New at Chess
Useful Information for Parents who are New at Chess
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My child has played chess at home, but we are new at tournaments. What should we do?
Tournaments are organized every week at different locations by BayAreaChess and they vary in duration, level and scope. Our most frequent tournaments are the signature tournaments (swiss and quads) that we offer for our youth players. These are half day tournaments at 6 different locations. We also have county, state and national championships at multiple times every year.
What does rated and unrated tournament mean?
Most tournaments are so called rated tournaments. In order to register and play in any rated tournament, player must have an active USCF membership. Each player with a USCF member number will receive a rating after each game. USCF membership can easily be purchased via BayAreaChess' website separately or together with registering for any tournament.
What happens after I have purchased a USCF membership through BayAreaChess' website?
We will send your membership request to USCF usually 1 day before the tournament, and we will receive your USCF number right away. This number will be used in our system. If you have purchased your USCF membership on-site, this process will take place a day after the tournament, before the game is reported to USCF.
Where can I look up my USCF number, rating and tournament history?
Please visit the following webpage to look up your USCF number and related information:
What types of tournaments are there?
There are two types of tournamaments that BayAreaChess is organizing: Swiss and Quads.
Swiss tournament rules can be found here. Players are placed into groups and ranked within their group based on their USCF rating. In the normal ("regular") swiss any kid play (as long as they are rated over 1400). The pairing for the first round is based on their rating, however the pairing for the next round is based on the result of the result of the previous round. All pairing is done by a software. There are usually 3 or 4 rounds in a scholastic tournament. All swiss signature tournaments are in the morning, stats at 10am and ends around 1-2pm.The time control is G30, so each player gets 30 minutes.
Quads tournament rules can be found here, and it's also called round robin. Players are placed into groups of 4 players based on their USCF rating. There are 3 rounds in a quads tournament, and each player in the group is playing against each other, in a round robin system. Therefore the pairing of all rounds are determined at the start of the tournament. All quads signature tournaments are in the afternoon, with a required checking at 2pm, and with a starting time around 2:30pm. The tournament usually end by 5pm.
Quads tournaments usually have a non-rated section, where players do not need to be a USCF members in order to play.
What tournament is better for a beginner player?
This depends on multiple factors, like rating, taste, and objectives. If your child is a morning bird, swiss tournament is better, if your child is an evening owl, then quads is more suitable. Swiss tournaments are usually more popular, and usually slower, whereas quads tournaments are less crowded, and usually are faster (because as soon as your opponent finishes his/her round you can start the next round.)If you want to avoid playing agains much higher or lower rated players, you should either choose quads tournament, or choose a swiss tournament with narrow rating sections.
Should I pre-register for a tournament, or can I register on-site?
We encorage everyone to pre-register for any tournament to save you time and money and help us plan for the tournament better. On-site registration is available on the day of the tournament, usually an hour before the first round, howevery, there is an additional fee for on-site registration. Please, check the tournament page and flier to get the exact fees for each tournament.
What can I expect the day of the tournament?
Please, arrive a few minutes earlier than the start of the first round to find the room.The pairings will be posted a few minutes before the first round in the hallways, on the walls. Look for your child's section's posting, and determine the table s/he is playing at, and what color are they playing with.When the game is finished, it's usually the winner's responsibility to go out to the hallway and put down the score of the game on the pairing paper that was posted on the wall. Put a 1 in empty square in front of the winner's name and a 0 in the empty square in front of the other player's name.When everyone is finished, the tournament directors (TDs) will input the scores in the pairing software and determine the next round's pairing. This will again be posted a few minutes before the next round.The trophy ceremony will be after the last round. Everyone with a winning score will get a trophy and everyone else will get a medal.
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