Tournament Announcements Before Round 1 & Section Schedules

Welcome to name of tournament.  Several announcements before we begin.

The emergency exits in the Tournament Room are over there ().

Do not eat in the Tournament Room; you may drink only water in the Tournament Room.  Food & drinks are permitted in the Skittles Room(s): MPR, gym, etc.; but the school does not permit food & drinks in the Auditorium.

Please sit in your seat.  Please sit on your bottom, not on your knees.  We’ve seen too many kids fall over and hurt themselves.

Do not start any of your games today, until after a TD tells you to.

The # of rounds & time control for the various sections are: ...  If you forget, then look at your board #.

Players,if you have a question, want to make a claim, or want to register a complaint, then pause your clock, raise your hand, keep it raised, & wait for a Tournament Director to arrive at your board and make a ruling.  (Ask the TDs to raise their hands.) 

There’s no rule in USCF’s Official Rules of Chess that requires a Tournament Director to cite the rule upon which he is basing his ruling.  If you disagree with the TD’s ruling, then cite a rule that you think confutes his decision.  Copies of USCF’s Official Rules of Chess are available for purchaseonline or from the MCA vendor.  Additionally, you may consult:

Rulebook Changes since 2003

USCF National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations

USCF Rules & Regulations


A player may appeal a Tournament Director’s ruling, as long as the player makes her appeal before resuming play [21H].  If the ruling is upheld, the player may appeal further, as long as the player makes her appeal before resuming play.  A Special Referee will be called [21J], or an Appeals Committee will be formed [21I].  The Special Referee’s or Appeals Committee’s decision is final.  Neither a Special Referee, nor an Appeals Committee may reverse the other’s decision [21J5].  Frivolous appeals will be penalized [21I7].  After the tournament, any decision by a Tournament Director, Special Referee, or Appeals Committee may be appealed to US Chess [21L]; the appeal must include a $25 deposit that will be refunded, as long as the appeal is found not to be groundless [21L1].

Do not talk or communicate otherwise with anyone who’s playing a game—not with your opponent, and especially not with someone playing another game.  You will be penalized if you interfere with another game.  Interference includes: giving advice, confirming or disconfirming a claim or result (checkmate, stalemate, etc.), touching a piece, etc.  Penalties include: a 0-point bye in your next round, disqualification from eligibility for an individual trophy, disqualification of your individual points from contributing toward your team’s cumulative points, and expulsion from the tournament (for repeat offenders).

You should avoid saying even check or checkmate.  Chess is a silent game.

Players, parents, & coaches, while you are in the Tournament Room, your mobile phone must be off—or in silent mode, with vibrate off.  (I just made sure mine is; you should do the same.)  If your mobile phone is a disturbance, then you will be penalized.  Penalties include: subtracting 10 minutes or half of your remaining time, whichever is less (for first-time offenders); loss of your game (for second-time offenders); ejection from the Tournament Room (for serial offenders). 

Make sure your clock is silent.  It should not beep each time you hit it (that is, each time you stop your time and start your opponent’s time).

A game may be started without a clock, if one is not available. But if a clock is available, then you must use it.  Furthermore, if a TD places a clock on your game, then you must use it.  Clocks are available for purchase from the MCA vendor.

TDs need to be able to see easily which games are low on time or under time pressure (that is, when either you or your opponent has fewer than 5 minutes remaining on your clock, and you’re playing with delay time control).  So, all clocks at your table must face the same way.  If necessary, some players might need to switch seats & turn their board around, so their clock will face in the correct direction.

Do not ask a TD to set your clock.  You’re responsible for knowing how to set your clock.  At there are links to videos that demonstrate how to set your clock (blue Main Menu sidebar: Chess Links: Clocks: How to Set Yours). 

Players are required to record (or notate) their games—except K-3 players in any section (& all players in ES Novice at Maryland ES Championships).  Pencils, scoresheets, & a pencil sharpener are available at the Scorer’s Table over there ().

If you’re missing a piece, then get a replacement piece in a Ziploc bag near the Scorer’s Table.

If your opponent is not seated at your board, then you should remain seated & wait for your opponent’s time to expire.  If you don’t have a clock, then we’ll tell you when your opponent’s time has expired.  If your opponent does not show up, then you will win by forfeit.  When you go to the Scorer’s Table, do not say simply that you won; say that you won by forfeit.  (That way, you will help us weed out the players who did not show up today.  We’ll exclude the no-shows, so that only players who are here today will be paired in the next round.)

