Administrator training


(1).     Ten root factors which have an impact on tournament preparedness and readiness

(2).      The functions of chess administrators (committees)

(3).      The duties, tasks & conduct of officials at chess tournaments

(1).   Ten root factors which have an impact on tournament preparedness and readiness

The ultimate goal of chess committees (school educators, club administrators, university administrators, etc. ) is to promote chess development in their respective communities.

However, it is not about development only, it is also about managing and leading the development process through effective and efficient committees that host successful tournaments, league matches and other chess projects.

Hosting successful tournaments requires two crucial elements:

  • Preparedness
  • Readiness

In our involvement and research since 1993 we have found many of the problems, issues and challenges to host successful tournaments and to manage and organise chess effectively and efficiently point directly to 10 root factors with

  • lack of trained administrators
  • and lack of efficient and effective leadership the most important causes of failure.

Chess administrators should pay particular attention to the following root factors which impact on preparedness and readiness.

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R1    History

Lessons learned from the past provide valuable information to chess administrators how they can better prepare for the next tournament, league match or other chess project. Unpreparedness at the onset of a tournament contributes to failure!

  • Learn from the past
  • Anticipate future challenges
  • Adapt to changes

Refer to your last chess tournament: did you take the necessary steps to prevent mistakes made last year?

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R2     Administrator training

Administration is the managing of duties and responsibilities. The administration process consists of two crucial elements: people and the organisation. The administrator serves the people and manages the organisation.

Trained chess administrators

  • always prepare for a chess tournament
  • steer a tournament towards mission accomplishment
  • have a positive impact on their teams
  • encourage interaction
  • inspire the chess learners
  • increase confidence from the parents

A chess committee can only achieve its administrative and administration goals through

  • effective and efficient organisational planning.
  • optimal use of its human and financial resources.

Chess administrator training includes training workshops on how to plan and organise a chess tournament. The basic tournament preparation principles are contained in The 6 P’s of Tournament Planning:

  • P1: Planning meeting
  • P2: Pre-tournament meeting
  • P3: Pre-registration
  • P4: Player names input
  • P5: Prepare venue
  • P6: Post-tournament evaluation

Refer to your last tournament: Did you make use of administrator training aids, such as “ The 6 P’s of Tournament Planning “ and the accompanied ” Checklists “?

Do an evaluation of the tournament: which root factors had a positive (negative) impact? Were there any officials who could have improve their efficiency through administrator training? Pin point the critical areas where there are a need for administrator training. How will you improve on your preparations for your next tournament?

The following FIDE chess laws booklet is available in our chess books section:

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R3     Leadership

Successful leaders plan ahead and always apply the crucial tasks of management:

  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Leading
  • Control
  • Communicating

A leader is a trainer and makes sure that the administrators are adequately trained. The morale of a chess community lies with competent leadership at district, regional, provincial and national levels. Effective and efficient leadership instills faith and confidence in a chess community. A leader learns from past failures and successes and evaluates the root factors that impact on a tournament.

Though the notions of ” managing by killing fires ” and ” managing with chaos ” are thought to be seen as ” for the bigger picture “, these styles are proven to be the worst management styles! Think about one or two situations (in a chess context) which you have personally experienced where these two ” management ” styles were applied. What was the outcome?

Refer to your last tournament: did you start your planning in advance? Did you delegate tasks to your committee members?

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R4     Communication

Communication is a two-way process of operating (encoding-decoding). The chess leadership (national, provincial, regional and district) must communicate proper information timeously to its communities (schools, parents, players and administrators). Make sure that info reaches schools, players and parents well in advance of a tournament, especially if a school holiday is coming up.


  • To communicate effectively and efficiently with committee members and the broader chess community. Communication connects the chess community (schools, parents, players, administrators). No organisation can function efficiently without communication between its members and its community.
  • To gather and evaluate information for chess policy formulation.
  • To coordinate the functions of the chess committee to achieve its goals.

Can you think about a situation that you have experienced the past year where internal and/or external communication to exchange information did not meet the objectives of communication?

The example below illustrates how to communicate info of an upcoming tournament:

  • 4-6 Weeks before the tournament

Put the tournament info on your chess website and send out a poster via email or fax with the following core info about the tournament: date, venue, age categories, individuals event or teams event, accommodation (if applicable), online registration address, registration cut-off date, rounds, time control, rated or unrated tournament, registration costs, payment method, banking details, contact details, a chess picture.

PS: Make sure your tournament does not clash with another tournament and very important: that a tournament does not clash with school exams!

  • 2-3 Weeks before the tournament

Send out a poster again about the upcoming tournament (people do forget or lost the first notice!).

