Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament with $16,000 prize

by ChessBase
5/25/2007 – A "Freestyle tournament" is one in which computer assistance – or help in any conceivable form – during the game is allowed and encouraged. The Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle tournament takes place from June 1st-3rd, with the finals being held three weeks later. The main sponsor, the PAL Group in Abu Dhabi (UAE), has provided a $16,000 dollar prize fund. Join the fun.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

The sixth edition of the PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament will be played on the two weekends: 1st–3rd June 2007 (main tournament), 22nd–24th June 2007 (final).

June 2007
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

The main tournament is open for everyone. In the final the ten top scorers play a round robin tournament for their share of the US $16,000 prize fund. All games are played on the Internet, in a special room on the Playchess server.

The entry fee is 10 Euros (= US $13.50). The regular time of applications ends on 30th May 2007, 12 p.m. Late entries can pay an increased fee of 30 Euro in Playchess "ducats" (electronic money) on the day of the main tournament.

To register for the Freestyle Tournament you (or your team leader) need to fill out a registry form, giving your name, address and Playchess handle. One day before the tournament starts you will receive an email with further details.

For better planning of further Freestyle events we created a poll addressed to all active and prospective participants. We would be pleased to receive your opinion, too. You will find the poll here.

How to play in the PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

The tournament begins on Saturday, June 1st, 2007 at 17:00h CEST, which is the time in Berlin, Paris, Rome and Madrid. That translates to 16:00h London, 11 a.m. New York, 19:00h Moscow. If you are uncertain about the time in your location you can check this by clicking on times given in the schedule below.

The event will be staged in a special tournament room (“Hydra Chess – CSS Freestyle Tournament”) of the Playchess server. Note that you should set your playing mode to “Centaur” when you are in the Freestyle room (this is done in the menu "Edit – Playing mode" or by pressing Ctrl-M). If you leave “Human” mode switched on you will not be able to start an analysis engine. “Computer” mode is for people who want their engines to play automatically, without human intervention.

Special rules

Due to the large number of participants it is necessary to enforce some additional rules for this event. In summary: all participants are responsible for understanding and being able to adequately operate the Playchess client software; they are responsible for establishing an adequate and stable Internet connection to the server; for finding the tournament room; for their punctual appearance on the server in time for the start of each round; for not attempting to use unfair methods to gain advantage over the opponent.

In particular we will be implementing the following rules.

1. All participants must be present in the tournament room of the server 30 minutes before the start of round one. Participants must stay connected until the tournament director has included them in the list of players ("invited" them). After a player has seen that he is on the participants' list he can leave the room or log out, but must be present in the room at least five minutes before the start of the game.

2. Each round starts on the hour. Players are required to be in the tournament room and ready to start their games at least five minutes before the hour (e.g. at 13:55h, 16:55h, 19:55h, etc.). The games will start punctually, and any player who is not present in the tournament room at the time of the start will automatically lose that game. It is not possible to start individual games at a later time and include them in the tournament results.

Caution: do not use this button!

3. VERY IMPORTANT: if at any stage of a game your opponent has technical problems, e.g. communication lag or disconnects, you MAY NOT claim a win by clicking on the “Claim win on disconnect" button on the top right of the board window. You can consult the tournament director (by chat), but may have to remain connected and at the board until your opponent's time runs out. Note that if anyone claims a win by using the "Claim win on disconnect" button, even if that player is awarded the win by the server, the tournament director will change the result to a loss for player who has manually claimed the win.

Please remember that due to the very large number of participants we have to rely on your cooperation to successfully stage this event. If you feel you have been unfairly treated you can write to the organisers, who may offer you a free place in the next Freestyle tournament to compensate for the injustice. As a rule it will be difficult to find satisfactory solutions while the event is under way. Remember: the decision of the tournament director is final.

One more request: please play the entire tournament, even if after some rounds you feel that you do not have a chance to win the main money prizes.

Schedule of PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

All times given in the following schedule are in Central European Time (CEST), which is used in most European countries, e.g. Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, etc. CET is GMT + one hour. Click on the times given in the schedule below to convert to your local time.

