How To Run Chess Tournaments: Swiss-Manager
Learn how to run chess tournaments!

How To Run Chess Tournaments: Swiss-Manager

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What happens when you bring together a powerful pairing software and one of the world's leading online chess platforms? In this article, I (International Arbiter Tania Karali) discuss how you can use Swiss-Manager to create your own tournaments of any kind and run them on

  1. Introducing Swiss-Manager
  2. Creating Tournaments
  3. Running Scheveningen Tournaments
  4. Simultaneous Exhibitions

1. Introducing Swiss-Manager

Nowadays, Swiss-Manager is one of the most popular pairing programs in the chess world. Developed by Heinz Herzog, it is FIDE approved, has been translated to 24 languages to date, is currently being used by more than 180 federations around the world and has generated more than 600,000 tournament files.

Swiss-Manager is very user-friendly and can be used to create both individual and team tournaments, in both swiss and round-robin formats or any other kind of tournament you wish, even simultaneous exhibitions. If you are not familiar with the program or are struggling with some of its functions, you can check my "User Guide."

The guide follows step-by-step the procedure of installing the software on your computer and setting up a new tournament, but it also delves into deeper waters, such as how to upload photos of the playing venue on or calculate money prizes according to the Hort System. Plus, it will soon be translated in eight languages—Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, German and Persian.

Download the program at

2. Creating Tournaments

The basic steps of creating a tournament file, after downloading Swiss-Manager to your PC, are the following:

  • Create a new file by selecting File → New tournament... You can choose among Swiss system (Individual), Swiss system for teams, Round-Robin (Individual) and Round-Robin for teams) and entering the tournament's data. Basically, every kind of tournament format can be created by using one of these options and adjusting a few parameters, as discussed below.
  • Enter the players by selecting Input → Enter players... For team events select Input → Enter teams... and then, select Input → Enter players.... Choose each team on the top right of the screen and enter its members.
  • Set the tie-breaks by selecting Input → Set up tournament..., tab–Tie-breaks will variables, like “Buchholz”, can be selected more than once.
  • Make the pairings by selecting Pairings → Computer pairings... – In this window, you can also experiment with accelerated systems.
  • Enter the results by selecting Input → Enter results... For team events, you need to enter the total result of the team and the individual ones.
The basic tournament dialog.

3. Running Scheveningen Tournaments

With online chess growing more and more, Scheveningen tournaments have become quite popular.

IA Tania Karali at World Senior Team. Photo: Vladimir Jagr.

The Scheveningen system is a method of organizing a chess match between two teams. Each player on one team plays each player on the other team. The team with the highest number of games won is the winner. This system is a popular way to create title norm opportunities. The system was first used in a tournament in Scheveningen, Netherlands in 1923. The idea behind it was that a team of ten Dutch players could face ten foreign masters. This had the intention of giving the players on the team experience against strong competition.


In order to run a Scheveningen tournament, first, create a “Round Robin for Teams” file and enter the two teams that will compete. Then, enter the players of each team and proceed to making the pairings, by selecting “Scheveningen tournament” as a pairing option. It is important to enter the players before making the pairings, so that Swiss-Manager can provide the board pairings for each round. The number of rounds that will be played will be defined by the number of boards, which you can enter by selecting Input → Set up tournament.... In the same dialog window you can set all the boards of each team to play with the same color in each round or not. Keep in mind that the pairings that will be produced will differ from those presented in the relevant tables, meaning that the opponents may play against each other in different rounds. What is important is that every player from one team will play against every player from the other team, just in a different order.

4. Simultaneous Exhibitions

You can also use Swiss-Manager to create a file for a simultaneous exhibition, where a high ranked player meets with a number of other players. Start by creating a tournament file using the “Round Robin” option and enter the players starting with the simul-giver. Then, make the pairings, by selecting the “Simultaneous tournament option” and Swiss-Manager will do the rest.

If you are interested in learning more about using Swiss-Manager, be sure to download the full guide, AND see the guide for using our Swiss-Manager and to quickly pair opponents in online games.