How do live tournaments work? Where can I join one?

Want to know how good you really are? Sign up for a Live Chess tournament and find out today!

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New tournaments start around the clock (check the schedule below!) Registration begins one hour before the tournament starts!
We offer a choice of 6 different time-controls, and we now have two different formats available: Arenas and Swiss Tournaments. So, what's the difference, you ask?


Tournament Interface

For a more detailed view of upcoming events, there is a "Tournaments" tab just next to the "Play" tab. Here, you will find a list of sections you are eligible to join, showing exactly when they will begin - based on your computer's clock. 

Events are available for registration one hour before the start-time (just click on the tournament you want to join, and click on the "Join" button in the lobby). You may join only one tournament at a time. Once you join, you will immediately see a new tab appear below, in the same section as the Alerts tab; it will have the same title as the specific tournament you joined.

If you join a tournament accidentally, or change your mind, simply hit the "Withdraw" link in the upper right corner of the new tab (see below). You can do this during the tournament as well, but  please be sure to properly resolve any games in progress, by resigning if necessary. (Note: Players who willfully prolong tournament rounds because they are losing will have their accounts restricted! 
Click here to review our Sportsmanship policy!
The tab for any tournament has three views:
Standings Tab

The standings tab will display all information you need to know about the scoring of all players registered to the tournament. You will see the users current place in the tournament, their username and rating, as well as their record.  The number in the right column of the standings table reflects a users tie-break score (Click here to learn more about tie-break scores.) Please note: Standings are updated at the end of each round, not at the end of each game.

Games Tab 

The games tab contains a list of all ongoing games. For Arena tournaments, the games tab also includes each players current score in the Arena.  Clicking on a game in the list will allow you to watch the game. This is available for tournaments that you are registered for as well as not registered for. 

Tournament Chat

Tournament Chat is a chat-room for players in your section, this is available for use before the event begins and after it has finished. We also announce the winners here when the event ends. Spectators may also join in the chat here!


So what's it like to play in a tournament? Here's how it works:

60 seconds before the event begins, registered players get a reminder in all Chat areas, including the Alerts tab.  Get ready to play!

When the tournament ends, the winners are announced, and the complete final results may be viewed on  the "Standings" tab (see above). Trophies are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place! The Results announcement (see below) will also show your personal result (with a shaded background), regardless of where you placed


Arena Tournaments  Arenas are timed, open-rating tournaments where a large group of people battle for the most points. Points are gained by both drawing and winning games.  When you win more than game in a row, you'll receive bonus points. The three players who have the most points when the timer is up will be announced as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively. 

When the timer runs out, all in-progress games will be aborted and will not count towards your Arena score.  You will not be able to finish the game after the timer is up. 

Arenas do not follow typical tournament format (swiss, round-robin, etc.). In an Arena, as soon as one game ends, you may opt to be paired again immediate by tapping “Next Game.” There is almost no down-time between games, and no rounds to be completed. This allows you to join, withdraw, and rejoin whenever you'd like so long as the Arena still has time left. All arenas are open rating, however, the server will try to match you with an opponent having a similar rating. 

Arena Scoring System:
  • Loss: +0 points
  • Draw: +1 point
  • Win: +2 points
  • Second win in a row: +3 points
  • Third (or higher) win in a row: +4 points

(Note: To encourage fair play, Arena games require you to play at least 20 moves before offering a draw, or at least 10 before resigning.)

Swiss Tournaments

Swiss tournaments are our "classic" live chess tournaments. Each tournament starts at a specific time, and progresses through a series of rounds. This means that you have to be in live chess and registered for the tournament before the start time! If you're not in live chess when the tournament begins, you won't be able to compete in that round, though you may  join the tournament late and compete in the next rounds. 

After each round you must wait until all players finish their games before the next round will begin. Swiss Style tournaments don't eliminate players, so you will play each round. 

Swiss Scoring System:

  • Loss: +0 points
  • Draw: +0.5 point
  • Win: +1 point
  • Possibility of a 1 point "bye" if there are an odd number of players, normally given to the player lowest in standing


Tournament Schedule 

The tournament schedule repeats every two hours. Some tournaments cycle through various variants or time controls throughout the day. Please see footnotes below the table for more information on those tournaments. 

:00    Arena Blitz
        Arena 5|0 Blitz- Every 2 hours, on the hour (even hours only)
        Arena 3|2 Blitz- Every 2 hours, on the hour (odd hours only)
    Tourney 5|0 Blitz- Every 2 hours, @ :05 (odd hours only)
    Tourney 3|0 Blitz- Every 4 hours, @ :05 (starting @ 2:05am)
    Tourney 2|1 Bullet- Every 4 hours, @ :05 (starting @ 12:05am)

:10 Arena 2|1 Bullet- Every 2 hours, @ :10 (even hours only)

:15 Arena 3|0 Variant
    Arena 3|0 Live960 - Every 4 hours, @ :15 (starting at 12:15am)
    Arena 3|0 King of the Hill- Every 3 Hours, @ :15 (starting at 1:15am)
    Arena 3|0 3 Check- Every 4 hours, @ :15 (starting at 2:15am)
    Arena 3|0 Crazyhouse- Every 4 hours, @ :15 (starting at 3:15am)

    Arena 1|0 Bullet- Every Hour @ :20
    Tourney 3|0 Live 960- Every 4 hours, @ :20 (starting @ 12:20am)
    Tourney 3|0 Crazyhouse- Every 6 hours, @ :20 (starting at 3:20am)
    Tourney 3|0 King of the Hill- Every 6 hours, @ :20 (starting at 5:20am)

    Tourney 3|2 Premium Blitz- Every 4 hours, @ :25 (starting at 12:25am)
    Tourney 5|5 Premium Blitz- Every 4 hours, @ :25 (starting at 2:25am)

    Arena 3|0 Blitz- Every Hour @ :30

    Tourney 10|0 Blitz- Every 4 hours, @ :35 (starting @ 12:35am)
    Tourney 15|10 Rapid- Every 4 hours, @ :35 (starting @ 1:35am)
    Tourney 10|0 Live960 - Every 4 hours, @ :35 (starting @ 2:35am)
    Tourney 30|0 Rapid Quad- Every 4 hours, @ :35 (starting @ 3:35am)

    Tourney 1|0 Crazyhouse- Every 3 hours, @ :40 (starting @ 12:40am)
    Tourney 1|0 3 Check- Every 3 hours, @ :40 (starting @ 1:40am)
    Tourney 1|0 King of the Hill- Every 3 hours, @ :40 (starting @ 2:40am)

    Arena 1|0 King of the Hill- Every 3 hours, @ :45 (starting at 12:45am)
    Arena 1|0 3 Check- Every 3 hours, @:45 (starting at 1:45am)
    Arena 1|0 Crazyhouse- Every 3 hours, @:45 (starting at 2:45am)

    Arena 1|0 Bullet- Every Hour @ :50

    Tourney 1|0 Bullet- Every 4 hours, @ :55 (starting @ 1:55am)



You are now free to join a tournament! Tournaments are unlimited for  ALL membership types! 

Click Here to Play Live Chess!

Please note: We will soon be adding pages on the main site where you can view details about your past Live Tournaments, similar to the existing pages for e-chess tournaments.

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