Main Tournament (Fri.-Sun., June 1st - 3rd, 2007)

Round 1

Friday, 01.06.2007 17:00 CEST

Round 2

Friday, 01.06.2007 20:00 CEST

Round 3

Saturday, 02.06.2007 14:00 CEST

Round 4

Saturday, 02.06.2007 17:00 CEST

Round 5

Saturday, 02.06.2007 20:00 CEST

Round 6

Saturday, 03.06.2007 14:00 CEST

Round 7

Saturday, 03.06.2007 17:00 CEST

Round 8

Saturday, 03.06.2007 20:00 CEST

Articles on Freestyle Chess

Freestyle Chess –Teaching an Engine how to Fly
28.04.2007 – The 5th PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament on is already history and the 6th issue is coming soon: Main event June 1-3, Final June 22-24. Freestyle Chess allows players to form a team and use any software and hardware they like. The main sponsor, the PAL Group in Abu Dhabi (UAE), has provided a $16,000 dollar prize fund for each online tournament. CC GM Arno Nickel reports.

Fifth Freestyle Tournament Final this weekend
22.03.2007 – The 5th PAL/CSS Freestyle Main Tournament, staged on the Playchess server, ended in a dead heat of 17 players. None of the 131 participants from 32 countries, including 20 titled players, managed to achieve six points in eight games, which is the magic barrier for qualification. The final, with ten players, will be held as a round robin tournament this weekend. Come and watch.

$16,000 Freestyle tournament starts on March 2nd
23.02.2007 – The Fifth PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament begins on March 2nd on the Playchess server. The main tournament is an eight-round Swiss, with time controls of 60 min + 15 sec per game. You probably know that in Freestyle any kind of assistance is allowed: computers, friends, books, anything. The starting fee is 10 Euro. GMs and IMs are free. You can still join the fun!

The Freestyle Champion is Xakru, dammit!
07.11.2006 That's what happens when you choose a flippant name on the chess server: you win a major event and wish you hadn't called yourself "Damn it" (in Czech). Jiri Dufek and Roman Chytilek won the first prize, $8,000, in the fourth computer assisted tournament on Find out what transpired in the final of this Freestyle event in this report by Arno Nickel.

Fall of the Favourites in PAL/CSS Freestyle
19.10.2006 A "Freestyle tournament" is one in which computer assistance – or any other form of help – during the game is allowed and encouraged. The 4th PAL/CSS Freestyle tournament, which reaches its final this weekend on the the server, saw many of the favourites falter. Now the ten qualifiers will play a round robin for the US $16,000 prize money. Come and watch.

Rajlich Team won the third Freestyle tournament
31.08.2006 The third 3rd PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament was held in the middle of July. With considerable delay we bring you a report by correspondence GM Arno Nickel on the results of this event, which had a prize fund of US $16,000 and was conducted on the server. Also a reminder that another $16,000 Freestyle tournament begins soon. Like to join the fun?

Freestyle Tournament final begins today
14.07.2006 Are you interested in seeing chess played at the very highest level? It involves grandmasters and experts selecting their moves with computer assistance. The final of the 3rd PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament begins today at 17:00h CEST on the server, and ends on Sunday evening. The prize fund is $16,000. Come and watch the fun!

Who will be the next Freestyle Champion
05.07.2006 Neither the summer weather nor the Soccer World Cup stopped more than 100 players from all over the world from enter the 3rd PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament, which ended last weekend with the tie-breaks for the Final in July 14-16. About 20 titleholders were attracted by the opportunity to win one of the money prizes: $8,000, $4,000 or $2,000 dollars. Report by Arno Nickel

Brilliancy in computer assisted chess
16.06.2006 The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament starts today. In this form of chess, originally proposed by Garry Kasparov, the human players may use computers – or any other assistance they can muster. It is not OTB chess as we knew it, but it does produce a lot of very high-level games. Here, from the Second Freestyle Tournament, are the three most brilliant examples.

$16,000 Freestyle tournament begins on Friday
14.06.2006 The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament begins on Friday, June 16, on the Playchess server. In the previous edition, won by Zor_Champ of the UAE, there were a number of grandmasters participating. One was Tony Kosten of England, assisted by the program Hiarcs 10, who gives us his assessment of such computer-assisted tournaments. You can still join!

$16,000 up for grabs in computer-assisted play
11.05.2006 The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess server is coming up in June, once again with a substantial prize fund. This time the time controls for our Advanced Chess competition have been increased to 60 min. + 15 sec., in order to give the human component more opportunity for analysis. Like to play? It's lots of fun!

