What exactly IS a bye?

At most chess events in the UK, you can define a 'bye' as an unplayed game.  A game can be unplayed for various reasons.

1. You tell the organiser in advance that you can't make it for one round

So it is a pre-arranged absence. In this case you are usually eligible for a half point, in lieu of the unplayed game. This does depend on you actually requesting a bye in advance, the rules of the competition, and also on the round - most events don't offer a half point bye in the final round of a competition as it may affect prizes and the calculation of tie-breaks.

2. You are late for the game.

In this case you will probably be defaulted and awarded zero points for the game. This does not affect your rating or grading.  To be fair if you arrive late for a good reason, most organisers will do their best to find you a game.

3. Your opponent is late for the game

There are several things that can happen here; 
  • Firstly you may be re-paired with a player in the same event and section, and possibly with a shorter time limit so that all the games finish on time.  This will probably count towards your total score in the normal way, and be graded and rated. 
  • Secondly you could be paired with a filler (somebody who happens to be attending the event but is not officially playing), or somebody who is playing in another section of the same event and also has no opponent. This will usually be graded, but may not be FIDE rated, if the adjusted time limit is too short. Check with the arbiter.
  • Finally you might just be awarded the point and not be re-paired. This does not affect your rating or grading.  However it could mean a long wait until the next round, which is why I always prefer, at the very least, to find you a graded game to play.

Some of our cousins on the continent don't recognise a half-point by at all - and most of the software that they write to administrate tournaments reflects this.  They also don't re-pair players whose opponents don't show, for whatever reasons!

The new FIDE Swiss Pairing Rules actually state [C.04.D.6] "Players known in advance not to play in a particular round are not paired in that round and score 0 (unless the rules of the tournament say otherwise)."  Thanks to Shaun Press for pointing that out!

Advice for players who may be late for a game

Text or email the organiser to let them know if your train is delayed.  Ringing and leaving a message won't be as effective, as the organiser is probably a little busy to answer the phone or check his voicemail. Moreover he has probably forgotten his voicemail PIN and given up trying.

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Here is a list of FIDE registered tournaments in England. There will be a separate entry for each section of each event (e.g. Golders Green Rapidplay = 4 sections, 4 registrations). If you see any of mine missing, do let me know! 

Scroll down to the bottom to access the archive of events. 

Only games where at least one of the players has a published standard FIDE rating will be rated, and included in the rating calculations of the unrated player. Where both players are rated, the game will affect both players and will be included in the calculations for both players.

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