Editor: Dr Tim Harding
© Dr Tim Harding
2 June 2023
For more information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar and our Seniors news page.
This is our Seniors introductory page, chiefly intended for readers who are new to chess competition for the over-50s.
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 have now become eligible for 50+ tournaments played this year, and if you were born in 1958 you are now eligible for this year's 65+ championships. 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. In 2020, because of the Covid pandemic, the World Senior Team Championships had to be halted after seven rounds and the other three events were cancelled. In 2021 the World events could not be held but the European Chess Union succeeded in finding replacement organisers for its events after the original Polish venues became impossible.
The 2023 World Senior Individual Championships will not after all be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It has just been announced that they will take place in Sicily, in late October and early November. See our news page for details.
The World Senior Teams event has been awarded to North Macedonia.
The European Senior individual championships conclude tomorrow. The European Senior Team Championships will be held in Poland during July.
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, such as Olomouc (August).
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.
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). 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.