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FIDE Handbook C. General Rules and Technical Recommendations for Tournaments / 07. Tie-Break Regulations /
International Chess Federation
FIDE Handbook
   CONTENTS
C. General Rules and Technical Recommendations for Tournaments / 07. Tie-Break Regulations /

07. Tie-Break Regulations

TIE-BREAK REGULATIONS

Approved by FIDE Council on 04/08/2022

Applied from 1st July, 2023

 

1.       Scope

These regulations will apply to all FIDE competitions under the aegis of EVE and GSC. It is recommended that FIDE-rated competitions also follow these regulations.

2.       Ranking of Tied Participants (Players or Teams)

2.1     The method of ranking tied participants shall be written in the specific regulations of the tournament.

2.2     There are three methods of ranking tied participants: a playoff (see Article 3) or technical tie breaks (see Article 4), or having no tie-breaks.

3.       Playoff

3.1     If a playoff is required, the following parameters shall be set out in the specific tournament regulations, as needed:

3.1.1      Whether the playoff is for all tied positions, or specific tied positions (e.g. 1st place only)

3.1.2      Whether qualification for the playoff applies after application of none, some or all of the tie-breaks selected in Article 4.1.

3.1.3      The format (e.g. Round Robin or Knockout)

3.1.4      The method by which pairing numbers are allocated

3.1.5      The method by which colours are allocated

3.1.6      The time limit(s) for all of the games

3.1.7      The schedule for the games, or the break between each game

4.       Other Tie-Breaks

4.1     They shall take the form of an ordered list of tie-breaks chosen by the Chief Organiser either among those listed in Article 4.6, or self-defined in the specific regulations of the tournament.

If necessary, the Chief Arbiter shall complete the list by choosing additional tie-breaks from those listed in Article 4.6, and publish the list before the start of the tournament.

4.2    For the final tournament standings, participants shall be ranked in the order specified by the respective tie-break, starting from the first specified tie-break and moving to the next in the list whenever a persisting tie cannot be broken. When the tie-break list is exhausted, any remaining tie should be broken by drawing of lots.

4.3     These tie-breaks compute an evaluation which may be based on:

Type A    a subset of the games by the tied participants.

              Tie-breaks of this type may appear multiple times in the tie-break list.

Type B   participants' own results, so their value can be computed or predicted by the involved participants before or during their own games

Type C   opponents' (final) results, so they can be computed only at the end of the round or tournament

Type D   opponents' prior known data (e.g. ratings, but also results of previous rounds), so their values can be computed after the pairings are published (i.e. before the games are played)

or some combination of all of the above.

4.4     If two participants played each other more than once, then each game or match will be treated as a separate encounter. Consequently, the data of the opponents (e.g. ratings, scores) are used on as many occasions as the two participants played each other (e.g. in sums and averages).

4.5     In order for tie-breaks based on players' ratings to be used, either the tournament specific regulations shall detail how unrated players will be handled, or the Chief Arbiter should inform the players before the start of the tournament.

4.6     Tie-Breaks List and Description

 

Name (in alphabetical order)

