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Chess.com Official Event Rulebook

Chess.com Official Event Rulebook

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In this article, you can find the official rules for all Chess.com events with prize money. Use the table of contents below to jump to a specific event. All prize money events are also subject to the Chess.com Competitive Events Policy and the Fair Play Policy


Definitions

Arena - Tournament play consisting of continuous matches for a pre-determined window of time, during which players will be repeatedly paired against each other based on the results of previous games in the Arena.

Color - White or black pieces in the context of chess.

Computer Inspection - A fair play measure in which a player must share their screen and task manager (PC) or activity monitor (Mac) on a video conference call.

Environment - The physical space that a player is playing from.

Environment Inspection - A fair play measure in which a player may be requested to show tournament officials the layout and contents of the player’s environment using a camera.

FIDE Title - Grandmaster (GM), International Master (IM), FIDE Master (FM), Candidate Master (CM), Woman Grandmaster (WGM), Woman International Master (WIM), Woman FIDE Master (WFM), or Woman Candidate Master (WCM).

Game - A single game of chess played on Chess.com between two players.

Match - Tournament play between two players that may involve multiple games.

National Title - National Master (NM)

Non-Titled Player - A player not recognized by Chess.com as having a FIDE title or national title.

Physical Inspection - A fair play measure in which a player may be requested to 1) remove any glasses or eyepieces and show them to tournament officials using a camera; and/or 2) turn their head to one side, brush their fingers over their ear, and then repeat this process for the other side.

Single Elimination Bracket - Tournament play where players compete in matches, advance through a bracket, and will not be eligible to move forward if they lose one match in the bracket.

Swiss - Tournament play which consists of several rounds of games or matches, during which players will be paired against each other based on the results of previous games/matches in the Swiss.

Time Control - The total amount of time allocated to each player to make all of their moves during a game of chess. Time Controls are formatted as X+Y, where X is the initial amount of minutes on each player’s clock, and Y is the number of seconds added to a player’s clock when a move is played by that player.

Titled Player - A player recognized by Chess.com as having a FIDE title or national title.

Tournament Official - Any Chess.com employee, or any other individual otherwise employed or contracted for the purpose of administration or operations of an event.


Titled Tuesday

Schedule

Titled Tuesday takes place twice every Tuesday, with start times as follows:

Tournament Los Angeles New York Paris Mumbai
1st Tournament 8 a.m. 11 a.m. 17:00 21:30
2nd Tournament 2 p.m. 5 p.m. 23:00 3:30

Note: Due to Daylight Savings Time, in 2022 the time will be an hour earlier in India from March 16-October 25 and in Europe on March 16 and 23, and an hour later in Europe on November 1.

Tournament Format

Players will compete in a Swiss tournament with 11 rounds with a 3+1 time control. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. Players will be ranked by total points. If two or more players are tied in total points, the following tiebreakers will be applied:

  1. Sonneborn-Berger score, defined as the sum of the score of each defeated opponent and half the score of each drawn opponent.
  2. Buchholz System (Cut 1), defined as the sum of scores of each opponent, minus the lowest opponent score
  3. Buchholz System, defined as the sum of scores of each opponent
  4. Points earned in games between tied players
  5. Number of game wins (including forfeits by opponents)
  6. Number of game wins with black
  7. Average rating of opponents (Cut 1), defined as the average rating of opponents, based on Chess.com blitz ratings immediately after the tournament, with the lowest rating removed
  8. Player Chess.com ratings immediately after the Tournament

Eligibility

Titled Tuesday is open to all Chess.com members recognized by Chess.com as having a FIDE Title or a National Title.

Fair Play

Upon request, players are required to join a video conference call for monitoring by tournament officials. To abide by this request, players must have video and audio turned on for one camera which must clearly show the player’s full face and immediate surroundings beyond the player. Players may further be requested to submit to a Computer Inspection and/or an Environment Inspection.

Prizes

Up to $2,500 USD are available in each Titled Tuesday, as follows:

Standing Prize Money (USD)
1st $1,000
2nd $750
3rd $350
4th $200
5th $100
Highest-ranked woman player $100


Only players recognized by Chess.com as appearing in any
FIDE Women’s rating list are eligible for the highest-ranked woman player prize.


