Tournament Guidelines and Rules

We believe it is important to provide a positive environment for students to feel encouraged and supported as they explore the world of chess and chess competition. Though not exhaustive, the following guidelines and rules should help students, parents, coaches, and tournament directors communicate these commitments clearly. As the tournament is an officially rated United States Chess Federation (USCF) event there are certain rules governing play that must be followed. TD discretion may be used for special circumstances in order to maintain an overall positive (though not necessarily happy) experience for all players.

Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Tournament Directors may use their discretion and may consult with other TDs on how to address suspected cheating.

Player Responsibilities:

    • Shake hands before and after every game.

    • No food or drinks at the board.

    • If you must leave the tournament room to use the restroom do not interact with any spectators.

    • Write the moves down. If either player has less than 5 minutes on their clock then you are allowed to stop writing down moves. (This is optional in K-3. K-6 may take a 10 minute penalty if they choose to not write down moves.)

    • When a clock is used, the same hand that touches the clock must be the same hand that moves the piece.

    • Touch move - if a player touches a piece, they must move that piece.

    • No talking during the game except to offer a draw. You are not required nor should you say "check" to your opponent. Move pieces quietly and do not "slap" the clock. Distracting players will be warned and may forfeit game if behavior continues.

    • Silence all cell phones!

    • Raise your hand if there are questions or disagreements during a game (you may pause the clock if appropriate).

    • Have a TD sign the game result slip after the game ends. Both players should walk together to turn in the signed result slip.

    • Once your game ends you become a spectator and must leave the tournament room.

    • Wait for the next round to be posted. Do not bug the TDs about when the next round will be posted.

    • Have fun! Enjoy the journey - you have a lot of chess ahead of you!

Parent Responsibilities:

    • If, for any reason, your registered child cannot attend the tournament contact the Scholastic Coordinator, Michael McCreary, at or, if on the day of the tournament, call 805-441-7210.

    • Arrive to the tournament early and confirm your child is registered and in the correct section.

    • Make sure tournament directors are aware of any byes you will be taking, if any.

    • Help your child find which board and color they will be playing - pairings will be posted approximately 10 minutes before each round start time.

    • Make sure child has silenced their cell phone.

    • Make sure you child knows where you will be waiting for them after they finish their game.

    • Do not distract players after the round has started.

    • Bring appropriate clothing and sunscreen for between rounds. Bring appropriate play equipment. Though tables and benches are available you may want to bring a comfortable beach chair.

    • Be supportive of Tournament Directors - we don't know all the answers and we may make mistakes but we all want kids to enjoy the journey of chess and chess competition.

    • Support local scholastic chess by buying food and chess equipment at the tournament.

Tournament Director Responsibilities:

    • Help guide players before each round, confirm players are at correct table playing the correct color.

    • Make sure players have sharpened pencils and scoresheets.

    • Maintain guidelines and rules established by United States Chess Federation for scholastic tournament play.

    • Keep moving in assigned section to address any issues or concerns that come up. Younger players may need more observation and intervention.

    • Consult with other TDs to confirm rulings.

    • Be unbiased in any decisions requiring intervention.