Mini Tournaments are tournaments for up to 32 players, that can be started by any full member of Scheming Mind. A lot of people find this kind of competition more enjoyable than individual games.

1. Mini-Tournament types

There are three major types of mini tournaments:

  • Double round robin (aka all-play-all with both colours) tournaments, for any number of players between 3 and 10,
  • Single round robin (aka all-play-all in a single game, uneven number of players between 3 and 15,
  • Knockout tournaments (winner of two-game match qualifies to the next round), for 8, 16, or 32 players.


1.1. Double Round Robin

All-play-all round robin mini tournaments involve playing every other player in the tournament twice, as white and black (so the round-robin tournament for 10 players mean 18 new games). Games are scored as 1 point for a win and 1/2 point for a draw. The tournament winner is the player scoring the most points when all the games are completed.

  • Games start as new players join the tournament (the first games will start when the second player joins)

The start date of each game will be five days after the new player joins, unless the player already in the tournament is on holiday, in this case games will start on his or her return date

  • Tournaments with empty slots two months after being created will be reduced in size
  • Games claimed on time, either as abandoned games or as wins, will earn tournament points regardless of the number of moves entered (but only rated if more than five full moves have been played)

Games not claimed on time two months after the player to move's clock has expired will be marked as double time outs and no points will be awarded


1.2. Single Round Robin

All-play-all round robin mini tournaments involve playing every other player in the tournament once (single game). Each player will play the same number of games as white and black (therefore the number of participants is uneven). Games are scored as 1 point for a win and 1/2 point for a draw. The tournament winner is the player scoring the most points when all the games are completed. All other, see Double round robin.

1.3. Knockout

All a Knockout tournament you play a series of rounds. When a winner is determined for a round that player advances to the next round of play and the loser is knocked out of the tournament. The eventual winner will have won all their rounds.

Each round will consist of two boards, with each player taking one game as white and one as black.

One of these two games will randomly be selected as the primary game. Players will not know which board is the primary board until both games are completed. The winner of the primary game will have won the round. In the event that the primary game is a draw, then the secondary game will be used to determine the winner of the round. There is one exception: player who lost one of the games on time (and won the other one) is eliminated by disqualification, whichever of the games was primary.

In the event that both games are a draw, the player who played as black in the primary game will be declared the winner of the round.

Pairings in the first round are random. Pairings in subsquent rounds are determined by first round pairings.

Games will normally be set up within twenty four hours of the ties being made (currently, they are set up at 3:00AM GMT) - until then you can see that you are paired with somebody, but the games are not created yet.

In order to ensure that the tournament progresses, games where one player has run out of time are automatically claimed by the system.

Byes are awarded in tournaments where all the slots are not filled two months after the tournament is created.

Please note that email notification of new games in knockout tournaments is not yet available, if you join such tournament please ensure that you visit the site at regular intervals to check your game list.


2. Playing in Mini-Tournaments

To play in the Mini-Tournament, the player must find one and join it.


2.1. Finding available tournaments

The easiest way to locate tournaments available to join, is to go to the Community menu and choose Find Mini-Touraments, then select Standard Chess Tournaments I can join, Chess960 Tournaments I can join, or Chess Variant Tournaments I can join. The list of available tournaments of selected type is displayed. While reviewing the offers, pay attention to the tournament type, size, and clock used, also note whether the tournament is thematic, and ensure whether it is in the game variant you expect.

Alternatively one can use Friends' Mini-Tournaments, or Public Mini-Tournaments options, to display all tournaments (both recruiting, and running) - in the former case organised by friends from the TagList, in the latter, by anybody. Especially the second list tend to be rather long and uneasy to navigate, but it gives more detailed view of the kind of competition available.

In rather unlikely case no suitable tournament is found, one can consider creating one.


2.2. Entry restrictions

There can be restrictions placed on tournament entry. Some tournaments limit rating of entrants, some allow only established members to join (there are two variations here - members present on the site for at least 1 month and for at least 3 months), those restrictions can be combined. There are also special tournaments only for new members (people who joined less than month ago).

Apart from that, standard (non-paying) members are allowed to enter only one tournament per 6 weeks. If you are such a member, select the tournament carefully.


2.3. Joining the tournament

After locating an interesting tournament in the list, click on it, review the detailed information, and if you are still interested, click the Join button. You are immediately put on the member list. Some games will be started immediately, some (if the tournament is not yet full) in a few days or even weeks, when the next players join.

Unless at least two players join within a month of the tournament being started, it will be automatically deleted.

Double-check the game variant, and clock. Amazingly often it happens, that somebody wanting to play standard chess, joins a variant tournament instead, or that a player prefering slow pace joins one with Blitz clock.


2.4. Leaving the tournament

Once you joined the tournament, it is impossible to leave it.



