MCA Calendar

October 2017
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PROCEDURES for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament

P1.  If you DO NOT see “SEE T.D. ” next to your name in the list of registered players taped to a wall near the Registration Desk, then your registration is complete and you DO NOT need to check in with a Tournament Director at the Registration Desk.  Just be ready to play at the scheduled start of Round 1.

P2.  If you DO see “SEE T.D. ” next to your name in the list of registered players taped to a wall near the Registration Desk, then your registration is not complete and you DO need to check in with a Tournament Director at the Registration Desk.  In most instances, the problem is either that you do not have a USCF membership, or that your USCF membership has expired.  Or perhaps, you are registered in a section for which we think you might be vastly overmatched.  In that case, we would recommend (but not insist) that you move down to a section commensurate with your skill level. 

P3.  Any coach or parent who coordinates 20+ player registrations, or 40+ player registrations, will receive a 10% or 20% volume discount, respectively, during online registration.  The volume discount will be applied to all forms of online registration (Early, Regular, or Last-Minute), but the percentage will be assessed as if the registration were the earliest form.

P4.  The scheduled start time of Round 1 is fixed for all sections.  The start of Round 1 will NOT be postponed to accommodate At-the-Door Registrants, who will be paired only if space is available.  They are unlikely to be paired in Round 1, because pairing them would likely jeopardize the punctual start of Round 1 for all sections.  If not paired in Round 1, they’ll receive a ½ point bye, instead.

P5.  Players are required to have a current USCF membership at USCF-rated tournaments.  Players without a current USCF membership at the scheduled close of online registration are unlikely to be paired in Round 1.  If not paired in Round 1, they’ll receive a ½ point bye, instead.  A USCF membership may be purchased online or by mail, along with registration for the tournament. If the player's USCF membership is current, bring a current USCF card or proof of membership to the tournament.

P6.  Section-Change Requests made after the scheduled close of online registration might not apply to Round 1.

P7.  When there is an odd number of players in a section, 1 player cannot be paired against an opponent and will receive a full-point bye.  A player can receive only 1 full-point bye per tournament.

P8.  When a player is deciding which section to register for, he needs to pay attention to a section’s grade restrictions (K-5, 6-8, K-12, etc.) and USCF rating restrictions (U400, U800, 700-1199, at least 1100, etc.).  When a player is deciding, first, whether his USCF rating is on or above a section’s floor and, second, whether his USCF rating is below a section’s ceiling, the player should consider only his current published (“official”) USCF rating, which is listed at www.USChess.org in the rating supplement for the month in which the tournament will be held.  A player's published rating is the rating that determines whether he is qualified to compete in a particular section, and it is static for a month.  Disregard the player’s unpublished (“unofficial”, or most recent) USCF rating, which changes after every tournament in which he competes.

There are 2 infrequent exceptions to MCA’s procedure for using a player’s published rating to determine what section she is qualified for. 

1.  If a player wants to play up in a higher section for which her published rating does not qualify her, but for which her higher unpublished rating does qualify her, the Chief Tournament Director will likely permit her to play up.  But the Chief TD will never permit the reverse: he will never permit a player to compete in a lower section for which her unpublished rating qualifies her, but for which her higher published rating disqualifies her.  In other words, MCA’s section ceilings are inflexible (hard), but MCA’s section floors are occasionally flexible.

2.  If there were an odd number of players in the top section (Varsity), then the Chief Tournament Director may exercise his discretion and invite the highest rated player in the next highest-rated section (Junior Varsity) to compete in the Varsity section, even if that player does not meet the top section’s floor requirement (1100).  The Chief TD would consider this option, because he wants to prevent a Varsity player from having to wait 2+ hours to play his next game; the Varsity section has only 3 rounds (3-SS, G/45 inc/30).  (Under no circumstances, however, would MCA grant a Chief TD the discretion to suspend the rating ceiling of any section.)

[Useful terminology: If a player has completed only 1-3 rated games, he is unrated; if he has completed only 4-25 rated games, he has only a provisional rating; once he has completed 26 rated games, he has an established rating.]

P9.  At the beginning of each round, parents and coaches are permitted to help players locate their board number.  But after doing so, they must leave the Tournament Room immediately. 

P10.  If you lost your game, do not leave the tournament altogether.  This is a non-elimination tournament.  Regardless of whether you won or lost your game in the previous round, you will always be paired in the next round—or receive a 1-point bye, if you cannot be paired in a round because there is an odd number of players.

P11.  Parents of young children (K - grade 2) are required to stay on the premises at all times and supervise their children between rounds.  Parents of older players (grades 3-12) may drop off their children at the beginning of the tournament and pick them up at the end of it.  But please understand that the Tournament Directors’ and tournament organizers’ responsibilities do not include supervising players outside of the Tournament Room. 

P12.  Before the start of each round, a Tournament Director will post the Pairing Charts on a wall.  The players’ board number will be on the far left.  The player on the left has been assigned the White pieces, and the player on the right has been assigned the Black pieces.  If you have a scorebook, make sure to write down your board number and whether you’re White or Black.  If you don’t have a scorebook, then remember your board number and color, as you walk to your board.  You are not required to write down or remember your opponent’s name.  In most instances, MCA does not include players’ USCF ratings on Pairing Charts, because we do not want players to be either demoralized by the thought of playing against a higher-rated opponent, or overconfident about playing against a lower-rated opponent.  A player should not be paired against the same opponent twice in a tournament; please let a TD know if a player accidentally has been.

