Study Tourney Guidelines


The concluding session of the PCCC meeting 1999 considered this item:

“The following text is the recommendation of the underlisted members of the PCCC Sub-Committee for Studies to the full PCCC at Bratislava, September 1993. It is hoped that all PCCC members and others not members will reproduce the Guidelines in full, and where appropriate in careful translation.


John Roycroft (Speaker, Great Britain)
Jan Rusinek (Poland)
David Gurgenidze (Georgia)
Virgil Nestorescu (Romania)
Rainer Staudte (Germany)
Oleg Pervakov (Russia)

Date: 1st September 1993″

The PCCC deferred final consideration, but the guidelines are reproduced below as recommendations of the sub-committee. Useful input had been received from Argentina, as well as from several PCCC members.


The purpose of the Guidelines is to assist intending organisers (‘directors’) of formal international tourneys for original endgame studies. Such tourneys are prestigious and should be conducted to a high standard. Guidelines are never obligatory, but since these are based on a large corpus of experience, a tourney organiser departing from them needs good reasons for so doing. The Guidelines will also be of value to organisers of tourneys of more restricted scope and prestige than formal international tourneys. The Guidelines address the activities and responsibilities of the competing composer and the tourney judge only insofar as they affect the organiser.

The ten major activities/events are listed in chronological order.

I Summary

5. CLOSING DATE (“C-day”) and acknowledgements: “C-day = A-day + 18 months”
7. PROVISIONAL AWARD (“PA”), return of unsuccessful entries: “PA-day = C-day + 6 months (maximum)”
9. DEFINITIVE AWARD (“DA”): “DA-day = PA-day + 5 months (maximum)”
10. DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES, and notifications.

II Detail


      • 1.1 Selection of:
        • 1.1.1 Publication (journal, magazine, newspaper column)
        • 1.1.2 The name by which the tourney will be known
        • 1.1.3 Tourney director (administrator, address of entries, estimate of expenses)
        • 1.1.4 Neutraliser (may also be the director)
        • 1.1.5 Judge(s):
        • One judge is normal. At least one judge shall hold the FIDE title of International Judge (for studies). The FIDE judge should be active and should come from outside the organising country
        • The FIDE judge should be asked to clarify whether he will assume responsibility for the analytical testing of all entries, or only of honoured entries, or of no entries
        • The FIDE judge should be asked to provide a written undertaking to keep to a provisional time scale in accordance with these guidelines.

1.1.6 Analytical tester (a very strong player or analyst) to assist the judge(s), if appropriate

      • 1.1.7 Anticipations identification procedure or system. Examples: the Harman system, ChessBase, or ‘responsibility of the judge(s)’
      • 1.1.8 Sponsor (if any, to lend name and to provide prizes and funds).

1.2 Funding to cover:

      • 1.2.1 Remunerations (if any), of judge, tester, anticipations consultant, director, translator, neutraliser. (If possible, remuneration should be clear to all parties prior to A-day)
      • 1.2.2 Printing (especially of the preliminary and final award, including, if appropriate, separate brochure(s))
      • 1.2.3 Postage and telephone usage (publicity, acknowledgements, returns, awards distribution, incidental correspondence)
      • 1.2.4 Prizes. Prizes for a major tourney should not be trivial, but Honourable Mentions and Commendations do not require prizes.

1.3 Determination of time scale, that is, approximate dates of announcement, closing date, and publication of preliminary and definitive awards.1.4 Conditions, etc. If a prospective competitor wishes to learn the full set of conditions before entering, or if the director feels it is desirable, the text of the conditions (based on these guidelines) should be prepared in a form to be distributed on request. [Note. Translation and wide publication ought in due course to enable reference to be made simply to ‘the FIDE guidelines’.]

2. THE ANNOUNCEMENT should include

    2.1 Type of tourney: international, formal.
    2.2 Genre: original (unpublished) endgame studies to win or to draw.
    2.3 Language limitations (if any, but preferably none).
      • 2.4 The composer to supply:
      • 2.4.1 Name, nationality and address
      • 2.4.2 Number of copies of diagram and full solution required
      • 2.4.3 Text of the solution and notes should preferably be typed or printed by computer, but no decipherable entry will be rejected
      • 2.4.4 The diagram position should be accompanied by a control in notation
      • 2.4.5 The name of the event (name of tourney) should appear above the diagram.

