West Kentucky Chess, LLC

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Helpful Information for Chess Parents


Regionally occurring chess events

  • www.purchasechessfoundation.org
  • www.westkychess.com

General Chess knowledge

  • Study chess online with chess.com, chesskids.com, lichess.org, and YouTube
  • Check out the public library, some school libraries chess books like PTHS

Chess materials

  • wholesalechess.com
  • uscfsales.com
  • West Kentucky Chess has a few quiver sets for $11/set, and some books

Chess Tournament Facts & Hints

  • Tournaments last all day (average time frame 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM)
  • Every player plays every round for their section (sections with more players usually have more rounds)
  • Players are usually required to bring their own standard tournament chess set, chess clock (with delay option). Most regionally conducted events have sets and clocks in the tournament room.
  • Players are ALWAYS responsible for their own pen/pencil and score book (notation)
  • Be Prepared:
    • To wait, sitting for long periods of time (bring a comfy folding chair)
    • Not watching your child play chess
    • To use up the battery life of all technology (bring an extension cord)
    • To be bored
    • To plan a few side trips in the area during rounds (G/90 events can potentially provide a parent with up to 12 hours of shopping time!)
  • Chess tournaments exist for the players, not spectators. So if you want to know how a game went, make sure your child is notating all the moves. Every fully notated game can be reviewed, and it’s written proof of the game’s outcome, and can be reviewed for study/practice. Better still, players can input their notated games into chess analysis applications for a computer generated review, or meet with their chess coach or a private instructor for further analysis.
  • Game outcomes are decided in the tournament room, between the two players. Only notation-supported complaints can be made, and only before the next round starts. Parents, this means that if you’re going to advocate for your kids, you must know the game.

Know the lingo

  • The USCF – United States Chess Federation is the governing body of nearly all Rated chess in the country. Membership is required to enter any tournament they Rate; if a player enters this tournament, they automatically get their membership when they play.

  • The timing codes for chess tournaments can give a better understanding of how long a tournament will last. G/30;d5 means that each player for 4-5 rounds will have 30 minutes plus a 5 second delay per move to play their game. So a 5 round tournament with a G/30;d5 code might last 5 to 6 hours. G/45;d5 might last 6-7 hours

  • SS means Swiss Style. Most large number of player tournaments a run as SS to ensure everyone plays a game every round.

  • Tie-breaks are used at nearly every tournament, so in a section of 50 players with Top 10 prizes, only 10 players will get a prize, and they are the best based on their rating, how many games they won, and how strong the players were that they beat

  • USCF Rated Event – The United States Chess Federation requires that all Rated tournaments be conducted with the use of a USCF Certified Tournament Director, under Standardized test-like conditions. So once all parents and coaches are out of the room, the tournament can begin.

  • Touch Move Rule – if a player touches a piece, he/she has to move that piece. If a player touches one of the opponent's pieces, that player has to capture the piece if it is possible.

  • Byes – byes can be granted during a tournament usually a ½ point bye for around, and then 0 point byes for any additional rounds, or the final round of a tournament

  • Player Conduct – all players (Kindergarten to 12th grade) are expected to manage their own behavior while playing. Every player has a right to a good game of chess each round. If any player needs a break from their game either to go to the restroom, get a drink of water, or relieve some stress with a walk down the hall, it is on their clock time. Clocks only get paused by a TD during a dispute. If conduct is unbecoming of a chess player their 1st strike is a verbal warning by the TD, 2nd strike is an automatic forfeit of their game, 3rd strike is a tournament disqualification.
    • Most coaches have prepped their players on conduct and expectations, and all veteran players are aware, too. These rules will be reviewed by the Chief TD or tournament organizer before the first round of most chess tournaments.
    • Items not permitted in the tournament room are anything that could be distracting to other players, unless it's been previously approved by the TD as an assistance to complete game play. Examples of banned items: electronics except previously approved by the TD, Smart watches or similar technology, headphones for music, fidget devices of any kind, food, gum/candy, any beverage that isn't in a screw-top container. 

Chess tournaments cost money

  • Regular season scholastic events are usually $10/player
  • Special scholastic events and most Open events start at $25/player
  • Blitz, Bug House, Simultaneous events are usually $10 or less
  • Tournament style chess sets can be as low at $16, clocks start around $25