P13.  After Round 1, your pairing in subsequent rounds will be determined primarily by your total number of tournament points, which is cumulative.  Players receive 1 point for a win, ½ a point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss—and either 1 point, ½ a point, or 0 points for a bye (depending on the circumstances).  For example, “1.5” means the player earned 1 point by winning 1 game, ½ a point by drawing (tying) 1 game, and 0 points for any games she might have lost.  A player will be paired against an opponent whose total number of points is roughly the same as hers—almost always with a differential of no more than 1 point up or down.  Consequently, with each subsequent round, a player is increasingly likely to compete against an opponent whose skills are nearly equivalent to hers.  So, when a player is looking at the Pairing Charts for each round after Round 1, she should make sure her total number of points has been recorded accurately.  (TDs and TD Aides occasionally make mistakes.)  It is the player’s responsibility to bring an error to a TD’s attention before the next round begins.  If a player does not bring the error to a TD’s attention until after the next round begins, then the Chief TD will make the correction, but the flawed pairings will stand.

P14.  Occasionally after a round has been completed, the Chief Tournament Director will tabulate a Wall Chart (or standings report) and post it near the Pairing Charts.  The Wall Chart includes a crosstable that lists each player’s opponents and the result of each round of the player’s games.  The Wall Chart lists the players by total number of points in descending order; so, the player listed at the top of the chart is currently ranked #1 in his section.  “L 12” means a player lost to an opponent who is currently ranked 12th in his section, and “W 28” means the player won against an opponent who is currently ranked 28th in his section.  A separate Wall Chart lists the teams by total number of points in descending order; so, the team listed at the top of the chart is currently ranked #1 in its section.  Players, parents, and coaches should check the Wall Chart to confirm that results have been recorded accurately.

P15.  At any point during the Awards Ceremony or after the tournament, if you notice that a prize has been awarded erroneously, please bring it to a Tournament Director’s attention.  If you don’t notice the error until a day or more later, please contact either the Chief Tournament Director (whose name and contact information was provided on the registration page), or the MCA Scholastic Director (whose name and contact information is posted at www.mdchess.org: MCA Board Members).

P16.  Parents and players who want to learn how to use algebraic notation to record their games, should consult http://DanHeisman.home.comcast.net/~danheisman/Articles/recording_chess.htm.

P17.  Maryland Sweet 16 Champion (written by Chris Y. Kim & John D. Rockefeller V)

The Maryland Sweet 16 Champion receives a 4-year Maryland Sweet 16 Scholarship to UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).  Valued at $35,000, the scholarship covers all tuition and fees, but not room and board.

Qualifying Rules for the Maryland Sweet 16

1.  Qualifiers for the Maryland Sweet 16 must be full-time students in grades K-12 currently enrolled in school or home-schooled.  Qualifiers must be residents of Maryland, or non-residents of Maryland who attend a school in Maryland.  Qualifiers may not already be high-school graduates.  There is no age cut-off for Qualifiers.  (The University System of Maryland’s definition of a Maryland resident is posted here: www.umbc.edu/registrar/Pages/Services/residency.html and www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII270.html.)

2.  Qualifiers must compete in all rounds of the top section (the Varsity section) of at least 1 MCA local scholastic tournament during the scholastic year in which the Sweet 16 is held.  However, if a player were to receive a 1-point bye because there were an odd number of players in a particular round at that tournament, then MCA would consider the player to have competed in that round.  Only in the event of an emergency may a player may be excused from competing in at most 1 round of that tournament.  The emergency-exemption claim must be approved by the Chief Tournament Director.  Furthermore, after the tournament the player must submit to the MCA Scholastic Director documentation (a doctor’s note, a relative’s obituary, etc.) that affirms the legitimacy of the emergency-exemption claim. If the tournament is cancelled by MCA, then the player must compete in 1 of the remaining Varsity tournaments.  However, if the tournament were to be cancelled by MCA, if the tournament could not be rescheduled before the Maryland Sweet 16, and if the tournament were the final Varsity tournament before the Maryland Sweet 16, then the player will have fulfilled the Maryland Sweet 16’s tournament-participation requirement, by virtue of being considered to have competed in the cancelled Varsity tournament.  However, Varsity Points will not be allocated to a player in this situation.

3.  If a player competes in 1+ rounds, but not in all of the rounds of a Varsity section, and if the player’s absence is not excused by the Chief Tournament Director and the MCA Scholastic Director, then the player will earn Varsity Points for the round(s) in which he competed at that tournament, only if he competes in all rounds of the Varsity section of at least 1 MCA local scholastic tournament during the scholastic year in which the Sweet 16 is held.

4.  The formula for determining Varsity Points accrued by a player per tournament is: the number of players in the Varsity section of an MCA scholastic tournament divided by the player’s place in the Varsity section.  If there are ties, then each player with the same score (the number of tournament points) receives the average number of Varsity Points earned by all of the players who tied but who placed differently, according to tiebreaks.  (Players from out of state count toward determining Varsity Points, but they do not count in the Varsity Point standings.
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5.  The 16 Qualifiers are the top 6 players by USCF rating and the 10 players with the highest number of Varsity Points (excluding the top 6 players by rating).  The March Rating Supplement (which includes the results of tournaments submitted by the third Friday in February) is used to determine the Qualifiers by rating.

  (Any of the 6 players who qualify for the MD Sweet 16 purely by USCF rating, who decides not to play, will be replaced by the player with the highest number of MD-Sweet-16 Varsity Points who did not qualify purely by USCF rating.)  The 2 players with the next highest number of Varsity Points are the Maryland Sweet 16 Alternates.

6.  Sweet 16 players are required to compete in all 4 rounds of the Sweet 16 tournament, with exceptions made only in the cases of a medical emergency or another extraordinary situation.  Failure to play in all 4 rounds affects place and tiebreaks for the other players; so, if a Qualifier cannot commit to all 4 rounds, then she must decline MCA’s invitation to participate as soon as possible.  That way, MCA will have time to determine and notify an Alternate.