Arena Kings

Schedule

Arena Kings takes place every Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. PT / 18:00 CET. Note that due to Daylight Savings Time, in 2022 the time will be an hour earlier in India from March 16-October 25 and in Europe on March 16 and 23, and an hour later in Europe on November 1.

Tournament Format

Players will compete in a 2-hour Arena with a 3+0 time control. Some events may feature chess variants (i.e. Fischer Random) or different time controls, to be communicated prior to the event.

Eligibility

Arena Kings is open to all Chess.com members. Players must live broadcast their participation on Twitch and meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for prizes:

  • The player must stream their games with boards and cameras visible on stream, and their video and audio must be clear.
  • Verbal commentary and/or chat engagement are required. We are specifically discouraging players from streaming simply to be eligible for prizes while not providing any streaming "value."
  • Anonymous players cannot earn prizes. All accounts must be labeled with the player's real name.
  • All players must play using accounts that properly reflect their playing strength as measured by rating.
  • All forms of rating manipulation are against site rules.
  • "Streaming" accounts must be approved by staff. Note that multi-accounting is against our terms of service so if an account is not approved by our staff, this can constitute grounds for us to close the account and void any results or prizes earned.
  • The player must stream at least 100 minutes of the event.
  • No more than three short draws are permitted per arena, particularly at the end of the arenas. We expect players to play normally at all times.
  • The streamer must be at least a Twitch Affiliate to be eligible for prizes.
  • Players must be easily identifiable on Twitch by listing their streams in the "Chess" category.
  • All streams must have "!arenakings" in the stream title.
  • The streamer must save their VODs for a minimum of 14 days so staff can review them after the arena.
  • The streamer must connect their Twitch account to Chess.com.

Prizes

Up to 400 Twitch Subscriptions are available in each Arena Kings, as follows:

Standing Twitch Subscriptions Approximate Retail Value (USD)
1st 75 $375
2nd 50 $250
3rd 40 $200
4th 30 $150
5th 20 $100
6th-10th (5 players) 15 $75
11th-15th (5 players) 10 $50
Highest ranked U2000 10 $50
Highest ranked U1800 10 $50
Highest ranked U1600 10 $50
Highest ranked U1400 10 $50
Highest ranked U1200 10 $50
Staff Choice Award 10 $50

Under-prizes (U2000, U1800, U1600, U1400, and U1200) are based on Chess.com blitz rating immediately at the conclusion of the Arena. The Staff Choice Award is awarded to one player based on Chess.com's sole discretion.


Speed Chess Championship

Schedule

The Speed Chess Championship (SCC) consists of two qualifier events (each, a "Qualifier") and a knockout stage ("SCC Main Event"). The SCC schedule is as follows:

Date Event Los Angeles New York Paris Mumbai
Nov 10 Qualifier 1 - Swiss 5 a.m. 8 a.m. 14:00 18:30
Nov 11 Qualifier 1 - Knockout 5 a.m. 8 a.m. 14:00 18:30
Nov 12 Qualifier 2 - Swiss 10 a.m. 1 p.m. 19:00 23:30
Nov 13 Qualifier 2 - Knockout 10 a.m. 1 p.m. 19:00 23:30
Nov 21 - Dec 23 SCC Main Event Varies Varies Varies Varies

Tournament Format

Qualifiers

Players will first be entered into the Qualifier stage for which they are registered. Players may participate in up to two Qualifiers, each of which consists of a “Swiss Phase” and a “Knockout Phase”. The top eight players from the Swiss Phase will advance to the Knockout Phase, which is a single elimination bracket. Players that have been extended invitations to the SCC Main Event or have already won a Qualifier are ineligible to participate in Qualifiers.

