Tour Regulations, what's new?

The new tour is the successor to the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour and aims to be bigger and better, but also more compact. Instead of 5 events over 4 months there will be 10 over 10 months, with the prize fund rising from $1 million to $1.5 million. Each event will last 9 days, with all but the final featuring 3 days of prelims followed by an 8-player knockout tournament.

1. Dates

The 2020-2021 Champions Chess Tour will take place from November 2020September 2021.


2.General

The Tour consists of 10 events (6 Regular, 3 Majors and the Finals). Each tournament will last 9 days (no free days) unless otherwise specified in its announcement. There are prizes for every individual event. The Tour winner will be the winner of the Finals.

Players earn ranking points according to their performance in individual events. Higher point amounts are to be earned in the Major events and the Finals.


3. Participation

Participants in each event are selected from a combination of the Tour Rankings and additional places allocated on a discretionary basis by the Organiser.


Winners of Regular events are guaranteed a place in the next Major event.
Winners of Major events are guaranteed a place in the Finals.

In addition to tournament winners, the top 8 players in the Tour standings are automatically qualified for the next tournament. These may include the aforementioned winners.

Additional players in Regular events are selected by a combination of wildcards, invitations and popular votes. In respect of wild-cards, priority shall be afforded to players who are Tour Ambassadors.

Additional players in Major events are selected by wildcards.

The Finals shall be played with 10 players. 8 spots will be distributed to the winners of the Majors (maximum 3) and the Tour standings (as many as needed). The remaining 2 spots will be offered to the best-performing Ambassadors in the Tour standings not qualified by other means.


4. Playing Platform

All matches are played online, on the chess24 Playzone. Players must connect to the chess24 Playzone no less than 5 minutes prior to the commencement of a game.

Players will be required to participate in a conference call during playing sessions, providing video of themselves and sharing their screens, using the video conferencing platform chosen by the Organisers. Players must connect to that conference call no less than 15 minutes prior to the commencement of a game.

Players are required to have in place a backup internet connection (for example, a cellular data connection) that automatically kicks in if the main connection is lost at the player’s location.


Detailed requirements, information and technical advice will be provided in a separate Playing Procedures document, which will be effective as part of these Regulations.


5. Prizes

The total prize fund of the Tour is $1,500,000 

Prize fund distribution is as follows:

Regular events ($100,000 total per event):

Place Prize
Winner $30,000
Runner-up $15,000
3rd place $8,500
4th place $6,500
Quarter-Finals $5,000
Preliminaries $2,500

Major events ($200,000 total per event):

Place Prize
Winner $60,000
Runner-up $40,000
3rd place $25,000
4th place $15,000
Quarter-Finals $10,000
Preliminaries $5,000

Finals ($300,000 total):

Place Prize
1st $100,000
2nd $60,000
3rd $40,000
4th $30,000
5th $20,000
6th $15,000
7th $12,500
8th $10,000
9th $7,500
10th $5,000

Prize money will not be awarded to players in breach of the Regulations or their contracts.

An additional prize money pool of not less than $200,000 will be shared equally among those players who have executed an agreement to engage with the Organiser as a Tour Ambassador.

All sums are in US Dollars.


6. Tour Rankings

The Rankings are determined by the sum of all Tour Points earned by each player.

Points can be earned both by the final standings of the Preliminaries and by advancing in the Knock-Outs, as follows:

Regular events:

Preliminaries:

Place Points
1st 10
2nd 8
3rd 6
4th 5
5th 4
6th 3
7th 2
8th 1

Players receive additional points during the Knock-Out stage as follows:

Knock-Out result Points
4th place 10
3rd place 15
Runner-up (lost Final) 25
Tournament victory 40

Major events

Preliminaries:

Place Points
1st 20
2nd 16
3rd 12
4th 10
5th 8
6th 6
7th 4
8th 2

Players receive additional points during the Knock-Out stage as follows:

Knock-Out result Points
4th place 20
3rd place 30
Runner-up (lost Final) 50
Tournament victory 80

If two or more players have the same number of total Tour Points at any stage, the tie shall be resolved according to the following criteria:

  1. Number of tournament wins (more is better)
  2. Number of events played (less is better)
  3. Number of appearances in a final (more is better)
  4. Number of appearances in a semi-final (more is better)
  5. Number of appearances in a quarter-final (more is better)

If the tie affects qualification for a Tour event, a play-off shall be held between all tied players. The format will be determined in due time, depending on the number of players and the Tour schedule.
The Organiser retains the right to forego such play-offs. In that case, ties will be resolved by the criteria above.