  A player who fails to compete in all 4 rounds without an excused absence, will be barred from participating in any future Sweet 16 tournament—or in MCA adult tournaments for 1 year, if the player is a high-school senior. 

7.  The winner of a Maryland Sweet 16 may not compete in subsequent Maryland Sweet 16s.

MD Sweet 16 Tournament Rules

1.  The Maryland Sweet 16 is a separate section of the UMBC Open.  Sweet 16 rounds start at the same time as UMBC Open's.  But where the UMBC Open has 5 rounds, the MD Sweet 16 has 4.  Sweet 16 rounds take place during the UMBC Open’s Rounds 1, 2, 4, and 5.  (The UMBC Open’s Round 3 on Saturday evening is skipped.)

  MD Sweet 16's time contorl is G/90 inc/30.  Clocks, sets, boards, & scoresheets are provided.

2.  If there is a tie for first place, then see P20A below.

P18.  Maryland Scholastic Chess Champions

Maryland Scholastic Chess Champion

The winner of the High-School Varsity section at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships in the spring is the Maryland Scholastic Chess Champion and the Maryland representative to the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, a national invitational tournament in the summer for players in grades 9-12.  The Maryland Scholastic Chess Champion receives a stipend of up to $500 to help cover expenses at the tournament.  The winner of the Denker Tournament receives a 4-year Chess II Scholarship to the University of Texas, Dallas.  Valued at $105,000, the scholarship covers all tuition and fees and includes a $1500 per-semester contribution toward rental expenses incurred at on-campus university housing.

If there is a tie for first place, then see P20B below.

The Maryland Scholastic Chess Champion must be a full-time student in grades 9-12 currently enrolled in school, or home-schooled.  The Champion must be either a resident of Maryland, or a non-resident of Maryland who attends a school in Maryland.  The Champion may not already be a high-school graduate.  There is no age cut-off for the Champion.  (MCA adheres to the University System of Maryland’s definition of a Maryland resident, which is posted here: www.umbc.edu/registrar/Pages/Services/residency.html and www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII270.html.)

Maryland Girl Chess Champion

The Maryland Girl Chess Champion will be the Maryland representative at the National Girls Invitational Tournament and will receive a stipend of up to $500 to help cover expenses.When the Maryland Girls Chess Championship is held, its winner is the Maryland Girl Champion.  When the Mid-Atlantic Girls Chess Championship is held and not the Maryland Girls Chess Championship, the highest-placing Maryland resident in the top section in the Maryland Girl Champion. 

If there is a tie for first place either at the Maryland Girls Chess Championship or between the highest-placing Maryland residents in the top section at the Mid-Atlantic Girls Chess Championship, then see P20B below.

If neither the Maryland Girls Chess Championship, nor the Mid-Atlantic Girls Chess Championship is held, then the Maryland Girl Champion is determined at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships.  Unfortunately, in high school many fewer girls than boys play competitive chess.  Consequently, MCA cannot reasonably assume that the girl who finishes highest in the HS Championship section at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships is most likely the best girl player in Maryland.  Therefore, regardless of her grade, the girl who emerges from the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships (Elementary School or Middle School & High School) with the highest unpublished USCF rating, is the Maryland Girl Champion.  However, if the 2 girls who emerge from the tournament with the highest unpublished ratings, played a game against each other during the tournament, then the winner of that game is the Maryland Girl Chess Champion.


The Maryland Girl Chess Champion must be a full-time student in grades K-12 currently enrolled in school or home-schooled.  The Champion must be either a resident of Maryland, or a non-resident of Maryland who attends a school in Maryland.  The Champion may not already be a high-school graduate.  There is no age cut-off for the Champion.  (MCA adheres to the University System of Maryland’s definition of a Maryland resident, which is posted here: www.umbc.edu/registrar/Pages/Services/residency.html and www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII270.html.)

Maryland Middle-School Chess Champion

The winner of the Middle-School Varsity section at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships in the spring is the Maryland Middle School Chess Champion and the Maryland representative to the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, a national invitational tournament in the summer for players in grades K-8.  The Maryland Middle-School Champion receives a stipend of up to $500 to help cover expenses at the tournament.  The winner of the Barber Tournament receives an $800 scholarship.

If there is a tie for first place, then see P20B below.

The Maryland Middle-School Chess Champion must be a full-time student in grades 6-8 currently enrolled in school or home-schooled.  The Champion must be either a resident of Maryland, or a non-resident of Maryland who attends a school in Maryland.  The Champion may not already be a middle-school graduate.  There is no age cut-off for the Champion.  (MCA adheres to the University System of Maryland’s definition of a Maryland resident, which is posted here: www.umbc.edu/registrar/Pages/Services/residency.html and www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII270.html.)

P19.  Maryland Junior Open Champion

The highest-placing Maryland resident in the top section at the Maryland Junior Open is the Maryland representative to the U.S. Junior Open, a national tournament in the summer for players younger than 21.  The Maryland champion receives a stipend of up to $500 to help cover expenses at the tournament.  If there is a tie for first place, then see P20C.

The Maryland Junior Open Champion must be either a resident of Maryland, or a non-resident of Maryland who is a full-time student currently enrolled at a school, college, or university in Maryland.  The Champion must be younger than 21 when the U.S. Junior Open is held.  (MCA adheres to the University System of Maryland’s definition of a Maryland resident, which is posted here: www.umbc.edu/registrar/Pages/Services/residency.html and www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII270.html.)

P20.  If there is a tie for first place, and if the prize can be divided and shared, then it will be.  (For example, a title like MD Scholastic Chess Champion or a stipend for travel to a national tournament can be divided and shared.)  If there is a tie for first place, and if the prize cannot be divided and shared, then a tiebreak procedure will determine the winner.  (For example, trophies, the Maryland-Sweet-16 Scholarship to UMBC, and the opportunity to be Maryland’s sole representative to the Denker Invitational cannot be divided and shared.)