  • 1 Week before the tournament

Send out a friendly email reminder about the cut-off date of the upcoming tournament – late entries are not accepted!

General communication

Communicate with your chess community. Respond to enquiries and requests  – do not ignore smses, email, faxes or telephonic calls!

Refer to your last tournament: did you communicate with all your committee members? Did everyone know what his or her duty was? Did you respond to email or sms enquiries? Did you properly and timeously communicate info to your chess community?

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R5     Intelligence

Chess intelligence is a process of gathering and analysing information in the chess community and then processing that information for effective and efficient planning and decision-making (the Chess Intelligence Process). Sun Tzu refers to the gathering of knowledge as ” foreknowledge “.

The chess leadership must have thorough knowledge and information of the community they operate in. Information and knowledge are needed for proper planning and decision-making (to ” keep your ears on the ground “!) and to deal with specific situations.

An example of the Chess Intelligence Process (CIP) is to determine how many primary school learners play chess, then to determine how many boys and girls play chess and finally to determine how many girls and boys need more focused chess development.

Advantages of the Chess Intelligence Process (CIP)

  • The chess leadership can act on the information to improve its services to the chess community.
  • The chess community receives services that satisfy their needs.
  • Effective and efficient chess development can take place.

For the successful implementation of the Chess Intelligence Process the leadership has to act on the gathered information in an effective and efficient way for the benefit of both the chess leadership and the chess community.

Refer to your last tournament: Did you make sure that the tournament do not clash with school exams or any other chess tournaments, did you plan for sufficient chess sets, tables, chairs, officials, computer operators, table numbers, posters, etc.? Did you determine how many players are participating in each age category?

How would you apply the CIP to improve chess development in your District, Region or Province?

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R6     Resources

a. Human resources

The chess human resources must be trained to operate effectively and efficiently. A lean trained structure is preferable to a large untrained structure for a chess committee to function at an optimal level when hosting a tournament. Administrators should also have a basic minimum knowledge of chess (Level 1 educators training). Administrators and officials should be given sufficient opportunities to gain experience at chess tournaments, but also how to organise and plan a tournament.

Example of a lean trained resource structure:

  • Schools Chess Championships 2017
  • Players: 356
  • Age categories: 5
  • Age category officials: 5
  • Computer operator: 1
  • Arbiter: 1
  • General floor management officials: 2

Total officials: 9

Outcome: the total tournament started on time and finished early!

Refer to your last tournament: Did you arrange for competent officials to assist at your tournament? Did the officials know how to keep scores? Did the officials know how to assist the players?

b. Financial resources

Financial resources are crucial for chess development and are administered through an Internal Control System (ICS) to prevent fraud and mismanagement of funds.

  • Financial resources must be wisely spent on administration costs as the main purpose of funds is to apply it for chess development!

The chess leadership must ensure that an effective and efficient ICS is in place to protect the interests of chess.

Why is an internal control system (ICS) important?

  • That the organization operates efficiently and effectively.
  • That the organisation achieves its goals and objectives.
  • It ensures better accountability from all the administrators.

Examples of financial control

  • Two or three designated members to sign cheques.
  • Designated members receive smses for payments and withdrawals.
  • Special permission for expenses exceeding a certain limit, eg. R2500.00.
  • A proper bookkeeping system (receipts, payments, bank reconciliation, trial balance, financial reports, financial statements).

The treasurer or assistant-treasurer of a chess committee must give financial feedback at every meeting (a bank balance statement is to be requested 1-2 days before a scheduled meeting).

Control versus power

Many people confuse control with power and vice versa. Control is for the benefit of the [chess] organisation and its [chess] community (eg. for “the best interests of the child“), whereas power is for the benefit of a few individuals!

Types of financial resources

Though the financial function of a [schools] chess organisation is not to maximise profits, financial resources are indeed required to manage general administrative expenses (eg. telephone, website hosting), tournament and workshop expenses (eg. rental of venues, printing of posters, refreshments) and chess development (eg. printing of study material). Sources of income consists of:

  • Tournament fees.
  • Registration fees.
  • Government funds earmarked for development projects and chess tournaments (next level participation).
  • Sponsorships.

Prerequisites for effective and efficient chess development

  • Optimal use of available trained human resources.
  • Proper implementation of an internal control system (ICS).

Refer to your last tournament: Did you have a budget to plan for the costs of the tournament?

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R7     Doctrine

Chess doctrine is what the administrators stand for (how they contribute). It is defined as an action and communication guide of principles and procedures

  • that gives direction to the administrators
  • to achieve the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the chess organisation in its chess community.

