Annex D: Pairing Rules
Approved by the 1980 General Assembly. Amended by the 1986,
1987, 1992 and 1993 General Assemblies. Approved by 1994 and 1998 Executive
Council.

A. Basic Pairing System 
1. 
The basic pairing system shall be the Controlled Swiss System
Pairings using Game Points for both Pairing and Scoring.

B. Odd Number of Participating Teams 
2. 
The organizing federation shall be entitled to enter a second
team ("B" team). If there is an odd number of participating teams the organizing
federation has the right to enter a third team ("C" team), in which case all
points scored against the additional team shall be counted, whilst the Cteam
itself shall not appear in the final ranking list of all teams.

3. 
If the "C" team is paired and plays round 1 it shall remain in
the tournament to the conclusion even though a team or teams dropping out or a
new team or teams arriving subsequently results in an odd number of teams still
in competition.

C. Ranking of Teams for Pairing Purposes 
4. 
Obtain a list of all teams participating and full names of all
players of each team three months before the start of the Olympiad.
The list of names and the order of the players can be changed
only with the approval of the President of FIDE.

5. 
Record the FIDE rating of each team member having such a
rating.

6. 
Assign an arbitrary rating of 2000 to team members who have no
FIDE rating.

7. 
Rank all teams in order of the average of their 4 highest
FIDErated players (men's teams) and in order of the average of their 3 highest
FIDErated players (women's teams). The team with the highest average rating
shall be assigned Pairing Number 1, the second highest, Pairing Number 2, etc.

8. 
If two or more teams have the same average rating, rank them as
to relative strength by consideration of all available information. In this case
the following criteria in descendent priority will be used:
1. the rating of the fifth player of the men's team; for
women's team the rating of the fourth player.
2. the rating of the sixth player of the men's team.

3. 
the final rankings of the previous Olympiad. 
4. 

D. Number of Rounds 
9. 
14 rounds are recommended if there are 61 or more teams taking
part. 13 rounds are recommended if there are 60 teams or less taking part. The
team captains can agree to change the number of rounds to 14 to equalise the
number of rounds in the men's and the women's championships.
With 14 rounds the recommended sequence of playing days is 6,
7, 1 or 7, 6, 1 requiring 14 playing days, 2 rest days and 1 day for
arrival/departure for a total of 17 days.
With 13 rounds the recommended sequence is 6, 6, 1 requiring 13
playing days, 2 rest days and 1 day for arrival/departure for a total of 16
days.

E. Byes 
10. 
If there is an odd number of teams a bye should be given to one
team which arbitrarily would be credited with 2 game points (men's teams) and
1.5 game points (women's teams).
The team given the bye in the first round would be that team
which had the highest ranking number. For example:
if there are 85 teams, then the team ranked as No. 85 would
receive the bye in the first round.
The team given the bye in subsequent rounds would be that team
with the highest ranking number from the group with the lowest total number of
game points.
No team shall receive more than one bye.

F. Scoring unfinished games for pairing purposes 
11. 
Unfinished games shall be considered as draws for pairing
purposes.

G. Tie Breaking 
12. 
The position of teams that finish with the same number of game
points shall be determined by application of the following tiebreaking
procedures in sequence, proceeding from (a) to (b) to (c) to (d) to the extent
required:
(a) by the sum of the game scores of all the team's opponents;
(b) by the number of match points won;
(c) by the sum of the game scores of all opponents defeated
plus one half of the game scores of all the opponents with which a tied result
was achieved.
(d) by the sum of the game scores of all the team's opponents,
excluding the two opponents who scored the highest number of game points and two
opponents who scored the lowest number of game points.

H. General Pairing Regulations 
13. 
Assign a pairing number to each team as per Section C.

14. 
(a) No team shall play the same opponent more than once.
(b) A team having scored without playing will not receive a
bye. This is the case when a team has received a bye due to an odd number of
teams or when one of the opponent teams did not appear on time.

15. 
The difference of the scores of two teams paired against each
other should be 0 or, if this is not possible, as small as possible.

16. 
Pairings shall be made from the top group down to, but not
including, the middle group; then from the bottom group up to, but not
including, the middle group, and finally the middle group. The middle group
shall be defined as that group in which the median team in the standings is
located. If there is an even number of teams being paired, the lower of the two
middle teams shall be considered as the median team.
Example: Suppose there are 88 teams:

Place 


. . . 