Swiss Phase

In the Swiss Phase, players will compete in a Swiss tournament with 14 rounds with a 3+1 time control. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The top eight Players from the Swiss phase based on points will advance to the Knockout Phase. If two or more players are tied in total points, the following tiebreakers will be applied:

        1. Sonneborn-Berger score, defined as the sum of the score of each defeated opponent and half the score of each drawn opponent.
        2. Buchholz System (Cut 1), defined as the sum of the scores of each opponent, minus the lowest opponent score
        3. Buchholz System, defined as the sum of scores of each opponent
        4. Points earned in games between tied players
        5. Number of game wins (including forfeits by opponents)
        6. Number of game wins with black
        7. Average Rating of Opponents (Cut 1), defined as the average rating of opponents, based on Chess.com blitz ratings immediately after the Tournament, with the lowest rating removed
        8. Player Chess.com ratings immediately after the tournament

Knockout Phase

The Knockout Phase is a single elimination bracket with the top eight players from the Swiss phase. Matches will consist of two games with a 5+1 time control, four games with a 3+1 time control, and eight games with a 1+1 time control. Players will alternate colors between all games of the match. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. A match ends when a player reaches 7.5 points, at which time that player has won the match.

Knockout Phase Tiebreakers

In the quarterfinals and semifinals, if neither player reaches 7.5 points, additional games with 1+1 time control will be played, alternating colors from the last game of the match. The first player to win a game wins the match. If neither player reaches 7.5 points in the finals, four additional games with a 1+1 time control will be played, with players alternating colors. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The match ends when a player reaches 2.5 points in this tiebreaker, at which time that player has won the match. If neither player reaches 2.5 points, a single game of “Armageddon” will be played, as described in the next section.

Armageddon

If a game of Armageddon is to be played, each player will, in secret, communicate a “bid”, meaning the amount of time that each player is willing to play with the black pieces, to tournament officials. The player with the lower bid will play with the black pieces and begin the game with an amount of time equivalent to his/her bid. The other player will play with the white pieces and begin the game with 5 minutes. No additional time will be added to either Player’s timer during the game. The player that wins the Armageddon game wins the match. If the game is drawn, the player with the black pieces will be considered the winner of the match.

SCC Main Event

The SCC Main Event is a single elimination bracket with 14 players that have been directly invited to participate by Chess.com and two players that have qualified from each of the Qualifiers. If any players decline or are deemed ineligible, additional invitations will be extended at the sole discretion of Chess.com.

Match Format

Each Match of the SCC Main Event consists of three timed “Segments” each of which consists of continuous games and alternating colors at a specified time control.

        • Segment 1: 90 minutes of Games (5+1 time control)
        • Segment 2: 60 minutes of Games (3+1 time control)
        • Segment 3: 30 minutes of Games (1+1 time control)

          Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. Only games that have already started before the timer expires will count toward players’ scores. The player that has accumulated the most points by the time the timer expires will be the winner of the match.

Tiebreakers

If players are tied after all games in all segments have been played, four additional games with a 1+1 time control will be played, with players alternating between white and black. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The match ends when a player reaches 2.5 points in this tiebreaker, at which time that player has won the match. If neither player reaches 2.5 points, a single game of Armageddon will be played as per the procedure outlined in the section titled "Armageddon" above.

Eligibility

  • All players invited by Chess.com to participate in the SCC Main Event, including players who have won a Qualifier, will be required to execute a participation agreement with Chess.com. Failure to execute such an agreement may result in rescinding of the invitation at Chess.com’s sole discretion.
  • All players must be recognized by Chess.com as having a FIDE Title or National Title.

Fair Play

All players, for all matches, are required to join a video conference call for monitoring by tournament officials. Players are required to have two cameras. One camera must clearly show the player’s full face and immediate surroundings beyond the player. The other camera should be placed behind the player diagonally at a 45-degree angle on the mouse-hand side of the player with the player’s desk, PC, and monitors clearly visible. One camera must have audio turned on.

Players may further be requested to submit to a Computer Inspection, an Environment Inspection, and/or a Physical Inspection.

Prizes

Up to $110,000 USD in prizes are available in the SCC. Payments will be made in United States dollars. Chess.com will award $5,000 for each SCC Qualifier, according to the following table:

Standing Prize Money (USD)
1st $1,000
2nd $1,000
3rd (two players) $700
5th (four players) $400

Chess.com will award $100,000 for the SCC Main Event. Prizes will be awarded to participants of each match based on the winner of the match and the win percentage of each player in the match. For prizes split by win percentage, such win percentage is determined by a player’s total points accumulated in the match divided by the number of games played in the match. If a player forfeits within the last 10 minutes of the match, the win percentage will be capped at 30%.