A set of chess doctrine principles include:

Advantages of an effective and efficient chess doctrine

  • A guide to [committee] administrator action
  • A tool for effective and efficient communication
  • To facilitate tournament readiness and preparedness

Factors that play a role in effective and efficient doctrine:

  • Speed
  • Preciseness
  • Time (please refer to the root factor History).(History plays an important role in the creating of doctrine).

How do you think can a change in doctrine influence constructive change in chess?

Refer to your last tournament: Did your planning and preparations start in advance? Did you give direction to your committee members? Did your committee achieve its Mission, Goals and Objectives?

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R8     Complacency

Complacency is when administrators are happy with how things are (contend with the status quo) and are not willing to change or make things better. Complacency kills! Overcoming complacency needs a review of the various areas where complacency has taken its toll:

  • Doctrine
  • Leadership
  • Communicating
  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Decision-making
  • Priority-setting: make a list of chess tasks (5-10) that you must do tomorrow. Write those down that are URGENT and those that are NOT URGENT. Mark the tasks that you must do (URGENT and IMPORTANT). Delegate those tasks that are URGENT, but NOT IMPORTANT. Schedule those tasks that are NOT URGENT, but IMPORTANT. Eliminate those TASKS that are NOT URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT! By the end of tomorrow check whether you have done the URGENT tasks, delegated the URGENT but NOT IMPORTANT tasks, scheduled those tasks that are NOT URGENT but important, eliminated those tasks that are NOT URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT.

Complacency is a discipline issue! Never sit back and think that if the previous chess tournament was a success the next tournament will also be a success – this is a false sense of mission preparedness and readiness! Every tournament’s planning starts all over again. General George Patton of WWII referred to complacency as ” the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding ” instead of ” to keep going! “.

  • Administrators must still perform their tasks and duties and maintain responsibility!

Refer to your last tournament: Did your committee communicate the required info to the chess community? Did the tournament start on time? Did the officials arrive in time? Were the officials committed?

Think about one complacency issue you have experienced in chess the past year. What steps will you take to prevent future complacency?

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R9     Discipline and attitude

Discipline, in the context of a chess organisation, is a system of rules and methods that govern the conduct, activities and training of the chess administrators. Discipline is also a regimen that trains the administrators to develop or improve their skills, performance and confidence through empowerment programs, such as administrator workshops and organising of tournaments. Discipline prevents chaos, disorder and negligence.

How do you think does the definition of discipline impact on [schools] chess development and the successful outcome of a [schools] chess tournament?

Examples of systems of rules

  • A constitution: to govern the conduct of the chess administrators.
  • A tournament planning manual: to prepare for a chess tournament.
  • An internal control system: to govern the activities of a chess committee.

Examples of regimens to develop or improve administrator skills and training

  • Chess administrator workshops.
  • Chess officials training workshops.
  • Educator training workshops.

Features of efficient and effective chess administrators

  • Trained, disciplined, proficient, going the extra mile and mission focused.

A cohesive and disciplined administrator team has a positive impact on the chess community in general and on “ a child’s best interests ” in particular.

Chess tournament readiness is the ability of each administrator, as part of a team, to effectively and efficiently perform their respective tasks and duties with exceptional proficiency – focusing on the mission. Disciplined administrators do what needs to be done!

Refer to your last tournament:  Did the officials report for duty? Did the officials work on their cell phones or tablets whilst players needed assistance during a round?

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R10    Logistics

Chess logistics is:

  • the effective and efficient planning, executing and managing of the activities which provide the [schools] chess community with quality tournaments, league matches, projects and administrator, educator and learner training workshops.
  • the proper flow of chess services and information between the chess organisation and its [schools] chess community

Decisive factors which have an impact on the positive outcome of a chess tournament:

  • Planning, organising, coordinating, rehearsing (making sure everything is in place)
  • Execution, implementation
  • Control, managing

Planning and preparing for a chess tournament

When preparing for a chess tournament, registering teams for a chess league or preparing for a chess committee meeting the following questions must be answered:

