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MCA Roland Park January Scholastic 2016 (NEW DATE)
Sunday 28 February 2016, 09:30am - 05:00pm
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Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Originally scheduled for 2016.01.30, MCA Roland Park January 2016 has been RESCHEDULED for SUNDAY, 2016.02.28 at a different site nearby in Baltimore: Poly & Western HSs.

DO NOT RE-REGISTER for the rescheduled tournament, if you registered for the tournament on its originally scheduled date. All registrations for the tournament on its originally scheduled date will be valid on (will transfer to) the rescheduled date.

REGISTER for this tournament now ONLY if you are a NEW registrant who did not register for the tournament on its originally scheduled date.

A player's February rating will determine section eligibility.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute & Western High School
1400 W. Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, MD 21209

Recent History of the Tournament, Site, and/or Date

Players in the Varsity section who are Maryland residents can earn MD-Sweet-16 Varsity Points to qualify for the MD Sweet 16, an annual invitational tournament at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The top 16 players who compete in at least 1 of MCA’s 9 scheduled MD-Sweet-16 qualifying tournaments from September - February, will qualify for the MD Sweet 16 on 2016.03.05-06. The MD-Sweet-16 Champion will receive a 4-year MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship, valued at $44,024. (There are 2 additional types of UMBC Chess Scholarships for which high-school seniors from any state are eligible.) The MD-Sweet-16 tournament-announcement page contains all tournament details.

Round 1: 9:30 AM.  Subsequent rounds: as soon as possible.


US Chess Rating



Time Control





K - 12


G/90 +30


Top Under 1800


Junior Varsity

1200 - 1599

K - 12


G/30 +30

Top Under 1400



800 - 1199

or strong unrated HSers

K - 12


G/60 d5

Top Under 1000


Intermediate HS & MS

under 800 or unrated

6 - 12


G/45 d5

Top Under 600


Intermediate ES

under 800 or unrated

K - 5


G/45 d5

Top Under 600


Novice ES

under 400 or unrated

K - 5


G/30 d5

Top Under 200




  Top ≈ 25% of players, or players with ≈ 70% of available points (3.5+/5, 2.8+/4, or 1.4+/2)

Top Under X

  Top player with a published rating under X who does not earn a place trophy (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

  (Unrated players are ineligible for class prizes.)


  Top ≈ 35% of teams, or teams with ≈ 50% of available points (10+/20, 8+/16, or 4+/8—top 4 players)



 X = # of rounds in which a player plays 1 game against an opponent determined by Swiss-system pairings


 X = # of minutes per game each player has to complete all of the player's moves (a player's initial base time)


 X = # of seconds of delay that elapse before a player's base time begins to elapse when a player is on move


 X = # of seconds of increment added to a player's base time for each move


Which Section is Right for Your Player?

      • Sections are listed primarily in order of rating strength & secondarily in order of grade range.
      • Players who have never competed in a US-Chess-rated tournament (the vast majority of unrated players) are not eligible for the strongest sections.
      • A player's eligibility by rating for a section is determined primarily by the player's official/published US Chess rating during the month in which a tournament will be held. A player's official rating remains the same number throughout a month, because US Chess calculates a player's official rating only once per month. That is, a player's official rating does not change during a month, because a player's official rating throughout a month is what the player’s unofficial/unpublished rating was on the 3rd Wednesday of the previous month. Conversely, a player's unofficial rating can change an unlimited number of times per month, because US Chess calculates a player's unofficial rating a few hours after the conclusion of every US-Chess-rated tournament in which a player competes. When registering a player for a tournament in month X, apply the player's official rating in month X. When registering a player for a tournament in month X+1, apply the player's unofficial rating on the 3rd Wednesday of month X. Look up a player's official & unofficial US Chess ratings here.
      • Sections have a marginally flexible floor (at MCA scholastic tournaments), but an inflexible/hard ceiling (at all US-Chess-rated tournaments). So, if the player's official rating is ≤ 50 points below a section's floor, and/or if the player's unofficial rating either is ≤ 50 points below or is above a section's floor, then a player may play up in that higher section—unless the Tournament Organizer and/or Chief Tournament Director decide it's not in the tournament's best interests. However, if a player's unofficial rating is below a section's ceiling, but the player's official rating is above that section's ceiling, then the player may NOT play down in that section.
      • If a player is registered for a section for which the player is ineligible by rating, then MCA (without notification) will move the player to the lowest section for which the player is eligible.
      • If a player is registered for a section for which the player is ineligible by grade, then MCA will take 1 of 2 steps. If MCA thinks a player has been registered intentionally so as to play up or down in a grade-inappropriate section (in the hope of either stronger or weaker competition), then (without notification) MCA will move the player to a grade-appropriate section. (MCA might also impose punitive measures.) Conversely, if MCA thinks a player has been registered accidentally with a discrepancy that, given the player's designated grade, renders the player ineligible for the player's selected section, then (without notification) MCA will pair the player in a section according to whichever is higher: the designated grade or the selected section. For example, a player designated as a 3rd grader but registered in a HS-&-MS or 9th-grade section, will remain in the HS-&-MS or 9th-grade section; conversely, a player designated as a 9th grader but registered in an ES or 3rd-grade section, will be moved to a HS-&-MS or 9th-grade section. Why? Because MCA considers it wiser to err on the side of accidentally letting a player in a low grade play against players in a higher grade or grades, than of accidentally letting a player in a high grade play against players in a lower grade or grades. To prevent your player from being paired in an incorrect section (by grade) because of a registration error, please review both the registration-confirmation email MCA sent you & the Wallcharts below. Send corrections to MCA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Registered Players & Wallcharts