43 
20.0 points 

44 
20.0 points 
Median team 
45 
19.5 points 

46 
19.5 points 

. . . 


17. 
(a) No team's board 1 color difference will become >+2 or
<2.
(b) No team's board 1 will receive the same color three times
in row.

18. 
(a) If in an score group a complete pairing is only possible
without applying rule 17, such a pairing will then be made.
(b) If in an odd score group a complete pairing is only
possible by choosing another floater, another floater will be chosen.

19. 
After the team pairings have been made, colors shall be
assigned based on giving priority to:
(1) equalisation of colors on board 1 (regardless of who has
played or is playing board 1 and regardless of what colors the particular player
assigned to board 1 has had), and
(2) alternation of colors on board 1. The colors on the
remaining board shall alternate with the player on board 3 having the same color
as the player on board 1.

20. 
If both teams have had white the same number of times on board
1 and have had opposite colors on board 1 in the immediately preceding round the
colors shall be assigned to board 1 to provide alternation for each team from
the color it had in the previous round.

21. 
If both teams have had white the same number of times on board
1 the colors shall be assigned to board 1 to provide the lowest sequence of the
same color for both teams.

22. 
If both teams have had white the same number of times on board
1 and have had exactly the same sequence of colors, then priority shall be given
to
(a) balancing the color on board 1 of the team with the higher
ranked team, or
(b) alternation of color on board 1 of the higher ranked team
from the last round.

23. 
If both teams have had white the same number of times on board
1 and have had exactly the same sequence of colors, and each team has had the
same number of whites and blacks on board 1, then the color on board 1 of the
higher ranked team shall be alternated from the last round.

24. 
In the first round the color assigned to board 1 of the team
ranked number 1 shall be selected by lot. All other odd numbers in the top half
of the ranking list shall receive the same color in the first round on board 1
as the team ranked number 1.

I. Detailed Pairings Procedure Round 1  4 
25. 
If there is an uneven number of teams in a group in the top
half of the score groups, the weakest rated team shall be dropped to the group
immediately below and paired against the strongest rated team in that group,
that it has not already played. 
26. 
If the group from which the weakest rated team has been dropped
is such that a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group cannot be
made, then  instead of dropping the weakest rated team  the second weakest
team in the group shall be dropped, etc.

27. 
If the weakest rated team that is dropped to the group
immediately below has already played every team in the group immediately below,
then it shall be moved back to its original group and the second weakest team
shall be dropped, etc.

28. 
If every team in an odd numbered group in the top half of the
score group has played every team in the group immediately below then the same
procedure is followed as per rules 25, 26 and 27.

29. 
If there is an uneven number of teams in a group in the bottom
half of the score groups, the strongest rated team shall be elevated to the
group immediately above and paired against the weakest rated team in that group,
that it has not already played.

30. 
If the group from which the strongest rated team has been
elevated is such that a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group
cannot be made, then the second strongest team in the group shall be elevated,
etc.

31. 
If the strongest rated team that is elevated to the group
immediately above has already played every team in the group immediately above,
then it shall be moved back to its original group and the second strongest team
shall be elevated, etc.

32. 
If every team in an odd numbered group in the bottom half of
the score groups has played every team in the group immediately above then the
same procedure is followed as per rules 29, 30 and 31.

33. 
To the extent possible, teams in the top half of any point
group shall be paired in sequence against the teams in the bottom half of the
same point group.

34. 
For teams in the median group and higher, priority shall be
given to first finding the correct pairing for the strongest team in that point
group, etc.

35. 
For teams below the median group, priority shall be given to
first finding the correct pairing for the weakest team in a given point group,
then the second weakest team in that point group, etc.