7. Time Controls

The Tour events will consist of rapid, blitz and Armageddon games.

The time controls for these games are, for all events:

  • Rapid: 15 minutes per player, plus a 10 second increment for every move
  • Blitz: 5 minutes per player, plus a 3 second increment for every move
  • Armageddon: 5 minutes for White, 4 minutes for Black, no increment; Black wins the tie in case of a draw.

All references to ‘rapid’, ‘blitz’ and ‘Armageddon’ games below imply the time controls above.

No draw offers/agreements are allowed before both sides have completed their 40th move, except in cases prescribed by the Laws of Chess.


8.Tournament Format

Each Regular and Major event consists of two stages: the Preliminaries and the Knock-Out stage.

Preliminaries

The Preliminaries stage will be a round-robin (all-play-all) event, played over 3 days.

The number of participants is related to the tournament type: 16 players in Regular events, 12 players in Major events.

Pairings are made in accordance with the standard Berger round-robin tables, by drawing of lots.

Players earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw (each) and 0 points for a loss.

Standings are determined by the total number of points earned by each player.

In case of ties (equal number of points), the following tie-breaks will apply, in accordance with FIDE tie-break regulations:

  1. Direct encounter (the result in the game/-s between the tied players)
  2. Number of wins (the greater number wins, including forfeits)
  3. Sonneborn-Berger
  4. Koya System

The regulations of any individual event may specify a different tie-break method, such as play-off games.

Knock-Out

The Knock-Out stage consists of the Quarter-finals, the Semi-finals and the Final of the event.

The pairings for the Knock-Out bracket will be determined by the standings of the Preliminaries (places 1-8), as follows:


Quarter-finals: Q1: 1 vs 8; Q2: 2 vs 7; Q3: 3 vs 6; Q4: 4 vs 5
Semi-finals: S1: Q1 vs Q4; S2: Q2 vs Q3 (winners)

Finals: S1 vs S2 (winners) – Final, S1 vs S2 (losers) – match for 3rd place

All rounds of the Knock-Out are head-to-head matches played over 2 days.

The players will play 2 matches against each other, one on each day.

Each match consists of 4 rapid games.

The higher-ranked player in the Preliminaries shall choose their preferred color for the 1st game of the 1st match. Colors will alternate for the remaining games of the match. Colors will be reversed for the 2nd match.

The players earn 1 point for a win, ½ point for a draw (each) and 0 points for a loss in each game. If a player reaches 2½ points or more, they are  the winner of the match. If the score after 4 games is 2-2, the match is declared drawn.

If a player has won both matches, or won one and drawn the other, this player is the winner of the series and advances to the next round.

If each player has won one match, or both matches have been drawn, a play-off will be played on the second day, shortly after the end of the 2nd match, to determine the winner of the series. The final scores of individual matches do not affect the overall score.


The play-off consists of 2 blitz games, followed by an Armageddon game if the score is 1-1.


The higher-ranked player in the Preliminaries shall pick their preferred color for the 1st blitz game, as well as for the Armageddon game (if required).

The winner of the play-off is declared the winner of the series and advances to the next round.

If a match has been decided after 3 games, the 4th game will not be played.

The winner of the Final is declared the winner of the event.


Tour Finals

The event is a 10-player round-robin tournament played over 9 rounds/days.

In every round, players play a match against their opponent. Each match consists of 4 rapid games. In case the result after these games is 2-2, a 2-game blitz tie-break will be played, followed by an Armageddon game in case of 1-1.

In the initial ranking of participants, ‘bonus’ points will be awarded to all players according to the current Tour Standings, reflecting their competitive success so far in the Tour.
Specifically:

  • the lowest-ranked player in the Tour Standings will start the Finals with 0 points
  • the bonus points for all other players will be calculated based on their Tour Points advantage over this player
  • after deducting, from the Tour Points total of each other player, the Tour Points collected by the lowest-ranked player, each player will get half a point per each 10 extra Tour Points
  • Bonus points shall be awarded only for full 10-point increments; no roundings shall be made (example: an advantage of either 12 or 19 points shall result in the same half bonus point)


Players earn 3 points for a match win in the rapid games (the loser earns 0 points). A match win after tie-breaks earns the winner 2 points (1 point for the loser).