P20A.  Format for Determining a Champion, when there is a Tie for First Place at the Maryland Sweet 16

If there is a tie for first place, then the Maryland Sweet 16 Scholarship to UMBC will not be divided and shared between those tied for first place, because there is only 1 scholarship. 

 If there is a tie for first place between 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion.  The player who is ahead on tiebreaks after the tournament’s scheduled final round, chooses color.  If the player chooses White, then he plays G/15 inc/5 (where Black plays with 5 fewer minutes: G/10 inc/5) and can win only by the standard means of winning: checkmate, winning on time, etc.  If Black draws White, however, then White loses, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 5 fewer minutes.  If the player chooses Black, then he plays G/10 inc/5 (where White plays with 5 more minutes: G/15 inc/5) and can win with a draw against White, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 5 fewer minutes.

If there is a tie for first place among 3+ players, then see the same scenario in P20B.

P20B.  Format for Determining a Champion, when there is a Tie for First Place in the:

1)    High-School Varsity Section at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships

2)    Middle-School Varsity Section at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships

3)    section of the tournament that determines the MD Girl Chess Champion

If there is a tie for first place in any of the above 3 sections, then the stipend to help cover travel costs cannot be divided and shared, because Maryland may send (be represented by) only 1 player at the following 3 tournaments:

1)    the Denker Tournament of High School Champions

2)    the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions

3)    the National Girls Invitational Tournament

If there is a tie for first place between 2 players, then 1 round of a G/10 inc/3 Blitz playoff will determine the champion.  (In a round, both players play White and Black.  Whoever finished ahead on tiebreaks, chooses color in the first game.)  After the G/10 inc/3 Blitz round, if there is still a tie between the 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion.  The player who is ahead on tiebreaks after the tournament’s scheduled final round, chooses color.  If the player chooses White, then he plays G/7 inc/3 (where Black plays with 2 fewer minutes: G/5 inc/3) and can win only by the standard means of winning: checkmate, winning on time, etc.  If Black draws White, however, then White loses, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 2 fewer minutes.  If the player chooses Black, then he plays G/5 inc/3 (where White plays with 2 more minutes: G/7 inc/3) and can win with a draw against White, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 2 fewer minutes.

If there is a tie for first place among 3+ players, then a double round robin of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff will determine the champion.  (In a single round robin, each player plays 1 game against each opponent; conversely, in a double round robin, each player plays 2 games [both as White and as Black] against each opponent.) 

·       After the double round robin of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff, if there is a tie for first place between 2 players, then they play 1 round of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff.  After the 1 round of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie between the 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion.

·       After the double round robin of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie for first place among 3+ players, then the 2 players who finished ahead on tiebreaks after the tournament’s initially scheduled final round, play 1 round of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff.  After the 1 round of a G/5 inc/3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie between the 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion. 

[The USCF requires Blitz games to be at least G/5 and no more than G/10.  But that applies to a Blitz tournament or a tournament with a Blitz section, not to a Blitz playoff at the end of a tournament with longer time controls.  So, if there’s a tie for first place after the final round at the Maryland Scholastic Chess Championships, then even a standard FIDE Blitz game (G/3 inc/2) would be a viable option for determining the Maryland Scholastic Chess Champions.]

P20C.  Format for Determining a Champion, when there is a Tie for First Place at Maryland Junior Open

If there is a tie for first place, then the title Maryland Junior Open Champion and MCA’s Maryland Junior Open Champion stipend to the U.S. Junior Open will be divided and shared by the winners.  The U.S. Junior Open is an open tournament; it’s not an invitational tournament such as the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, and the USCF Tournament of Girl Champions (provisional name)—for which MCA may nominate only a single state representative.  Since MCA doesn’t nominate a single state representative to the U.S. Junior Open, MCA’s stipend can be dived and shared.  Trophies at the Maryland Junior Open will be awarded according to tiebreak order, when there’s a tie between/among players in a score group.

P21.  If there's a playoff among tied players, trophies will be given out according to the subsequent playoff results, rather than according to the previous tiebreak results.  Playoff results trump tiebreak results.

P22.  MCA stipends will be issued only after a player competes in the tournament for which the stipend is designated.

 

 

RULES for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament

R1.  While games are in progress, only players and Tournament Directors have the right to be in the Tournament Room.  Spectators must exit the Tournament Room. 

This rule will be suspended during the entirety of Round 1 of the first MCA scholastic tournament of the scholastic year (usually in October), because we want parents to be able to watch and photograph their sons and daughters, as they compete in what may be their first chess tournament.

R2.  Until the conclusion of all sections of the final round, your mobile phone must be off, while you are in the Tournament Room.  The first time your phone is a disturbance, 10 minutes will be deducted from your clock.  (If you have 10 or fewer minutes remaining, half of your time will be deducted.)  The second time, you will forfeit your game.  The third time, you will be expelled from the tournament.  Spectators who are not players in the tournament will initially be warned, if their mobile phones are a disturbance.  Further disturbances will result in their expulsion from the tournament.

R3.  Black gets to choose whose clock will be used.  But if White’s clock has a delay setting and Black’s clock does not, then White’s clock must be used.  Regardless of whose clock will be used, Black gets to choose where to set the clock: on her right, or on her left.  However, a Tournament Director may specify which side of the table the clock must be on.  For example, if you are sitting near a wall, then you must position the clock so that it faces the center of the room.  That way, as the TDs walk around the Tournament Room, they will be able to see which games are under time pressure—that is, which games have at least 1 player with fewer than 5 minutes remaining.

