Information for Parents about Evanston Scholastic Chess Tournaments
How do you know whether your child is ready to go to a chess tournament?
- He or she likes chess and wants to try a tournament (most important of all!)
- He or she knows the game well enough to checkmate an opponent.
- He or she is able to deal reasonably well with losing games.
If you don't feel like your child is ready yet, that's fine...there are three or four tournaments during the school year, so wait until the next one comes around.
FAQ....What's a chess tournament like?
- You register ahead of time through your team’s registrar—one parent who gathers the roster for your school. Get the fee to the registrar before (or at) the tournament.
- Show up and sign in half an hour before the first round.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult through the entire tournament. Parents typically "kid-pool" for the day, or parts of the day. Looking for someone to kid-pool with? Ask your school’s tournament registrar who else is going. Chances are pretty good that your child has a friend who will be at this tournament.
- Children are placed in competition levels based on how well they've done at past tournaments. If they haven't played before, they are placed in levels based on age.
- Pairings are posted for the first round. Each child is given a board number and a B for black or a W for white. The child (and parent) go into the competition room and find the board where the child is supposed to play for that round.
- After everyone is settled, the parents leave the room, and the children play on their own. There is no need to watch your child or check on him/her during a round. In fact, it's probably less distracting to all the players if you do not.
- Tournament Directors are available to answer players' questions during a round. If your child has a question about rules during a game s/he should raise their hand BEFORE MAKING ANOTHER MOVE. The games are touch-move; if you touch a piece, you must move that piece.
- When the game is finished and the players have agreed on the result, the players shake hands and say "good game!" Then they set up their board and both players report the result at the scorers' table. To report their score, they will need to tell the scorekeeper their board number.
- They then leave the competition room and return to their parents. There are usually one or more "skittles" rooms where food and tables are available. Weather permitting, kids play outside between rounds. This part of the tournament is like a big play-date.
- After all the kids are done with their games, pairings are determined for the next round. Generally your child will play another player with the same score. If it's the third round, and your child has won a game and lost a game, s/he will play someone else who has won one and lost one. Every kid plays in every round. There is no elimination in chess. Occasionally if there is an odd number of children in a section, the lowest-ranked player will receive a “bye”—a free point—since the tournament was unable to provide him/her a game.
- There are usually five rounds for the pawn, knight and bishop groups and four rounds for the rook, queen and king groups.
- After the last round, there's an awards ceremony.