Later in the day, if you need to withdraw from the tournament, then inform the Chief TD or someone at the Scorer’s Table at least 5 minutes before you leave.  If you fail to do so, then you’ll disappoint your opponent, when you’re a no-show in the next round; furthermore, you might be banned from your next MCA tournament.

Please raise your hand if you’ll be using an electronic recording device.  (Send over a TD to confirm it’s authorized by the USCF.)  It must be in record mode only, and (as with non-electronic recording) you must make your move, before you record your move.

The touch-move rule (& the unofficial name of a subcategory of it: the touch-take rule) will be enforced today.  If you touch 1 of your pieces intentionally, then you must move it—if you can legally; if you touch 1 of your opponent’s pieces intentionally, then you must take it—if you can legally.

Behave according to these principles: play with honor, win with grace, & lose with dignity.  Always say “Good game” at the end of your game.

If you decide to offer your opponent a draw, here’s the correct way to do it: move 1 of your pieces, quietly say Draw?, hit your clock, and then wait patiently, while your opponent considers your offer.  Wait for your opponent to reply to your offer, before extending your hand to shake hands.  You should extend your hand, only if and after your opponent accepts your offer.  If your offer is declined, then don’t offer a draw repeatedly in an attempt to distract your opponent; that would be poor sportsmanship.  It’s also poor sportsmanship to offer a draw, when you’re clearly in a lost or losing position. 

After you make a draw offer, you may not withdraw your draw offer [14B1, 14B3]; you must wait for your opponent either to accept or decline it.  After a draw offer has been accepted, the game ends immediately [14B].

After you resign (typically by tipping over your king or by saying I resign), the game ends immediately [13B].  You may not withdraw your resignation. 

MCA considers your agreement that your opponent checkmated you as the functional equivalent of your resignation, at which point the game ends immediately—even if you have interpreted the board incorrectly, and regardless of whether and how soon thereafter you realize your mistake.  You may not withdraw your concession to checkmate.

Similarly, after you agree to a stalemate (the result of which is a draw), MCA considers the game to have ended immediately.  You may not withdraw your concession to stalemate.

Before players shake hands at the end of the game, they should be clear about the result of their game.  If you try to trick your opponent into accepting a draw or a loss, then you will be penalized.  Penalties include: a forfeit loss, a 0-point bye in your next round, disqualification from eligibility for an individual trophy, disqualification of your individual points from contributing toward your team’s cumulative points, and expulsion from the tournament (for repeat offenders).

After you finish your game, set your board back up neatly for the next round.  You do not need to report the result of your game to a TD, but both players do need to report the result of their game at the Scorer’s Table over there ().  Before you go to the Scorer’s Table, remember your board number.  (Leave your board # at your board.)  Once you’re there, start off by announcing your board number.  (Don’t start off by announcing your name.)  Then say White won (by forfeit), Black won (by forfeit), or Draw.  Only then will someone at the Scorer’s Table confirm your name.  Please return anything you’ve borrowed: clock, pencil, etc.

When a game is completed, its result must be reported immediately [15H]. 

Once you have reported the result of your game at the Scorer’s Table, the result is final—even if you later realize you were mistaken about it (for example, if you later realize you had not, in fact, been checkmated).  After you have reported the result of your game, we’ll change the recording of the result, only if the result was misreported by you or misrecorded by us; we won’t change the result, itself—regardless of whether you interpreted the board correctly or incorrectly, when you agreed to the result.

Even if you lose your game, you will always be paired in the next round—unless you receive a bye (because there is an odd number of players in your section), or unless you request(ed) a bye.  Don’t go home, until after you’ve played all of your games.

You should never be paired against someone whom you have already played TODAY.  If you are, then raise your hand immediately, and we’ll repair you. 

Occasionally, however, you might be paired against a sibling or a teammate.  If you’re paired against a sibling, then please raise your hand, and we’ll see whether the pairing is a mistake.  If you’re paired against a teammate, then raise your hand only if your game is in the first 2 rounds.