Tournament Registration Fee

      • Registration will open 1 month before the tournament. Click on Register Now! at the bottom of this page.
      • $15—if completed by 11:59 PM, Tuesday, 2016.02.23 (Early)
      • $25—if completed by 7 PM, Thursday, 2016.02.25 (Regular)
      • $40—if completed by 5 AM, SUNDAY, 2016.02.28 (Last-Minute; ½-point bye possible in Round 1)
      • $70—8 - 9 AM, SUNDAY, 2016.02.28 (At-the-Door: if space is available; ½-point bye likely in Round 1)

US Chess Membership

      • A player must have a current US Chess membership to compete in a US-Chess-rated tournament.
      • During a tournament a player without a current US Chess membership is ineligible to play, will not be paired in any round, & will receive a 0-point bye in all rounds, until the player purchases a new US Chess membership or renews an expired one, by filling out MCA's US-Chess-membership form in the Tournament Directors' room. A 0-point bye reduces a player's ability to win an individual trophy and a school's ability to win a team trophy.
      • A US Chess membership can be purchased with registration for the tournament. For Registration Type select the 2nd option: Tournament Registration & US Chess Membership (new or renewal).

Which Players Are Required to Record Their Games?

      • Players in grades 4 - 12 must record (notate) their games, unless they are unable to. K - 3 players in all sections are exempt from the recording requirement.
      • Recording affords several benefits:
            • it helps to resolve disputes;
            • it discourages cheating;
            • it enables players to improve their skills through post-game analysis.

Do Players Need to Bring Anything?

      • Players do NOT need to bring any equipment. MCA will provide all necessary supplies: boards, pieces, scoresheets (for recording), and pencils. (MCA’s pencils might be dull and do not have erasers. If you want a sharp pencil with a good eraser, then bring your own.)
      • Players do NOT need to bring a clock; however, we encourage them to bring one. A game may be started without a clock, if neither player brings a clock to the board. Clocks can be purchased at the tournament.
      • Food (pizza, candy, soda, etc.) can be purchased at the tournament.

How to Register Online for an MCA Scholastic Tournament

Which US Chess Rating Determines the Section(s) in which a Player May or Must Play?

MCA’s Scholastic Team Policy

MCA’s Scholastic Bye Policy

MCA's Refund Policy & Fees for Registration Changes

Tournament Announcements before Round 1 & Section Schedules

Procedures, Rules, and Etiquette for Players and Spectators at an MCA Scholastic Tournament

Increment Time Control

Even when More Than 1 Player in a Section Can Achieve a Perfect Score, There Will Be No Major Variations; However, There Might Be Minor Variations. The following might be changed for any section, according to the number of players in the section: whether there are natural pairings (the norm at a Swiss-system tournament) or accelerated pairings in Rounds 1-2, and the number of trophies. In the rare instance of a section having an exceptionally low turnout, it might be merged with another section.

Tournament Results

How MCA Determines the Individual Winner of a Section when There’s a Tie for First Place

How to Find a Player’s New Unpublished/Unofficial US Chess Rating after an MCA Scholastic Tournament

MCA's Social-Media Profiles

If MCA's Photographer takes photos of players at the board & in the Skittles Room, then they will be available for purchase at the MCA Photographer's website.

For more information about the tournament, contact the Maryland Chess Association at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Location Poly & Western HSs