Type

Section

Acronym

Average of Opponents' Buchholz

CC

7.2

AOB

Average Perfect [Tournament] Performance of Opponents

BD

9.4

APPO

Average [Tournament] Performance Rating of Opponents

BD

9.3

APRO

Average Rating of Opponents

D

8.1

ARO

Buchholz

C

7.1

BH

Direct Encounter

A

5.1

DE

Fore Buchholz

D

8.4

FB

Games one Elected to Play

B

6.6

GE

Koya System for Round Robin

BC

9.2

KS

Number of Games Played with Black

B

6.3

BPG

Number of Games Won

B

6.2

WON

Number of Games Won with Black

B

6.4

BWG

Number of Wins

B

6.1

WIN

Perfect Tournament Performance

D

8.3

PTP

Sonneborn-Berger

BC

9.1

SB

(Sum of) Progressive Scores

B

6.5

PS

Tournament Performance Rating

D

8.2

TPR

Tie-Breaks specific for Team Knock-Outs

Board Count

B

11.1

BC

Bottom Board Elimination

B

11.3

BBE

Top Board Results

B

11.2

TBR

Tie-Breaks specific for Team Competitions

Extended Sonneborn-Berger for teams

BC

12.2

ESB

Extended Direct Encounter for teams

A

12.3

EDE

Match Points or Game Points

B

12.1

MPvGP

Scores and Schedule Strength Combination

BD

12.4

SSSC

5.       Type A: Tie-Breaks Using Tied Participants' Records

5.1     Direct Encounter (DE)

If all the tied participants have met each other, the percentage score from these encounters is used to produce separate standings. The participant with the highest percentage score is ranked first among the tied participants, and the others follow according to the separate standings. Forfeited games are not included unless the specific regulations of the tournament state otherwise.

In a Swiss system tournament, if the tied participants have not played all the games against each other, but one of them is bound to be at the top of the separate standings whatever the outcome of the missing games, that participant is ranked first among the tied participants - the same applies to the second rank when the first is assigned this way; and so on.

Once applied to a set of tied participants, Direct Encounter shall be reapplied to any subset of this set of tied participants until no further ties can be resolved.

6.       Type B: Tie-Breaks Using Participant's own Record

6.1     Number of Wins (WIN)

The number of rounds where a participant obtains, with or without playing, as many points as awarded for a win.

6.2     Number of Games Won (WON)

The number of games won over the board.

6.3     Number of Games Played with Black (BPG)

The number of games played over the board with the black pieces.

6.4     Number of Games won with Black (BWG)

The number of games won over the board with the black pieces.

6.5     (Sum of) Progressive Scores (PS)

          After each round a participant has a certain tournament score. This tie-break is computed adding the score of the participant at the end of each round.

6.6     Games one Elected to play (GE)

The number of rounds reduced by the number of half-point-byes, zero-point-byes or forfeit losses that a participant had in the tournament.

7.       Type C: Tie-Breaks Using Participant's Opponents' Results

7.1     Buchholz (BH)

          The sum of the scores of each of the opponents of a participant. See Article 14 for Unplayed Rounds Management.

7.2     Average of Opponents' Buchholz (AOB)

          The average of the Buchholz score of the opponents played over the board.

8.       Type D: Tie-Breaks Using Participant's Opponents' Prior Known Data (typically ratings, but also current scores)

8.1     Average Rating of Opponents (ARO)

          The average of the ratings of the opponents played over the board.

8.2     Tournament Performance Rating (TPR)

          Computed adding to ARO a number (called rating difference (RD) - which may be negative) resulting from the conversion of the fractional score (number of points achieved in games played over the board divided by the number of games) into RD (see the corresponding conversion table in the FIDE Rating Regulations).

8.3     Perfect Tournament Performance (PTP)

This is the lowest rating that a participant should have in order to receive a rating variation of zero after meeting all the opponents faced during the tournament while obtaining the same results. The full rating scale is used in this computation (i.e. no ±400 cut).

8.4     Fore Buchholz (FB)

Buchholz score computed as if all paired games for the upcoming round ended in draws.

9.       Tie-Breaks Using Combinations of Other Data

9.1     Sonneborn-Berger (SB)

          It is computed by adding, for each round, a value given by multiplying the current (or final) score of the opponents by the points scored against them. See Article 14 for Unplayed Rounds Management.

9.2     Koya System (for Round Robin) (KS)

          The number of points achieved against all participants who have scored at least 50% of the maximum possible tournament score.

9.3     Average [Tournament] Performance Rating of Opponents (APRO)

          The average of the performances (TPR) of the opponents played over the board.

9.4     Average Perfect [Tournament] Performance of Opponents (APPO)

          The average of the perfect performances (PTP) of the opponents played over the board.