36. 
Assuming 2N teams in a group, it is first attempted to pair the
first team in the group with the N + 1 team. If that is possible, we are left
with a subgroup of 2N  2 teams. The same procedure is now applied to the
subgroup. Wherever a match is not possible because the teams have already played
each other, or the subgroup is unsolvable, the first team in the group (or
subgroup) is matched with N + 2 (instead of N + 1), then N + 3, until 2N, and if
still unsuccessful, against N1, N2, etc.
In order to illustrate this procedure, suppose there are six
teams in a group, 1 through 6. There will be 15 combinations of pairing within
the group, in the following descending order of priority: (1) 1 x 4, 2 x 5, 3
x 6 (2) 1 x 4, 2 x 6, 3 x 5 (3) 1 x 4, 2 x 3, 5 x 6 (4) 1 x 5, 2 x 4, 3
x 6 (5) 1 x 5, 2 x 6, 3 x 4 (6) 1 x 5, 2 x 3, 4 x 6 (7) 1 x 6, 2 x 4, 3
x 5 (8) 1 x 6, 2 x 5, 3 x 4 (9) 1 x 6, 2 x 3, 4 x 5 (10) 1 x 3, 2 x 5,
4 x 6 (11) 1 x 3, 2 x 6, 4 x 5 (12) 1 x 3, 2 x 4, 5 x 6 (13) 1 x 2, 3 x
5, 4 x 6 (14) 1 x 2, 3 x 6, 4 x 5 (15) 1 x 2, 3 x 4, 5 x 6

38. 
In any group below the median group priority shall be given to
pairing the weakest team in the group and the same logic shall apply as outlined
in rule 37 but in reverse order.

39. 
If the top ranked team in a group (the strongest team) has
played all the other teams in the same point group, priority shall be given to
pairing this team against the strongest team in the next point group below that
it has not already played. This applies to teams in the median group and above.

40. 
For the similar case in a group below the median group the
lowest ranked team (weakest team) in that point group that has played all other
teams in the same point group, priority shall be given to pairing this team
against the weakest team in the next point group above that it has not already
played.

41. 
For teams in the median group and above if the top ranked team
in a group has played all the teams in its own point group and all teams in the
point group immediately below it, its opponent shall be found by selecting the
highest rated team in the group next below, that it has not already played.

42. 
For the similar case of teams in a group below the median group
if the lowest ranked team in that point group has played all the teams in the
point group immediately above it, its opponent shall be found by selecting the
lowest rated team in the group next above that it has not already played.

43. 
The same pattern of pairings shall be followed in the case of
other teams in a given point group in the groups below the median group that
have already played all other teams in their own point group as has been
followed in pairing rules 39, 40, 41 and 42.

44. 
Priority shall be given to making a pairing of all teams in a
single group with other teams in the same group before dropping a team to the
group below (if not all, not necessarily the maximum). In all such cases the
same general logic as detailed above shall be followed.

J. Detailed Pairing Procedure for Rounds 514. 
45. 
After the 4th round, teams in a scoregroup (including
'floaters' from another scoregroup) shall be arranged in the order of their
Extended Buchholz (EB = sum of each team's + its opponents' scores). The team
with the highest EB shall be No. 1 in the group. Teams with the same Buchholz
shall be arranged in the order of their initial pairing numbers.
Example: 
Order in Group 
Pairing Number 
Buchholz 

1 
8 
24.5 

2 
3 
23 

3 
5 
23 

4 
11 
22.5 

5 
11 
22.5 

6 
7 
21.5 

46. 
In each median scoregroup or higher, priority shall be given
to pairing the highest team (i.e. the team with the highest EB) with the lowest
team in that group that it has not already played. The second highest team shall
be paired with the second lowest team, etc.

47. 
To illustrate the procedure, suppose there are six teams in a
scoregroup, ordered 1 through 6 as described in rule 45. There will be 15
combinations of pairing within the group, in the following descending order of
priority.
(1) 1 x 6, 2 x 5, 3 x 4 (2) 1 x 6, 2 x 4, 3 x 5 (3) 1 x 6, 2 x 3, 4 x
5 (4) 1 x 5, 2 x 6, 3 x 4 (5) 1 x 5, 2 x 4, 3 x 6 (6) 1 x 5, 2 x 3, 4 x
6 (7) 1 x 4, 2 x 6, 3 x 5 (8) 1 x 4, 2 x 5, 3 x 6 (9) 1 x 4, 2 x 3, 5 x
6 (10) 1 x 3, 2 x 6, 4 x 5 (11) 1 x 3, 2 x 5, 4 x 6 (12) 1 x 3, 2 x 4,
5 x 6 (13) 1 x 2, 3 x 6, 4 x 5 (14) 1 x 2, 3 x 5, 4 x 6 (15) 1 x 2, 3 x
4, 5 x 6

48. 
If there is an uneven number of teams in a group, the same
procedure is followed and the remaining team is floated to the next scoregroup
(provided it is not a floater from another scoregroup) and is paired within
this group according to the same procedure.