R4.  Even if your opponent is not at the board when your game begins, then you are permitted to start your clock.  If you are Black, then start your clock—or your opponent’s clock, if it’s there and if you don’t have one.  If you are White, make your move, and then start your opponent’s clock (if it’s there)—or start your clock.  After the expiration of your opponent’s time, you will win by forfeit. 

R5.  Players are required to record (notate) their games—except K-3 players in any section and all players in the Elementary School Novice and Elementary School Unrated sections.  Players who are required to record their games but decide not to, will forfeit their games.  We do not favor imposing a less severe penalty—such as a time penalty.  You may stop recording your game, however, when either you or your opponent is in time pressure—that is, when either you or your opponent has fewer than 5 minutes remaining.  If you are using an electronic recording device (such as a Monroi PCM), then you must register it with a Tournament Director, before using it.  (See further the USCF National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations, Appendix F: Use of a Handheld Recording Device, located on p. 26 at http://main.uschess.org/images/stories/scholastic_chess_resources/NationalScholasticTournamentRegulations.revSept2009.red.pdf.)

R6.  Conversing with anyone about your game or his game, while either game is in progress, is cheating.  Seeking advice from a chess device or book during your game is cheating.  Pre-arranging the result of a game (yours or someone else’s) is cheating.  If a player cheats, then he will forfeit the game(s) in which he cheated, and he will be permitted to win neither a trophy, a title, nor prize money associated with the tournament.  Furthermore, he might be expelled from the tournament and might be prohibited from participating in future MCA tournaments.

R7.  Table talk and other forms of verbal communication or expression (such as humming, singing, and whistling) are prohibited.  Do not converse about your game or anyone else’s, while you or they are playing.  Trash talking is forbidden.  Do not try to enforce the rules of chess verbally during your game or anyone else’s.  Do not distract or annoy your opponent or fellow players intentionally.  If you have a question, want to make a claim, or want to register a complaint, then pause your clock, raise your hand, and wait patiently for a Tournament Director to arrive at your board.  When in doubt, ask a TD.

R8.  A player may summon a Tournament Director and make a claim such as illegal move, touch move (defined below), take move (defined below), 3-fold repetition of a position on the board (defined below), 50-move rule (defined below), disturbance, unsportsmanlike behavior, etc.  Spectators and other players are not permitted to make a claim on another player’s behalf; only the player is.  Unless you make a claim, a TD will rarely intervene in your game.  For example, if a TD sees that you could obtain a draw by making a 50-move claim, the TD will start counting moves, only if you make the claim.  If a TD sees your opponent make an illegal move during time pressure (that is, when either you or your opponent has fewer than 5 minutes remaining), the TD will prevent the illegal move, only if you make the claim.  The following is a rare example of when it would be appropriate for a TD to intervene in your game, even if neither player made a claim requesting the TD to intervene: if a TD sees your opponent make an illegal move, and if neither you nor your opponent is in time pressure, then the TD will intervene by disallowing the illegal move.

3-fold repetition of a position on the board:  If the same position occurs 3 times (but not necessarily consecutively), then a player may summon a TD and make a draw claim.  A player who wishes to make this claim must have a score sheet to document the claim.  Alternatively, in anticipation of making a draw claim, a player may summon a TD and ask him to observe the 3-fold repetition.

50-move rule:  If 50 moves have been made without a piece having been captured or a pawn having been promoted to another piece, then a player may summon a TD and make a draw claim.  A player who wishes to make this claim must have a score sheet to document the claim.  Alternatively, in anticipation of making a draw claim, a player may summon a TD and ask him to count the number of moves.

R9.  Because of the touch-take rule and the touch-move rule, make sure you touch a piece only when you want to take it or move it.  If you touch one of your opponent’s pieces intentionally, then you must take (capture) it—as long as you can do so with a legal move.  If you touch one of your pieces intentionally, then you must move it—as long as you can do so with a legal move.  But remember: it’s the touch-move rule, NOT the touch-square move.  So, while you are moving your piece across the board, as long as you keep a finger on the piece, you do not have to leave the piece on a particular square, just because it touched or rested on that square.  And yet, also remember: after you have picked up a piece intentionally, once you release it, that’s your move, even if you released the piece by accident—as long as you made a legal move.  (In Blitz chess neither the touch-take rule, nor the touch-move rule applies; only the clock-move rule applies.  That is, in Blitz your move is neither determined, nor completed, until you stop your time on the clock.)

R10.  If you want to adjust one of your pieces to the center of its square, then you must wait until it is your move and you must say I adjust, before adjusting the piece.

R11.  You may leave the Tournament Room at any time and for any reason: to go to the bathroom, to get a drink, to get something to eat, etc.  Furthermore, you do not need permission from a Tournament Director to leave the Tournament Room.  But if you plan to be absent for more than 15 minutes, then you must first notify a TD.  An unexcused absence of more than 15 minutes might result in the forfeiture of your game.  Before you leave the Tournament Room, you are not allowed to pause your clock to preserve your time.  While you are out of the Tournament Room, you are forbidden to seek advice about your game.  If you do seek advice about your game, then you are cheating.  Punishment for cheating includes forfeiture of your game and expulsion from the tournament.

R12.  If you discover that when it’s your move, your opponent remains in check, then you should immediately summon a Tournament Director.  The game is not over.  You have not won the game simply because your opponent made an illegal move, leaving himself in check.  All moves that leave a player’s king in check are illegal moves, and a game cannot end with an illegal move.  The TD will help both players walk back as many moves as necessary, until the original move with which a player put his opponent in check.  Then it will be the opponent’s move.  If the game cannot be reconstructed, then the TD will help both players walk back as many moves as possible that both players agree were played, leaving the king in check.  Then it will be the opponent’s move.

