Chess tournament

The chess game involves a great number of different terms, rules, and events. Today we’re going to break down the details of a chess tournament. All ambitious beginners set a goal to take part in it sooner or later. Let’s see what it actually is and how it emerged.

Chess tournament


The first chess event in a format of a structured competition occurred in 1841. 10 years later, there was also the first contest conducted internationally. They both were held in England. The latter one showed the way to follow for all future big competitions. Among other things, it exposed the necessity of implementing time limits.

From then on, the number of such events drastically increased in Europe and USA. By 1990, there were over 1000 tournaments of an international format held annually.

In 1927, the first Olympiad was organized specifically for chess players. 16 countries took part in it, and the number grew rapidly over the years. Starting from 1950, FIDE has been managing it on a regular basis every 2 years.

What is a modern chess tournament like?

Basically, this type of contest is a sequence of games. They are performed competitively to define a winner. It can be either a team or a person. This is the standard and most popular form of chess battle for those playing professionally.

FIDE dictates the regulations and rules for conducting these events. There are three kinds of formats applied in tournaments to determine a party that wins. Here they are:

  • Swiss system. There is a settled number of rounds, and they are conducted in a one-on-one format. All pairings are formed in accordance with the participants’ running scores. The competitors can’t play against the same opponent twice. The one with the highest accumulated points during all rounds wins.
  • Round-robin. All the contestants play with one another, which commonly happens in turn. The one who wins the majority of games becomes the champion.
  • In each round, the winner proceeds to the next game, and the opponent is eliminated. Thus, the last match involves just two players and defines the victorious party.


If you want to compete in a chess tournament, begin from the basics. We explained the essence, so you can move on to harder chess terms. Good luck!