2.5. Incomplete tournaments

Any public mini-tournament with no players is deleted one week after it is created. Private mini-tournament with no players is deleted after one month.

Any tournament which has only one player is deleted six weeks after it is created.

If not all the slots of double round robin tournament are filled after two months, the size of the tournament is reduced to the number of current players in the tournament.

If not all the slots of knockout tournament are filled after two months, byes are awarded to the not-yet paired players (see this tournament for some extreme example).


2.6. Timed-out games

Timed-out games are forfeited and awarded to the other player. See GameClock for more details.

Moreover, in knock-out tournaments, in case of a tie, timing-out player is always eliminated.

Note: in double round robin tournaments with numbers smaller than 1500 non strict controls are used. In this case a timed-out game must be claimed, or it is possible to throw the lifeline.


3. Creating Mini-Tournaments

Full (paying) members of the site are allowed to create new mini tournaments.


3.1. Before you start

Before you create mini-tournament, please ensure there is no similar tournament currently recruiting members. If there are a few similar tournaments recruiting at the same time, they are all likely to start incomplete, such a situation is also confusing for people searching for the mini-tournament.

Pay some attention not only to the tournaments you can join, but also to others. For instance, imagine you are rated 1700, and would like to create some tournament for people of similar strength. If there is currently some tournament recruiting people open for ratings 1800-2200, then it makes more sense to create tournament for rating 1500-1800, than for 1600-1900.


3.2. Actually creating the tournament

To create a tournament, full members can choose Start a Mini-Tournament from the My Games menu. The member creating the tournament can choose the paramaters of the tournament, including the variant (standard chess or other variant), time control, number of players, and restrictions on entry (membership length, rating range). Finally, decide whether you want to play the tournament yourself (even if not, you will be able to join it later, but only, of course, if you satisfy the entry criteria).

Give the tournament meaningful and attractive name! There can be plenty of ideas, but for some reason people tend to be more eager to join Mikhail Tal Memorial or Jubilee Tourney #1000, than My tournament or Johny. Do not exaggerate, nevertheless. Also, as the tournament list does not show clock and rating limits, it can make sense to mention them in the name (for example, Benko Memorial (1500-2000,30+1)). At the same time it is not necessary to mention the variant, type (knockout/round robin), or thematic opening in the name - this information is nicely shown by the interface separately.

Note: except special cases (like people creating tournaments for new players, people organizing some kind of special competitions) it is usually recommended that the tournament creator plays in the tournament.


3.3. Tournaments for limited audience

Tournament entry can be limited to people from the (selected) BuddyList
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This is recommended way if you want to organise a special kind of tournament for a limited audience. Such a setting pays attention to the changes of the selected list, so if you happen to add new buddy, and the tournament is not yet full, he or she will be allowed to join.


3.4. Thematic tournaments

Thematic tournaments are tournaments with a predefined opening (for instance, in French Defence thematic all games start from 1.e4 e6). There are two ways of starting thematic tournaments:

  • selecting the correct opening from the Thematic drop-down on tournament creation page (this list is rather short, so only a few openings can be used this way),

using GameExplorer 
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- for any grandmaster game, you can take any position up to the 10th move and use it as opening for thematic tournament (just execute the moves from your preferred opening, open any grandmaster game matching them, you should see Start Mini-Tournament from this position link)


3.5. Norm tournaments

Some tournaments allow earning title norms. Form more information about this see the page about SchemingMind titles.
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4. Managing Mini-Tournaments

Once created, the tournament needs no special care. There are nevertheless some options available to the tournament creator.


4.1. Modifying tournament parameters

Most of the tournament parameters can be modified, if necessary. In particular, it is possible to change the tournament size, switch it from private to public, modify the clock, etc (in fact, only the name can not be changed).

The changes can be made as long, as nobody (except possibly the tournament creator) has joined the tournament.

To modify a mini-tournament:

  • enter the tournament info screen,

click Edit tournament parameters link,

in the opened tournament parameters window, make necessary changes and click Submit


4.2. Deleting tournaments

In case no one joined it, the mini-tournament can be deleted (this option is worth considering for instance if you created mini-tournament just to find that similar one is already recruiting).

The option is available as long, as nobody (except possibly the tournament creator) joined the tournament.

To delete mini-tournament:

  • enter the tournament info screen,

click Edit tournament parameters link,

in the opened tournament parameters window, mark Delete this tournament checkbox and click Submit

The tournament will be deleted automatically unless people join it. 


5. Mini-tournament cycles

On basis of the mini-tournament infrastructure, some people organise higher-level efforts. Currently the following projects are worth mentioning:

Class Tournaments 
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(regular round-robin tournaments, promotion/demotion according to the results),

 - some teams organise internal competition between members.

Note, that if you are full member and have interesting idea, you can create a cycle by yourself.

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