R13.  Disturbance and interference by spectators and players are prohibited.  Disturbances and interferences include mobile phones ringing and vibrating, mobile-phone conversations, and flooding the Tournament Room with noise by opening a closed door to observe games in progress.  Penalties for these types of inappropriate behavior include time deductions, game forfeiture, and expulsion from the tournament.  Spectators who are not players in the tournament will initially be warned, if they cause a disturbance or interference.  Further disturbances and interferences will result in their expulsion from the tournament.

R14.  When your game nears the expiration of its time limit, if you are not using a clock, then a Tournament Director will place a clock by your board and split the time that has elapsed since both players began playing and assign each player half of the game’s remaining amount of time.  (If you do not want to find yourself in that situation, then bring a clock to the tournament and use it, or borrow a clock from the Scorer’s Table.)

R15.  If you see another player’s clock run out of time, you are not permitted to point this out to her opponent.  The only one who may claim a win on time, is the player herself.  Not even a Tournament Director may bring time elapse to a player’s attention.

R16.  If you want to offer your opponent a draw, then make your move, quietly ask “Draw? ”, start your opponent’s clock, and wait patiently, while your opponent considers your offer.  Do not extend your hand before your opponent answers.  You should shake hands only if and after your opponent accepts your offer.  If your offer is declined, it’s poor sportsmanship to repeat your offer frequently, in an effort to distract your opponent.  It’s also poor sportsmanship to offer a draw when you’re in a losing position.  

R17.  If you want to resign, then carefully lay your King on his side and/or quietly say I resign.

R18.  Just because your opponent indicates to you that he has checkmated you or that the game is a stalemate or a draw, does not mean he is right.  Before conceding anything, arrive at your own conclusion.  For, once you have agreed to the result of a game, you have determined the end of the game—even if the result you agreed to is incorrect.

You have agreed to the end of the game, when you have:

A.    agreed to a checkmate verbally (and shaken hands)

B.    agreed to a stalemate verbally (and shaken hands)

C.   agreed to a draw verbally (and shaken hands)

D.    resigned by saying I resign (and shaken hands), or by turning over your King (and shaken hands)

Do NOT simply shake hands in silence.  Before you shake hands, communicate with your opponent exactly what result you both are agreeing to. 

So, even if, after conceding defeat, you later point out to a Tournament Director that your opponent “checkmated” you with an illegal move (which means she did not checkmate you legitimately), then the TD will not intervene in your game by overruling your concession to defeat and by compelling your opponent to take back her illegal move.  Even though you were not checkmated legitimately, the game is over and you have lost it, because you agreed to having been checkmated legitimately—even though you were not.  That said, even if neither you, nor your opponent makes a claim, there is a scenario in which it would be appropriate for a TD to intervene in your game, by compelling your opponent to take back the illegal move with which she “checkmated” you.  That scenario has two provisions: neither you, nor your opponent is in time pressure (that is, neither you, nor your opponent has fewer than 5 minutes remaining); and you have not agreed to having been checkmated. 

R19.  While games are in progress, only players and Tournament Directors have the right to be in the Tournament Room.  The moment a player completes her game, she becomes a spectator and is no longer a player.  Spectators who recently finished their games or who have received a TD’s permission to take a bye during a round, may silently observe other games during that round, only if they receive permission from a TD.

R20.  When there is an odd number of players in a section, 1 player cannot be paired against an opponent and will receive a full-point bye.  A player can receive only 1 full-point bye per tournament.

Rather than compete for a 1-point win, a player may request a bye for any round, for any number of rounds, and for any reason. (The vast majority of players do NOT request a bye, however, because they want to play all their games and maximize their ability to win a trophy.) Although permitted an unlimited number of byes, a player will be granted only a single ½-point bye at a tournament. (Additional bye requests will be granted as 0-point byes.) A player’s request for a ½-point bye must be received before the pairings for Round 2 are posted. (This prevents a player from seeking to avoid playing against a specific opponent to whom he fears he would lose.) (A player may request an unlimited number of 0-point byes at any time.) A player does not need to provide a reason for requesting a bye. Furthermore, while the player is taking her bye, she does not need to leave the tournament site; nor does she have to leave the tournament room. Indeed, she may even study other players’ openings and defenses, while she’s taking her bye.

MCA considers a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye to have withdrawn from the tournament, regardless of whether the player later re-enters the tournament or whether the 0-point bye is taken during the final round—that is, regardless of whether the withdrawal is temporary (and later reversed) or permanent. Consequently, even though a player is permitted to reenter a tournament after he requests or receives a 0-point bye, and even though a player could hypothetically earn enough total points to win a trophy in a section after having withdrawn from the section’s final round, a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye may win neither a prize (a trophy or title), nor a stipend (for travel to a national tournament) associated with the MCA scholastic tournament.  MCA’s treatment of a 0-point bye as a withdrawal that disqualifies the player from being rewarded for his performance at the scholastic tournament, is rooted in Rule 32C1 of The United States Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess: “Unless the director decides otherwise, players who fail to complete the tournament are not entitled to prizes”. Furthermore, tournament points earned by a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye are forfeited not only by the player, but also by the player’s team; the player’s individual points may not count toward the player’s team’s total points.

R21.  If you decide to withdraw from the tournament, then you must inform the Chief TD before leaving the tournament site.  Because your failure to inform the Chief TD of your withdrawal will render the next round of pairings inaccurate, you might be prohibited from participating in a future MCA scholastic tournament.

R22.  MCA’s scholastic team policies at ALL scholastic tournaments

*  All players on a team must attend the same school in the same building with the same administration.  Home-schooled players who reside in a single school district may form a team.  Alternatively, a home-schooled player may play for the team from the public school she would have attended. 

*  A school may enter an unlimited number of players in any/all sections. 

