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What is the USCF and why do I need an ID?

The USCF is The United States Chess Federation. Membership in the USCF allows the chess player to participate in our National Rating System . A USCF membership is necessary to play in most tournaments in the US.

What is a bye?

A “bye” is simply a request for a player to miss a round without being withdrawn from the tournament. For most local tournaments, one 1/2 pt. bye is available for any round that you must miss, if requested before the start of round 2. Additional byes will be at 0- pts. Some multiple-day tournaments will allow additional 1/2 point byes.

What do I do if I can't come to the tournament?

If you have registered for a tournament and cannot attend, it is very important to contact the organizer asap. Often, if the withdrawal is made early enough, a full or partial refund may be obtained. When you register and complete payment, the organizer takes it as a sign of your attendance and will pair your chess player into the tournament. Not showing up will leave your intended opponent sitting at the board - waiting. The same goes for leaving a tournament early. Always notify the computer room before you leave!

What if I show up late for a round?

If you know in advance that you will be late, simply request a bye for the round you might miss. For most scholastic tournaments, any player missing an opponent at the start in round 1 will be repaired asap. In subsequent rounds, the missing player has an hour or his personal 'full playing' time to arrive, whichever is shorter. (E.g. In a G/30 tournament the opponent would be required to wait for 30 minutes.) In our local tournaments, an effort to contact the missing player will be made. We want everyone to get a game each round! However, if a player makes this behavior a habit, that player will not be allowed to register for future events.

How long does the tournament last?

Our local scholastic tournaments are all day events. Please plan to arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before round 1 begins, and stay thru the awards ceremony. Five rounds of G/30 typically takes 6 to 7 hours.

In many of our smaller local events, the rounds are schedule on an 'as soon as possible' basis. In this case, and round schedule posted is APPROXIMATE. If a game requires TD intervention or perhaps runs long, or we have technical difficulties with computer or printer, the schedule might run late. If the games finish more quickly than anticipated, we might run ahead of schedule.

Regardless, please know we will encourage the schedule to progress as quickly as is humanly possible, but only in as much as it benefits the chess players.

Do parents have to stay? Who is responsible for the players?

We have a limited staff of at each tournament. The organizers and TD's will be responsible for the players while they are playing their rounds in within the tournament hall. However, once the player leaves the playing hall, parents and coaches must take over that responsibility. Parents and/or coaches, please provide age- appropriate activities during the time between rounds. You are responsible for your players between games! If it is discovered that a child has been left unattended and no responsible party has remained on-site, that child will be withdrawn from the tournament and the parents contacted for immediate pick-up.

Parents, another reason to be onsite involves your child's emotional well-being. Occasionally losses are very traumatic. If you are available for your child immediately after a tough loss, recovery time is much quicker. "We can't win them all" is a difficult concept for kids!

What is a Swiss System?

A Swiss System is simply a chess tournament pairing system which allows players to play all rounds regardless of whether they are winning or losing. No one is 'eliminated' because of a loss. Instead, players will be paired based upon how well they are are doing in the tournament. Barring unusual circumstances, a player with x points, however obtained, would play another player with the same number of points.

What is notation?

Chess notation is simply a form of shorthand for writing down the moves of a chess game. In order to improve in chess, it is important to be able to review games. This is a great way of accessing previously played games. In addition, completed notation is required to enforce many chess rules. Algebraic notation is standard in the US. There are many online resources available for learning notation. ALL players are highly encouraged to take notations, and it is a requirement in many tournament sections. Bring two sharpened pencils and a notation book if possible.

Can I watch the chess games?

In general, during local scholastic events parents and coaches are required to stay out of the room where the children are playing while the games are in progress. Feel free to escort your child into the playhall, but do leave quietly when requested to do so. Keeping adults out of the playing hall helps the chess players to focus on their games and keeps parents from trying to 'help' out of enthusiasm - or despair.

What are tie-breaks?

In any chess tournament, more than one player can end up with the same score. In the case of tournaments with money-prizes, the prize money is divided evenly between participants who have tied. Trophies cannot be divided. Therefore, we use various tie-break systems to determine places, though all players in that grouping can rightfully say they tied for x-place.Tie-break systems used locally include: MMed, Solk, Cum, & CumOp.

How do I check for the results/ratings after the tournament?

The results should be submitted to USCF to be rated at the end of the day.  The updated ratings should available the following day.  Under rare circumstances, the updated ratings are not available for a few days.
You can check the new ratings using one of the below two ways:

USCF website:

- From the left pane, click on Players & Ratings
- Enter the USCF ID or name

AustinKidsChessClub website:

- Select USCF Cross Tables from the left pane
- Select the Cross Table associated with the tournament

The results will be updated on USCF website before being reflected on our website.