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If not a member, add dues to advance entry fee or pay them with entry fee at site.

U.S. Championship Qualifier. Tournament in which qualification spots for the U.S. Championship are awarded.

American Classic. Generally, an event that has been held by one organizer for the last three years and has attracted more than 400 players each year.

Heritage Event. Tournament held for at least 25 years.

Quick Chess. Tournaments with time controls of G/5 to G/29. There is a separate “quick” or“overall” rating system that includes these events, and games played in these tournaments will not affect a player’s regular rating. Games played with a time control of G/30 through G/60 will be rated in both the quick/overall system and the regular system.


In most events, you don’t have to win the tournament to win a prize—you can win a class prize as a top scorer of your rating group, or a section prize in a section restricted to your rating group. These rating groups are:

Senior Master: 2400 & up • Master: 2200-2399 • Expert: 2000-2199 • Class A: 1800-1999 • Class B: 1600-1799 • Class C: 1400-1599 • Class D: 1200- 1399 • Class E: 1000-1199 • Class F: 800-999 • Class G: 600-799 • Class H: 400-599 • Class I: 200- 399 • Class J: 199/below

Some tournaments use different groups such as 1900-2099, and some have “under’’ prizes or sections including all below a specified level.


You never lose your rating, no matter how long it has been since you last played. If you return after a long absence, please tell the director and US Chess your approximate rating and last year of play.

If you have a FIDE rating, or a rating or category from any other country, no matter how many years ago, you are not unrated. FIDE or foreign ratings may be rejected or have adjustment points added. If details are not announced, players wishing to use such ratings should contact the organizer in advance.

For foreign players with multiple ratings (US Chess, FIDE, CFC, FQE, other foreign), the highest rating is used, with possible adjustment points added, unless otherwise announced.

Ratings based on 4-25 games are called “provisional ratings” to indicate they are less reliable than established ratings. However, such ratings are valid for pairing and prize purposes at all US Chess-rated events, unless otherwise stated.

A tournament director (TD) may assign an estimated rating to any player, and may expel an improperly rated player from an event.


Entering by mail or online (if available) is easier for both you and the tournament organizer and often costs less. Check the tournament life announcement (TLA) ads for entering options.

TOURNAMENT LIFE: ABBREVIATIONS & TERMS All tournaments are non-smoking with no computers allowed unless otherwise advertised.


$$Gtd: $$b/x:


CC: dx:


EF: Ent: FIDE: G/:


JGP: Blitz rated.

Quick Chess events. Guaranteed prizes.

Based-on prizes, x = number of entries needed to payfull prize fund. At least 50% of the advertised prize fund of $501 or more must be awarded.

Indicates which rounds players who find it incon- venient to play may take 1⁄2-point byes instead. For example, Bye 1-3 means 1⁄2-point byes are available in Rounds 1 through 3.

Chess club. Time delay, x = number of seconds.

Time increment, xx = number of seconds added after each move. Entry fee. Where to mail entries. Results submitted to FIDE for possible rating.

Game in. For instance, G/75 means each side has 75 minutes for the entire game. Grand Prix Points available.

Hotel rates. For example, 60-65-70-75 means $60 single, $65 twin, $70/3 in room, $75/4 in room. Junior Grand Prix.

Memb. req’d:


Quad: RBO: Rds:

Reg: RR: SD/:


Unr: W:


Membership required; cost follows. Usually refers to state affiliate.

A section open to all. Often has very strong play- ers, but some eligible for lower sections can play for the learning experience.

4-player round robin sections; similar strength players.

Rated Beginner’s Open.

Rounds; scheduled game times follow. For exam- ple, 11-5, 9-3 means games begin 11 a.m. & 5 p.m. on the first day, 9 a.m. & 3 p.m. on the second day.

Registration at site. Round robin (preceded by number of rounds).

Sudden-death time control (time for rest of game follows). For example, 30/90, SD/1 means each player must make 30 moves in 90 minutes, then complete the rest of the game in an hour.

Swiss-System pairings (preceded by number of rounds). Unrated.

Site is accessible to wheelchairs. Tournaments that will use a player’s online rating.

Along with entry fee, send full name, address, US Chess ID number, expiration date, and section desired (if any). Also, give your last official US Chess rating (from Player/Ratings Look-Up). If you are unrated, or have a rating from many years ago, be sure to indicate this.

Mailed entries are usually not acknowledged unless you enclose a self-addressed postcard. If entering online, print confirmation of entry. They are refundable if you withdraw before round one is paired, unless otherwise stated.

For national events, refund requests must be submitted in writing no later than 30 days after the tournament ends. Any requests made after this date may not be honored.


Rates listed are often special chess rates—you must request “chess rates” or you will be charged more. The chess rates may be unavailable if not reserved several weeks in advance, or if the block of chess rooms is used up. Hotel-desk personnel are often poorly informed about chess rates—if that is the case, ask for the sales office or contact the tournament organizer.


Along with a pen or pencil and your US Chess identification card (or current Chess Life), take a chessboard, set, and clock if you have them.

For prizes of $600 or more, bring your U.S. Social Security card. If you have no Social Security number, the organizer must deduct 30 percent from your prize for the IRS (this includes foreigners).

Warning! The use of a cell phone in the tournament room is prohibited at most tournaments. If your cell phone rings in a room with games in progress, you could be penalized, or even forfeited.


If you enter by mail and cannot attend, or must drop out of a tournament in progress, it is important you give notice before pairings are started, so no one is deprived of a game. Mail entrants should send withdrawal notices at least a week beforehand—phone any later than this. To withdraw by phone on the tournament day, call the site and ask specifically for “the chess tournament.” E-mail withdrawals several days in advance are acceptable if the TD’s e-mail address is listed. Any later than this, both e-mail your withdrawal and call the tournament site as the TD might not have access to his (her) e-mail account. If you forfeit without notice, you may be fined up to the amount of the entry fee.


Tournament director certification is an endorsement of professional competence only. Such certification does not in itself render any tournament director an agent of US Chess, nor is any affiliate an agent of US Chess.

70 March 2016 | Chess Life

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