2.5 The complete postal address for entries.

    2.6 The closing date (post mark). To ensure the widest participation the closing date for a formal international tourney should be estimated at nine months after the geographically remotest receipt of the announcement by surface mail distribution (see Summary – 5).
    2.7 The name and nationality of the FIDE judge or judges.
      • 2.8 Details of prizes:
      • 2.8.1 The number and value of the prizes, number of honourable mentions and number of commendations
      • 2.8.2 The division of honours into the three categories of Prizes, Honourable Mentions and Commendations is conventional and recommended.

2.9 Anticipated date and place of publication of the provisional award.

    • 2.10 Other details:
    • 2.10.1 Limit of number of entries by one composer (whether individually or in conjunction with one or more other composers). Typical restrictions: one, two or three
    • 2.10.2 Whether twins are allowed or not. Twins are difficult to compare with non-twins. The judge(s) should be consulted
    • 2.10.3 Whether a special section award might be made for reasons other than strict judging criteria. (Sample reasons for a special section: miniatures; new settings of known ideas; bizarre positions; importance for endgame theory. See also 2.10.4)
    • 2.10.4 Set theme. In general, a formal international tourney should be ‘free theme’, that is, without a set theme. Set themes may be appropriate to a tourney honouring a composer, a style, or an event, but they do constitute a constraint on creativity
    • 2.10.5 Unless otherwise explicitly stated in the announcement, ownership of an entry remains with the composer, with only the right to first publication of honoured entries transferred to the director/sponsor.


    3.1 The announcement (which can clearly be abbreviated) should be sent to as many national and international chess magazines as possible, and as soon as possible, since the indirect reproduction and distribution may take three or four months.
      • 3.2 Other outlets to be considered:
      • 3.2.1 Magazines and newspapers with chess columns
      • 3.2.2 National chess federations
      • 3.2.3 Radio
      • 3.2.4 Television
      • 3.2.5 Teletext
      • 3.2.6 Electronic mail.

3.3 Where appropriate the announcement details should be translated.


      • 4.1 Every composition entered should be on a separate stamped diagram with these indications:
      • 4.1.1 Complete name and address of the author
      • 4.1.2 Name of the tourney
      • 4.1.3 Indication that it is an unpublished original
      • 4.1.4 The stipulation
      • 4.1.5 Notation control of the position
      • 4.1.6 The complete solution (including set plays (if any), refutations of tries, demonstration of claimed reciprocal zugzwang, etc.) written on one side of a sheet or sheets of paper, which should be neither too small nor too large. DIN A5 or DIN A4 or foolscap are satisfactory paper sizes
      • 4.1.7 Dedication, if any.

4.2 Other requirements:

    • 4.2.1 The following, though often desirable, must be considered optional. They could be included as a check-list with any communication sent to actual or prospective competitors, for instance, even on an ‘application form’ supplied by the organiser
    • 4.2.2 Theme(s) or idea(s) expressed, i.e., the composer’s artistic intention
    • 4.2.3 References to endgame theory (ie volume number and page of ‘Averbakh’ or ‘Chÿearon’ or ‘Fine’ etc.)
    • 4.2.4 Partial anticipation(s) known to the composer. The diagram, composer, source and main line solution should be provided. Alternatively, the signed statement ‘no anticipation known to the composer’ should be made
    • 4.2.5 Testing. The composer(s) alone is/are personally responsible for the soundness of an entry. However, analytical assistance from an Elo-rated player or other competent analyst is often helpful. If such analytical help has been given, a statement to this effect may accompany the entry.

5. CLOSING DATE and acknowledgements

    5.1 The post mark is definitive for closing date. (But post marks are not always decipherable. The director’s judgement and discretion are final.)
    5.2 The director has discretion to accept late entries and pronounces on genre validity.
    5.3 The director is responsible for acknowledging receipt of entries.
      • 5.4 The neutraliser:
      • 5.4.1 The neutraliser prepares all valid entries, including the diagrams, in a uniform manner for presentation to the judge, who refers to studies only by a serial number. The recommended system of solution presentation is that in general use in the quarterly international magazine EG, where minimal use is made of parentheses and supporting lines are laid out sequentially.
      • 5.4.2 The neutraliser should also ensure that all moves are legal and unambiguous.

