InfinityChess Tournament Rules of Freestyle Chess 



Freestyle Chess is a competition between humans, who however are allowed, similarly like in correspondence chess, to make use of various technical or human support for selecting their moves. Generally speaking, the Laws of Chess, as adopted and declared by FIDE, apply to Freestyle Chess, except from server-related or tournament-specific rules and requirements. In case of doubt the Tournament Director (TD) is authorized to decide according to his interpretation of the situation and the rules.


§ 1    Registration

(1)     All participants (=players) are required to register before the tournament, providing their full name, postal address and a valid email address. While players may use a nickname on the chess server, their real names will be visible to others under "personal information" (menu "picture"). Yet, aall information related to a player"s postal address and email address will be kept strictly confidentially and not passed to a third party without a player"s written permission. (The Tournament Registration Form is available under "Forthcoming Tournaments" and pops up, when a player sends a "want in" to the TD.)


(2)     It is prohibited for a player to register more than one account in a tournament or to use a second account belonging to someone else. Violating this rule shall result in disqualification from the tournament and being banned from future events.


§ 2    Tournament and Round Start

(1)     The Tournament Director and his assistants will inform all players of the client software version to be used before start of the tournament. It is the obligation of all players to obtain, install, and have in operation the specified version prior to the start of the first round of play. Disadvantages or technical problems which originate from not having the correct client shall be decided against the player who does not comply with this requirement, and may include a time penalty or a game forfeiture as the TD determines.

(2)     Participants are required to be in the tournament room and ready for start not later than 20 minutes before the scheduled time. The remaining time might be needed in order to update the client software, to restart the server, to reboot one"s pc, to check new information or to answer questions by the TD or an Admin.

(3)     Participants are required to set the play mode (either "computer" or "centaur") correctly before the start of a round. After start of a game the play mode cannot be changed by either player.

(4)     All clock times mentioned in tournament announcements and by the TD refer to the server time. The menu "compare time" converts the server time to local time.

(5)     If a player is belated more than 30 minutes, he or she forfeits the game which has to be approved by the TD. If both players are belated more than 30 minutes, both shall receive zero scores. Being belated implies a time penalty by the TD. A player who is belated more than three times during a tournament can be disqualified by the TD.


§ 3    Internet connections, disconnections and server crashes

(1)     There are three points of failure in online play: the player’s connection to his Internet Service Provider (ISP), the ISP’s connection to the chess server, and the chess server itself. All players are responsible for having a stable connection to the chess server, therefore they are liable for everything that happens to their connection except a server crash, a disruptive event which is readily identifiable to everyone involved with the tournament. Note, this means that should a player’s ISP fail, that player is at risk of time penalties, game forfeiture and potentially even tournament disqualification even though his ISP’s reliability is outside of his direct control.

(2)     In the event a player suffers a disconnection from the chess server and the server does not reconnect automatically, he shall be informed via email or phone by the TD and be given ten minutes from the time of notification to return to and continue his game. If the player has not returned after ten minutes (though having been informed by the TD) he shall forfeit the game. Alternately, if a player suffers three disconnections during a game, even if he returns from the first two disconnects in less than ten minutes, he shall automatically forfeit the game immediately at the instant of the third disconnect, with a win granted to his opponent, whatever the situation on the chessboard. The TD is the only person who may issue rulings relating to the ten minute period.

(3)     Players are forbidden to disconnect voluntarily while their game is in progress. If a player feels he should disconnect for any valid reason, he must first ask the TD and wait for his decision.

(4)     During tournaments players are forbidden to claim automatic wins on disconnects (in case the server offers such a function). If a player claims an automatic win on disconnect, the TD will most likely score a loss for the player who claimed the win and post a win for his opponent. In the event of technical problems always consult with the TD first.

(5)     The TD shall decide how to resolve or resume a game in which the server has automatically flagged a player. This can happen if there is a time-out during a loss of connection.

