How to Prepare for an MCA Scholastic Tournament
Punctual Registration Changes (changes requested before online registration ends) will not be assessed an additional fee.
Minor Late Registration Changes will be assessed a $5 fee, payable online or at the Registration Desk.They will be accommodated until 9:00 AM, when the Registration Desk closes, so that the Chief Tournament Director can post the pairings at 9:15 AM and start Round 1 at 9:30 AM.Minor Late Registration Changes include: a section switch, a requested bye, etc.
Major Late Registration Changes will be assessed a $10 fee, payable online or at the Registration Desk.They will be accommodated after Round 1 begins, so that Round 1 will start on time.Players requesting Major Late Registration Changes will not play until Round 2; they’ll receive a ½ point bye in Round 1.Major Late Registration Changes include: purchase of a new US Chess membership, renewal of an expired US Chess membership, At-the-Door Registration (the $10 fee is already included in the price), etc. (Pay for new or renewed US Chess memberships atwww.mdchess.com: “Main Menu” sidebar on the lower left-hand side of the page: “Register for Tournaments”: “US Chess Memberships” toward the bottom of the page. )
Pay for Late Registration Changes at www.mdchess.com: “Main Menu” sidebar on the lower left-hand side of the page: “Register for Tournaments”: “Late Registration Changes” at the bottom of the page.
Payment for one player’s registration may not be applied to (substituted for) payment for another player’s.A payment-substitution request will be treated as an At-the-Door Registration.
2.During the week before the tournament, players and spectators should familiarize themselves with Procedures, Rules, and Etiquette for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament, which is posted at www.mdchess.org: “Main Menu” sidebar on the lower left-hand side of the page: “Register for Tournaments”.
4.What equipment should a parent bring?Clocks are required in all sections, except Elementary School Novice.Clocks should be available for purchase at the tournament. The MCA has several extra analog clocks that may be borrowed, as long as they remain in the Tournament Room between rounds.Sets, boards, & score sheets will be provided.Please bring a sharp pencil with a good eraser to record (notate) your game on a score sheet. Players are required to record their games—except K-3 players in any section and all players in Elementary School Novice.(Players can review the rules of chess notation in “About Chess Notation” at www.ProfessorChess.com/downloads/display_samples/item01_content1.htm.)If players who are required to record their games do not have score sheets, then they should go to www.ProfessorChess.com/downloads/display_samples/item07_content.htm, print out 5 free copies of the Basic Chess Score Sheet, and bring them to the tournament.If you would like to purchase a chess clock, scorebook, or chess set, then ask a Tournament Director for advice.We’ll recommend products at sites such as www.CajunChess.com, www.ChessHouse.com, www.ChessSet.com, www.TheChessStore.com, www.USCFSales.com, and www.WholesaleChess.com.There should be a vendor at MCA tournaments selling chess supplies: sets (boards & pieces), digital clocks, score sheets, bags, books, DVDs, etc.
5.We recommend that you pack a healthy lunch and snacks for your player.Otherwise, pizza, candy, and sodas will be available for purchase at the site—with the exception of scholastic tournaments at UMBC.Here's a tip from Parents magazine worth considering: give the player $5 to spend on whatever snacks he wants throughout the day.But also give him an incentive to spend as little as possible: he gets to keep whatever he does not spend.Perhaps he will accumulate his savings from a few tournaments to contribute to the purchase of a digital chess clock, which would reinforce the idea that chess rewards those who delay gratification.
6.If you did not register the player for the tournament online, then arrive at the Registration Desk at least 60 minutes before the scheduled start of Round 1 of her section.That should allow a sufficient amount of time to complete the registration process—which can entail both registering her for the tournament, and purchasing or renewing her USCF membership.If you do not arrive at least 60 minutes before the scheduled start of Round 1, then you might not complete the registration process in time for her to be paired in Round 1.In that case, instead of competing for a 1-point win in Round 1, she would receive a ½-point bye and not be paired to play until Round 2.The start of Round 1 will NOT be postponed to accommodate at-the-door registrants who do not complete the registration process in time to be paired for Round 1—regardless of how early they arrived at the Registration Desk.
