Tournament FAQ

Basics of how chess tournaments run.
Will my child be eliminated once they lose a round?

No, in swiss style chess tournaments, contestants play as many rounds as the tournament is setup for, most commonly five.  After each round, the players are ranked and will play somebody with a similar record.

Will my child play students from their school?

In most situations, no.  Scholastic tournaments are typically run with a team block that prevents students from the same school from playing each other.  However, in some situations where there are not enough contestants from different schools or in later rounds when pairing with students from a different school becomes difficult/impossible, contestants will sometimes be paired with other students from their school.

How do tiebreaks work?

It depends on the tournament but most tournaments use the MSCO order of tiebreaks.  You can find more information about that on THIS Wikipedia page.

Can I watch my child play?

Typically, no.  Some tournaments will broadcast the results via a live stream or have a window but in most cases, you will not be able to watch your child play.

How do I know if my child has won a trophy?

It depends on how they do in their final rounds.  Most tournament directors will provide as much information as they reasonably can to let you know if your child is still in contention for a trophy but they just won't know for sure until all rounds are played and the tiebreaks are finalized.

What should students do if they have a problem during a match?

Raise their hand.

In the rare case that there is cheating happening, it is essential that a player raise their hand so a tournament director can come over and rectify the situation.

What does touch/move mean?

The touch-move rule in chess specifies that, if a player intentionally touches a piece on the board when it is his or her turn to move, then he or she must move or capture that piece if it is legal to do so. If it is the player's piece that was touched, it must be moved if it has a legal move. If the opponent's piece was touched, it must be captured if it can be captured with a legal move.

This is a rule of chess that is enforced in all games played in over-the-board competitions. The player claiming a touch-move violation must do so before making a move.

Where can I find the rules of chess?

The USCF has a handy page with the basic rules of chess, including castling and en passant, HERE.