Frequently Asked Questions


Passes and Memberships

The Basic Membership is beneficial to players who register for multiple events at a same time or play up. The cost of the basic membership Is $60 per year.
The membership gives you 25% discount of entry fees and play-up fees. The play-up fee information can be found here.
The Gold Pass is a $480 to $720 value as it allows you to play in up to $720 of tournaments without cash prizes or $480 per year of tournaments with cash prizes. The cost of the BayAreaChess Gold Pass is $365 for thirteen months. You may renew your gold (annual) pass if it runs out in the first year. Please note that you can't double dip by using both economy option and gold (annual) pass for the same entry. You must choose one discount. There is no limit on how much you spend each month and the pass for is valid for any tournament that Bay Area Chess organizes for running 12 months from the date of purchase. If you play in at least one BayAreaChess tournament or more every month, the Gold Pass pays off.
Note 1: Change from $540 to $480 effective January 1, 2012.
Note 2: No further discounts may be combined with this substantial discount.
Note 3: Play-up fee is discounted but not eliminated for Gold Pass members.
You can get credit for any tournament if you buy the pass on the same day. However, the pass gives a huge discount based on future commitment and can not factor in the past.
When we started the Gold pass, we were running quads and each section of Swiss generally once a month and by nature the tournament attendance was restructed to one location once a month. Lately, we have started running more tournaments and at different places. This includes additional tournaments are placed to fill voids in the CalChess calendar, quads in the Peninsula, and coming soon Swiss in the Peninsula. More options means more convenience for you and others. I believe the change is a good change and gives people more options. Now, if you are out for the summer or winter, you can use continue to register for each month and play twice as many tournaments when you are back. Or, if you have to miss one tournament, you can register for another.
The Gold Pass is a better value since you may decide that your kids prefer Quads or prefer Swiss and register them accordingly. Overall, the changes have been good and will get even better. We are already running tournaments 1-2 times a month and soon it will be 2-3 times. If we were to keep unlimited entries, we won't be able to offer more options and still be able to keep up with all the expenses in a tough economy with fewer entries in every tournament. I hope you will understand that you are part of the BayAreaChess community and if you have a better solution, I am willing to discuss it. This is a "labor of love" and giving the best facilities and experience for least expense.
The current discount structure is as follows... Members get double discounts.
Number of tournaments Regular Discount BayAreaChess Members & After-School Enrichment Students Discount
2 $2 $4
3 $5 $10
4 $9 $18
5 $14 $28
6 $20 $40
7 $27 $54

A copy is available at However, please go to for the latest updates.


In general, the Swiss, Quads (rated & unrated), and other tournaments for u1400 players everyone with a winning record (more wins than losses) is awarded a trophy. This emphasizes our philosophy that the true competition is with yourself.
However, we do recognize different levels of achievement. In the Swiss tournament, the top five players in each section get special trophies (if they have a winning record) and in the Quads (4-player round-robin), the winner gets a taller trophy than others. Sometimes the quads results produce 75% of the players getting a trophy.
Yes that is correct. Super Swiss is for more advanced players, generally USCF rating of over 1200. The entry fee for these events is also higher.


If you have don't have a myBayAreaChess account, please sign up at
Once you have an account, please login at and click on the tournament/event of your choice. When done, please checkout using Google Checkout.
If you are part of myBayAreaChess community, credit/refund is usually not be a problem. Usually, if your plans change for any reason and you inform us at least 24 hours ahead of time, we credit 90% of the fees (deducting 10% for extra administrative work and bank charges).
We don't advertise it much because we don't want people to register to "hold a place" if they are not serious.
In cases of emergency, we can relax the 24 hours requirement. However, you must tell us at the earliest reasonable time before the tournament.
We staff and rent facilities for after school programs based on enrollment so the refund and pro-rated fee structure varies and can be usually on the enrollment form.

Note: Some of the National, State, and Special events have a $20 refund fee (or no refund after a certain date).

Apology: We regret having this policy but it is necessary because when we did not have that we used to get too many late changes requests. That made it difficult to estimate attendance for planning and distracted staff from organizing the details.

