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Chess tournaments for Senior players: simple introduction

For more detailed information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar and our Seniors news pages which are ypdated regularly.


This is our Seniors introductory page, chiefly intended for readers who are new to chess competition for the over-50s.

Our Seniors pages have been praised as "a great resource" by Icelandic grandmaster Johann Hjartarson, in conversation with one of the Irish players at the recent World Team Championships (with permission to quote him).

Prior to 2014 most senior tournaments were for players aged 60 or over but FIDE then replaced that age limit with two age categories: 50+ and 65+.

If you were born in the year 1973 then you are eligible for 50+ tournaments played this year, and if you were born in 1958 you are eligible for this year's 65+ championships. Each January 1st the qualifying date changes by one year. For full details of qualifying dates, see further on.

FIDE organises four international championships for senior players annually - two World events (individual and team in various categories) and two European events which are under the auspices of the ECU. Many countries now also organise national championships for seniors.

All four FIDE competitions were held in 2022, for the first time in three years because of cancellations caused by the Covid pandemic.

The European Senior individual and team championships for this year were both held during the summer and the 2023 World Senior Teams event ended on 28th September, in Struga, a town beside picturesque Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia, in late September.

Our reports can be found now on a dedicated page. See our news page for regular updates on other events recent or upcoming.

After two changes of venue, the 2023 World Senior Individual Championships will take place in Sicily, in late October and early November. The venues and dates for the four events in 2024 are also firming up but those for the World events are only provisional.

Regulations for many upcoming senior tournaments can be downloaded from our calendar page (PDF files in English, where available, or else in German).

If you are more interested in a good holiday than the competitive aspect and FIDE rating points, you might consider such events as the ACO tournaments (held on Greek islands). Or if you have friends or family members too young to play senior events, then you might prefer one of the senior events held alongside open tournaments.

All FIDE senior events (and most others) are organised in two age categories, based on your age at 31 December in the year concerned. Many national and independent organisers (at least outside Germany) follow the same eligibility rules.

For tournaments to be played during 2023 the qualifying dates for the two FIDE age groups are 31 December 1973 (for the 50+ Open and Women's tournaments) and 31 December 1958 for the 65+ championships. For tournaments in 2024 the qualifying dates will be twelve months earlier.

In other words, if you reach your 50th birthday any time this year you are eligible for 50+ events run on FIDE age rules without waiting for your actual birthday. If your 65th birthday has already occurred or will be not later than 31 December 2023 then you can play 65+ tournaments (or indeed 50+ tournaments if you wish).

We are pleased to see that some tournaments now offer 75+ prizes for which the qualifying year is of course ten years earlier than for the 65+.

There will be one tournament specifically for 75+ players in Germany in November (at a town near Frankfurt/Main). Another will be held next March at Wesel-Undeloh on the scenic Luneburg Heath south of Hamburg. We should like to see more like this.

A few senior tournaments (especially in Austria and Germany) are still run on the 60+ age group rule (sometimes 45+ and 55+ for women) or have idiosyncratic age rules as the listings in our calendar shows.

This introductory page is only updated when there are significant changes. Our Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages are usually updated weekly, so please check them regularly for updates.