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Official Queensland Inter-School Rules and Regulations

Tournament Rules – Format

  • Gardiner Chess runs all events on behalf the Chess Association of Queensland.
  • 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.
  • Schools must participate in two (2) of the three (3) terms in order to be able to qualify for the Queensland Inter-School State Finals
  • In regions where numbers are not quite 100 but still high, the 2nd placed team may be considered for the State Finals for developmental purposes. Application must be made in writing to the Inter-School Coordinator.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 25 minutes (see process below).
  • Where rounds progress very quickly (primarily regional areas), coaching will take the place of extra rounds.

Tournament Rules – Photographs

  • Gardiner Chess will take photos at events for use upon the Interschool results webpage. Unless written notification is received otherwise, Gardiner Chess assumes that permission is granted.

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

Tournament Rules – Prizes

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

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 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 official FIDE (World Chess Federation) rules of chess apply to all Inter-School Competitions, with the following exceptions:
  • 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.
  • 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, the players agree or an arbiter has seen the repetition.

Tournament Rules – Tie Break Methods


  • Ties Between Teams

o    Match points – 2 points per win, 1 point per draw, 0 per loss.

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 instructions found here. 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 US TO SEE HOW WE CAN HELP YOU).
  • 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.