We will move the unplayed event to a different date, provided that we are given at least a 12 hours notice. So please plan well. Or you could register for one event only, and register and pay later onsite if your sons decide to play Quads as well.
They could play in the unrated games, but then their performance will not be used to update their ratings. if you want to do that, please let us know in advance, so we could register them correctly.
There is no limit… A few players play the Swiss in daytime and Quads in the evening.
Yes. If you register for more than one tournament there is no late fee otherwise, there is a late fee. It is best to register onsite if you are unsure but we don't want long lines. For recurring events, sometimes you can avoid late fees by registering for more than one tournament in the series.
a. Please login at . (If you do not have a myBayAreaChess, please click on Need to Sign-up? link).
b. Then click on "1-Day Tournaments" and register at
a. Please login at (If you do not have a myBayAreaChess, please click on Need to Sign-up? link).
b. Then click on "2-Day Tournaments" and register at
a. Please login at (If you do not have a myBayAreaChess, please click on Need to Sign-up? link).
b. Then click on "Special Events" and register at the that page.
a. Please login at (If you do not have a myBayAreaChess, please click on Need to Sign-up? link).
b. Then click on "Apply Now" button next to "BayAreaChess Memberships & US Chess Memberships."
USCF Membership is required for rated tournaments because USCF maintains the record for all rated tournaments. Your money goes towards maintaining the record for your and/or your child(ren)'s rating records. USCF also maintains a websites and publishes a paper and online magazine.
If we did not charge rating fees we will not be able to predict attendance and plan the space and staff for the events. We prefer that you save your money and help us run better events by registering early.