  • When? When will the tournament take place? When will the planning meeting take place? When must the player documentation be submitted? When must the t-shirts and tracksuits be ordered, collected and distributed? When will the AGM takes place?
  • Who? Who will arrange the venue? Who will be responsible for the tournament preparations? Who will arrange for the refreshments for the officials? Who will arrange the guest speaker, caretaker, security, officials? Who will arrange a sitting room for the parents? Who will fetch the chess clocks? Who will attend the codes meeting? Who will collect the medals and certificates? Who will be the team managers to accompany the provincial team to the national tournament?
  • What? What resources (human and financial) do we need for the upcoming District chess trials? What chess equipment do we need for the tournament (chess sets, chess clocks, tables, chairs, table numbers, posters, sound system, etc.)? What are the duties and tasks of the tournament organising committee? What are the points of discussion on the agenda of the AGM?
  • Where? Where does the tournament, league match or meeting take place? Where do we buy the chess medals and trophees? Where do we print the chess certificates? Where do the teams and officials stay during the national chess tournament?
  • How? How does the registration take place? How will you transport the chess equipment to the venue? How will the officials and players travel to the venue and accommodation facilities? How can parents contact the tournament and accommodation officials? How do you prepare the playing venue? How do you refund transport costs to a meeting?
  • What if? What if a power failure or water shortage is experienced during a tournament? What if one or more teams withdraw? What if a player gets sick or injured during a tournament? What if two or more teams arrive late for the first round? What if the computer breaks down during the tournament?
  • Why (post tournament evaluation)? Why did the tournament start late? Why was there not enough chess sets? Why did the tracksuits arrive late or why were the tracksuits not ready? Why did the parents and players not receive info about the tournament arrangements? Why did the committee not respond to sms, email or cell phone requests? Why was the tuck shop not arranged? Why were late registrations allowed?

The 6 P’s of Tournament Planning consist of crucial pre-tournament planning elements which assist in the logistics of a chess tournament. Logistics is also about prioritisation!

Basic rules of chess logistics

  • Set measurable chess objectives.
  • Compile accurate chess information.
  • Send information to the chess community timeously.
  • Execute chess activities efficiently and effectively.
  • Sustain optimal and ongoing service delivery to the chess community.

In the Greek and Roman empires the military officers were called ‘ logistikas ‘. Their duties were to supply and distribute resources. Chess logistikas do the extraordinary and move mountains! Lots of hard work, toughness and staying power are required to complete a chess mission! Without logistics there is no combat power!

Refer to your last tournament: Did your committee prepare for the tournament? Did your tournament planning include a pre-registration cut-off date? Did you prepare the venue the day before the tournament? Did you have adequate chess equipment (chess sets, clocks, table numbers, posters)(please refer to “The Checklist“)? Did you arrange refreshments for the officials? Did you arrange a tuck shop for the players and parents? Did you arrange sitting rooms for the parents if it rains? Was the venue accessible for players with disabilities?

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The ultimate goal of chess committees (school educators, club administrators, university administrators, etc. ) is to promote chess development in their respective communities.

However, it is not about development only, it is also about managing and leading the development process through effective and efficient committees that host successful tournaments, league matches and other chess projects.

Chess committees consist of various office-bearers:

  • Chairperson

The chairperson leads and serves the committee (the chairperson is a discussion leader, and motivates and supports the committee), discusses with the secretary what matters to include on the agenda, conducts a meeting according to the agenda, makes sure that a meeting runs smoothly and that a decision is reached on specific discussion points. A proficient chairperson understands and applies the tasks of good governance (proper planning, organising, leading, control and communicating).

  • Vice chairperson (s)

A committee has one or more vice chairpersons. As is in the case of schools chess a committee consists of a vice chairperson (primary schools) and a vice chairperson (high schools).

The vice chairperson(s) oversee the activities in their respective schools chess communities and assist the chairperson when unavailable to execute his or her duties.

  • Secretary

The secretary handles all the administrative correspondence, records of the day-to-day activities of the committee/organisation, as well as at meetings (assisted by the minute-secretary), manages routine and detail chess related work.

  • Coordinator (primary schools) and coordinator (high schools)

Schools chess have a coordinator for primary schools and a coordinator for high schools. Both coordinators assist schools in their respective communities to work together in an organised and harmonious way through proper schools chess league fixtures.

  • Treasurer

The “tresor” has its origin circa 1125-1175 in Middle English. The treasurer administers (manages) the finances of the committee and keeps a proper bookkeeping system of all income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The assistant treasurer assists the treasurer.

  • Development officer

The development officer communicates with the chess community (schools, clubs, etc.) by conveying the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the committee (organisation) to serve the chess community’s needs in the most efficient and effective way.

  • Public relations officer (PRO)

The PRO is responsible for the strategic communications between the committee (chess organisation) and the chess community (schools, clubs, etc.) for mutually beneficial relationships, anticipating, analysing and interpreting attitudes and issues.

  • Arbiters and coaches coordinator

The arbiters and coaches coordinator determines arbiter training and coaching needs. Please visit the website

  • Event and project coordinator

The event and project coordinator is responsible for the successful preparedness and readiness of chess events, projects and tournaments.

  • Ex officio member

Not all committees have an ex officio member, but in the case of schools chess the ex officio member represents the chess federation on schools chess meetings.

