Newport Exchange Tournament - Summer 2017

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Venue:     Newport Chess Club
Date:        Thursday 13th July
Start Time:          7.45

Tournament Rules

A 6 round exchange tournament (full rules of exchange detailed below). If we finish early, the evening will end with a group exchange match between all participants.

Teams will be balanced by pairing the highest graded player entering on the night with the lowest grade and then the next highest with the next lowest. January's grading list will be used for this purpose. The higher graded player in 1 team must always then be paired against the higher graded player in the other and can't opt to play the weaker opponent.

There will be no entry fee/prizes.

The first named team will have white on the higher graded board.

Rules of Exchange

Exchange is a chess variant played on two chessboards by four players in teams of two. Each team member faces one opponent of the other team. Partners sit next to each other and one player has black, while the other has white. Each player plays the opponent as in standard chess, with the exception of the rules specified below.

Captured pieces
A player capturing a piece immediately passes that piece to the capturing player's partner. The partner keeps these pieces in reserve and may, instead of playing a regular move, place one of these pieces on the board. Pieces in reserve may be placed on any vacant square, including squares where the piece delivers check but never when they deliver checkmate. Forced mate in one is acceptable. When placing a piece on the board, you can't take an opponent's piece or do any other move that turn. Each player must keep the reserve or stock pieces on the table in front of the board, always visible to all players of the game.

Pawns may not be dropped on the first 7th or last rank. Dropped pawns may promote but all promoted pawns convert back to pawns when captured. In play over the board, a promoted pawn can be put on its side to indicate promotion. A pawn placed on the second rank may move two squares on its first move.

End of the game
The match ends when either of the games on the two boards ends. A game is won when one player gets checkmated, resigns or their flag falls. Draws cannot be agreed between players but games can be drawn via repetition. If one of the games is drawn, the other game will continue until a winner arrives. Players on that board may use up their reserve pieces but won't receive any additional pieces.

Players may request pieces from each other but one player may not recommend moves on his partners board.

Time Control
Each player will have 5 minutes on their clock plus a 10 second increment per move.

In some situations a player may start stalling to wait for a critical piece. If the opponent declares that their opponent is stalling, if it's his partners turn to move, the stalling player may wait for his partner to move before making his move (and so potentially receiving the piece he is waiting for). Once his partner has moved, he must then move, even if it results in a loss.
If it's his partners opponents turn to move, the stalling player may wait for the opposition on the partner board to make their move which they must do within 20seconds of the stalling claim being made. The stalling player may then wait for their partner to make their move. The stalling player must then make their move. If the player continues to stall, the other team may claim the game.

Unfortunately there is no fair way to police this one so let's all remember this is supposed to be a friendly night and everyone should respect the spirit of the night which should be enjoyable, rapid games.


Some of the normal "rules of chess" don't apply in exchange. Example of some things to think about:

In chess a minor material advantage is important as when material gets exchanged, the relative advantage becomes larger. Because new pieces come in, there is no endgame play in exchange and material is therefore less important. It is common to sacrifice pieces in exchange while attacking, defending or hunting down a certain piece which the partner requires.

Attack and defence
Attacking the king has important advantages as opposed to defending or attempting to win material. Because of the possibility of dropping pieces, attacks in exchange can quickly lead to checkmate.
The attacking player has the initiative, he is the one who controls the board, while the opponent is left to react. This has also important consequences for the other board. It is easier to attack than to defend. A defending mistake can have bigger consequences than an attacking mistake. Thus, the defender needs to be more precise. Ensuring your king stays safe in exchange is essential to success. It is common to sacrifice material to build up, or sustain an attack. Characteristic of attacks is the so-called "piece storm", where a player drops piece after piece with check. Contact checks or knight checks, which force the king to move as opposed to dropping pieces, are especially important. They can be used to drive the king into the open, away from its defenders, while they prevent the opponent from putting new material on the board.

As boards become more clustered than in traditional chess, knights are easily the best minor piece in the game. Their ability to be dropped and jump over enemy defenders can be invaluable. Sacking a rook for a knight is common.

Pawns are far more powerful in exchange than in normal chess and often it's worth sacking a piece for 2 pawns which can be employed on your partners board. Large pawn chains can result in total dominance of the board. Also their weakness of taking 3 moves to reach the 6th rank is reduced.