Match Total Prize Money (USD) Winner Prize Money (USD) Prize Money Split by Win Percentage (USD)
Finals $20,000 $10,000 $10,000
Semifinals (two matches) $12,000 $6,000 $6,000
Quarterfinals (four matches) $6,000 $3,000 $3,000
Round of 16 (eight matches) $4,000 $2,000 $2,000


PRO Chess League

Schedule

The PRO Chess League (PCL) consists of the PCL Qualifier, PCL Main Event, Arena Royale, and Playoffs, as follows:

Date Event Start Time (PT) Start Time (CET)
February 1-3 PCL Qualifier 8:00 a.m. 17:00
February 14-17 PCL Main Event - Week 1 7:30 a.m. 16:30
February 21-24 PCL Main Event - Week 2 7:30 a.m. 16:30
February 28 - March 3 PCL Main Event - Week 3 7:30 a.m. 16:30
March 8-10 PCL Main Event - Week 4 7:30 a.m. 16:30
March 16-17 PCL Main Event - Week 5 7:30 a.m. 16:30
March 24 Arena Royale 8:00 a.m. 17:00
March 30-31 Playoffs - Quarterfinals 7:30 a.m. 16:30
TBD Playoffs - Semifinals & Finals TBD TBD

Player Eligibility & Team Rosters

Team Personnel

Team "Rosters, defined as all individuals representing or supporting a team in the PCL, consist of the following personnel:

    • Player: Competes in any competition in connection with the PCL (PCL Qualifier, PCL Main Season, Arena Royale, and PCL Playoffs).
    • Manager: Represents a team for all official decisions and serves as the main point of contact for the team. A manager may also serve as a player.
    • Team Staff: Any personnel that is not a player.

Roster Requirements

    • Each team roster must have exactly one manager.
    • Each team roster is required to have a minimum of four players and a maximum of ten players.
    • Each team roster is required to have one "junior," defined as an individual born in the year 2003 or later.
    • Each team roster is required to have two women, defined as an individual recognized by Chess.com as appearing in any FIDE Women’s rating list.
    • All team staff must be officially declared and approved by Chess.com.
    • All players are subject to Chess.com approval before they may join a roster.
    • An individual may not simultaneously be part of more than one team roster.

Roster Changes

    • As long as the requirements listed above are met, managers may add players to a team roster only until February 26, 2023.
    • A player may be removed from a roster unless that player has played at least one game in any competition in connection with the PCL (PCL Qualifier, PCL Main Season, Arena Royale, and PCL Playoffs). A player that participated in the Qualifier, but did not qualify, is eligible to be added to any team roster.
    • If a player is removed from a roster, that player may then join a different team's roster only with approval from Chess.com.

Player Requirements

    • All players must be approved by Chess.com.
    • All players will be required to execute a participation agreement with Chess.com.
    • All players must be 13 years or older by February 1, 2023.

Team Lineups

For each competition in the PCL Qualifier, PCL Main Event, or PCL Playoffs, each team will participate with a “lineup” consisting of exactly four players from their roster, at that team’s sole discretion. The four players in each lineup will be designated as "Board 1", "Board 2", "Board 3", and Board 4", in order of their rating, highest to lowest (November 1, 2022 FIDE Standard). Lineups must be designated in advance and submitted to Chess.com by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on the Sunday prior to each competition.

Lineup Requirements

All Lineups must adhere to the following requirements:

        • Total rating cap of 10200 (2550 average per player)
          • All ratings in the PCL will be based on the November 2022 FIDE Standard list
          • Players rated over 2700 count as 2700 toward the cap
          • Women rated over 2350 count as 2350 toward the cap
          • All players, regardless of rating, count as a minimum of 2200 toward the cap
        • All Lineups must contain at least one woman

If a team is unable to field an eligible lineup, such team may, with approval from Chess.com, use a substitute player that is not on any other team roster. Substitutes may not be rated higher than 2500, based on the November 1, 2022 FIDE Standard rating list. If a team's lineup contains a substitute, that lineup will be subject to a total rating cap penalty of 100.

