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Phone : (07) 5522 7221

Official Queensland Inter-School Rules and Regulations

 Tournament Rules – Format

  • Gardiner Chess runs all events on behalf of the Chess Association of Queensland via a licensing agreement which runs from 2018 to 2022.
  • Schools can find which region they are a part of by clicking here. A list of all tournaments can be found here.
  • Where possible, Primary (grade P-6) and Secondary (grade 7-12) students will be split into separate tournaments.
  • In the event of a Premier team’s event, there must be no less than seven (7) teams for the event to go ahead. If there are under seven teams, Premier and Open will be combined.
  • Premier divisions are restricted to the top teams, to a maximum of twelve, with the proviso that unless otherwise impractical no more than two teams may represent any one school. A promotion and relegation system will operate between premier and open divisions, whenever practical. Premier divisions will be played as Swiss tournaments in term two (2) and Fixed Roster event (i.e. team Vs team) in term three (3).
  • Open Divisions will be played as individual Swiss tournaments, open to all players, with the provision that players from the same team shall not play each other.
  • When there are sufficient numbers, multiple Open Divisions will be held.
  • One team per 100 (or part there-of) participants in each region in term three will qualify for the Queensland Inter-School State Finals held in Brisbane in term four.  These teams will be the highest placed teams, in the highest division of that region.
  • In regions where numbers are not quite 100, the Inter-School coordinator may invite the 2nd team to compete if deemed a) strong enough and b) that there will be a benefit to the region.
  • Schools must participate in a minimum of two (2) of the three (3) terms in order to be able to qualify for the Queensland Inter-School State Finals
  • Players are placed in teams of four (4). In order to participate, you need not have a complete team of four.
  • Schools are encouraged to enter as many teams or part teams as they wish.
  • Players may play other students from their school, however not from their team. The only exception to this will be if pairings become sufficiently silly for which the Chief Arbiter will use their own discretion and experience.
  • Schools will be a part of a specified zone which cannot be changed throughout without written permission of the Inter-School coordinator.
    • Where players play in another region (with permission) due to a clash or for some other reason, individuals may win individual prizes, however teams cannot win the team prizes. This is designed to protect the teams within each specified region.

Tournament Rules – Media

  • Gardiner Chess will take some general photos at events for use upon social media. The Inter-School coordinator should be emailed names of any students who do not have media clearance to ensure that they are avoided. Likewise, any names that need to be removed from the website must also be emailed.
  • Gardiner Chess will also undertake to get local media to events in order to promote chess within the region.

Tournament Rules – Times

  • Registration for tournaments will begin at 8.30am on the morning of the tournament.
  • Registration will finish once all teams have arrived, or at 9.20am.
  • Teams arriving after 9.20am may be given a first round bye and will begin playing from round two (if practical).
  • In the event of teams running late, please message any changes/absentees through to Andrew on 0438 348 995.
  • The tournament will continue from 9.30am through until 2.00pm (approximately).
  • At 2pm, prize giving will take place. All teams are asked to stay for this. Any teams leaving early should email the Inter-School coordinator to request any ribbons and medals to be sent out.
  • The aim will be to have everyone away by 2.15pm or 2.30pm at the latest
  • Games with clocks will be 15 minutes per player giving a maximum per game of thirty minutes.
  • Games without clocks will be adjudicated after approximately 25 minutes (see process below).
  • Where rounds progress very quickly, coaching or extra rounds may be added as required.

Tournament Rules – Scoring

  • Players will score one (1) point for a win, a half point (1/2) for a draw and zero (0) for a loss.
  • Team scores are the accumulated scores for all four players in that team added together
  • In team v team tournaments, match points will be used. Match points are two (2) points for a win, one (1) for a draw and zero (0) for a loss. A win is considered to be a  total of 2.5/4 or better in the head-to-head team match.

Tournament Rules – Prizes

  • Teams: Medals for members of each team finishing first, second and third.
  • Individual Prizes: Medals for each division for players finishing first, second and third.
  • Merit ribbons will be awarded to players scoring at least 4.5/7 or 5/8 depending on the number of rounds.

Tournament Rules – Adjudication

  • Due to the limited number of clocks that can be provided at tournaments, there comes a need for arbiters to adjudicate games once games reach approximately the 25-minute mark (given that game duration is a 30-minute maximum).
  • Adjudication involves the arbiter stopping play, asking whose move it is to play, and assessing the position and declaring a winner or draw based upon the position.
  • This decision is based upon the best moves the arbiters can see for both sides and NOT solely on the number of points (pieces) for each player.
  • Players may appeal the decision on the spot, but will have to show good reason for the appeal to be upheld. The Chief Arbiter’s decision is final.