(6)     A player with two or more disconnections per game in 75% or more of his games shall be disqualified from the tournament by the TD after round 4 or any round thereafter where the 75% threshold is met or exceeded. (Automatic server reconnects do not count in this calculation.) Players at imminent risk of disqualification shall be notified by the TD of their jeopardy, who shall keep track of all disconnecting players.

(7)     In the event of a server crash during play, all players shall persistently attempt to log on to the tournament site for a period of thirty minutes. If the server is still inaccessible after thirty minutes, the TD shall give instructions to players via an external chat room. The URL of this chat room shall be announced before the start of the tournament.

(8)     The TD is the only person with the authority to decide how to resume the tournament in the event of a server crash. All games that finished before the server crash will remain valid. If unfinished games can be automatically resumed by the server, then this will be the preferred solution. It"s up to the TD to adjust the chess clocks, if necessary.
However, given the extremely rare case that unfinished games cannot be automatically resumed by the server then the TD shall direct players to restart completely new games. 


§ 4    Player accessibility, communication with the TD

(1)     Players must be accessible by the TD at all times during games in progress and are required to respond to his questions and requests instantly. If a player fails to respond to the TD after three attempts to contact him in the space of five minutes and the game does not proceed, the TD shall record this event as a loss of connection, with all rules pertaining to disconnects applying (see §3).

(2)     Players shall discuss all contentious matters directly with the TD and not in general chat. Discussions regarding controversial situations and TD rulings shall be conducted in private chat, not in general chat, particularly while any tournament games are still in progress.


§ 5    Special rules governing play

(1)     Players are prohibited to offer a draw before the 30th move. Only three kinds of draws as defined by the FIDE rules (lack of material to checkmate, stalemates, and threefold repetition) may occur prior to move 30. Starting with the 30th move, either player may offer a draw to their opponent at their discretion, but if the draw offer is refused the same offering player may not offer to draw again within the next ten moves. The purpose of this rule is two-fold: a) to inspire all players to battle out their games, and b) to preclude repetitive and annoying draw offers. Any reported and verified violation of this rule shall result in the violating player receiving one warning and thereafter immediately forfeiting the game if the violation is repeated in the same game.

(2)     Players are encouraged to let games be decided on the board. Players facing objectively certain defeat should resign and not play until mate. Players engaged in an obvious draw should agree to draw rather than play on pointlessly. The objective of these admonitions is for the games that Freestyle players leave for posterity to reflect something more elevated than amateur or purely computer competitions.

(3)     Erroneous moves (‘fingerfehler’ or ‘mouse slips’) may never be taken back. Move accuracy is as much a part of Freestyle as it is in championship-level tournament chess. It is improper behaviour for a player committing such an error to influence in any way his opponent to resign, draw, or offer any other favourable treatment. Players deemed by the TD to fail to meet this standard of conduct will receive one and only one warning during the entire tournament according to rule §6.2.


§ 6    Player behaviour

(1)     Players are expected to complete every one of their games during the tournament. Players shall not enter the tournament if they intend to drop out before the end of the tournament, skip rounds or put forth less than a full effort if they perform poorly and/or are out of the running for prizes: such behaviour dilutes the integrity of the tournament and often results in adverse consequences for other competitors. If exceptional circumstances compel a player to withdraw, he must inform the tournament director by e-mail at least one hour prior to the start of a new round and persuasively explain the unforeseen event that forces an early exit. Violation of this rule shall result in exclusion from future tournaments.

(2)     Players are expected to control their emotions and behave in a civil and respectful manner toward the TD, sponsors, hosts, fellow competitors and spectators. Players deemed by the TD to fail to meet this standard of conduct will receive one and only one warning during the entire tournament. Should a warned player continue to bring discredit to the tournament or its participants, it shall result in the player a) forfeiting any unfinished game in progress, b) being disqualified from the balance of the tournament, c) being asked to immediately leave the tournament site, and d) being banned from future tournaments for two years.

(3)     It is absolutely forbidden for two or more players to “fix” game outcomes in any way in order to achieve a financial or strategic advantage at the expense of one or more other players, or for a player to solicit a particular game outcome from another player before the contest has been fairly played and decided.