Attention Organizers: Update on Last Round Byes in FIDE Events

By Jennifer Shahade |  February 12, 2018  |   News

Chess organizers across the United States run dozens of FIDE-rated events every month. Although almost all FIDE-rated events in this country are also US Chess rated, these events must follow the FIDE Laws of Chess and Competition Rules, and be directed by licensed arbiters. Recently, there has been concern regarding section 8.3.4 of the FIDE Competition Rules: “In an L2, L3, or L4 tournament the rules may permit a player to take a half point bye in a given round. It is only allowed if adequate notice has been given and is agreed to by the arbiter. Such permission might not be granted to a player who receives conditions, or who has been given a free entry to the tournament. It is not permitted in the last round of a tournament.” As such, by the letter of the law, in almost all FIDE-rated events, not only those which provide norm opportunities, half-point byes are not permitted in the final round. However, at the request of several of our organizers, IA Franc Guadalupe reached out to FIDE’s Qualification Commission (QC), which, amongst other important tasks, verifies norm-based player title applications. Werner Stubenvoll (QC Chairman) and Nick Faulks (QC Secretary) provided the following: “For rating purposes we can accept a half-point bye in the last round, but not for norm tournaments. If a half-point bye is given in the last round we will not accept any title norm.” The US Chess office will be submitting a proposal for the next FIDE Congress which will clarify the Competition Rules so that the above is clear. Organizers and arbiters of regular, non-norm FIDE-rated events may offer half-point byes in the final round to players who give adequate notice. Swiss events which offer norm opportunities may not offer half-point byes in the final round. Final round zero-point byes or withdrawals are permitted in either case. EDIT 2/14/18 – Nick Faulks (QC Secretary) has clarified that “the Competition Rules apply strictly to official FIDE events, and for others may be amended as appropriate.” Organizers of non-official FIDE events may specify their own rules instead of the Competition Rules.  With regards to byes, organizers/arbiters may allow final round half-point byes, even in norm events, if the rules regarding byes are specified in all tournament advertising/rules.  Otherwise, the FIDE Competition Laws apply. Questions: please contact Grant Oen, FIDE Events Manager for US Chess at

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