Team Relationships

These rules do not govern relationships between or among players and/or team staff on a team. The terms of relationships on teams are left to each of the teams and their rosters. However, disputes and conduct between team members may be grounds for disciplinary action for the team or any of its team members, as determined by Chess.com in its sole discretion.

League & Tournament Format

PCL Match Format

A match between two teams consists of four rounds, in which each player from a team's lineup plays a game with each player from the opposing team's lineup. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss for their respective team. All games will be played with a 10+2 time control and the first team to 8.5 points wins the match. The following table lists the head-to-head pairing methodology for each match. The player listed first in each pairing plays white.

Round Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
Round 1 Team B: Board 4 vs. Team A: Board 1 Team B: Board 3 vs. Team A: Board 2 Team A: Board 3 vs. Team B: Board 2 Team A: Board 4 vs. Team B: Board 1
Round 2 Team A: Board 1 vs. Team B: Board 3 Team A: Board 2 vs. Team B: Board 4 Team B: Board 1 vs. Team A: Board 3 Team B: Board 2 vs. Team A: Board 4
Round 3 Team B: Board 2 vs. Team A: Board 1 Team B: Board 1 vs. Team A: Board 2 Team A: Board 3 vs. Team B: Board 4 Team A: Board 4 vs. Team B: Board 3
Round 4 Team A: Board 1 vs. Team B: Board 1 Team A: Board 2 vs. Team B: Board 2 Team B: Board 3 vs. Team A: Board 3 Team B: Board 4 vs. Team A: Board 4

Tiebreaks

If a match is tied 8-8 in the PCL Qualifier or PCL Main Event, round 4 will be repeated with swapped colors and a 3+2 time control. If the match is still tied, this process will be repeated with a 1+1 time control. This process will then repeat until there is a decisive result.

If a match is tied 8-8 in the Playoffs, a "ladder tiebreaker" will be played. Board 4s will swap colors from round 4 and play one game. The losing player of this game will be eliminated and the winning player in this game will then play Board 3 from the opposing team with colors swapped. This process will be repeated, with each team using Board 3, Board 2, and Board 1 in that order until all players from one team are eliminated. The other team wins the match. If a game is drawn, both players are eliminated, except in the case of Board 1 vs. Board 1, in which case colors are swapped and another game is played. The time control for all tiebreak games is 3+2.

PCL Qualifier

Teams may register to compete in the PCL Qualifier, which consists of a Swiss Phase and a Knockout Phase. The top four teams from the Swiss Phase will advance to the Knockout Phase, which is a single elimination bracket. If 16 or fewer eligible teams register for the Qualifier, the Swiss Phase will be removed. Teams that have been extended invitations to the PCL Main Event are ineligible to participate in the Qualifier. 

Lineups

Lineups in the PCL Qualifier must meet the requirements listed above under "Lineup Requirements". Lineups must additionally have a minimum average rating of at least 2400 (based on November 1, 2022 FIDE Standard).

Swiss Phase

In the Swiss Phase, four players from each team will compete in a Swiss tournament with 9 rounds with a 10+2 time control. Players will earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The four teams with the highest cumulative Swiss score will qualify for the Knockout Phase. If two or more teams in the top four are tied, the following tiebreakers will be applied:

        1. The sum of each player's Buchholz System (Cut 1) score, defined as the sum of scores of each opponent, minus the lowest opponent score
        2. The sum of each player's Buchholz System score, defined as the sum of scores of each opponent
        3. The sum of each player's Sonneborn-Berger score, defined as the sum of the score of each defeated opponent and half the score of each drawn opponent.
        4. Points earned in games between players on tied teams
        5. Total number of game wins (including forfeits by opponents)
        6. Total number of game wins with black
        7. The sum of each player's Average Rating of Opponents (Cut 1), defined as the average rating of opponents, based on Chess.com blitz ratings immediately after the Swiss, with the lowest rating removed
        8. The sum of each player's Chess.com ratings immediately after the Swiss

Knockout Phase

The Knockout Phase is a single elimination bracket with the top four teams from the Swiss phase. Matches will use the PCL Match Format described above. The winner of the Knockout Phase will qualify for the PCL Main Event.

