Rarely used in the USA
In March, I wrote that SwissSys is essential for U.S. tournament directors. I neglected to mention WinTD, which other TDs swear by, and I believe is still the tournament management software used for National Scholastics.
When it comes to FIDE-rated, title-norm events run in the United States, I believe Chief Arbiters should use Swiss-Manager (in conjunction with SwissSys, as I’ll explain in a future post). However, few do.
What is Swiss-Manager?
Swiss-Manager is tournament management software authored by Friend of FIDE Heinz Herzog (Austria). It is approved to make FIDE “Dutch” pairings (which must be used for Swiss events offering norms, unless a different pairing system is announced in advance — if FIDE officials cannot replicate your pairings, any norms earned may be invalidated!).
It can make pairings, print charts, and so on — just as SwissSys, WinTD, and other such software can do. Swiss-Manager also creates perfect norm certificates: just print and sign!
I will say SwissSys creates the most aesthetically-pleasing printouts, after some fiddling with the fonts.
However, Swiss-Manager has one massive advantage no one else can match: chess-results.com.
Chess-results is the undisputed go-to source for international tournaments: event info, registered players, pairings, results, standings, games, and sometimes even photos! It’s the standard in most major chess countries, except the USA!
When preparing to run my first title norm event in November 2021, I decided to purchase Swiss-Manager and learn to use it.
This event consisted of three ten-player round robins, and SwissSys (which I have been using since 2003), could easily handle it. But I wanted entered players (and prospective entries) to see all the important info in a place where players around the world are accustomed to looking for it, on chess-results.
In November I will be running the 2022 New York Fall Invitationals. To find out about it, one just needs to go to chess-results.com, click on “USA” under “Federation selection,” and then click the name of the event. They will then see this:
I’ll point out some things:
- The orange banner at the top can be used to display info you want to stand out: here, I want to make clear this is a 10-player norm RR. When the field is complete, I put in the required score for GM/IM norms. Towards the end of the event, I use it to remind players of the early start time on the final day!
- For some reason, the rounds say “0” until the pairings are made (in round robins, but not Swisses). I don’t know why. Of course, it should be “9.”
- The list is sorted by rating, and the “No” is the order I entered the players in Swiss-Manager. Only after I tell Swiss-Manager to make pairings does it randomly assign round robin Start Numbers.
- The five events (GM A, GM B, IM C, IM D, and NM E) are linked. Clicking the one you’re interested in takes you to its page. This is tricky to implement the first couple of times, but not so tough once you get the hang of it. I highly recommend doing this if your event has multiple sections.
- You can customize the info displayed a great deal, including player flags (as I do), and all the federations participating across events. For standings, I also set it to include rating performance and rating change info.
- Don’t forget to enter the playing schedule in Swiss-Manager (and upload it to chess-results).
Swiss-Manager is not cheap, at 150 euros. In my view, however, this one-time cost is a worthwhile investment, and you don’t have to pay for any updates/upgrades. Most importantly, the ability to upload info to chess-results.com is included.