The Chess Variant Pages

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1st World Open
Chess Variant PBEM Championship

This event is being proposed as a possible annual event for The Chess Variant Pages. There is a lot of sentiment expressed informally for some sort of heterodox chess competition involving different variants and forms of chess. But the hardest part is ironing out details to attract a wide range of players.

You are encouraged to send your suggestions to competitions editor Glenn Overby at:

or post them here using the CVP feedback system. Comments on all aspects are encouraged: what games to play, what fees to charge, how many games, how much time, etc.


The Chess Variant Pages ( announce the 1st World Open Chess Variant PBEM Championship, to be conducted beginning [insert date].

The World Open will be an elimination event featuring a variety of chess variants. Each player gets to play half their games from a list they make for themselves. A player who knows four specific games will never be required to play a game they do not know.

The object is to encourage the skilled play of many different variants, while limiting the number of games an entrant is compelled to learn.


One-half of the games played will be from a personal list of three selected variants. You will choose the other half from your opponents' lists. Every list will contain one or more of four specific, well-known and well-tested variants, so a knowledge of those four designs can suffice for any player.

Each entrant shall select three games when signing up.

A player who chooses Chess With Different Armies also specifies their army...Colorbound Clobberers, Fabulous FIDEs, Nutty Knights, or Remarkable the time of choosing the game. Both players may have the same army.


The World Open will be a double-elimination knockout event. Two game losses eliminate a player. (Draws are always counted as one-half win and one-half loss.)

In the first round, each player will play two matches, or four games at once. All later rounds involve only two games per player.

After each round, all players who have lost two or more points are eliminated. Survivors are then paired, highest scores against lowest scores, avoiding rematches if possible. Any required three-way match will be paired among middle scores.

Pairings will be drawn at random, subject to the above.

The last survivor is the World Open Champion. If all final round players are eliminated, the finalist with the best overall record is Champion. All players are ranked in the final tournament table in order of wins.

Match protocol

Notice of pairings will be sent to all players at least three days before the clock starts for a round. Starting games early is fine.

Two games are played in each match. One is from the player's list, chosen by the assigned opponent. The other is from the assigned opponent's list, chosen by the player. The player who chooses each game also plays first in that game.

Players start a match by emailing the game they choose from the opponent's list to that opponent, together with their first move.

Both players are expected to notify the Tournament Director as each game is completed, with a score of the game. (Annotations are also encouraged, and a prize is reserved for that purpose.) The Chess Variant Pages reserve the right to publish the score of any game played in the course of this tournament.

Three-way pairings: When an odd number of players are paired, three will be assigned a three-way match. Player A chooses a game to play against player B, B chooses a game against C, and C chooses a game against A. Each player still plays a total of two games, and the player who chooses each game also plays first in that game.

General regulations

The World Open tournament shall be open to all chess players of the world. An entry fee of [amount, if any, to be determined; 6.00 USD or 6.00 Euro have been discussed] is required. We use PayPal to collect online payments securely; just click on the button below when your credit or debit card is handy.

[insert PayPal button here]

You may instead pay by check (payable to David Howe):

   The Chess Variant Pages
   P.O. Box 10277
   Rochester, NY 14610

Entries open on [insert date], and must be received not later than [insert date].

No player may enter this tournament more than once.

No machines may enter. No player may use a machine for active assistance in analysis. Use of published materials, including computerized databases, is permitted.

Each entrant is responsible for maintaining their own connection to the Internet, and for keeping all opponents and the Tournament Director informed at all times of the electronic mail address they are using for the tournament.

The Tournament Director is Glenn Overby II. His address is on the feedback page. His rulings on all tournament matters are final.

Time regulations

  1. The clock starts at noon Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5) on [insert date].
  2. You must move within five days of receipt of your opponent's most recent move to avoid using time units.
  3. A move requiring five to ten days (120:00 to 239:59) uses one time unit. If you use more than five time units in one game, you forfeit the game.
  4. Failure to move within 240 hours results in an automatic forfeiture.
  5. Each player may request one vacation period per game, of not more than 21 days. A vacation request must be sent to all opponents and the Tournament Director, in advance excepting emergencies. During a scheduled vacation, the clock stops in all games. A vacation request uses one time unit.
  6. You should promptly notify your opponent, including a repeat of the move sent, if you do not receive a reply within 5 days of sending your last move. A copy of the repeat shall be sent to the Tournament Director.
  7. If a disagreement arises concerning time units or a time-forfeit, both players are expected to notify the Tournament Director immediately, and comply with his directions.
  8. The Tournament Director may, in extraordinary circumstances, and with or without specific application by the players, add one or more time units to both players' available units in any game.
  9. There is no adjustment of time for holidays, non-business days, or any other similar cause. In worldwide play with the potential representation of many cultures, this is not feasible.


The full list of available prizes will be posted before the start of round one. All entry fees are applied 100% to the prize fund, and The Chess Variant Pages will supplement the fund as it deems appropriate. (Sponsors may also be sought.)

The prize list will include:

  1. Championship prize
  2. Second place prize
  3. Additional place prizes, awarding a total of one place prize per six players or fraction thereof.
  4. Brilliancy prize, for the best play of the tournament.
  5. Annotation prize, for the best game annotation of the tournament by a player. Annotations to be considered shall be submitted to the Tournament Director not more than 30 days following the end of all play.

WWW page created: May 14, 2003.