PCL Main Event

The PCL Main Event is an "Elimination Swiss" competition with 15 teams that have been directly invited to participate by Chess.com and one team that has qualified from the Qualifier. If any teams decline or are deemed ineligible, additional invitations will be extended at the sole discretion of Chess.com.

Season Format

The PCL Main Event consists of five rounds, as follows:

        • Rounds 1-3: A 3-round Swiss with initial pairings based on player ratings and Chess.com's discretion. Following round 3, the two teams with 3 match wins will qualify for the PCL Playoffs and the two teams with 3 match losses will be eliminated.
        • Round 4: A continuation of the Swiss with the remaining teams. Following this round, the three teams with 3 match wins will qualify for the PCL Playoffs and the three teams with 3 match losses will be eliminated.
        • Round 5: A continuation of the Swiss with the remaining teams. Following this round, the three teams with 3 match wins will qualify for the PCL Playoffs and the three teams with 3 match losses will be eliminated.

Arena Royale

Arena Royale is an Arena competition with 15 teams that have been directly invited to participate by Chess.com and one team that has qualified from the Qualifier. Teams must participate in Arena Royale with a minimum of four players and a maximum of ten players.

Arena Royale Format

All players on each team will compete in a 2.5-hour Arena with a 3+0 time control. Players will earn points based on the results of each game according to Chess.com servers. Teams will be ranked based on the cumulative Arena score of the top four highest-scoring players on each respective team. If two or more teams are tied, the following tiebreakers will be applied:

        1. Highest individual Arena score achieved by a team.
        2. Second-highest individual Arena score achieved by a team.
        3. Third-highest individual Arena score achieved by a team.
        4. The number of players that participated (played at least 10 games) from a team.

PCL Playoffs

The PCL Playoffs is a single elimination bracket with eight teams that have qualified from the PCL Main Event. Matches will use the PCL Match Format described above. The semifinals and finals of the PCL Playoffs will take place live at an in-person location, to be determined.

Fair Play

All players, for all matches in the PCL Qualifier (Knockout Phase), PCL Main Event, and PCL Playoffs, are required to join a video conference call for monitoring by tournament officials. Players are required to have two cameras. One camera must clearly show the player’s full face and immediate surroundings beyond the player. The other camera should be placed behind the player diagonally at a 45-degree angle on the mouse-hand side of the player with the player’s desk, PC, and monitors clearly visible. One camera must have audio turned on.

In the PCL Qualifier (Swiss Phase) and Arena Royale, upon request, players are required to join a video conference call for monitoring by tournament officials. To abide by this request, players must have video and audio turned on for one camera which must clearly show the player’s full face and immediate surroundings beyond the player.

Players may further be requested to submit to a Computer Inspection, an Environment Inspection, and/or a Physical Inspection at any time in any match in connection with the PCL.

Prizes

Up to $110,000 in prizes are available in the PCL. Payments will be made in United States dollars and paid to the manager of each respective team. Chess.com will award $2,000 for the PCL Qualifier, according to the following table:

Standing Prize Money (USD)
1st $0 (Qualified for PCL Main Event)
2nd $1,000
3rd (two teams) $500

Chess.com will award $3,500 for Arena Royale, according to the following table:

Standing Prize Money (USD)
1st $2,000
2nd $1,000
3rd $500

Chess.com will award $102,500 for the PCL Main Season and PCL Playoffs, according to the following table:

Standing Prize Money (USD)
1st $25,000
2nd $15,000
3rd $10,000
4th $7,500
5th (four teams) $5,000
Eliminated in Week 5 (three teams) $4,000
Eliminated in Week 4 (three teams) $3,000
Eliminated in Week 3 (two teams) $2,000

Following the PCL Playoffs, Chess.com will award $2,000 as an "MVP Award" for one player. This prize is awarded at Chess.com's sole discretion, paid directly to the player selected for the MVP Award.

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