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Top 10 Things a Scholastic Chess Player Should Know

By Laura Doman

The new school year kicks off a new scholastic chess year, with tournaments for kids to play as individuals and as members of their school chess teams. The “veterans” who compete year after year are very familiar with tournament rules and protocol, but most kids – and their parents – aren’t quite sure what to expect. So, as the QuickStart! and Grade Level tournaments get underway in October and November, respectively, here is the list – in no particular order – of the top ten things that everyone should know:

1. Players should arrive 45 minutes before the first round is scheduled to begin. Your first stop should be at the Chess Control table to check the player’s registration information (and requested byes, if any). Tell the volunteer at Chess Control immediately of any changes or errors. Our volunteers (called Ambassadors) are on hand to answer questions or help resolve any problems that may arise, and will be circulating around the tournament venue throughout the day.

2. Pairings will be posted as quickly as possible either on georgiachess.org or paper postings in various locations including inside the tournament hall. If you use Twitter, follow us @GeorgiaChess for the earliest notices and links to online pairings, standings, and tournament results.

3. Players are to be in their seats in the tournament hall for announcements 20 minutes before the first round begins. For the remaining rounds, players should be seated five minutes before a round is scheduled to begin. No food is to be brought into the tournament hall.

4. Every player who knows how to write down a game should have a chess notepad and pencil or pen with him/her during each round.  (Players in grades 4 or higher are required to notate for rated tournaments.) If a player has a clock and knows how to use it, the clock should be brought in, too. If a clock is available and one player wants to use it, the clock will be used even if the other player does not want to use the clock.

5. Each player needs to fill in the result slip found at the board, writing his/her name as playing Black or White – and make sure that it is done correctly! Parents of young children:  please double check the slip! This slip is our record of the game and is very important, especially if a dispute arises!

6. No talking or noise-making during the chess game.

This list will be available as a handout at the QuickStart! tournament on October 5 and other major tournaments of the year. Please review with your child(ren) before the
first round begins, so that they understand what to expect during their chess day. Thank you! It will help the tournament coordinators manage a timely, well-run tournament and facilitate getting everyone home that much sooner when it is all over.

7. Players are wise to use the restrooms before coming into the tournament hall. Kids, if you need to go to the restroom during a game, you may get up and go without asking a Tournament Director (TD). (The TDs are the adults in the tournament hall wearing red Georgia Chess Association (GCA) vests. Their job is to help with any questions and make sure that the tournament runs smoothly and on time.) If you are on a clock, the clock will be running while you are away from the board.

8. If there is a question or a dispute during a game, raise your hand and wait for a TD to come over and help you. If using a clock, pause the clock while waiting for the TD.

9. When the game is over both players should raise their hands to signal a TD to come over. The TD will ask both kids who won, who lost, or if there was a draw.  Kids, make sure that the TD records the score accurately on the paper and do not leave until the TD says it’s OK to do so. Parents should check the child’s score on the pairing sheet each round and report any inconsistencies to Chess Control.

10. After the game is over, the kids should return to the Skittles area where the parents and coaches will be waiting for them.

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