General Frequently asked Questions Q: What will the schedule be on tournament day? A: Will be updated next year Q: What is my role as a coach during the tournament? A: The main role of the Coach during the tournament is to support and supervise your participants. Naturally, good sportsmanship on the part of all contestants is mandatory and the coach's assistance in promoting this ideal is essential.Prior to the beginning of a round, a coach is allowed to see that the players are seated at the correct board and in front of the correct color. Prior to the round beginning, however, coaches must move either to the designated spectator's area or outside the tournament playing room. As long as a player's game is in progress, the coach may not communicate with the player in any manner whatsoever. Coaches are also encouraged to review the postings of results for accuracy and bring discrepancies to the attention of the Tournament Director so that they can be resolved quickly. Q: Are spectators allowed to attend the tournaments? A: Yes. The Tournament Directors may allow a limited number of spectators, depending on space limitations. Spectators must sit on the sides quietly and may not approach the boards, Tournament Director tables, or communicate with the players or Tournament Directors in any way. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in the disqualification of a player or players. Q: What grade level of players can I bring? A: For Junior High events, students in grades 7-9 may play, while in Senior High events, students must be in grades 9-12. And just like all other AAA activities these students must meet AAA Eligibility requirements. Q: What are " skittles"? A: These are games that are played "just for fun". Each tournament site will provide a "skittles room" for students to play after they finish their tournament game. This is a casual environment but can be a place where players learn a lot about chess from each other. The skittles room is also the place for players to review the game with their coach or another player. Such "post-mortem" analysis tends to be an important means of improving a player's knowledge of the game of chess. Equipment Questions Q: What equipment does my team need to bring to the tournament? A: Your team must bring at least one chess board, chess set, and chess clock for every two players it enters. If your team brings an odd number of players, it should bring a board, set, and clock for the odd player also. If the sponsor/coach has a copy of U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess they should bring it with them, although it is not required. Q: If I need to purchase sets or clocks, where do I get them and what do I get? A: You can purchase chess equipment online or mail-order from Chess in Education(8636 Madison Drive, N. Richland Hills, TX 76180, 817-656-3841, www.chessineducation.com) or the United States Chess Federation (USCF) (3054 US Route 9W, New Windsor, NY 12553, 914-562-8350, www.uschess.org). Tournament regulation boards have 2" squares; labels on the sides to assist in the use of chess notation is suggested. Tournament pieces should be of standard chess style (often called Staunton) with a king approximately 3" tall. The preferred type of clock is a chess clock with a time delay feature. This feature automatically adds a time increment (usually five seconds) to a player's remaining time each time the player completes a move by stopping the clock. Questions about Chess Rules Q: What are time controls? A: Time controls refer to the amount of total time each player has to complete the game. Time controls are used in conjunction with chess clocks for two reasons. First, time controls insure that a round ends after a reasonable amount of time. Second, the use of the chess clock insures that one competitor cannot use a larger percentage of the time allotted for the game. Time controls are generally stated as G/xx, where the xx is the number of minutes each player is allowed for completing the game. Q: How is the chess clock used? A: The chess clock is actually two clocks combined into one case which has two buttons. Pressing a button starts one clock while simultaneously stopping the other clock. Prior to the start of the game, each clock is set to the appropriate number of minutes ahead of 6 o'clock. For example, if the time control is G/30, each clock will be set to 5:30. The game is started when Black presses his button to start White's clock. Each player then completes their turn by depressing the button which stops their own clock and starts the opponent's clock. In this way, the time a player uses to consider and make each move is deducted from the total time the player was allowed at the beginning of the game. If a player should use all the time allowed, that player's clock will read 6 o'clock. Each clock has a special feature called a "flag" which makes it obvious when the minute hand passes 6 o'clock. If a player's flag "falls," the opponent may claim a victory on time. Q: If a player runs out of time, does that player automatically lose the game? A: No. It is a player's responsibility to notice that the opponent's flag has fallen and claim a "win on time". No one else, including the coach, a teammate, or even the Tournament Director, can inform a player how much time either player has left. To claim a win on time, the player should stop both clocks (depress the buttons only halfway) and make the claim. If the opponent disagrees that the claim is correct, the claimant should request the Tournament Director to verify the claim. Note that a player can still lose a game if the player fails to notice the opponent has run out of time and make the proper claim. This can happen if a player resigns without making a time forfeiture claim, or if a player allows an opponent to checkmate. However, a player cannot lose on time if the opponent's flag has also fallen. In this case, the game ends in a draw unless one of the players checkmates the other before a fallen flag is claimed. Section 13C of the Official Rules of Chess provide details of the rules pertaining to time forfeits. All players should be familiar with these rules. Q: What is the touch move rule? A: One of the rules of chess is that if a player touches a piece, he must move or capture that piece if it is legally possible to do so. The intent of the rule is to prevent players from moving pieces to see what the position looks like before deciding whether that move is a good move. The intent is not to penalize a player who accidentally touches a piece with obviously no intention to move that piece. See Section 10 of the Official Rules of Chess for a thorough explanation of the rules regarding touching pieces. Coaches are advised to make sure their players are familiar with this rule and how to make a claim (Section 10J of Official Rules of Chess). Q: What is chess notation? A: This refers to the method players use to record the moves of a game. Each player uses a type of shorthand to write each move, including the opponent's move, as the move is played on the board. There are actually several different types of notation that can be used to record a chess game. It is not important which type a player chooses as long as the notation allows replaying the game move-by-move. The rules of chess do not require a specific type of notation, only that each player record the moves. If a player does not take notation, that player will lose the right to certain claims and can be penalized by the Tournament Director. There are several important reasons for keeping notation. Doing so promotes the discipline of thoroughly considering each move and not rushing through the game. Without a notation sheet, a player cannot make certain types of claims