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1. What is the tournament format/rules?

We will use the Swiss Format. The Swiss is the most common tournament format in the United States. An unlimited number of competitors play a specified number of games—no one is eliminated. Normally, as you continue to win games, you face progressively stronger opposition, leaving those not so successful to play against each other. Toward the end of the event, you will probably find yourself matched against players around your own level.


In Swiss-system events, players are paired with each other according to the following general principles: 1. A player is not paired with any other player more than once.

2. Players with the same score are paired whenever possible.

3. Colors are assigned by the director as fairly as possible. Alternating the colors is the ideal. For the first round, the players are ranked according to their last published official USCF rating. The top player in the upper half of the field is then paired against the top player in the lower half of the field, and so on. The top-ranked player’s color in the first round is normally allocated by lot, and then colors alternate down the halves. In the second round, the director uses the same principles to pair each of the three score groups (those who won, those who drew, and those who lost). These pairing procedures will continue through the rest of the tournament. (source: 


All sections apply the "Touch-move" rule. There are 4 rounds with a time control of G/30, 0 delay, this means each player has 30 minutes for a total of 60 minutes per round.

2. What is the time control in this tournament?

This tournament has a time control of G/30 d0. This allows each player 30 minutes on their clock, so that the maximum amount of time for a game is 60 minutes. If both players have a clock, black chooses which clock to use. If a player is late for a round, the opposing player may start his clock when the TD announces it is time for the round to begin.

When using a clock, the player first moves his chess piece, then pushes his clock with the very same hand that moved the piece, stopping his clock and starting his opponent’s. If neither player brings a chess clock, the tournament director will allow the players to compete and place a clock on their game as the round draws close to the end of the time limit. In the latter case, the clock is then set equally for both players, often with five or ten minutes apiece. 


3. Is recording of moves required?

Recording of moves is required in the ADVANCED, AND CHAMPIONSHIP sections. Scoresheets are available on-site, but some players may find it useful to have their own pencil and scorebook. If one player has 5 minutes or less in the clock, both players are not required to write their moves.

4. Is using a chess clock required?

Yes it is required in the CHAMPIONSHIP SECTION. For the rest of the sections, please be ready that the arbiter will put a clock when the game is taking too long. Please bring a clock if you have one.

5. How does scoring work?

If you win (or receive a full point bye), you receive 1 point. If you lose, you receive 0 point. If you draw, you receive ½ point. Players with identical or similar amounts of points will be paired against each other. Final standings accumulate total points of each player. Trophies will be given to the top 5 scorers in each section based on points and tiebreaks (see below).

6. How are tiebreakers determined?

We use the USCF-approved Median system, which adds up the final scores of the tied players' opponents. In other words, it is the computer software that is approved by USCF that will calculate the tie-breaks. In general, if one's opponents' scores are higher, that means they played stronger opposition, and therefore deserves a higher place on the standings. USCF rating results do not take tiebreaks into consideration.

7. How do I get a USCF membership?

Please visit:

8. Which USCF rating do you use for your tournament?

We use the most recent regular rating.

9. What time should I arrive?

You should arrive on-site between 12:30-12:45 pm. We will start at 1:00 pm.

10. What should I do first when I arrive?

Players should check in with the registration desk or check the master list posted on the walls. Please make sure your name is there with correct section, school affiliation, grade and USCF number. 

11. When and where is the awards ceremony?

Once we calculate the standings and tiebreaks for a section, we will have that section's awards ceremony. The awards ceremony takes place in the auditorium.

12. Are parents, coaches, or innocent bystanders allowed in the playing room?

Before Round 1 starts, everyone is allowed to stay inside the playing room (gymnasium) to take a photo of their kid/s. However, once Round 1 starts, only players, TD (tournament directors), volunteers are allowed in the playing area. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Parents, coaches, bystanders are not allowed in the playing area in all the succeeding rounds. There will be volunteers inside the playing area that will guide kids to their assigned color and board number assignment. 

13. Where can I locate the pairing sheet (color and board assignment)?

Pairings (match-up) will be posted in the hallway (Waiting Area). Players will find out their color and board assignment. 

14. Can I use the restroom while my game is still in progress?

Yes! Please let your opponent know that you will use the restroom. While outside the playing area, players are not allowed to discuss any part of the game to anybody. Players who are using a chess clock are not allowed to pause the clock because of bathroom break.

15. What should I do when my game is finished?

Right after the completion of a game, both players will stay seated and raising their hands quietly to avoid distraction to other players while waiting for the arbiter to approach their assigned board. Once the result has been recorded, both players will walk back to the cafeteria and stay with their parents while waiting for the next round. 

16. What should I do when something is wrong (player/s are distracting, touched move rule, etc. )?

The player must call the attention of the TD (tournament director) immediately if there is any problem or disagreement between players by raising his/her hands. Please wait patiently for the TD and avoid making unnecessary noises. Inform the arbiter your concern/complaint. The moment the game is finished and both players left the board, there will be no additional discussion that will be entertained concerning the result. TDs are not perfect; but they will try to understand and solve the issues fairly.

17. Is food/drink allowed inside the tournament/playing room?

Bottled water (soda and juice are NOT ALLOWED) is allowed in the tournament room. Snacks or meals at the board are not allowed because of possible distraction to players and the tournament room can be unsanitary.

18. What is a BYE?

If there is an odd number of players in a section, every round, the player with the lowest amount of points will receive a 1-point bye for that round. Byes are never rated, but they may affect the pairings, standings, and prizes. Requested bye will receive ½ a point.

19. What if I want to withdraw from the tournament?

If you decide to withdraw from the tournament, then you must inform the Chief TD before leaving the tournament site.  Because your failure to inform the Chief TD of your withdrawal will render the next round of pairings inaccurate. 

20. What should I bring?

It is recommended to bring your own bottled water, lunch, and snacks. Please also bring your own pencil/s. Foods that contain nuts and tree nut products are not allowed.

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