49. 
To illustrate the procedure, suppose there are 5 teams in a
group. There will be 15 combinations of pairing within the group, in the
following descending order of priority: (1) 1 x 5, 2 x 4, 3floater (2) 1
x 5, 2 x 3, 4floater (3) 1 x 5, 3 x 4, 2floater (4) 1 x 4, 2 x 5,
3floater (5) 1 x 4, 2 x 3, 5floater (6) 1 x 4, 3 x 5, 2floater (7) 1
x 3, 2 x 5, 4floater (8) 1 x 3, 2 x 4, 5floater (9) 1 x 3, 4 x 5,
2floater (10) 1 x 2, 3 x 5, 4floater (11) 1 x 2, 3 x 4,
5floater (12) 1 x 2, 4 x 5, 3floater (13) 2 x 5, 3 x 4,
1floater (14) 2 x 4, 3 x 5, 1floater (15) 2 x 3, 4 x 5, 1floater
[If, for example, No. 2 is a floater from an upper scoregroup,
pairings (3), (6) & (9) are not valid]. 
50. 
If the group from which the floater has been dropped is such
that a complete pairing of all remaining teams in the group cannot be made, or
if the floater has already played every team in the next group, then the floater
shall be moved back to its original group, trying the next possible pairing
according to the order of priority. If a complete pairing of all teams in two
adjacent groups cannot be made, then these two groups shall be considered as one
group, and rules 4549 shall accordingly apply.

51. 
In any group below the median group priority shall be given to
pairing the lowest team (i.e. the team with the lowest EB) in the group and the
same pattern of pairing shall apply as outlined in rules 4650 but in reverse
order.

K. Supplementary Rules 
52. 
Only those teams who have two or more players present at 19:00
HRS the day before the start of round 1 (and the pairing committee has been
notified of their presence) plus those teams who have given notification of
their time of arrival and travel arrangements (and the pairing committee
advised) shall be paired for the first round with the added provision that the
travel arrangements must be such that the absent team or teams shall be able to
be in the tournament room before the lapse of one hour after the start of the
first round.

53. 
Those teams who do not show up before the lapse of one hour
after the start of the first round shall lose round 1 by a 04 score (men's
teams) and by a 03 score (women's teams).

54. 
Rules 52 and 53 may be overruled by decision of the FIDE
President.

L. Mechanism for Making the Pairings 
55. 
The pairings are to be made by a committee of three, each from
a different FIDE federation.

56. 
In order to ensure that accurate results of the previous
round's play are used in making the pairings for the subsequent round, the
Tournament Director or his officially designated appointee shall provide the
Chairman of the Pairings Committee with a signed summary of results as they are
available. This summary shall be started as soon as the first game is finished
and continuously kept uptodate and available to the Pairings Committee. In
particular a signed summary of results shall be printed at 21:30 HRS.

57. 
The organizing federation shall supply secretarial help in the
form of one person who shall be available for meeting with the committee at
their request to record, type and duplicate the pairings and record and type for
future reference a brief writeup as dictated by the Pairings Committee
Chairman, which would cover specific decisions which were made during the
pairing of the round in question, together with supporting logic for the
decision made.

58. 
Pairings shall be made by computer if a computer is available
and if the computer program has been tested and approved by the chairman of the
Pairings Committee. Computer terminals should be in a room near the playing hall
and fully dedicated to the use of the Pairings Committee as and when required.
If a computer is used for preparing the daily bulletins of the game scores, a
separate terminal in a separate room should be provided for those preparing the
bulletin.
The computer pairings do not have to be 100% in agreement with
handmade pairings to be acceptable although if there is no difference between
the outcome of the pairings made by the computer and those made (by hand) by the
Pairings Committee the final decision lies with the Chairman of the Pairings
Committee.