10.     Team Tie-Breaks

10.1   In team tournaments each match between two teams may report two types of scores:

10.1.1    Match Points (MP)

Points assigned to a team-win, team-draw, and team-loss.

10.1.2    Game Points (GP)

Sum of the individual points that each player of the team scores.

11.     Tie-Breaks Specific for Team Knockouts

Even though these tie-breaks may be used in team competitions (see Article 12), and are described as such, they are specific for team knockouts when both teams have the same number of points.

Just for these tie-breaks:

  • individual forfeit wins or losses are considered as standard wins or losses
  • if the team received a pairing-allocated bye, the game points considered for each board are the same as those assigned to a standard win.

11.1   Board Count (BC)

It is computed by adding for each board a value given by multiplying the number of game points scored on that board (regardless of who was playing on it) by the number of the board (e.g. one for first board, two for second board).

The lower the total, the higher the ranking.

11.2   Top Board Results (TBR)

This is the number of game points achieved on the first board in all games played by the team in the tournament, regardless of who was playing on that board.

If the results on the top board are not decisive, reapply this tie-break to the top-most board not yet counted. Continue reapplying this tie-break in the same way until the tie is broken.

11.3   Bottom Board Elimination (BBE)

This is the number of game points achieved on all boards except for the bottom board in all games played by the team in the tournament, regardless of who was playing on those boards.

If excluding the bottom board is not decisive, reapply this tie-break to the bottom-most board not yet excluded. Continue reapplying this tie-break in the same way until the tie is broken.

12.     Tie-Breaks Specific for Team Competitions

All tie-breaks described in Articles 5-9, or some variation of them, may be also applied for teams, using teams MP or GP as the primary score for the team.

12.1   MP v GP

Match Points in team competitions that are decided by Game Points or Game Points in team competitions that are decided by Match Points.

12.2   Extended Sonneborn Berger (ESB) for Teams

Combining MP and GP, four combinations of Sonneborn-Berger tie­breaks are available. Any of them or any combinations of them can be used. Each (Extended) Sonneborn-Berger tie-break is computed adding for each opponent a value given by the product of two elements:

  • the total number of MP or GP currently achieved by the opponent (or at the end of the tournament);
  • the number of MP or GP scored against that opponent.

The four possibilities are: 

12.2.1    EMMSB             Total MP opponent × MP scored

12.2.2    EMGSB              Total MP opponent × GP scored

12.2.3    EGMSB              Total GP opponent × MP scored

12.2.4    EGGSB               Total GP opponent × GP scored

See Article 14 for Unplayed Rounds Management.

12.3   Extended Direct Encounter for Teams (EDE)

12.3.1    When only two teams are tied, if they played each other, apply the Direct Encounter rule (Article 5.1). The rules of a competition must specify whether, after that, the Tie-Breaks specific for Team Knockouts apply (Article 11), and if so, they shall list one or more of the tie-breaks.

12.3.2    When more than two teams are tied, apply the Direct Encounter rule (Article 5.1), first using the primary score (MP or GP), then, if all the teams are still tied, use the secondary score.

12.3.3    Any time a new subset of tied teams is determined, restart with the new subset from 12.3.1.

12.4   Scores and Schedule Strength Combination (SSSC)

This tie-break adds together two elements:

12.4.1    the secondary score of a team (GP if the primary score is given by MP, or vice versa);

12.4.2    a value that represents the strength of its opposition (called Schedule Strength). This value is the result of a division between:

  1. [dividend] Buchholz of the team, based on the primary score (note: if the tie-break value must be known before playing, use Fore Buchholz);
  2. [divisor] a normalising factor, given by the highest achievable primary score divided by the highest secondary score achievable in a single game, rounded to the nearest integer towards zero, or by a different value if stated by the rules of the competition.

