MCA's Scholastic Bye Policy

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 per 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.

A player may retract a bye request for any round (may opt to play in the round), as long as the bye request is retracted before the pairings for that round have been posted.

MCA considers a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye to have withdrawn from the tournament, regardless of whether the player later re-enters the tournament or whether the 0-point bye is taken during the final round—that is,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bye, and even though a player could hypothetically earn enough total points to win a trophy in a section after having withdrawn from the section’s final round, a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye may win neither a prize (a trophy or title), nor a stipend (for travel to a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.

© 2012 John D. Rockefeller V

MCA Scholastic Director

[last updated: 01.15.2015]