Online FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar: How to Prepare

Is the pandemic good for the online FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar?

A few weeks ago I wrote about my experience attending the 74th Internet-based FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar organized in early May by the European Chess Union. The course and final exam are a real challenge, and FIDE certainly doesn’t give away seminar norms!

WIth the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all seminars are being organized online. This has led to more courses, since arbiters don’t need to worry about travel expenses and logistics. I hope this factor leads to increased attendance as well.

Readers’ Mailbag

After seeing my earlier post, a reader sent me a question yesterday:

Hi Andre, How are you? I am attending FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar this weekend and I was wondering how should I go about preparing for the seminar and exam? Is there any thing you suggest I can do in the next couple of days that will help me to get the most out of the seminar? Thanks for all your help.A Reader

They asked not to be identified since they don’t want FIDE to think I’m giving unfair assistance (I’m not; I don’t know this person).

A prospective arbiter reaching out for advice is a very good sign. This eagerness suggests to me that the candidate will be successful in the course. Anyway, here’s my response:

Hi [Name], My main advice would be to download the 2020 FIDE Arbiters Manual and study it well. Especially the Laws of Chess and Competition Rules. Also get into the mindset about being more proactive when running tournaments, which is different from how USCF TDs are expected to be.Andre

You must be fluent with the material to pass the exam with 80%. From my previous post:

The exam is open-book, but having access to everything is not helpful in only two hours without being well-versed in the subject matter!

For USA participants: the biggest adjustment for USCF TDs working FIDE-rated events is being confident and ready to intervene in games. You can’t be afraid of making mistakes. As we say in New York City: If you see something, say something!

Other Things to Know for an online FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar

  • How to make pairings under the FIDE Dutch System.
  • The tiebreaks to apply under each tournament type, and how to calculate them.
  • The meaning of the FIDE rating system, requirements for a player to receive an initial rating, and how to calculate the rating change of a player. For practice, go to the FIDE homepage, search for your favorite active player and study their recent tournament activity with rating changes.
  • Regulations for direct titles, title norms, and title applications for players and arbiters. To practice: visit the titles page, study current applications and the norms that comprise them. Pay special attention to the numbers of rated and titled players, and host country/foreign opponents in a player’s schedule.
  • Anti-cheating measures available to arbiters.
  • Rules about default time, recording of moves, how games can conclude in wins or draws, and claims of all kinds.

Whew! That’s a Lot!

It is. Better to over-prepare than spend several days taking the course only to not pass and have to do it again! Keep in mind also that much of your two hours will be spent typing short answer responses to questions. Usually, you need to explain actions you would take containing several steps. Attention to detail is very important.

Good luck!

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.

2 thoughts on “Online FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar: How to Prepare”

  1. Great advice. I am a local TD with USCF. Honestly I do not plan on going any further with my tournament directing career. I only direct locally because others here do not want to and we needed someone to send the games in. I do however like to go over the rules to the best of my ability to make sure I know what I am doing at the small tournaments I run here.

    1. Local TDs are critical for the health of tournament chess in the USA overall. The higher TD ranks are for specialized events, but Club and Local TDs have perhaps a bigger part in growing the game of chess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.