Tandem Chess in China

9/15/2003 – 4000 students greeted the players of the rapid chess tournament in China, which has a unique format. The participants are divided into four teams of male and female "couples", with each player making two consecutive moves during the games. No consultation is allowed between them. Here are full details and pictures...

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The format of the tournament

There are four teams, each consisting of a male and a female player, with the partners chosen at random. Here are the list of the "couples":

  • Team 1: Zhao Xue/Nigel Short
  • Team 2: Xu Yuhua/Ye Jiangchuan
  • Team 3: Xie Jun/Evgeny Bareev
  • Team 4: Zhu Chen/Yasser Seirawan

The games are played in tandem. Here is an example of the move order in a game: Team 1, consisting of players A and B, is playing against Team 2, consisting of players C and D.

To start the game, A plays the first move, then C plays, then B, then C, then B, then D, then A, then D, then A and another round of such turn begins. Or to put names to the moves:

1. Zhao Xue, Xu Yuhua
2. Nigel Short, Xu Yuhua
3. Nigel Short, Ye Jiangchuan
4. Zhao Xue, Ye Jiangchuan

In summary, after the first move each player makes two consecutive moves for his/her side, then the other player makes two consecutive moves.

If one player makes a move when it is not his/her turn, his/her team receives a warning. If a second mistake is made the team is punished with a loss of two minutes, or half the time left on the clock in case this is less than four minutes. The third wrong move order costs the team the game.

Players are not allowed to talk to their teammates during the game. They are only allowed to remind the teammate whose turn it is.

Here are the results of day one.

Picture gallery

Before the start of the tournament the players visited the Yong Chuan Xuan Hua Middle School. There they met the students – all 4000 of them, gathered together with their teachers on the playground to welcome the players.


When did we last see 4000 students gathered together to welcome chess players?


Evgeny Bareev and Nigel Short speak to the students


Here a schoolgirl shyly approaches to ask Nigel Short a question


Feeling good in China: English GM Nigel Short


Students waiting to get autographs from the great players


The lotus garden, where the players were taken for lunch


Chinese beauty Zhu Chen, posing by the lotus pond


American beauty Yasser Seirawan posing in front of the Great People's Hall of Chongqing

Yin Hao, Chinese Chess Association


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