Red Hot Chess Tournaments come in a variety of formats. The three basic types are as follows :
Entrants are paired, and each player plays one game as black and white. The victor advances to the next round. In the event of a draw, both players advance.
Entrants are arranged in groups of 3 or more. Each player in a group plays a game as both black and white against every other player in their group. The winner of each group advances or in the case of a draw, all players on equal points in a group advance.
Each player plays a game as both black and white against every other player.
Any of the above tournaments may be a thematic tournament. The tournament name will indicate which opening is being used, and in addition, the starting position of the board will be displayed on the tournament entry page.
From the tournaments home page, first look at the name of the tournament. This will normally give you a clue as to what type of tournament it is. Otherwise, the table will give you all the answers you need:
The current round of the tournament. Single Grouped tournaments complete in 1 round, where as a Knockout format will have many.
The number of entrants currently signed up to play, or playing if the tournaments has actually started.
A tournament can be either 'Open to new entrants', 'In progress', or 'Finished'. You may only join a tournament when it is open to new entrants, and then only if the maximum number of players has not been reached.
The timeout period in days.
The date the tournament started.
The minimum players required before the tournament can be started.
The maximum number of players that can enter this tournament. Most tournaments will start when at full capacity.
The minimum rating required to enter the tournament. Only your rating when you enter the tournament is important.
The maximum rating you may have to enter the tournament.
The number of players in each group. If the group size is 2, then the tournament is in a Knockout format. If the group size matches the maximum number of entrants, it is a Single Group tournament. Basically, dividing the maximum number of entrants by the group size will indicate the number of groups.
This may either be 'Original' or 'Random'. In a 'Random' tournament players are allocated between groups randomly. In an 'Original' tournament players are distributed by rating between the groups so the best rated players do no meet until later rounds.
Rem. in Rnd.
This indicates the number of games remaining until the round is complete. This figure is updated periodically so may be inaccurate for short periods of time.
When reviewing a tournament, the number of moves are shown if the game has not finished. If the game has been completed, a white pawn indicates a white win and a black pawn a black win. If both are shown, then the game was a draw.
Clicking either the move counts or the pawns will take you to the game history page.
Tournament games are unique on Red Hot Chess because they are subject to automated timeouts. Due to the nature of tournaments, they can take a very long time to complete. so to accelerate the games an automated timeout is run periodically. This will force a timeout if an opponent has decided to not claim the win himself or herself. A 2 day grace period is offered on top of the standard timeout period in which the opponent may claim the win.