Zor-Champ wins Freestyle Tournament
16.04.2006 In a very exciting final the team of Zor-Champ, located in the United Arab Emirates, took first place and the $8,000 prize money in the Second PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament. The team was driven by the program Hydra, which runs on multi-processor speical-purpose hardware. Second was IM Vasik Rajlich, assisted by his own program Rybka. Report and games.

Freestyle tournament: Finals this weekend
03.04.2006 After tiebreak matches the eight qualifiers of the Second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament are ready to battle it out for the $16,000 prize fund. At the faster time controls this time four pure engines made it to the final round. You can come and watch the action at 14:00h CEST on Saturday and Sunday, when the tournament director says: Gentlemen, start your engines.

Freestyle tournament: Vvarkey wins with 7.5/8
24.03.2006 The first leg of the second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, which carries a prize fund of $16,000, was won by an unknown player with the Playchess handle Vvarkey. He scored 7.5 points from 8 games (before the last round his score was 7/7). Six other players qualified for the final behind him. For the final, eighth place there will be a tiebreak tournament tomorrow. Details.

Freestyle tournament: advice from an expert
16.03.2006 Are you one of the over 150 participants that have registered for the second $16,000 PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, starting this weekend? Do you have your computer assistant or your GM advisor booted up and ready to play? For novices in computer assisted play we have some tips and tricks by correspondence chess GM Arno Nickel.

The $16,000 open-to-all chess tournament
28.02.2006 Would you like to play in a grandmaster tournament? From your home and for a substantial prize fund? With a guarantee that you will not disgrace yourself? Then think about joining the second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, where anything goes. Where computer assistance is not forbidden, but is positively encouraged. Full details.

Dark horse ZackS wins Freestyle Chess Tournament
19.06.2005 The computer-assisted PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, staged on, ended with a shock win by two amateurs: Steven Cramton, 1685 USCF and Zackary Stephen, 1398 USCF, using three computers for analysis, defeated teams of strong grandmasters all the way to victory in the finals. We bring you a first flash report with games and results.

Scintillating chess in the PAL-CSS Freestyle tournament
15.06.2005 This unusual event, in which players may use computer assistance during the games, is turning into a milestone experiment. After the main event and the quarter-finals (and with four players left) we can draw first tentative conclusions. One is that the most powerful chess playing entity on the planet is a GM armed with a computer.

Hydra misses the quarter-finals of Freestyle tournament
11.06.2005 It was the shocker of the event: the massive Hydra machines, running on 16 and 32 processors and special FPGA chess hardware were both knocked out in the main section of the Freestyle chess tournament. On the other hand a dark horse named ZackS qualified with consummate ease. Today there will be tie-breaks, tomorrow the quarter-finals. Come and watch...

Eleven qualify for main Freestyle Tournament
31.05.2005 48 players from 20 different countries got together on the Playchess server last weekend to play in the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament. Using computer assistance, which is not forbidden in Freestyle, eleven qualified for the main tournament starting on Friday. There they will have to battle it out with scores of computer-assisted GMs.

The $20,000 free-for-all chess tournament
24.05.2005 Like to play in a grandmaster tournament? From your home and for a substantial prize fund? With a guarantee that you will not disgrace yourself? Then think about joining the first PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, where anything goes. Where computer assistance is not forbidden, it is positively encouraged. Here are all the details.

Freestyle tournament for $20,000
09.05.2005 It's a new kind of chess tournament, with a substantial prize fund. $20,000 in all, $10,000 for the winner. Top grandmaster conditions. But with a difference. In the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the server anyone can play. Even you. And anything goes. Anything! (In fact computer assistance is encouraged). Here are the details.

Anyone – or anything – can play!
07.08.2004 Anything goes in our freestyle tournament on the server this Saturday, August 7th. Participants can use computers, visiting grandmasters, slime beings from other planets – whatever they want. The games start at 15:00h server time (GMT +2), time controls are 7 min + 2 sec/move. Watch the fun...

Freestyle Blitz Tournament August 7
25.07.2004 Winning Internet chess games with the assistance of computers is quite despicable. People who are caught get stripped of rights and privileges. Not so in the August 7th "Freestyle Tournament" on There you can use anything you want to win your games. Details...

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register