FIDE-Rated Event Reporting, Part 2

We continue our discussion of how to report your FIDE event smoothly.

fide gens una sumus
The FIDE motto means “We are one family.”

Part 1 was about the pre-work that goes into being Chief Arbiter of such an event.

This time, let’s see what you need to do in order to start the tournament and run it smoothly.



All of your players are entered into SwissSys with the correct USCF and FIDE IDs. If using Swiss-Manager, all of your players are entered there too, and you’ve customized the appearance of your event on

What you do next depends on whether you have a Round Robin or a Swiss.


Round Robin

Draw random start numbers for your players; their ratings and titles are irrelevant. I let Swiss-Manager do this for me as far in advance as I can, and then publish the pairings to chess-results so that the players can prepare for their games.

Of course, you can have the players physically draw the numbers themselves if you have time before the event, e.g. the day before Round 1. Once the numbers are selected, all pairings will be made automatically.

Berger Pairing Tables
Once the players have their start numbers, all pairings are pre-determined. The FIDE page in this screenshot includes round robin pairings for up to 16 players.

SwissSys can also randomly draw numbers and pair your RR, but remember that this program was originally designed to run USCF and not FIDE tournaments: make sure to select “Berger/FIDE” and not “Crenshaw” under “Pairing Rules…”

How do you know it has paired correctly? Player #1 will have White in the first two rounds.

Since the entire tournament is now paired, you just enter results as games finish. For a norm RR, there’s nothing to calculate — either a player makes the required score or they don’t.

Rating Averages For Norms (9 Rounds)

GM: 2380 = 7/9; 2434 = 6.5/9; 2475 = 6/9; 2520 = 5.5/9

IM: 2230 = 7/9; 2284 = 6.5/9; 2325 = 6/9; 2370 = 5.5/9

WGM: 2180 = 7/9; 2234 = 6.5/9; 2275 = 6/9; 2320 = 5.5/9

WIM: 2030 = 7/9; 2084 = 6.5/9; 2125 = 6/9; 2170 = 5.5/9


Swiss System

Here things are different. The most important task is to enter all of your players’ correct FIDE ratings. That will be their official rating on the first day of the month your event begins. Wrong ratings, wrong pairings!

If using SwissSys, make sure the FIDE pairing engine is turned on when pairing a FIDE-rated Swiss!

Whether you pair with SwissSys or Swiss-Manager you should now produce identical pairings, but with SwissSys remember to turn on FIDE pairings!

USCF pairing rules can sometimes produce more than one valid outcome. That’s not the case with FIDE (Dutch) pairings; there is only one correct answer, as the algorithm is very specific. Don’t even think about changing the pairings it gives you, as doing so could invalidate any norms earned!


As with any tournament, double- and triple-check that you have entered all results properly before pairing the next round.

In a norm tournament, keep an eye on possible norms the last couple of rounds so that you’re ready to make the certificates if needed (more on that in Part 3). Also, it’s nice to let players know what they need in the last round (win, draw, or even a loss) to earn a norm. Some players will ask, so know how to calculate the answer! Let me know if you would like me to create a post on how to do so.



You ordered carbonless scoresheets, right? Collect the original (white copy) from the players.

This past summer a GM ripped up his white copy in front of me and threw it in the trash (insisting “this is mine” — but he’s wrong about that).

[Article 8.3 in the FIDE Laws of Chess reads: “The scoresheets are the property of the organiser of the competition.”]

Anyway, unless you’re using DGT boards for every game, create a PGN file for each FIDE-rated section and enter the games during rounds. You’ll have time for this, as each round should last 4+ hours (with a minimum time control of 90 minutes for the game with a 30 second increment).

If you are using DGT boards for some or all games, download the PGNs after each round and add them to your files.


Final Thoughts

The actual running of the tournament has less pitfalls than the pre-event stuff, but still requires care.

Questions or comments are always appreciated!

Up next in Part 3: what you need to do at the end of your event.

Author: Andre Harding

Since 2003 I've taught chess to thousands of students in public, private, and charter schools in the New York City area, and have given countless private lessons. I also direct USCF- and FIDE-rated chess tournaments.

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