If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I personally use Linux – exclusively. That said, I recently became a certified club level Tournament Director (TD) for the US Chess Federation. One problem that I noticed was that all the software for running tournaments fell into two categories: Online and Windows.

Of course, I didn’t want to use Windows. Not just because it is so terrible, but then I would need another computer just for the purpose of being a TD. That means extra funds for another laptop, or limiting one laptop just for the purpose of being a TD. It also means extra headaches to keep that laptop up to date for hardware and software. Further, none of the Windows software for being a Tournament Director are free, and every time they update their version of the software, you have to shell out more money for the latest version, or pay licensing fees. All of them are really expensive! Being a chess TD is a side hobby, and I’d like to keep the costs down.

Typical Windows TD software would include WinTD and SwissSys. Both of them (at the time of this post) cost about $100 for the latest version with a $40+ upgrade option if you had a previous version.

Online options seem to have some merit. For one, you don’t have to keep any software or hardware up to date. They take care of that, and you just have to log in. Some of them also have really neat features, like the ability to directly pull player information, and the ability to submit your results for you. One major problem in Alaska, though, is internet connectivity. Often in Alaska, you can end up places where there is no viable internet, or it is inconvenient at best. Not every venue offers free WiFi, and sometimes cell phones just don’t work.

Another problem with online software are the subscription fees. Some notable examples are Chessmanager and Caissa. Unfortunately, both of these have a yearly subscription cost ranging from $60 to $90 per year. I can understand that, because they need to make money to continue funding their employees and website. However, this becomes a rather expensive tool when you are running tournaments for free.

Perhaps these expenses are justifiable if you are a TD who makes money being a TD. There are some directors who do this full time. For every event they take a cut of the entry fee, and this pays for their time and toys. It is possible that I could do something like that someday, but at the moment, being a TD is a hobby, and I don’t charge money to host events. Even if I did charge money for my services, it would take a while to build up enough events and players to cover the costs.

So, I needed a cheaper solution, and I really was hoping for a Linux solution.

Thus entered Vega chess! Vega chess (https://www.vegachess.com) is the only TD software that I found which was cross platform and works natively on Linux. I had several questions about using the software, since I wanted to make sure that it worked properly in regards to the results files that are generated, but I am happy to report that I was able to use Vega version 10.0 and submit my rated reports from the program to the USCF!

I would like to note, that the WIndows and Mac version of Vega chess are only free for limited use, and you need to pay the registration fee for full access (even then, their prices are much cheaper than WinTD and SwissSys). However, the Linux version is completely free, with unlimited access, which is really great! It has the option to create tournaments using the USCF Swiss rules, and it can generate multi-section USCF rating reports! At this time, the rating reports are the version 1 rating reports, which are still acceptable for turn in to the USCF, which takes version 1 or the more modern version 2 reports.

If you are a Linux user who need chess tournament software, then I’d suggest taking a look at Vega chess, it works great for me.

Linux – keep it simple.

One Reply to “US Chess Federation Tournament Software for Linux?”

  1. What a delightful combination of nerdiness: chess and libre software! I like chess but I never play, and I’m horrible at it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *