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Handbook | C. General Rules and Recommendations for Tournaments | 04. FIDE Swiss Rules | 04.1. Swiss System Based on Rating | C. Pairing Procedures

C. Pairing Procedures


Starting with the highest score bracket apply the following procedures to all score brackets until an acceptable pairing is obtained. Afterwards the colour allocation rules (E) are used to determine which players will play with white.


If the score bracket contains a player for whom no opponent can be found within this score bracket without violating B1 or B2 then:

  • if this player was moved down from a higher score bracket apply C12.
  • if this score bracket is the lowest one apply C13.
  • in all other cases: move this player down to the next score bracket.

Determine x according to A8.


Determine p according to A6.


Put the highest players in S1, all other players in S2.


Order the players in S1 and S2 according to A2.


Pair the highest player of S1 against the highest one of S2, the second highest one of S1 against the second highest on e of S2, etc. If now p pairings are obtained in compliance with B1 and B2 the pairing of this score bracket is considered complete.

  • in case of a homogeneous score bracket: remaining players are moved down to the next score bracket. With this score bracket restart at C1.
  • in case of a heterogeneous score bracket: only players moved down were paired so far. Start at C2 with the homogeneous remainder group.

Apply a new transposition of S2 according to D1 and restart at C6.


In case of a homogeneous (remainder) group: apply a new exchange between S1 and S2 according to D2. Restart at C5.


Drop criterion B6 and B5 (in this order) for downfloats and restart at C4.


In case of a homogeneous remainder group: undo the pairing of the lowest moved down player paired and try to find a different opponent for this player by restarting at C7.

  • If no alternative pairing for this player exists then drop criterion B6 first and then B5 for upfloats and restart at C2.

As long as x is less than p: increase x by 1. When pairing a remainder group undo all pairings of players moved down also. Restart at C3.


In case of a heterogeneous group: undo the pairing of the previous score bracket. If in this previous score bracket a pairing can be made whereby another player will be moved down to the current one, and this now allows p pairing to be made then this pairing in the previous score bracket will be accepted.


In case of the lowest score bracket: the pairing of the penultimate score bracket is undone. Try to find another pairing in the penultimate score bracket which will allow a pairing in the lowest score bracket. If in the penultimate score bracket p becomes zero (i.e. no pairing can be found which will allow a correct pairing for the lowest score bracket) then the two lowest score brackets are joined into a new lowest score bracket. Because now another score bracket is the penultimate one C13 can be repeated until an acceptable pairing is obtained.


Decrease p by 1 (and if the original value of x was greater than zero decrease x by 1 as well). As long as p is unequal to zero restart at C4. If p equals zero the entire score bracket is moved down to the next one. Restart with this score bracket at C1.

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