Chess Tournament Scoring

Chess tournaments are scored based on “points” and the player with the most points is usually the winner. Club tournaments often have different divisions based on chess ratings of the players, and lots of special prizes for juniors and lower-rated players.

If two more more players tie on the same number of points, then it may depend on the tournament what happens. There are multiple options:

  • a prize or title is shared,
  • there is a “play-off” (a deciding game or sometimes two games), or
  • some form of “countback” is used.

The usual scoring system in a chess tournament for each game is:

  • Win: 1 point
  • Loss: 0 points
  • Draw: half point to both players (sharing the point)

There are occasionally tournaments that use the “3-1-0 scoring system” to discourage grandmaster draws. But this is not common in club tournaments.

There are also some other possible outcomes in special cases:

  • Half-point bye: a pre-arranged “bye” in a round may be awarded half a point (like a draw).
  • Double forfeits: sometimes both players may be forfeited as some kind of official penalty (e.g. neither player arrives on time for the game). Both players get zero points.

Other unusual outcomes are possible. Official tournament referees have the discretion to impose penalties or remove points and so on.

Related Chess Rules Topics

Read more about these related chess rules, chess puzzles, and other chess tactics and strategies: