The 6 P’s of tournament planning


1. The 6 P’s of tournament planning

2. Tournament invitation details

  • Name of tournament
  • Date
  • Venue
  • Pre-registration
  • Registration fees
  • Rated (if)
  • Program
  • Enquiries

3. Tournament announcements

  • Welcome
  • Venue rules
  • Chess and floor rules
  • Qualifying teams/individuals
  • Start of round 1

  1. The 6 P’s of tournament planning

Trained administrators prepare for a tournament and steer it towards mission accomplishment. The “ 6 P’s ” are the very basics to prepare for a tournament. Each ” P ” has a checklist of items that you need to do – you can also add additional items that are relevant to tournament planning. 


P1 is about planning and organising the tournament (eg. book venue***, tuck shop and accommodation [if applicable] well in advance, place an order for the medals and trophees, arrange for an arbiter and officials).

***NB: Venues must be booked in advance – please make a note in your diary or on your cell phone/tablet/computer diary to remind you to book a venue – take into consideration school exams and other chess tournaments!

What is the modus operandi: who is going to do what, when, where, how? Delegate tasks and duties to all the officials. Attach a date to a specific task and tick it off once it is completed.

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Venue, tuck shop
Medals, trophies, certificates
Arbiter, officials, guest speaker
Chess equipment
Posters, name tags, table no’s, program
Estimated player numbers
Refreshments officials
Tables, chairs (players)
Tables, chairs (officials)
Rooms, chairs (visitors, parents)
Computer(s), printer(s), lead
A4 paper, pens, ink, prestik
Clip boards, microphone
Accommodation (if applicable)
Transport (if applicable)
Disability-suitable venues
Communicate event info: invitation

Q: Without the initial planning meeting a tournament is not successful.  True …..   False …..


The pre-tournament meeting takes place 5-7 days before the tournament to check final arrangements. The pre-tournament meeting can also take the form of an online chat group meeting or whatsapp meeting.

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Pre-tournament meeting
Final planning
All arrangements in place?
Confirm venue, tuck shop, etc.
No double-bookings!

Q: A pre-tournament meeting is a waste of time. True ….. False …..


A tournament must have a cut-off date for registrations. Late entries cause a tournament to start late. It also makes it difficult for the computer operator to do a proper job. Do not accept late-entries! Pre-registration usually takes place on the Tuesday or Wednesday before a tournament.

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Cut-off date
Online registration
Online EFT payments
Payment at pre-registration venue

Q: The pre-registration of players is not necessary, because players can still register at the tournament. True ….. False …..


The input of the players’ names should start on the Wednesday and be completed by the Thursday before the tournament (if the cut-off date is the Tuesday). Please check that the players play in the correct age category, double-check dates-of-birth and the correct spelling of a player’s name and surname, check if the player is a boy or a girl, check players’ ratings and update where applicable.

One or more computer operators can do the input of the names depending on the total player numbers (1 operator does the primary schools an 1 operator does the high schools)..

If a tournament is a provincial tournament the computer operator emails the player lists to the respective regional or district managers to verify the names and other info (D.O.B./ID/birth certificate).

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Get registrations online
Primary schools: age groups
High schools: age groups
Download latest rating list
Verify player lists (managers)

Q: The input of the names of the players can be done on the tournament day. True ….. False …..


Prepare early. Do not prepare the venue just before round 1 starts, because it leads to a chaotic start! To do a proper job you will need 4-6 hours to prepare the venue (prepare the day before the tournament – then you can go home, relax and be ready for the next day!). All the committee members should assist on the tournament days.

Take your checklist and tick off all the items you must have for the tournament (table numbers, posters, pens, clip boards, computer, printer, A4 paper, ink, medals/trophees, certificates, lead, microphone, sound system, refreshments for officials. Check all the items as per the planning meeting.

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Refreshments – venue preparers
Refreshments – officials
Chess equipment
Tables: players, officials, players
Chairs: players, officials, players
Table no’s age categories
Computer(s), printer(s)
Lead(s) for computer(s)
Micro phone, sound system
Clip boards, pens, prestik
Name tags for officials
A4 paper for draws/results
Posters for age categories
Posters for draws/results
Posters (general)
Program posters
Medals, trophees, certificates
Care taker(s)
1st Aid
Sitting room for parents (rain)
Players meet with managers
Arbiter & officials meeting
Printouts of draws
Players check draws
Players be seated
Speeches – guest speaker(s)
Basic rules – Round 1 to start!
Toilet paper, soap, hand sanitiser

Q: The venue preparations can start from 15h30, because round 1 only starts at 17h30. True ….. False …..      Why?