such as claiming a draw based on three-time repetition of a position. If there is a dispute about an illegal position, the Tournament Director will use the notation sheets to assist in resolving the dispute. Also, by recording their games, the players have a means of reviewing the game with their coach or friends and learning how their play could be improved. And finally, we will be requiring that the players use their notation sheets to report the results of each round of our tournaments. A sample chess notation sheet, which can be copied, was included in the CAAS handbook. Many beginner level chess books explain how to use chess notation. There are also helpful instructions at many chess web sites, such as the USCF's web page at www.uschess.org/beginners/read/index.html. Keeping notation should not be confused with taking notes. Players are expressly forbidden by the rules from taking notes which would aid them in remembering their prior analysis, such as writing down all the moves that they don't want to make, or what moves they intend to make if their opponent responds with a certain move. Questions about Team Play Q: How can chess be played by teams? A: Each school brings a team of players, but the players do not help each other during their games. However, each player who wins or draws a game potentially (see next question) earns points for his team. At the end of the tournament, the team with the highest score is the winner, the second highest scoring team is second, and so on. If you're familiar with Track and Field meets, the concept is very similar. Q: The Junior and Senior High Tournaments this year are "individual/team tournaments", while the State Tournament this year is a "team match" tournament. Can you explain the difference in these types of tournaments? A: The individual/team tournament is the type of tournaments all past CAAS events have been. In this type of tournament, all pairings are done between individuals. However, restrictions are placed on the pairings to prevent the pairing of teammates unless absolutely necessary to determine an individual winner. To determine team standings, the scores of a certain number of team members are added to determine the score of that team. Usually a team's top four individual players' scores are used, as is the case in our Regional Tournaments. This year the rules for the CAAS Senior High State Tournament specify a team match tournament. In this type of tournament, the pairings are done by team instead of individual. Prior to the start of the tournament, players on each team will be assigned a "board number", with the highest rated player on a team being assigned that team's "Board 1" player. This board number assignment determines which player from the opposing team must be played. For example, say one of the pairings in a given round shows Team Alpha paired against Team Beta. In this round, Team Alpha's Board 1 player will play Team Beta's Board 1 player, the Board 2 players will play each other, etc. up to the maximum number of players allowed for each team (for the CAAS State Senior High Tournament this number is four). One team will play the white pieces on all the even numbered boards while the opposing team will have white on the odd number boards. Each player that wins his game will earn one point for his team. Each player that draws will earn 1/2 point for his team. No points are earned for losses. For purposes of pairing the next round, the team is considered to have won the match in a previous round if it scored more points than the opposing team and to have drawn if the score of the two teams was even. There are no individual awards in team match tournaments, although some team match tournaments give awards for the highest-scoring Board 1 player. Q: I'm confused about how many players I can or should bring. The rules say my school can bring eight players to the Regional Tournament, but that only four players' scores will count. How does that work? A: A school may bring up to eight players, but may bring as few as one. If a school brings more than four players, only the scores of the four players who score the highest for their team will be used to calculate team points. Any wins the additional players have will be disregarded when awarding team points. That's why in the answer to Question 1, we said "potentially" when discussing a contestant earning team points. Q: What if I don't have four players who can attend the Regional Tournament? A: Your school can still enter a team with however many contestants you can muster. A short-handed team will naturally be at a bit of a disadvantage since it will have less than four contestants who can earn team points. However, if a short-handed team has a player or players who win several games, the team still has the potential to do well. A team of four or even eight weak players may not win many games. Tournament Format Questions Q: I've never heard of a Swiss-style tournament. How do they work? A: Although a complete explanation would require more detail than can be afforded in this answer, we'll attempt an explanation of the basics. If you are interested a more detailed explanation, it can be found in the U. S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess. Swiss-style tournaments are quite different than the single- or double-elimination type tournaments common in many other types of events. No contestant is ever eliminated in a Swiss-style tournaments -- all entrants compete in every round (unless there is an odd number of contestants, in which case a different player is awarded a bye each round). As the tournament progresses, players who are playing well will be matched up against each other, while less successful contestants will be matched against others whose previous rounds did not go so well. Again, if you wish to understand just how this happens, please refer to Official Rules of Chess. But if you understand that stronger players will end up having to play against each other, while players who fair poorly in the initial rounds will eventually get the opportunity to compete against a more equally matched opponent, you understand the gist of the system. The rest is just details. Q: I'm confused about the difference between "section" and "division". Please clarify. A: For our Regional Tournaments, the host sites will potentially be hosting schools of all classifications from 1A through 5A. When a chess tournament has a sufficient number of entrants, it is commonly split into "sections" of competitors who are of similar strength. If a Regional Tournament has enough schools from both the 1A/2A and the 3A/4A/5A classifications to make splitting the tournament into two sections practical, this will be done. All Class 1A/2A schools will compete in one section and all Class 3A/4A/5A schools will compete in a separate section. Each section will have its own winning team and winning individual. The winning team from each section will advance to the State Tournament. It is possible that a Regional Tournament will not have enough entrants from either the 1A/2A or the 3A/4A/5A classifications to allow having two separate sections. In that case, the tournament will have only one section. The State Tournament will also have only one section. In tournaments with only one section, players from all classifications will be playing against each other. However, awards will be given based on two "divisions", with the division being between 1A/2A and 3A/4A/5A. The winning team and winning individual player from each division will be the team and player that finishes higher in the overall standings than any other team or player in that division. The winning team from each division of the Regional Tournament will advance to the State Tournament.