Although each committee member has a specific function, everybody work together as a t.e.a.m. to accomplish the mission of the committee/organisation.

Tournament officials

The following officials play a crucial role on tournament days:

  • Tournament director/Tournament organiser

The tournament director/tournament organiser is responsible for the organising of a chess tournament.

  • Arbiter and assistant arbiters

The function of arbiters is to ensure that the rules and laws of chess ( are adhered to during a tournament.

  • Floor officials 
  • Team managers (at team events)
  • Computer operator (s)

The above tournament officials work together as a team!



1.1    GENERAL

  • all officials wear an “OFFICIAL” tag and their district, regional or provincial colours (where applicable).
  • on day 1 all the officials report to the Tournament Arbiter(s) and Tournament Organiser(s) at a set time.
  • from day 2: the officials attend a general briefing meeting at a set time.
  • all officials receive a daily duty schedule.


  • round 1 is usually the main challenge as the players must be seated at least 20 minutes before the round starts for the welcome address and to discuss the basic tournament rules.
  • please should assist the players (especially beginners and the under 7 and under 9 players) to go to the draw sheets as quickly as possible and that the rounds can start on time!
  • allow at least +/-15 minutes before a round starts for the players to go to their respective age category draw sheets (300+ players is a challenge to manage properly!). It is so important that officials assist the players to take their seats as quickly as possible so that a round starts on time!
  • officials to assist players to take their seats in an orderly manner.
  • officials to assist players at the DRAW sheets on the walls (especially beginners).


Please ensure that

  • players play in their correct age category.
  • players sit at the correct tables and at the correct side of the chess board (white or black pieces)
  • the chess clocks face the officials’, i.e. towards the passage that separates the girls and boys


  • win (if default: +): 1 point
  • draw: 1/2 point
  • loss (if default: -) 0 points
  • left column: white  right column: black
  • please ensure that a player’s score is correctly completed!
  • ask both players to confirm their scores – take the score sheet to the computer operator

An example of a score sheet

  • A score sheet is used to complete the result of a game between 2 players. The following score sheet is an example of the score of a team of 6 players: player 1 of school ABC played against player 1 of school XYZ. Black won and got 1 point. The opponent lost and got zero points. The team who wins a match gets 1 point. If 2 teams (or 2 players) draw then each gets 1/2 point (no one wins!).


Under 9 Round 1
Table 1 School Result Player 1 Result Player 2 Result Player 3 Result Player 4 Result Player 5 Result Player 6 Game points Match points
White ABC P/S 0 1 1/2 1/2 0 2 0
Black XYY P/S 1 + 0 1/2 1/2 1 4 1

Q: Which colour did XYZ Primary School play?

Q: At which table did the schools play?

Q: What is the age category the 2 schools played in?

Q: What were the scores of players 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6? Pay special attention to the result of players 2! Why?

Q: What are the scores of players 4 and 5 called?

Q: How many game points did school XYZ get?

Q: Which team won the match? What were their match points?

PS: The team manager of Team WHITE is responsible

  • to supervise the round
  • to complete the score sheet correctly
  • to submit the score sheet.



  • officials assist the Tournament Arbiter(s) and Tournament organiser(s) to maintain discipline during a tournament (on and off the floor as well as at the accommodation).
  • no spectators are allowed in the playing area, officials only!
  • once players finish their rounds they repack their chess boards and leave the playing area quietly.
  • no analysing of games whilst a round is in progress, even if there are only a few games still in progress.
  • when players are still playing they must not unnecessarily walk up and down between tables or distract other players whilst they wait for their opponents to complete a move.
  • no eating at the chess tables (water bottles must stand on the floor to prevent that the bottles fall on the chess pieces during a game (only chess clocks on the tables).

2.2      CONDUCT

During rounds:

  • do not give coaching to players whilst they are busy playing
  • do not discuss the games of players whilst they are still playing (silence during games)
  • do not talk loudly with other officials whilst games are in progress (distraction and disturbance of players)
  • supervise your specific age category – please do not leave your age category unattended!
  • be on the lookout when players raise their hands for assistance or possible queries!
  • game disputes: ask the assistance of the Arbiter (s).
  • do not use any electronic equipment (cell phones, tablets, smart phones, note books) whilst you assist during a round.
  • please behave in a respectful manner (on and off the floor) towards players, parents, other officials and the general chess public attending the tournament. For any disputes call the Arbiter and Organiser (s).
  • if the tournament is a school sport code event all normal school rules will then apply!

The conduct of officials also apply to players – players must respect both opponents and officials!

  • A chess set in every classroom in every school in every community – a child who can’t pay must be able to play!
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