Online Events: Acceptable Formats

Important Notice to all Tournament Directors, Organizers, and Affiliates 

The past year has been one with significant changes in our industry. Due to the temporary cessation of most over-the-board (OTB) chess, officials nationwide have worked diligently to develop new online (ONL) avenues of play for their participants. With the development of an Online Regular rating category and a complete rewrite of the relevant regulations in the Official Rules, Chapter 10 – Online Chess, Tournament Directors have been given the tools necessary to run successful and accurate tournaments. 


It has recently come to the attention of US Chess that some of the stated regulations regarding Online Chess are not being followed, and tournament reports for events that do not qualify for being ONL rated have been submitted. It is necessary for all Tournament Directors, Organizers, and Affiliates to be aware of the stated regulations regarding Online Chess: what are the types of tournaments allowed to be rated, what are acceptable time controls for each category, guidance regarding common platform situations, instructions about Online event advertising (TLAs) and reporting of results, and much more. 


The full text of this chapter of the Official Rules is available as a complimentary pdf download:



Of particular note are Sections 3A – Acceptable Formats and 3B – Unacceptable Formats, copied below (emphasis added): 


3A. Acceptable Formats. Any of the formats described in the Official Rules of Chess are allowed—for example. Swiss, Round-RobinQuads, or Match Play. Team events paired as fixed-roster teams or paired as individual Swiss events also are allowed. 


3B. Unacceptable Formats. Other online formats and variants are not ratable. Examples include arenablindfold chess, Chess-960computer-assisted chess, odds games (for example: piece, time, or draw odds), one player vs many players (for example: simulstandem chess), and variants with partners (like. Bughouse). 


·       If an event does not meet the stated regulations, then it cannot be US Chess rated. 

·       It is the responsibility of the Tournament Director to ensure rules enforcement, and it is the responsibility of the Organizer/Affiliate to structure events that meet tournament guidelines. 

·       Events submitted which do not adhere to these standards, whether intentional or inadvertent, may be rejected for rating purposes and the submitting entities referred to the TDCC for possible disciplinary action.

For tournaments that were completed and rated between 8/24/21 (the effective date of the revised Chapter 10) and 4/11/21, the ratings will remain without change. As of today, 4/12/21, any tournament reports that do not meet the requirements of Chapter 10, Section 3, will neither be accepted nor rated.