M. Schedule 
59. 
New rounds shall be played from 15:00 HRS.

60. 
Pairings by country including allocation of colors shall be
posted as soon as possible after the Pairings committee has finished of making
the pairings

61. 
The list of the players for a new round has to be submitted by
the team captain between 10:30 and 11:00 hrs.

62. 
Pairings by players shall be posted not later than 13:00 HRS in
the tournament hall.

63. 
No protest against the pairing shall be allowed.

N. Explanation and Example by IA Almog Burstein (ISR)B. Odd Number of
Participating Teams 
1. 
The Swiss System has been used in the Chess Olympiads since
Haifa 1976. During this period understanding and acceptance of this system has
increased to a marked degree. There continue to be suggestions for changes and
improvements, but most of these were not worked out in detail and not
implemented for the Olympiads.

2. 
As a member of the Pairings Committee for the 1976, 1978, 1980
& 1982 Olympiads (along with Committee Chairman P.G. Haley, Canada), I have
repeatedly proposed that, within a given scoregroup, the Buchholz (sum of each
team's plus its opponents' scores) be used in developing the pairings such that
those with the highest Buchholz would meet those with the lowest. This has the
advantage of ensuring that teams will have met more equal opposition over the
course of the Olympiad than happens with the old system.

3. 
In the Curitiba Congress, November 1993, the Olympiad Pairing
SubCommittee (C. Jarecki, Y. Matsumoto, R. Wade and myself) recommended, for
the 1994 and 1996 Olympiads, that the pairings be based on the old rules for the
first four rounds, and then, the new rules using the Buchholz rankings. The
recommendation was approved by the Rules Commission and the General Assembly of
FIDE.

4. 
The current use of outdated ratings, especially for teams that
are relatively inactive in the FIDE rating system, should be limited to the
first four rounds; but thereafter only data of the Olympiad itself (i.e.
Buchholz) should be taken into consideration in pairing the subsequent rounds.

5. 
In order to demonstrate the new principle, let us look into the
crosstable of the 1988 Olympiad after 13 rounds and make together the pairings
for the final 14th round.
The teams are arranged in accordance with the above new rule
37, that is by the total gamepoints (GP) and then by their Buchholz (PS =
positions according to the Buchholz seeding).

6. 
The first three pairings, according to whatever Swiss rules we
use, are forced:
URS  CSR, ENG  NED USA HUN.
The next team, PHI, being the only one with 31.5 points, if
floated to the next scoregroup. According to the old rules it has to play YUG.
Under the new rules we have to pair the teams within the following rearranged
scoregroup: 1. YUG 2. PHI 3. ISR

7. 
The first priority should be given to pairing YUGISR, but
since PHI is a floater from an upper scoregroup, we have to go on to the second
priority, that is YUGPHI, and float ISR to the next scoregroup.
And now comes the big difference.

8. 
Under the old system the teams in the 30.5 scoregroup were
arranged in the order of their initial pairing numbers: 1. SWE  09 2. ARG
 14 3. DEN  19 4. IND  21 5. CHI  27

9. 
ISR is paired with SWE, while the other two pairings are ARG 
IND and DEN  CHI.

10. 
Let us look again into the crosstable. ARG and IND had but
little encounter with strong opponents (this is why they were Buchholz
lowseeded). And yet, they were given, in the last round, a sizeable chance to
overtake stronger teams, by facing relatively weak opponents (each other)!

11. 
This pairing had a direct effect on the fact that ARG (beating
IND 2.51.5) took tenth place, but was the only team, among the first twenty,
that did not play any of the first nine teams (except URS to which it lost 0:4)!

12. 
How should the teams be paired so as to ensure that the final
results would reflect their actual strength more closely

13. 
Under the new system the six teams in the scoregroup
(including the floater) are arranged in the order of their Buchholz. In this
case: 1. SWE 2. CHI 3. DEN 4. ISR 5. ARG 6. IND

14. 
Now let us take the chart of rule 39: Combination (1) is not valid because
DEN  ISR have already played. Combination (2) is not valid because CHI  ISR
have already played. Combination (3) is not valid because ISR  ARG have
already played. Combination (4) is not valid because DEN  ISR have already
played. Combination (5) is not valid because CHI  ISR have already
played.

15. 
So, combination (6) is the one: SWEARG, CHIDEN and ISRIND.
In these circumstances, SWE would have met a relatively weaker opponent, and
justly so, having 'overexerted' itself in the preceding rounds.

16. 
Using this principle throughout the tournament, while adhering
to the old game  point system would give fairer and more satisfactory results.
