Established over seven hundred years ago, the Triwizard Tournament is a competition held between the three largest European wizarding Schools - Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. A champion is selected to represent each school, and they compete in three magical tasks. The tournament is generally agreed to be an excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities.
At the Sorting Ceremony, Professor Dumbledore announces that Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament during the school year.
The Triwizard Tournament was traditionally held every five years, with the schools taking it in turn to host the competition. The winner of the tournament is given a thousand Galleons as personal prize money, and their school is presented with the Triwizard Cup. The Tournament was discontinued over a century before, after the death toll mounted too high. There have been several attempts to reinstate the Tournament, none of which have been particularly successful.
The Departments of International Magical Co-operation and Magical Games and Sports have instigated this latest attempt, and they have worked hard to ensure that no champion will find themself in mortal danger. Dumbledore tells the students that, given the Tournament tasks will still be difficult and dangerous, the Heads of the participating schools and the Ministry of Magic have agreed to impose an age restriction on the potential contenders this year - only students who are seventeen years or older will be allowed to put their names forward for consideration. Dumbledore will personally be ensuring that no underage student is able to hoodwink the impartial judge into making them the Hogwarts champion.
The Tournament will begin in October, when the delegation from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are due to arrive, and will last for the greater part of the school year.
According to Hogwarts: A History, the three tasks in the Triwizard Tournament are marked by a panel of judges. The Heads of the participating schools are always on the panel; during the Tournament of 1792 all three of them were injured when a cockatrice the champions were supposed to be catching went on the rampage.
The Triwizard champions are chosen by the Goblet of Fire. Prospective champions have twenty-four hours from the time the Goblet is activated to place their names in the Goblet, whereupon it will return the names of the three students it judges most worthy to represent their schools. An Age Line is to be placed around the Goblet to prevent underage students from attempting to enter.
Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the Tournament through to the end. Placing your name in the Goblet of Fire constitutes a binding, magical contract and there can be no change of heart once chosen.
The date of the first task of the Tournament is revealed to the four champions on the same day they are chosen. The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the Tournament, and are allowed only their wands to aid them during the task. The champions will receive information about the second task of the Tournament only after they have completed the first.
Due to the time-consuming nature of the Tournament, the champions are exempted from their end-of-year exams.
The Yule Ball is a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament. It is held on Christmas Day, and is open to students in the fourth year and above. Traditionally, the ball is opened by the champions and their partners.
After the scores for the second task are awarded, Ludo Bagman reveals that the third and final task will take place at dusk on the twenty-fourth of June. The champions are to be notified of what is coming precisely one month beforehand.