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Olympiad Rules

Rules of the 12th Computer Olympiad
Default Tournament Conditions
Backgammon Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Clobber Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Connect6 Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Computational Pool Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Draughts Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Go Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Hex Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
Kriegspiel Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
LOA Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad
OCTI Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

If you have any questions concerning the following rules, write us an e-mail.


  1. Each entry is a computing system and one or more humans who programmed it. At least one of the program developers should attend the Computer Olympiad to operate the program, otherwise the entry fee for the program is doubled.

  2. Each program must be the original work of the entering developers. Programming teams whose code is derived from or including game-playing code written by others must name all other authors, or the source of such code, in their submission details. Programs which are discovered to be close derivatives of others (e.g., by playing nearly all moves the same), may be declared invalid by the Tournament Director after seeking expert advice. For this purpose a listing of all game-related code running on the system must be available on demand to the Tournament Director.

  3. Participants are required to attend an organisational meeting prior to the start of the tournament for the purpose of officially registering for the tournament. Operational rules will be finalized at that meeting.

  4. The format of each tournament and the rate of play will generally be determined by the Tournament Director according to the number of programs entered and any other relevant factors. 

  5. An operator error made when starting a game or in the middle of a game can be corrected only with the approval of the Tournament Director. If an operator enters an incorrect move, the Tournament Director must be notified immediately. Both clocks will be stopped. The game must then be backed up to where the error occurred. Clocks will be corrected to their settings when the error occurred using whatever information is available. Both (all) sides may then adjust their program parameters with the approval of the Tournament Director. The Tournament Director may allow certain program parameters to be changed, e.g., contempt factors.

  6. All monitors must be positioned so that the operator’s activities are clearly visible to the opponent. An operator may only: [a] enter moves, [b] respond to a request from the computer for clock information, and [c] synchronize the computer clock to the normal chess clock. Misuse of this rule will be punished by the Tournament Director. If an operator needs to enter other information, it must be approved ahead of time by the Tournament Director. The operator may not query the system to see if it is alive without the permission of the Tournament Director.

  7. A team must receive permission from the Tournament Director to change from one computing system to another.

  8. Each game must be played using game equipment (e.g., boards, sets and clocks) provided by or approved by the event organisers. At the end of each game or playing session the teams are required to hand in a game listing or similar record to the Tournament Director.

  9. Tie-breaking: (a) if precisely two participants are tied for a medal place, precisely two play-off games under standard conditions are to be played. Should the score be equal, the tie-ranking rule in part (b) decides the winner; (b) whenever two or more teams have an equal number of points, a tie-ranking order is defined as follows. The dominant ranking is by the sum of the opponents’ scores. If there is still a tie, the sum of the respective programs’ cumulative scores after each round (i.e., score after round 1 + score after round 2 + …. + score after last-round) will be used; (c) if three or more participants are tied for a medal place, then the two participants ranked most highly are to be determined by the tie-ranking order in (b). This pair of participants then play off as in (a).

  10. In the event of any rule disputes or changes necessitated by circumstances at the time, the Tournament Director’s decision shall be final.

  11. The entry fees for the Olympiad (exclusive of membership fee of the ICGA for 2007 for at least one person) shall be as follows:
    Amateur: €   25
    Semi-professional:   € 100
    Professional: € 250
    "Amateurs": Programmers who have no commercial interest in their program, and are not professional game programmers. Applications for amateur classification must supply information to justify their claim.
    "Semi-professional": Any program submitted by an employee or associate from a games-programming company. The program's name must not be derived from or similar to a commercial product.
    "Professional": A program whose name is the same as or derived from a commercial product.

    Any entry received after closing date will be subject to a penalty fee, doubling the above fee.

  12. Additional Rule 1

    Any participant is allowed to use any book (opening book) they have permission to use. The same book author is allowed to compete more than once with the same book or a different book.

  13. Additional Rule 2

    Each participant should mention the book author(s) in the list of program authors. The participant is obliged to allow the Tournament Director to inspect the opening book for its contents and origin.

Default Tournament Conditions

The conditions may change for future tournaments at the Computer Olympiad. The following conditions are the same as last year:

  1. The operator is allowed to modify the opening book between rounds. The operator will receive half an hour to do this.
  2. The operator is allowed to make any first move on behalf of the program.

Computational Pool (8-Ball) Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

  1. The play will follow the World Standardized Rules of the Billiard Congress of America).
  2. The table will be of dimensions 4' by 8' (i.e., 1.22 by 2.44 meters), with balls of diameter 2 ΒΌ inch (i.e., 5.72 cm).
  3. A match will be decided by a best-of-x format.
  4. Each program must complete all of its shots within 30 minutes.
  5. The continuous nature of pool makes it inconvenient for a human operator to manually input a current game state (without typing a large number of floating point values). The games will therefore be coordinated through a central computer, using a client-server architecture. Each competing computer will network to the game server using a standardized communication protocol. The protocol will be made available to competitors well in advance of the tournament.
  6. The game server will execute each shot by applying a physics-based simulation. The physics model will be made available to competitors well in advance of the tournament.
For details on the Computational Pool see the website of Michael Greenspan.