13.     Modifiers

Each tie-break based on a sum of values (that can come from either results, ratings or any value computed using them) can be redefined by applying a modifier, which is a way to vary the elements that are part of the computation, usually excluding some of these elements or, more rarely, adding some:

13.1   Cut-1: Cut the Least Significant Value

13.1.1    It is the most used modifier, applicable in many tie-breaks. The most commonly used are:

  • Buchholz Cut-1 (BHC1, exclude the opponent with the lowest number of points)
  • ARO Cut-1 (AROC, exclude the opponent with the lowest rating)
  • Progressive Score Cut-1 (PSC1, exclude the score achieved after the first round).

13.1.2    In team competition, all the Extended Sonneborn-Berger tie-breaks for teams (see Article 12.2) can be computed excluding one of the opponents with the lowest primary score (MP for EMMSB and EMGSB, or GP for EGMSB and EGGSB) - having the choice the one with which the worst result was achieved.

13.2   Cut-2: Cut the two Least Significant Values

Most commonly used is Buchholz Cut-2 (BHC2).

13.3   Median­1: Cut the Most and the Least Significant Values

Most commonly used is Buchholz Median-1 (BHM1).

13.4   Median­2: Cut the two Most and the two Least Significant Values

          Most commonly used is Buchholz Median-2 (BHM2).

13.5   Limit: Change a Limit

The most common modification is in Koya: the limit of 50% of the maximum possible tournament score can be either increased or decreased of half point at a time to let respectively less or more participants contribute to the evaluation of the tie-break.

13.6   All modifiers are subject to Unplayed Rounds Management (see Article 14).

14.     Unplayed Rounds Management

14.1   The following definitions are used in this section:

14.1.1    unplayed round: any round in which a participant, paired or not, did not play a game in an individual tournament, or a match in a team tournament

14.1.2    requested bye: a half-point-bye or a zero-point-bye (note: any round after a participant withdraws is a zero-point-bye)

14.1.3    available-to-play round: any round in which a participant played their game, or ended up without a game due to a pairing-allocated bye, the opponent did not arrive to play, or unforeseen circumstances that resulted in the award of a full-point-bye

14.2   In Round Robin tournaments, forfeited games (the only possible unplayed rounds) are treated as regular games.

14.3   In Individual or Team Swiss tournaments, tie-breaks that directly or indirectly are based on opponents' results (mainly Type C tie-breaks and derivations) can be affected by the following categories of unplayed rounds:

14.3.1    Pairing-allocated byes, forfeit wins or full-point byes

14.3.2    Requested byes that are followed by at least one available-to-play round

14.3.3    Forfeit losses that are followed by at least one available-to-play round

14.3.4    Requested byes that are not followed by any available-to-play rounds

14.3.5    Forfeit losses that are not followed by any available-to-play rounds

14.4   When a participant has unplayed rounds, for the sole purpose of computing the tie-break of their opponents (see Articles 7.1, 9.1, 12.2, and Article 13 in full), the participant's score is adjusted in the following way:

14.4.1    Unplayed rounds of categories 14.3.1, 14.3.2 and 14.3.3 are evaluated with the result (win, draw, loss) corresponding to the awarded number of points or, for teams, match points and game points.

14.4.2    Unplayed rounds of categories 14.3.4 and 14.3.5 are evaluated as draws. 

14.5   To compute the participant's own tie-break, any of their unplayed rounds are evaluated as if there was a game played against themself, and ended with the result (win, draw, loss) corresponding to the awarded number of points or, for teams, match points and game points.

14.6   When a tie-break is modified with low cuts (i.e. cuts that eliminate the least significant values) and there are participants with unplayed rounds of categories from 14.3.2 to 14.3.5 inclusive, these unplayed rounds are the first games to be cut. If there are more unplayed rounds of this kind than required low cuts, the tie-break values coming from those unplayed rounds that contribute in the least significant way to the tie-break shall be cut first.

14.7   The rules of the competition may specify in advance an alternative solution to Articles 14.4, 14.5 and 14.6.