Q: The checklist helps with important tournament to-do-items. True ….. False …..


Evaluate (assess) the tournament: what went wrong and what went right? Feedback of the past weekend’s tournament is of crucial importance to better prepare for the next tournament! The evaluation takes place within 7 days after the tournament. Get everybody’s input!

Item                                          Date                                         Tick off   √

Add chess results on website
General presentation
The venue
Starting time
Complaints, compliments

Q: A post-tournament evaluation is a valuable tool to get feedback of the tournament. True ….. False …..

2.   Tournament invitation details

Send out an invitation to the chess community to announce the tournament:

  • name of tournament
  • date
  • venue
  • pre-registration
  • registration fees
  • program
  • rated (if)
  • and enquiries

so that the schools, players and parents are properly informed about the tournament and can arrange funds, transport, accommodation (if applicable), a certified copy of ID/birth certificate/passport/unabridge birth certificate (if applicable), etc. Other expenses include registration fees and attire (tracksuits/T-shirts/bags).

Make sure that the tournament info reaches schools, players and parents well in advance, especially if a tournament takes place the first weekend after a school holiday! Schools and parents must have enough time to make the neccessary arrangements.

Example of an invitational poster

  • Send out a reminder 1 week before the registration date of the tournament.

Example of a tournament program (1 day)

Example of an age category poster

Example of a draws and results poster

3. Tournament announcements: basic info for a team tournament


Once the guest speaker finishes his or her speech the Tournament Arbiter makes important tournament announcements. The announcements are basically the same as for most chess tournaments.

Announcements can be added or adjusted according to the type of tournament (eg. a local school tournament, district trials, regional trials, a provincial tournament, a girls development tournament, an inter-school championships, an individuals tournament or a team tournament).

The following info refers to a team tournament

Venue rules

  • Venue rules: keep venue clean and tidy, no alcohol, toilets (girls and boys, adults and persons with a disability), tuck shop, parking, player safety, etc.

Tournament and floor rules

  • Only officials and team managers allowed in playing area and at the computer room.
  • Team manager of the team that plays WHITE will be responsible for completion of the score sheets, teams must stay in their ranking position for all the rounds, a team consists of 6 players (the reserve player must confirm at the computer room before a specific round starts when he or she will play – the reserve player plays on board 6 – the rest of the players move up!), categories: U 9, U 11, U 13, U 15, U 18, Girls U 13, U15 & 18. Draws, results and program: on outside of hall (on walls).
  • Other: chess boards are packed white-black alternatively (the whole team does not play the same colour), please check your TABLE number (a bye means a team does not play a specific round), please check your board COLOUR (player 1 sits at the colour as per the draw, the rest of the team players sit at alternative colour in the same row!) (White: left column, Black: right column), please check that you sit at the correct table!, make sure that your team plays against the team as per the draw, check that the board is correctly packed (White queen white square, Black queen black square), notation is compulsory (eg. set clocks 60:60), 6 rounds, “touch-is-a-move”: must move, unless illegal move, g4/g5, if a player has a problem please raise your hand for the arbiter or official (do not complain afterwards), once a player finishes a round, please leave the hall quietly, no analyses in the hall. PS: Keep noise levels down around the hall (the playing area)!
  • Teams not to interfere with the other teams and no interference from parents and coaches, please do NOT make a “scene” – you are welcome to ask the arbiter and the officials if you do not understand a decision, a rule or how a chess clock works.
  • Overall team winners: game points, tie breaker one: direct encounter, tie breaker two: match points.

Qualifying teams (or individuals)

  • Next tournament level: the following age group winners (or individuals) go through to the ………………………………………………….. (Regional, Provincial, SA’s), Date: …………………………. Venue: ……………………………………………….. Boys under ……   ……   ……   ……   …… Girls under ……   ……   ……   ……   …… The organisers will send the [registration] info to the respective committees/team managers/schools/parents.

Start of round 1

  • Any questions?
  • Parents and other visitors to leave the hall – only officials on the floor.
  • Round 1 to start: shake your opponent’s hand – press the clock – WHITE may start.

 A chess set in every classroom in every school in every community!

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