Tournament Rules – Rules of Chess

  • The touch move rule applies:
    • If you touch a piece and can legally move it, you must do so*.
    • If you touch one of your opponent’s pieces and can legally capture it, you must do so*.
    • When you move a piece to a new square and take your hand of it, that is the square your piece is now on.
    • * If the touching of a piece is obviously accidental, this is waived.
    • To put a piece back in the centre of a square, players must say ‘adjust’ before touching their piece. This should also be done on their own turn, not their opponents.
  • Interference by any players, parents, teachers or other spectators will not be accepted under any circumstances – this includes trying to help players by correcting illegal moves or pointing out a player has forgotten to press their clock.
    • Players interfering in games may have points docked from both them and their team.
    • Parents or teachers may be asked to leave the area immediately.
  • Stalling is a tactic that is not allowed for games without clocks – players experiencing this must raise their hand for an arbiter’s assistance.
  • If players have any problems they need to raise their hand and an arbiter will assist them – we can’t help after the game has finished!
  • Draws by threefold repetition or 50 move rule cannot be claimed unless moves are being written down, or an arbiter has seen the repetition.
  • To offer a draw to an opponent the procedure is; play your move, press your clock (if you have one), offer your opponent a draw. The opponent can then accept or decline the draw offer. Do not simply stick out your hand asking for a draw.
  • Results must be reported to the arbiters table by the winner immediately after the game has finished. Failure to do so may involve the game being scored 0-0.

Tournament Rules – Tie Break Methods


  • Ties Between Teams

o    Game points – Total of individual players scores added together.

o    Team Match Result – Between tied teams

o    Sonneborn-Berger Scores – Sums of opponents beaten plus half the scores of drawn opponents

  • Ties for Board Prizes

o    Individual Match Result – Between tied players

o    Sonneborn-Berger Scores – Sums of opponents beaten plus half the scores of drawn opponents

o    Number of wins


  • Ties Between Teams

o    Median Bucholz – Sum of opponent’s scores discounting highest and lowest

o    Bucholz – Sum of opponent’s scores

o    Progressive – Sum of Progress scores

  • Ties Between Individuals

o      Median Bucholz – Sum of opponent’s scores discounting highest and lowest

o      Bucholz – Sum of opponent’s scores

o      Progressive – Sum of Progress scores

Tournament Rules – Food and Drink

  • Students should bring their own food and drink.
  • Where possible a canteen will be arranged for extra snacks/drinks

Tournament Rules – Entries

  • Entries for the tournament should completed using the spreadsheet found on the relevant Inter-School chess page. If there are any concerns or problems, please call the office straight away!
  • Entries should be completed in playing strength order (usually Queensland Junior rating order – found here).
  • The entry fee is $19 per player per competition – this will be invoiced to the schools after the event (If your school has serious difficulties in this cost, please contact the office to see how we can assist)
  • Please let us know how many students your school will be bringing at least two days beforehand so the necessary equipment can be organised.
  • Names and other relevant player details have a deadline of 5pm the day before the tournament.

Tournament Rules – Ratings

  • For pairing purposes the most recent issue of the Queensland Junior Rating List will be used, published on the Ratings page of the Gardiner Chess web site.
  • All results in the inter-school competitions are sent to the Queensland Junior Ratings Officer for rating. There are well over 3,000 students listed on the Queensland Junior Ratings List. The rating for a player is an indication of their playing strength in comparison to all other players on the list. It is a remarkably accurate predictor of results between two players on the list. Playing in a rated event does not guarantee the player will receive a rating. The minimum rating of 500 equates approximately to being able to do some basic checkmates.
  • To achieve a rating a player has to play 10 games against rated players in rated tournaments and achieve a minimum performance of 500.
  • We have found that playing in inter-school chess events and having a rating are two of the biggest motivators for juniors playing chess.
  • Age is no barrier to achieving a rating. It is not uncommon for five-year-olds to have a Queensland Junior rating.

Tournament Rules – Late Entries

  • Players who are a direct replacement for other players (e.g. Person A cannot make the event due to illness) will be accepted into the tournament and paired in round 1.
  • Players who are registered on the day may NOT be paired in round 1, and will only be paired for round 2 onwards.
  • Registered players arriving late (after 9.20am) may not be paired in round 1 and will commence playing from round 2 onwards.

Tournament Rules – Miscellaneous

  • Students forgetting to report results more than once may have their games recorded as a draw, loss, or double forfeit.
  • The decision of the chief arbiter is final.