Tournament Questions & Recommendations

Absolute beginners who are just planning to try out a tournament should consider "Unrated Beginner Quads." To register for "Unrated Beginner Quads," you may select either one of the options below:
a. Paper/Mail Registration - Please download a form from here, fill it out and mail with check payment.
b. Online Registration - Please login and select 'Click to register" for BayAreaChess 1-Day Tournament(s). Then, check "Unrated Beginner Quads" and register.
You should consider "Swiss> new + under 1400" or "Kids Quads." To register for you may select either one of the options below:
a. Paper/Mail Registration - Please download a form from here, fill it out and mail with check payment. b. Online Registration - Please login and select 'Click to register" for BayAreaChess 1-Day Tournament(s). Then, check and register for your choice..
You should consider "$uper$wiss (1400+)". This tournament offers cash prizes. To register for you may select either one of the options below:
a. Paper/Mail Registration - Please download a form from here, fill it out and mail with check payment.
b. Online Registration - Please login and select 'Click to register" for BayAreaChess 1-Day Tournament(s). Then, check and register for your choice..
In Swiss, players usually play four or five rounds with other players in their section. Generally a player is paired with another player with equal or almost equal points in each round. In BayAreaChess tournaments, we give trophies to all players with a winning record (more wins than losses) and all participants received a prize.
However, most tournaments are not quite as liberal with trophies and prizes. :) Note: The first round pairings are determined by taking all the players in a section and dividing them in half by rating. This means that the top rated players play the lower ranked. For example, if there are 50 players in the section, player one meets number 26 in round one. It is expected that the top rated players will win, however there is no guarantee and lower rated players and unrated often pull of upsets and gain a lot of points.
In Quads players are placed at a table with three other players close to their rating (and/or age in some cases). I usually avoid placing players from the same school or club in the same Quad. Competitors only play each individual at the table one game--for a total of three games. In Bay Area Chess Quads, everyone with a winning record gets a trophy. Two or three trophy winners in each Quad are most common. In our Quads all those who do not win a trophy will obtain a chess medal or prize.
I recommend Swiss over Quads for beginners if they lose they will get easier opponents and vice versa. That way hopefully they will get a chance to play others at their level after a few games.
Whenever $uper$wiss is scheduled (according to the calendar), use the following information to decide if you want to play SuperSwiss or not...
1. The main differences are:
a. $uper$wiss is offered 4-8 times a year and only for players with ratings over 1000.
b. Swiss has no cash prizes but $uper$wiss has (about $1000 in cash prizes based on about 44 entries)..
c. There is an $10-20 difference in entry fees (to fund the cash prizes).
e. Players over 1400
    i. May play in $uper$wiss but may not play in Swiss
    ii. There are two sections: Open (1700+) and Reserve (u1700)
    iii. Players under 1700 can play in the open section with $10 play up fee
f. Players under 1400
    i. May play in Swiss or $uperSwiss
    ii. If your rating is under 1100, you may play in the Reserve section without any play-up fee. However, please be prepared for very tough games with higher rated players. Usually play in Swiss
The current rating for any player can be found in their USCF record. For example, see Gata Kamsky's current rating. On the third Friday of every month the USCF captures a snapshot of every player's rating to publish it in the next month's supplement. For example, the December 2012 supplement rating is the rating as of Friday November 16, 2012. You may see Gata Kamsky's rating supplement history. The current month's supplement rating can also be found in the general information for a player. (Note: The cutoff used to be first Friday until November 2012 supplement).
In a Swiss tournament, if you want to play in a section higher than your rating used in the tournament, then you request to "play up.: Unless you are a BayAreaChess Basic Member or an Gold holder, you need to pay a "play up" fee. The play-up fee can range from $10 in most one-day tournaments to $20 in multiple day (long time control) tournaments.
The main reason for assessing the play-up fee that the regular players in a section don't like to play too many players at lower rating level. So, assessing a small play-up fee keeps limits, albeit artificially, the number of players playing up in a higher section. A secondary reason is that it helps BayAreaChess establish a petty cash fund for small expenses or give a small gift to the volunteers.
You will be entered in the 1400-1599 section naturally. You may play up in the 1600-1799 section. Since your current rating is 1615, you can also make a request for double play up in the 1800-1999 section (and I will likely approve the request). I will not approve a request to play in the 2000-2199 section since your rating is about two full sections away from the cut-off of 2000.
Players who play-up do so because they and their coaches believe that it will boost their ratings and improve their game. I (Salman) believe that playing on one's natural section and playing to win can be equally good for one's game, mental conditioning, and life lessons. However, playing up does boost ratings ethically and does teach you how to face tough competition. If your current rating is or has been more than 100 higher than the cutoff for two sections then I would advise and perhaps force you to play in the higher section even if your supplement rating would place you in the lower section. This is to avoid sandbagging allegations.
Time Control or how much time each player has to finish a game? A player may win a game by correctly claiming during a game that his/her opponent has run out of time. "G/30" (also known as action chess) means each player has 30 minutes for the game, so an entire game will last one hour or less; this is the most common time control for scholastic events. Similarly "G/60" means that each play has 60 minutes to complete the game. Advanced players like to play longer time controls such as "30/90 SD/60"or "30/90 G/60", which means that a player must make 30 moves in the first 90 minutes, and then the player receives 60 more minutes to complete the remaining game.
No, you may register without a coach and in fact most players do not have a coach accompany them to a chess tournament.
Clocks may be used from the start of a game if either player as a clock or during a game if the game is running late. Most beginner games do not run late. Each player gets a certain time to complete the game. A player may win a game by correctly claiming during a game that his/her opponent has run out of time. "G/30" (also known as action chess) means each player has 30 minutes for the game, so an entire game will last one hour or less; this is the most common time control for scholastic events.
We will automatically place new players in a beginner group. If a new player has not received any training, we suggest non-rated quads for kids. If a new player knows chess very well, please let us know and we can place him/her higher.
There are breaks and they vary depending on when one's game finished relative to others and/or the allocated time. Kids tournament usually provide 5-30 minutes break between games. Adult/Regular tournaments usually provide at least 30-60 minutes break between games.
In kids tournaments, the spectators and parents generally have to wait outside the playing room to prevent distractions for the kids. Adult/regular tournaments usually allow spectators unless they are disturbing any player.
This varies from from 20 to 1,000. See our expectations at advance entries for the tournament at .
a. Is half-point allowed in the tournament , if we have only 4 players and someone wants to take a bye in any of the rounds?
Yes, you can skip a game... Instead of 1/2 point the alternate (reserve/sub) plays that round. You can register with 5 players (only top 4 rated player in any round unless one of them is unavailable for that round). You can add an alternate (reserve/sub) at any time before the first round starts.
b. How is the board order determined?
Based on the ratings used. For example, the USATW 2012 uses the January 2012 supplement. In case one of the top 4 players is missing, everyone slides up one spot to fill the vacancy. Unrated players are considered to have a rating of 0 for board order unless assigned a rating by a TD.
c. May I register as an individual?
1. You may register as an individual or as a team. If you regsiter as an individual, don't worry, we will help find suitable teammates for you.
d. How are prizes determined in USATW tournament?
For prizes information and other details, please read for scholastic prizes and for regular prizes.
e. May I play-up in a team tournament?
There are no sections in this Team tournament (or most team tournaments). However, players play based on their ratings in a board order. The highest rated on board 1 and lowest on board. The equivalent of playing up would be to be the highest rated on your TEAM. There are other tournaments with play-up option (See Championship Series at and Best of West Class at