7.If you registered the player for the tournament online, then:
A.Arrive at least 45 minutes before the scheduled start of Round 1, so he will have time to settle in at the Skittles Room.(That’s where players relax, eat snacks, and play casual games of chess, while waiting for the next round of their games to begin; and it’s where spectators pass the day by reading books and newspapers.)There are almost always enough seats in the Skittles Room for all of the players and spectators.But it might be difficult for a family or group of 4 or more to secure a sufficient number of seats to sit together at a single table, if they do not arrive at least 45 minutes before the scheduled start of Round 1.
B.Immediately upon arrival, locate his name in the list of registered players taped to a wall near the Registration Desk.Confirm that his information is accurate.
1.If you DO NOT see “SEE T.D. ” after the player’s name, then he DOES NOT need to check in with a Tournament Director at the Registration Desk.He should just be ready to play at the scheduled start of Round 1.
2.If you DO see “SEE T.D. ” next to the player’s name, then his registration is not complete and he DOES need to check in with a Tournament Director at the Registration Desk.In most instances, the problem is either that a player has not yet purchased a USCF membership, or that his USCF membership has expired.(Players are required to have current USCF memberships. A player without a current USCF membership at the start of Round 1 will receive a 1/2 point bye in Round 1.)Or, perhaps he is registered for a section in which we think he might be entirely overmatched.In that case, we would recommend that he move down to a section commensurate with his skill level.
8. Players should be prepared to leave the Skittles Room 10 minutes before the scheduled start of Round 1.They will need that much time to find their pairings on the wall charts and settle in at their boards in the Tournament Room.They should go to the bathroom before the pairings are posted.
9.MCA scholastic tournaments are non-elimination tournaments.So, a player will always be paired in the next round—regardless of whether she won or lost her previous game.Losing never disqualifies a player from competing in the next round.Indeed, with each subsequent round, a player is increasingly likely to compete against an opponent whose skills are nearly equivalent to hers.(To learn how that happens, see P7 in Procedures, Rules, and Etiquette for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament.)
10.Because the turnaround times between rounds is unpredictable, there is no scheduled lunch.Players should snack between rounds.
Projected Schedule for Players in ES Novice (5 Rounds of G/30 d/5 Games)
9:30 - 10:20Round 1
10:40 - 11:30Round 2
11:50 -12:40Round 3
1:00 -1:50Round 4
2:10 -3:00Round 5
3:20 -3:35Awards Ceremony
Players who are not in the running for individual or team trophies are invited to attend the Awards Ceremony, but they often go home instead.
In a G/30 game, each player has 30 minutes to make all of her moves.So, if both players were to use virtually all of their time (which almost never happens), then a game would last approximately 66 minutes: 60 minutes for their moves, plus 6 minutes for the 5-second time delay that would accompany 36 moves per player (an average number of moves per player).
Projected Schedule for Players in ES Intermediate and HS & MS Intermediate (5 Rounds of G/45 d/5 Games)
9:30 - 10:40Round 1
11:00 - 12:10Round 2
12:30 -1:40Round 3
2:00 -3:10Round 4
3:30 -4:40Round 5
5:00 -5:15Awards Ceremony
Projected Schedule for Players in Junior Varsity (4 Rounds of G/60 d/5 Games)
9:30 - 11:00Round 1
11:20 -12:50Round 2
1:10 - 2:40Round 3
3:00 -4:30Round 4
4:50 -5:05Awards Ceremony
Projected Schedule for Players in Varsity (3 Rounds of G/45 inc/30 Games)
9:30 - 11:40Round 1
12:00 -2:10Round 2
2:30 - 4:40Round 3
5:00 -5:15Awards Ceremony
© 2010 John D. Rockefeller V
MCA Scholastic Director
Maryland Chess Association
[last updated: 11/29/2012]