Backgammon Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

Each round consists of 15-point matches. The time limit has to be established.

Connect6 Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

Connect6, which can be viewed as a kind of 6-in-a-row game, was introduced by I-Chen Wu and Der-Yann Huang (Wu and Huang, 2005). The rules of Connect6, similar to those in Go-Moku, can be found here.

Clobber Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

The rules for the Clobber tournament are as follows.

  1. The board size is 10x10. The board rows are labelled by 1,2,...,10 and columns by a,b,...,j.
  2. In the initial position, the square a1 is occupied by a black stone and each square is occupied by a black or white stone so that no two neighbouring squares contain stones of the same colour. (Two squares are considered neighbouring if they share a common side).
  3. Players move alternately starting with black.
  4. A player can make a move if he has a stone on a square with a neighbouring square occupied by an opposing stone. The move consists of removing the opponent's stone from the board and replacing it with the player's own one.
  5. The player who can't move, loses.

Draughts Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

The international rules of Draughts used in the Computer Olympiad can be found here.

Go Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad


 The detailed rules can be found here.


Hex Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

Below the specific Hex tournament rules are given. They can also be found in

Hexy wins Hex Tournament. ICGA Journal (2000). Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 181-183
by Vadim Anshelevich.

  1. The board size is 11x11.
  2. The opening program makes the first move as Black.
  3. The responding program has the right to swap. If responding program decides to swap, then the opening program makes the second move as White. Otherwise, the responding program makes the second move as White. This rule means that the black and white roles are assigned to playing programs only after the decision regarding to swap has been made.

Kriegspiel Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

The rules are those applied at Internet Chess Club, where Kriegspiel is also called "Wild 16". Kriegspiel is a chess variant in which you cannot see your opponent's pieces (all other rules of chess remain valid, including draw rules).

You can only see your own pieces, and you have to guess where your opponent's pieces are. When you try to make a move, a referee may tell you that your move is illegal, in which case you should make another move instead.

The referee makes the following announcements where appropriate:

  • "White's move"
  • "Black's move"
  • "Pawn at "square" captured"
  • "Piece at "square" captured"
  • "Rank check"
  • "File check"
  • "Long-diagonal check" (the longer diagonal from the king's point of view)
  • "Short-diagonal check" (e.g. for a king on e1, the short diagonal is e1 to h4)
  • "Knight check"
  • " pawn tries" (number of legal capturing moves using pawns)

  • When you try an illegal move, you are simply told "Illegal move", whether it is moving into check or moving through an enemy piece.
    Your opponent is not told anything when you try an illegal move.
    Kriegspiel games are not adjourned.
    Moves that are typed in must use dumb-computer format, e.g. "e2e4". Input strings such as "nxq" which might be interpreted differently depending on the enemy position are not allowed, with one exception: "px" is allowed, to save you the trouble of trying a dozen possible diagonal pawn moves when you know that precisely one of them is legal. Other acceptable forms include "e2-e4", "o-o", and "f7g8=N". Moves like "Rd3" are not accepted, because there are a few cases where they could be context-dependent.
    Opponent moves show up in the form "?" or "?xf3".
    The game is saved in an expanded PGN format called "Kriegspiel PGN".

    The referee can be either the ICC computer referee, or a human managing a chessboard and a clock and following the same rules of the ICC.

    LOA Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

    At the sixth Computer Olympiad the LOA rules were made immutable for this tournament. They are as stated below in point 1 to 10.

    Warning: in some books, magazines or websites rules 2, 8,9, and 10 can be different from what is specified here! The Olympiad organisation is using the rules, which were used at the MSO World Championship of 2000.

    1. The black pieces are placed in two rows along the top and bottom of the board, while the white pieces are placed in two files at the left and right side of the board.
    2. The players alternately move, starting with Black.
    3. A player to move must move one of its pieces. A move takes place in a straight line (along files, ranks, or diagonals), exactly as many squares as there are pieces of either colour anywhere along the line of movement
    4. A player may jump over its own pieces, but not land on them.
    5. A player may not jump over the opponent's pieces, but can capture them by landing on them.
    6. The goal of a player is to form one connected group with all of its pieces. The first player to do so is the winner. Connected pieces are on squares that are adjacent, either orthogonally or diagonally.
    7. A single piece is a connected group.
    8. If a move simultaneously creates a single connected unit for both players, it is a draw.
    9. If a player cannot move, this player has to pass.
    10. If a position with the same player to move occurs for the third time, the game is drawn.

    OCTI Tournament Rules of the Computer Olympiad

    Competitions will be held for the following OCTI variants:

    I. OCTI on a 6x7 board

    II. OCTI on a 9x9 board, playing to capture all three enemy bases

    For the 9x9 games, basic rules apply (i.e., no wrap-around board, no super-prongs).

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