Tournament Scoring

If two or more players are from the same school or train at the same school, they are automatically registered for the team. The top scores (usually a maximum of 3) count towards team total.
All games are individual games. The scores of 2 or more players from the same team are added to rank the team.
Yes! Players may play for their sibling's or child's school.
Yes, it does. We submit our tournament results electronically and most tournaments are rated the same day or by next morning.
The regional and state tournaments are open so there are no qualifiers. However, most BayAreaChess players compete at the Regional and the States. A few BayAreaChess players also compete in the Nationals.
On the flip side, players play several BayAreaChess tournaments to get practice and build match temperament for the States as well.
BayAreaChess organizes the States for CalChess. You can find more information about the States here.
We will calculate all prizes from the "based on" or the "guarantee," whichever is higher. We will then pay out based on how players entered (regular or economy entry). Regular entries will get 100% of their calculated prize. Economy entry prize winners were willing receive 50% or 66% of the calculated prize instead of the full prize and pay a lower entry fee.
If you are an "economy" entry, you will find "-e" next to your name in the pairing chart. If you do not want an "-e" entry, you must request a switch in writing before you make your first move in the tournament.
Bay Area Chess is on of the fastest organizers to rate tournaments. We submit the tournaments for rating as soon as possible sometimes the day of the tournament. You may find out the links to rating reports (and standings) at results. You may also go directly to USCF Member Services Area and search for your ratings page here.
A player wins if he/she checkmates his/her opponent, his/her opponent resigns, or his opponent runs out of time.
In kids tournament, players get trophy for winning a certain place or having a winning record. If they do not get e trophy, they get a medal. Adult/Regular tournament generally have cash prizes.
Normal rules of playing except touch move is often new to some beginner kids... If you touch a piece you have to move it. There is a big fat book but I do not suggest taking hours to read it.

Summer & Winter Camp

Our target is 10-1 but it is usually 8-1 and can sometimes go to 12-1.
We have guidelines but adjust them based on kids. We don't believe in shoving a syllabus down kids throat. We are about building interest and helping them learn.
We will have many other activities in a novel "Fun First" blend of academia, chess, and brain games! Each 3 hour instructional block consists of:
a. Chess puzzles and creative exercises to sharpen the brain.
b. Group instruction and Personalized coaching to improve chess skills.
c. Casual play to practice and enjoy Chess.
d. Hourly breaks for snacks and recess.

BayAreaChess Community Terminology

The numbers of games before the first draw. Named in honor of Paul Richter.
The numbers of games before the first loss. Named in honor of Arjoe Barros Loanzon.

After School Enrichment Programs

a. If you have an account, please skip Step b.
b. If you don't have an account, please create an account with the student's information at
Note: Each student has their own account!
c. After creating an account login at When you are successful at logging in, you will see this page
d. Select the "Enroll" button next to "After School Enrichment Programs - Click Enroll."
e. You will see a list of schools. Select your school and then select the program you want to register.
f. Once done, click on continue and you will be taken to Google checkout for payment.
g. If you have questions, please contact us to let us know.