*  If a school has a large team in a section, it may subdivide into at most 2 teams.  The players on those teams might be paired against each other, however, because the teams will be considered entirely separate teams.  The players on the 2 teams (School Team A and School Team B) must be designated by the scheduled end of online registration (on Thursday night), and they may not be switched after having been designated.  If a school subdivides into 2 teams, both teams may win a team trophy.

MCA’s scholastic team policy at local scholastic tournaments & the MD Junior Open

*  Players from a K-8 school housed in a single building and run by a single administration may form a team in a section (such as Junior Varsity or Varsity), if the section is open to K-8 players.  However, a mix of ES, MS, and HS players from a K-12 school any of whose various divisions (ES, MS, or HS) either is housed in a separate building or is run by a separate administration, may not form a single team.   

*  Within each section a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 4 scores by players from the same school (except in Varsity, where the maximum is the top 2 scores).

MCA’s scholastic team policy at Greater Baltimore Scholastic Chess Championships

*  Within all sections, a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 4 scores by players from the same school.

MCA’s scholastic team policy at Mid-Atlantic Girls Chess Championship

*  Players from a K-8 school housed in a single building and run by a single administration may form a team in a section (such as Junior Varsity or Varsity), if the section is open to K-8 players.  However, a mix of ES, MS, and HS players from a K-12 school any of whose various divisions (ES, MS, or HS) either is housed in a separate building or is run by a separate administration, may not form a single team.   

*  Within all sections, a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 3 scores by players from the same school.

MCA’s scholastic team policy at Greater Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Chess Championships

*  Players from a K-8 school housed in a single building and run by a single administration may form a team in a section (such as Junior Varsity or Varsity), if the section is open to K-8 players.  However, a mix of ES, MS, and HS players from a K-12 school any of whose various divisions (ES, MS, or HS) either is housed in a separate building or is run by a separate administration, may not form a single team.   

*  Within all sections, a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 4 scores by players from the same school.

MCA’s scholastic team policy at MD Scholastic Chess Championships (ES, MS, & HS)

*  Players must attend a school in Maryland or be home-schooled in Maryland.

*  Within all sections, a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 4 scores by players from the same school.

MCA’s scholastic team policy at MD Scholastic Team Championships

*  Players must attend a school in Maryland or be home-schooled in Maryland.

*  Within all sections, a team's score is the sum of at least the top 2 scores and at most the top 4 scores by players from the same school.

*  1 player per team in the MS and HS sections may be in a lower grade at the same school.

Except for tournaments that are specifically team tournaments, MCA scholastic tournaments are primarily individual tournaments and only secondarily team tournaments.  At MCA scholastic tournaments other than specifically team tournaments, we usually activate the team-restriction option in our pairing software (SwissSys), so that most players from the same team won’t play against each other in a section.  However, since most MCA scholastic tournaments are only concomitantly team tournaments, the paramount goal of the tournament is to determine the best individual players in each section.  Therefore, starting with Round 3, players from the same team might play against each other, if they are either near the top or near the bottom of their section—that is, if they have a plus-2 score (2-0 or 3-1) or a minus-2 score (0-2 or 1-3).  For example, if it’s Round 5 and there are only 2 players who are 4-0 and they attend the same school, we’ll pair them against each other (rather than against players who are 3-1), because we want the tournament to identify the best individual player in each section.  On the one hand, then, outliers (players near the top or bottom of their section) will not be pushed out of their score group to avoid playing against a teammate.  And on the other hand, inliers (players in the middle of their section) will rarely play against each other; however, occasionally it’s unavoidable because a single team comprises approximately 1/3rd  or more of a section’s players.

If there are 33+ players in a 5-round section, then we might implement accelerated pairings (a broadly applied form of forced pairings) to identify the best individual player.  Otherwise, 2 players could emerge with perfect scores (all wins, no draws, and no losses), having never played against each other.  (With “x” being the number of rounds, a tournament can guarantee at most 1 perfect score in a section whose players number 2 to the power of x.  In a 5-round section, then, at most 1 player can emerge with a perfect score if there are 32 players [2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32].)  With accelerated pairings, the top players play against each other sooner than they would with natural pairings (where they might not play against each other at all).  With natural pairings, each round the top half of players with the same score plays the bottom half of players with the same score.  So, with natural pairings, in Round 1 of a section of 60 players, #1 plays #31, …, and #30 plays #60.  Assuming #s1-30 win, then in Round 2 #1 plays #16, …, and #15 plays #30.  And so on, until in Round 5 #1 plays #3, and #2 plays #4.  Since there is no Round 6, #1 and #2 emerge with perfect scores (5-0), having never played each other.  But with accelerated pairings, Round 1 is paired for the top 30 players the same way Round 2 is with natural pairings: #1 plays #16, …, and #15 plays #30.  So, accelerated pairings effectively “adds an extra round” of play for the outliers at the top, transforming a 5-Round section into the functional equivalent of a 6-Round section, with natural pairings. 

Here’s how it works.  In Round 1 where natural pairings divides players into 2 halves, accelerated pairings divides players in 4 quarters.  In Round 1 the 1st quartile plays the 2nd quartile, and the 3rd quartile plays the 4th quartile.  Hypothetically, all of the 1st quartile and all of the 3rd quartile win.  Then, hypothetically in Round 2 the winners in the top half from Round 1 (the 1st quartile) are paired amongst themselves, and only the top 1/8th emerges with a perfect 2-0 score.  Moreover, hypothetically in Round 2  the losers in the top half from Round 1 (the 2nd quartile) beat the winners in the bottom half from Round 1 (the 3rd quartile).  And finally, hypothetically, in Round 2 the losers in the bottom half from Round 1 are paired amongst themselves, and only the top 8/8th emerges with a 0-2 score.  Hypothetically, then, with accelerated pairings heading into Round 3 only the top 1/8th of players are undefeated at 2-0; conversely, with natural pairings heading into Round 3 all of the top ¼ of players are undefeated at 2-0.  Starting with Round 3, accelerated pairings are turned off, and natural pairings are resumed.  Rounds 3-5 winnow the field down so that only 1 player emerges with a perfect score.  Click here for an explanation of accelerated pairings specifically and the Swiss System generally.