 You do not need a TD’s permission to go to the bathroom; you may go whenever you want to.  You must leave the time on your clock running, when you go to the bathroom; you may not pause it.

Parents & coaches, please don’t let young children wander unsupervised throughout the school. 

If you want to review these tournament announcements at home before your next tournament, then click on the hyperlink to them, which is included on each tournament-announcement page posted at

If the layout of the Tournament Room permits it, then parents & coaches are welcome to remain silently in the Tournament Room for the first 2 minutes of Round 1, before they exit for the remainder of the day. 

Players, shake hands & start your clocks.


Reminder to Scorer’s Table Tournament Aides

Remind TDs & Scorer’s Table Tournament Aides to write down each round’s start time at the top of each section’s first pairing sheet.  With 10 minutes left in a section’s final time control, we’ll assign a clock to whichever remaining players have not been using a clock.  Assign both players half of the remaining time in the round (5 minutes), and tell them they can win or lose on time.


Announcements before the Final Round


This is the final round.

After you finish your game:

·       Put your pieces in the bag beside you.  If there isn’t a bag beside you, then go get 1 at the Scorer’s Table.

·       1 player should take the bag, and the other player should take the board to the Scorer’s Table.

·       Report the result of your game at the Scorer’s Table.

·       Gently place the bag in a container & the board in a pile on the ground by the Scorer’s Table.

Shake hands & start your clocks.


Announcement at Awards Ceremonies

Thank the host school, local contact, & tournament underwriter/sponsor (BKCL, McDuffie family, etc.).

Players, please give your parents & coaches a round of applause for spending so much of their free time here with you today.

Announce the upcoming tournaments posted at  To review the entire scholastic year’s schedule, go to (click on Register for Tournaments in the blue Main Menu sidebar on the lower left-hand side of MCA’s home page).

If a parent or coach would like us to run an MCA scholastic tournament at his/her school, then please let us know.  We’re always looking to develop new contacts.  All we need is 1 person (preferably a faculty member or coach) to volunteer to serve as the contact person, when we schedule the tournament.

To look up your new rating after today’s tournament, click on the last hyperlink at the bottom of any tournament-announcement page posted at  There you’ll find how to sign up for an automatic USCF email an hour after each of your tournaments has been submitted.  Your published rating next month will be what your unpublished rating is/was on the 3rd Friday of this month.

Explain tiebreaks (why a player might have tied for 4th, 5th, or 6th place but won’t be receiving a trophy).

Tournament results (individual & team standings) will be posted at (blue Main Menu sidebar: Tournament Results).  Explain why MCA’s crosstables might look different from USCF’s at

David Mehler’s Introductory Words

·       Today most kids did more learning than teaching.  They haven’t won trophies, because they lost games to players who taught them how to play better chess.  But maybe next time they’ll win trophies and teach other kids how to play better chess.

·       It’s the kids who taught other players the most today, who have earned trophies.


Before making the general announcements, explain to the Varsity section how 30-second-increment time control differs from all delay time controls:

·       30 seconds are added to your time, after you hit your clock; they aren’t added to your time, after your opponent hits his clock. 

·       30 seconds run down as a part of your elapsing time; they don’t run down separately, before your time begins elapsing.

·       Your time will increase by however many of the 30 seconds allotted per move you don’t use; the unused seconds don’t lapse between moves.  

·       You are required to record throughout the entire game—no matter how little time you have on your clock.  (This requirement applies to only inc/30+, not to all increment time controls.)  There is no time-pressure exception to recording; that is, you are not excused from recording, when either you or your opponent has fewer than 5 minutes remaining on your clock.

What if you don’t have a clock that supports increment?

·       If your clock does not support increment, but it does support delay, then it should be set to 30-second delay.  You are required to record the entire game.  (The recording requirement for 30-second delay is an MCA variation from standard USCF Rules, permitted by USCF’s authorization of a Tournament Director to exercise discretion regarding minor variations from USCF rules.)

·       If you have only an analog clock, then no extra time will be added to your clock.  You are required to record, until your game is in time pressure.

To learn how to set your clock for increment time controls, read the article (Increment Time Control for the Varsity Section) posted at blue Main Menu sidebar: Scholastic Tournaments.


© 2012 John D. Rockefeller V

MCA Scholastic Director

[version 5, last updated: 1/21/2013]