Handbook ::  C. General Rules and Recommendations for Tournaments

C.04.4 Endorsement of a software program




To perform big Swiss tournaments the use of Computer programs for handling the players’ data, the pairings and the results is necessary.
To avoid misunderstandings and to support the organisers and arbiters, FIDE recommends the use of computer programs which are endorsed by FIDE after a successful endorsement procedure.
The endorsement will last as long as it is not withdrawn because the program does no longer meet the requirements.


The endorsement procedure for a pairing system


Each author of a program that helps to manage a chess tournament can apply for the FIDE endorsement compiling a form (FE-1, see Annex-1).
For an endorsement application to be considered, a program must be able to manage Swiss tournaments using one of the pairing systems approved by FIDE (see C.04.3.1-4). The endorsement is given for the specific pairing systems (one or more).
Besides this, a program must have:

  • capability to import and export files written in the FIDE format (TRF - see the proper chapter)
  • public availability of a (free) pairings-checker (FPC - see the proper chapter)
  • public availability of a (free) generator of simulated tournaments (RTG, see the proper chapter), unless exempted by the System of Pairings and Programs Commission (SPPC)
  • the default pairing system for new tournaments must be one of the systems for which the endorsement is requested.
  • operations disallowed by FIDE (for instance, distribute full point byes) should not be available by default in an endorsed tournament-manager and the users should be warned (not prevented, though) when trying to make them available


Tournament Report File (TRF)


See Annex-2, for the description of the TRF format 


(Free) Pairings Checker (FPC)


An External Pairings Checker is a tool embedded in the tournament­manager containing the pairing­engine that can be freely used by external people (without the user interface).
For instance, let's suppose that the executable name of a pairing software is PairingsProgram.exe. When it is launched (either by a command prompt or double-clicking on it), it normally opens a user interface and ... how it works from that point on is not important from the (External Pairings) checker viewpoint.
What it is expected from a checker is the possibility to launch PairingsProgram.exe from a command prompt with some parameters, something like:
PairingsProgram.exe -check FIDE_Report_File.fid

The checker must read the FIDE_Report_File.fid (which is a TRF) and, for each round, rebuild the tournament and pair the round using the embedded pairing­engine, and output a report describing which pairings are right or wrong in the "opinion" of the pairing­engine.


Random Tournament Generator (RTG)


The RTG is a freely available tool that generates a full TRF for a simulated tournament.
It is mandatory that in such a tournament the pairing rules implemented by the pairing engine are strictly followed. It is recommended that the games results may somewhat respect the probabilities given by the FIDE rating table.


The first endorsement procedure for a pairing system


A subcommittee of four people must be named at the first Congress that follows the application for the endorsement of a program. Such a subcommittee must report at the next Congress whether the program deserves to be endorsed.


Endorsement for pairings systems when other programs have already been endorsed for the same pairing system


As the endorsement procedure can be executed in a semi-computerized way and all the tools needed for the endorsement are freely available to the authors, the endorsement request can reach the SPP secretariat at any moment as long as it is at least four months before the Congress where it would be presented.
If an external RTG is available, it will be used to generate 5000 random tournaments. Such tournaments will be given in input to the candidate FPC and each discrepancy will be collected.
Such discrepancies may depend on either:

  • an error in the input file (i.e. responsibility of the endorsed program which provided the RTG)   [or]
  • an error coming from the candidate   [or]
  • an interpretation divergence caused by unclear rules

Errors of the first type must be redirected to the RTG producer. Errors of the second type must be corrected before the candidate gets the endorsement. Problems of the third type are redirected to the SPP, which should issue a statement describing the proper interpretation and then fix the problems in the successive revision of the rules.

If the candidate has its own RTG, the latter is used to generate 5000 random tournaments, which will be then given in input to one (or more) of the available FPC(s). The analysis of the discrepancies is conducted in the same way as above.

If no RTG is available, a RTG available for another pairing system is used to generate 5000 random tournaments. Such tournaments will be given in input to both the candidate FPC and one (or more) of the available FPC(s). The discrepancies to be analyzed are the ones that are different among the various FPC(s).


Currently endorsed programs


See Annex-3, containing the list of the endorsed programs and useful information related to them.


Section annexes


Annex 1:

Application for Swiss Pairing Program FIDE Endorsement


Annex 2:

Tournament Report File (version 2006)


Tournament Report File (version 2016)


Annex 3:

List of FIDE Endorsed Programs


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