5.5 It is in principle desirable that a copy of all entries be checked for anticipations. If the number of entries is large this process may be deferred until later and restricted to candidates for the award. The same considerations apply to testing.


    6.1 After C-day the judge may query a composer’s analysis by asking the director to write to the composer. The composer replies to the director, who informs the judge.
      • 6.2 Allowable corrections:
      • 6.2.1 At most one correction per entry, with supporting analysis, is allowed during the judging period. With this limitation, any correction is acceptable, and for any reason.
      • 6.2.2 A correction must relate to an entry properly received before C-day, and may be rejected by the director if the judge is ready with his award.

6.3 A composer may withdraw his entry or entries by writing to the director at any time before the judge’s award is ready. The composer should give his reason(s), such as unsoundness, appearance in print elsewhere, decision not to enter. The request to withdraw a joint entry should be signed by all the entry’s composers.

    6.4 Prior to drawing up the provisional award, which is primarily the responsibility of the judge, all candidate entries for inclusion in the award must be tested as thoroughly as possible for anticipation and soundness.
    6.5 By agreement of the judge(s) and director the award may depart from the announced numbers of prizes, honourable mentions and commendations.
    6.6 If a judge cannot complete a judgement the director must find a replacement. The award should state the circumstances and name the replacement. In such circumstances the director should endeavour to follow these guidelines as closely as possible.

7. PROVISIONAL AWARD and return of unsuccessful entries

    7.1 The printed award should carry the clear identification PROVISIONAL AWARD.
    7.2 The provisional award is the joint work of judge(s) and director, whose names must be appended, together with place (town) and date.
    7.3 The judge provides the ranking list and division of prizes, honourable mentions and commendations, but if he wishes he may consult the director. This may be desirable if the number of prizes is to be changed from what was announced.
    7.4 The director adds names, numbers and nationalities.
    7.5 Either before or when the provisional award is published, and distributed to all contestants, unsuccessful entries are to be physically returned to their composers with at least a standard explanatory covering note saying that the unsuccessful entry or entries is/are at the disposal of the composer.
    7.6 The provisional award should be as compact as possible, should be published in the same publication as the initial announcement, and should not be spread over more than two successive issues (or columns) of the publication.
    7.7 If the honoured studies are offered to solvers for solution, then confirmation time starts at the date of publication of the solution to the last study in the award.
      • 7.8 The solutions should be as full and commented as possible:
      • 7.8.1 If there is insufficient space to publish the full solutions to all honoured studies in the publication (magazine, newspaper) a separate brochure, for which a charge may be made, should be published promptly. (It is suggested that a brochure for the provisional award should be produced cheaply, but for the definitive award the quality should be superior.)
      • 7.8.2 Any such brochure should be sent to each competitor free of charge.

7.9 All comments on the award should be addressed in writing to the tourney director.


    8.1 It is within the tourney director’s discretion, acting in consultation with the judge(s), to allow one minor correction by the composer.
      • 8.2 A permissible correction includes:
      • 8.2.1 The displacement of a single chessman
      • 8.2.2 The elimination of a first move
      • 8.2.3 The addition/removal of a single pawn.
      • 8.2.4 Board rotation and/or reflection in a position without pawns.

8.3 Other changes, such as a combination of the above, or shifting all men in one direction, are not minor. Such changes may be made if composer, judge and director all agree. The guideline is to exercise extreme caution in such cases because of the danger of inadequate testing of an altered position.

    8.4 A change proposed by someone other than the composer requires the composer’s explicit agreement.


    9.1 The printed award should carry the clear identification DEFINITIVE AWARD and the full name of the tourney, including, if appropriate, the genre and associated year. As with the provisional award, the names of the judge(s) and director must be appended, with a date.
    9.2 If a separate brochure is published it should contain the complete solutions and should be a quality product.
    9.3 The definitive award should be distributed to all contestants as soon as possible.
    9.4 The accomplished fact (of the distribution) should be immediately recorded in the publication.

10. PRIZES, and notifications

    10.1 Prizes in accordance with the announcement are to be distributed simultaneously with the publication of the final award.
    10.2 Any publication which publicises the tourney announcement should be sent a copy of the final award with a request for further publicity, for instance by reproducing the winners.
    10.3 For purposes of determining priority of idea the relevant date for an honoured study is the closing date for entries. This date should accompany the diagram in the reproduction.

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