The player with the highest sum of points at the end of the tournament, including ‘handicap’ points awarded at the start, is the winner of the event.

The winner of the event is declared the winner of the Champions Chess Tour.


9. Other Regulations

Play is governed by the FIDE Laws of Chess (where applicable).

In exception to the Laws of Chess: If a 3-fold repetition appears on the board, or 50 moves have been completed by both sides without any captures or pawn moves, the game will be automatically declared drawn; there is no need for a player to claim the draw.

Due to the nature of online play, additional regulations shall apply in order to safeguard the integrity of the events and the smooth flow of the playing sessions:

  • Players are not allowed to leave their desk and camera view while a game of theirs is in progress without permission of the Arbiter; this includes bathroom breaks. There will be regular breaks between rounds to allow players to rest and refresh. A breach of this regulation will result in an immediate loss of the game in progress.
    In cases of emergency, a player may consult with the Chief Arbiter for a possible exemption.
  • Players shall not leave their desk when a game appears as finished, until an arbiter confirms the end of the game. This is essential in order to quickly and safely resume games in cases of disconnections (see below). If a player is responsible for an unsuccessful attempt to resume a game (by virtue of having left their desk without an arbiter confirmation), they shall lose the game in question.
  • If a player is determined to have disconnected from a game on purpose, they shall be expelled from the event in question as well as all further Tour events.
  • The decisions of the Chief Arbiter with regard to the application of the Laws of Chess and any exceptions/additions mentioned above shall be final.


10. Disconnections

If a player is disconnected from the Playzone during a game, the server will give them a 30-second window to try and reconnect. During this window the player’s clock will be running (if it is their turn to move or the opponent makes a move).

If the player succeeds in reconnecting in time, the game will continue; the time elapsed (maximum 30 seconds) shall be considered lost.

If the player does not succeed in reconnecting within 30 seconds, the game is automatically paused by the server. The game will be resumed, from the current position and clock times, by an arbiter as soon as the player has reconnected and both players have been informed of the resumption. The disconnected player shall be considered to have lost the 30 seconds on their clock.

If a player is disconnected when having less than 30 seconds on their clock and does not manage to reconnect in time, the game will be declared lost for them.

As stated above, all players are required to have in place a backup internet connection (eg. by cellular data), as a precaution towards disconnections.
If a player is disconnected during a game and such a backup solution is determined to be absent, the player shall lose the game.


11. Fair Play

All players must follow the Fair Play Regulations and procedures, as explained in a separate document which will be provided to players in advance of the first Tournament and which will be effective as part of these Regulations.

Any failure to comply with these regulations will result in expulsion from the entire Tour and all its events.

If a player wishes to lodge an appeal under the Fair Play framework, he must do so in writing (for example, by email) not later than 23:59 CET on the day of the playing session in question.


12. Gambling

All players must refrain from placing or authorising another to place any bet, wager or gamble on any game or match in any Tournament or make to or receive from any person or organisation whatsoever a payment or other incentive as an inducement to influence the outcome of any element of a game or match during any Tournament. All players recognise the detriment to the Tour and professional chess tournaments that would result from impairment of public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of matches and Tournaments or the integrity and good character of Tour players. If any Player accepts a bribe or agrees to throw or fix a game or match; fails to promptly report a bribe offer or an attempt to throw or fix a game or match; or bet on a game or match, the Organiser may (without limiting its other rights and remedies) expel the Player from the Tour and terminate their agreement with the Organiser in respect of the Tour. 


13. Dress Code

In the absence of specific requests from Organiser, FIDE’s dress code will apply (Tournament Participants are obliged to wear appropriate casual clothes: a neat shirt with a collar, jacket/blazer prior to the start of the game, trousers for men and neat shirt/blouse with a collar, jacket/blazer prior to the start of game, trousers/skirt or dress for women). All players must abide by the branding requirements in their agreement with the Organiser.


14. Player Obligations

Players must attend all media activation and commercial activities, as described in their contracts.


15. Tournament Officials

Tournament officials and arbiters shall be notified to players in advance of each Tournament.


16. Changes

The Organiser has the right to change or add to the terms of these Tour Regulations at any time (including with respect to any individual Tournament), solely with prospective effect. The Organiser will provide players with email notice of any changes, and the date from which they will be effective. The Organiser shall consult with players in advance of making any such changes.