Chess Tournaments and Swiss Pairing

The Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix, and the majority of other chess tournaments, use a system called Swiss Pairing to decide who plays who in each round. The idea is that every player will play in every round, this is not a knockout cup competition.

  • Players are put into a list either by grade if they have one, alphabetical or random.
  • There are 6 rounds (or games) in each Grand Prix tournament.
  • These are one day events, with all 6 games played during the day.
  • Chess games are timed using clocks, and each player has 25 minutes each to complete all their moves. Therefore, games can last up to 50 minutes each, but most tend to be decided within 20 to 30 minutes. Chess clocks are easy to use, and require no more than pressing the button after each more – Find out more about using chess clocks.
  • All players play all rounds. You CANNOT play the same player twice.
  • The first round is paired for a Swiss Pairing tournament.
  • The second and subsequent rounds are paired by players playing against someone on the same number of points. This creates a situation where you start to play someone near your own standard. Notice is taken of colours played.
  • If there is an odd number of players in an age group, one player will receive a ‘Bye’, and not play in that round.  A player can only receive one Bye in each Grand Prix, so will be guaranteed to play at least 5 games of chess, and usually 6.
  • The winner is the player with the most points. In the event of a tie then tie breaks are often used. These have grand names (Berger, Sonnenberg or SOPS). The general idea is to award the winner as the player who has played the most difficult games.