Only with accelerated pairings (in which top players face each other earlier in the tournament than they would with natural pairings, because the pairing method generates forced pairings by quartiles, rather than by halves), might teammates play against each other in Rounds1-2—as opposed to only in Rounds 3-5 possibly, with natural pairings.

R23.  Unless no other Tournament Director is available, a TD may not make a ruling on a game that includes a player who is a relative or someone whom the TD coaches or tutors.  (In the rare instance of another TD not being available, the TD making the ruling must reveal his unavoidable conflict of interest to both players.)  Furthermore, TDs should not wear their school’s, club’s, or organization’s chess-team shirts. 

 

The Maryland Chess Association’s Procedures, Rules, and Etiquette for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament supplements The U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess, 5th Edition (2003).  MCA’s tournament procedures, rules, and etiquette are listed chronologically, as they would apply to ensure the proper flow of events at a tournament.

For comparison’s purposes, see FIDE’s (the World Chess Federation’s) Laws of Chess (2008) and Appendices: www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=32&view=category.

 


ETIQUETTE for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament

E1.  All of the tournament’s premises (the Tournament Room, the Skittles Room [where players relax, eat snacks, and play casual games of chess, while waiting for the next round of their games to begin; and where spectators pass the day by reading books and newspapers], the hallways, the bathrooms, etc.) are smoke-free zones.

E2.  Players and spectators should wear proper attire throughout the day.

E3.  Players are forbidden to eat snacks or meals at the board for several reasons: it’s a distraction to other players, it’s unsanitary (licked fingers spread germs by touching pieces that are later captured by one’s opponent), and it often leaves a mess.  Water, however, may be consumed and gum may be chewed­—if silently.  Soda and juice are forbidden.

E4.  Players are permitted to listen to music, as long as no one else can hear it.

E5.  At the beginning of each round, shake hands before starting your clocks.

E6.  In this Tournament Room there is no such thing as a bad question.  So, as soon as you have an issue you want to discuss with a TD, pause your clock and raise your hand.  It is better to feel a little embarrassed about asking a question during the game, than it is to lose the game and later wish you had asked the question.  Furthermore, if you wait too long to pose your question to a TD, then it might be too late for the TD to act on your concern.

E7.  As a courtesy to your fellow players and in the name of fair play, if you observe anyone cheating, then pause your clock, raise your hand, and tell a Tournament Director.

E8.  Do not say check.  First of all, it is your opponent’s responsibility to recognize that she is in check.  Second, it is not in your interest to say check.  If your opponent fails to realize she is in check, and if she touches a piece (say, her Queen) with which she could block check, then you can make a touch-move claim.  Consequently, rather than simply moving her King out of check, she would be required by the Tournament Director to block check with her Queen.  Then, you could capture her Queen and simultaneously put her back in check.  Or, if, while in check, your opponent makes an illegal move (say, she moves a Rook that can neither capture the piece putting her in check, nor block check), then you can request that a TD require her to take back the illegal move.  Furthermore, if she makes the illegal move while the game is in time pressure (that is, when either player has fewer than 5 minutes remaining), then you can ask the TD to impose a time penalty against her (by adding 2 minutes to your clock).  Players who commit illegal moves while the game is not under time pressure, however, are not subject to a time penalty.

E9.  If you have checkmated your opponent, or if the game is a stalemate or a draw, then do not say checkmate or stalemate or draw.  Instead, wait patiently for your opponent to realize it.  If your opponent does not realize it, then point it out to him silently.  If your opponent disagrees with your interpretation of the position on the board, after you have pointed it out to him silently, then pause your clock, raise your hand, and wait patiently for a TD.

E10.  After you have completed your game and agreed to its result, shake hands and congratulate each other on playing a hard-fought game.  Practice good sportsmanship: win with grace; lose with dignity.

E11.  After your game, set the pieces back in place.  Then both players must report the game’s result at the Scorer’s Table.  In a drawn (tied) game, each player receives a ½ point.  If you beat your opponent, then you receive 1 point and she receives 0 points.  If you won by forfeit (say, because your opponent did not show up, or because she was disqualified for unsportsmanlike behavior), then you also receive 1 point (signified by 1F, rather than by 1) and she also receives 0 points (signified by 0F, rather than by 0).  If you won by forfeit, then do not tell the Tournament Aide at the Scorer’s Table simply that you won; instead, say that you won by forfeit.  (Why?  Because the Chief Tournament Director needs to know that your opponent did not show up for her game, so we don’t pair her in the next round.  By letting us know that you won by forfeit, you are helping us identify the no-shows and thereby extending a courtesy to your fellow players.  For, it’s no fun to be paired and not have your opponent show up to play.)

E12.  When you re-enter the Tournament Room for the next round of games in your section, please do so silently, as games in other sections will likely be in progress.

E13.  If you do not know how to set your digital clock, then view one of the demonstration videos we’ve posted at:

www.mdchess.org

in the Main Menu sidebar on the lower left, click on “Chess Links"

“Miscellaneous”

“Learn How to Set Your Chess Clock…”

[Alternatively, go to

www.mdchess.org/index.php?option=com_weblinks&view=category&id=18%3Amiscellaneous&Itemid=16.]

 

© 2011 John D. Rockefeller V

MCA Scholastic Director

[last updated: 11/29/2012]

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