Organizing the European Championship on ChessManager!

Interviewing deputy arbiter at the European Rapid & Blitz Championship 2022!

Organizing the European Championship on ChessManager!
Written by
Ranveer Mohite
Published on
Dec 23, 2022
Read time
5 min

The European Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship 2022 concluded in Katowice, Poland. More than a total of 1000 players participated.

Ever wondered what goes behind officiating such events? How do the arbiters manage it?

The arbiters team, the backbone of the event

The arbiters team, the backbone of the event. Fot. Walusza Fotografia

We sat down with IA Michał Wejsig, deputy chief of the event.

He talks about how the team of arbiters worked together during such a big event, the challenges they faced, his experience officiating the event, and more.

Congratulations! You organized the European Chess Championship. How was the whole experience?

Michał: We only took care of technical issues such as confirming players during registration, pairing, showing the results, etc. The efficient conduct of the championship depended mainly on it.

It was a challenge for us because it was the first important tournament with 1000 players!


There was a lot of stress during the tournament, but at the end of the day it turned out that it was the most efficient championship in many years!

How many arbiters were present at the scene? And what are the different roles they all played?

Michał: In total, there were around 40 arbiters!

1 chief arbiter.
2 deputies (I was one of them) and 1 pairing officer.

Additionally, there were 2 arbiters for every 30 players. They were divided by sectors.

Arbiters (standing with IDs) for each sector

How is it decided that person X will be a pairing officer, person Y handles disputes, etc?

Michał: Most often, it's the chief arbiter, in consultation with the tournament director and ECU/FIDE, who selects associates and assigns functions.

Can you tell us more about your role as a deputy at the European Championship?

Michał: Before the tournament, it is to ensure that the starting list is made correctly - verifying the current player data, removing absent players, etc.

The most important thing is to perform the first-round pairing quickly. Because that's what everyone is waiting for the most before the tournament begins.

At the end of the round, each arbiter from the sector brings us the results.

The pairing officer enters them into ChessManager, and after that, the sector arbiter has to check if I have made a mistake. (of course, there was no mistake and no re-pairing of round 😄).

Also, we send SMSes with pairing for players.

The pairing officer also must be proficient with the computer. He's also in charge of correcting the pairings and instructs the rest of the arbiters team to collect & provide results in a given form.

In the end, we need to check the standings are correctly counted.

How much time does it usually take to pair the players after you've collected all the results?

Michał: Usually, the pairing is very quick, but quite often, you have to wait for the last game to finish. It may even end 10-15 minutes after all other games are over.

Do you cross-check the final results before publishing the new pairing?

Michał: I always check if the new pairing looks good "by eye".

In standard chess tournaments, I always check both score sheets to ensure I have the correct result (sometimes there are two different scores on two score sheets 😄).

In rapid and blitz tournaments, I only recheck when I have too much time (when waiting for the last game or the next round starts much later). Generally speaking, I don't like to cross-check because I have never made a mistake in entering the result into the computer 😉)

One reason why the SMS feature was on ChessManager was that it was shocking to see 300 people crowding at 1 place to see their pairing. Were you using the SMS feature at the European championships?

Michał: Yes definitely!

The schedule of the European Championships depended on this option.

If SMSes were not sent, the breaks between rounds would have to be much longer.

Printing pairings may consume even 10 sheets! So for the players to find themselves might be difficult.

With SMSes, players can take their places faster than when the pairing is printed and pasted on the board.

When did you start using ChessManager? Did you already use it before the championship began?

Michał: Personally, I have used it since 2016 and in every major big tournament. For example: the Polish-Hungarian Friendship Match and European Blitz & Rapid Championships in previous years.

Did you face any challenges using ChessManager? If so, how did you solve that issue?

Michał: In the past, my only concern was that I might suddenly not be able to access the Internet. Now I always have a spare modem and peace of mind 😉

The author (Tom) was very helpful and provided more resources during this championship to speed it up.

What are some challenges arbiters face at an event? Tell me the general problems like disputes, draw claims, etc and also those related to pairings. Like players leaving the tournament or any other? How do you deal with them?

Michał: An International Arbiter needs to know a foreign language to communicate with players.

The biggest problem is always the differences of opinion between the two players and the arbiter who has to make the first decision.

We always have to treat each case individually and make sound judgments.

European Rapid and Blitz Championship must be a dream event, right. What did you learn from your experience officiating it?

Michał: We were working under great pressure where every second was important.

Being able to conduct such a big event for 1000 participants instills a belief that we can think about conducting even bigger tournaments.

I also enjoyed spending time with world-class arbiters to exchange our experiences.

Michał Wejsig

Before you go, there are 2 quick fire questions for you. What's the most boring work for an arbiter?

Waiting till the round ends 🙂

What's the most exciting work for an arbiter?

It's an interesting paradox - the more prestigious the tournament, the more boring it is.

For example, small prestigious & long tournaments are an exciting experience, but you don't have much work then ...

On the one hand, I like to judge, for example, the Polish Championships, but on the other hand, it is more interesting at the tournament at school 😉 😄

Thank you for reading!

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