Swiss System Tournaments
Swiss System is a tourney format often used in chess tournaments. In this type of tournament, every player plays in every round regardless of their match results. (A player may withdraw from the tournament after any round if they no longer wish to compete.) Each win counts as one (1) point, and each loss counts as zero(0) points.

Regular Swiss System

The tournament is finished as soon as there is only one player remaining who is undefeated. (The number of rounds is set before the tournament in order to specify a maximum number of players. If the tournament is set for six (6) rounds, this does not guarentee that there will be six rounds of play since players withdrawing from the tournament may shorten the rounds required to reach an undefeated player. If for some reason after the given number of rounds has been played and there is still more than one undefeated player, the tournament will be extended in order to determine a winner.)
True Swiss System
In True Swiss System format, the number of rounds is preset by the TD before the tournament starts and regardless of the number of registrations, the number of rounds does not change once the tournament begins. (The TD can manually change the number of rounds prior to the tournament.) After all the rounds are complete, the player with the most points wins. If there is no conclusive point leader, there is no winner of the tournament. However, as an example of a true swiss system, suppose there is an undefeated player after 5 rounds of play, and the tournament is set for 8 rounds of play, the tournament does not stop, giving those players who have already a lost a chance to win the tournament.
To determine the pairings, the following method is used:
  • Players are put into a list from top to bottom in order of skill ratings. (All players on a list have the same number of points. For the first round, since all players have 0 points, there is only one list.)
  • The list is divided into two groups, the top half and the bottom half. (Obviously all lists must have an even number of players in them. If they don't, players are moved to another list in order to make all lists even.)
  • The first player in the top half is paired against the first player in the bottom half, second player from top half against second player in bottom half, and so on.

Example of a Tournament:

Players in the tournament listed in order of highest rating to lowest:

Player #1
Player #2
Player #3
Player #4
Player #5
Player #6

First Round Pairings:

Player #1 vs Player #4 (assume player #1 wins)
Player #2 vs Player #5 (assume player #5 wins)
Player #3 vs Player #6 (assume player #3 wins)

List 1 (All players with 1 point, in order of rating)

Player #1
Player #3
Player #5

List 2 (All players with 0 points, in order of rating)

Player #2
Player #4
Player #6

Player #5 would be moved down to the top of List 2 so that both lists have even number of players

Second Round Pairings

Player #1 vs Player #3
Player #5 vs Player #4
Player #2 vs Player #6

This is a general explanation of how swiss system pairings are made.

Special Rules:

  • Players never play the same person twice.
  • The lowest rated player with the least number of points receives the bye, if there are an odd number of players.
  • Players never receive a bye twice.