speak to the player in the presence of an arbiter, using a language the arbiter can understand. The same procedure shall be followed if a player needs to speak to the captain.

7.7 A team captain is entitled to advise the players of his team to make or accept an offer of a draw unless the regulations of the event stipulate otherwise. He shall not intervene in a game in any other way. He must not discuss any position on any board during play. The player can also ask his captain if he may offer or accept a draw.

7.8 The team captain may delegate his functions to another person, provided he informs the CA of this in writing in advance.

8 Tie-breaks and unplayed games See FIDE Handbook C.02 – Standards of Chess Equipment and tournament venue for FIDE Tournaments

9 Conduct of the Players

9.1 Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in exceptional circumstances (force majeure), such as illness or incapacity. Acceptance of another invitation is not considered to be a valid reason for not participating or for withdrawing.

9.2 All the participants should be dressed in a suitable manner. In case of violation of the dresscode regulations, they may be penalised – see FIDE Handbook A.09 – Code of Ethics article 3.2

9.3 A player who does not wish to continue a game, but leaves without resigning or notifying the arbiter, is discourteous. He may be penalised, at the discretion of the CA, for poor sportsmanship – see FIDE Handbook E.01 – Laws of Chess article 12.9
9.4 Where it is clear that results have been arranged – see FIDE Handbook E.01 – Laws of Chess article 11.1, the CA shall impose suitable penalties – see FIDE Handbook E.01 – Laws of Chess article 12.9

9.5 The players should not eat at the chessboard during the game.

10 Appeals procedure

10.1 When there is a dispute, the CA or CO as appropriate should make every effort to resolve matters by reconciliation. It is possible that such means will fail and the dispute is such that penalties are appropriate but not specifically defined by the Laws of Chess or the General Regulations for Competition. Then the CA (in consultation with the CO) shall have discretionary power to impose penalties. He should seek to maintain discipline and offer other solutions which may placate the offended parties.

10.2 In all competitions there shall be an Appeals Committee (AC). The CO shall ensure that the AC is elected or appointed before the start of the first round, usually at the drawing of lots, or players’ meeting. It is recommended that the AC consist of a Chairman, at least two members and, when needed, two reserve members. The Chairman, the members and reserve members shall, if possible, be from different federations, if it is an international competition. No member of the AC involved in the dispute shall rule in that dispute. Such a committee should have an odd number of voting members. Members of the AC shall not be younger than 21 years old.

10.3 A player or a registered official representing a player or team may appeal against any ruling made by the CA or CO or one of their assistants. Such an official may include the player’s team captain, head of delegation or other person as defined in the rules of the event.

10.4 An appeal shall be accompanied by a fee and submitted in written form not later than the deadline. Both fee and deadline shall be fixed in advance. The decisions of the AC shall be final. The fee is returnable if the appeal is successful. The fee (or part of it) may also be returned if the appeal is unsuccessful but considered reasonable in the view of the committee.

11 Media

11.1 Television cameras that are noiseless and unobtrusive are permitted in the playing venue and contiguous areas with the approval of the CO and CA. The CA shall ensure the players are not disturbed or distracted in any way by the presence of TV, video cameras or other equipment.

11.2 Only authorised photographers may take photographs in the playing venue. Use of flash in the playing area is restricted to the first ten minutes of the first round and the first five minutes of each subsequent round, unless the CA decides otherwise. The Regulations of an Event may include other rules due to the peculiarities of the event. The authorised photographers may take photographs without flash during the rest of the round in the playing area, only with the permission of the CA

12 Invitation, Registration and Functions for L1 tournaments

12.1 Invitations to an official FIDE competition shall be issued as soon as feasible.

12.2 The CO shall send, through the respective national federations, invitations to all participants qualified for the competition. The invitation letter shall first be approved by the President of FIDE for World Championship competitions, and by the Continental President for Continental Championship competitions.

12.3 The invitation shall be as comprehensive as possible, stating clearly the expected conditions and giving all details which may be of use to the player. The following should be included in the invitation letter and/or brochure which should also be posted on the FIDE website:

1. The dates and site of the Competition
2. A reference to the FIDE Regulations
3. The hotel(s) where the players are to stay with the contact details
4. The Competition schedule: dates, times of play and places of: arrival, the opening ceremony, technical meeting, drawing of lots, play, special events, the closing ceremony, departure.
5. The rate of play and the type of clocks to be used in the Competition.
6. The pairing system for the event and the tie-break system to be used.
7. The default-time
8. The specific rules for draw agreements, if there is any restriction.
9. For Rapid Chess and Blitz competitions, whether Article A3 or A4, or B3 or B4 applies.
10. The travel expenses, accommodation, duration for which board and lodging shall be provided or the cost of such accommodation, including that for people accompanying the player, arrangements for meals.
11. The entry fee, full details of the prize fund, including special prizes, pocket money, points money, the currency in which money shall be disbursed, method and terms of payment, tax liability.
12. Visas information and how to obtain them.
13. How to get to the playing venue and arrangements for transportation.
14. The likely number of participants, the names of players invited and the name of the Chief Arbiter (CA).
15. The website of the event, contact details of the organisers including the name of the CO.
16. The players’ responsibility towards the media, general public, sponsors, government representatives and other similar considerations.
17. Dress code, if any
18. Any smoking restrictions shall be mentioned in the invitation.
19. Security Arrangements.
20. Special medical considerations such as vaccinations recommended or required in advance.
21. Arrangements for: tourism, special events, internet access, and so on.
22. The date by which a player must give a definite reply to the invitation and where and when he shall report his arrival.
23. In his reply a player may mention pre-existing medical conditions and special dietary and/or religious requirements.
24. If the organiser has to take special measures due to a disability of the player, the player shall notify the organiser in his reply.

12.4 Once an invitation has been issued to a player, it must not be withdrawn, provided the player accepts the invitation by the reply date. If an event is cancelled or postponed the organisers shall provide compensation.

12.5 The CO shall guarantee medical treatment and medicines for all participants, official seconds, arbiters and officials, and shall insure said people against accidents and the need for medical services, including medicine, surgical procedures, and so on, but shall have no responsibility where there is a chronic condition. The official medical staff shall be appointed for the duration of the competition.

12.6 The same protocol as in 12.3, 12.4 and 12.5 shall be followed for L2 or L3 competitions, amended where appropriate.

13 Appointments of CA for L1 tournaments

13.1 (1) The CA of an official World Event shall be nominated by the President of FIDE in consultation with the CO. The CA of a Continental Championship competition shall be nominated by the Continental President, in consultation with the CO. The CA shall have the title of International Arbiter classified “A” or “B” (see FIDE Handbook B.06, Annex 2, Regulations for the Classification of the Chess Arbiters) and shall have adequate experience of FIDE competitions, FIDE official languages and relevant FIDE regulations.
(2) FIDE and/or the Organising Committee shall nominate, in consultation with Chief Arbiter, the other arbiters and other staff.