Rules

General Information

Students must qualify at the regional tournament to attend the state championships. Players finishing high enough in a regional tournament qualify to advance to the state championships.

Tournament Director: The Tournament Director is in charge of the tournament. Any questions, disputes or concerns should be addressed to the Tournament Director. The Tournament Director has final say resolving any issues relating to the tournament. The Tournament Director makes "pairings" (decides who plays whom), acts as the referee, keeps score and names the winners at the end of the tournament. If a player thinks his or her opponent is breaking the rules of chess, or if other problems arise, the Tournament Director or an assistant needs to be advised immediately.

Divisions: There are three divisions.

  • K-5th Grade Division
  • 6-8th Grade Division
  • 9-12th Grade Division

Each Division is a separate tournament. Players enter the Division that corresponds with their current grade level. For players not enrolled in a school with grade levels, a grade level will be determined the first year a player enters the Chess for Success tournament. The grade level will be the one that most closely matches the player's age and traditional grade level. In the following years, it will be assumed that the player will advance one grade annually and will play at the corresponding grade level. The Executive Director of Chess for Success must grant any exception to this practice.

Players will play only others in the same Division. For example, if you are a 7th grader, you might play 6th, 7th, or 8th graders, but never someone from 5th grade on down, or 9th grade on up. Players won't play someone from the same school unless maybe in the last one or two rounds. The players will never play each other twice. The Tournament Director decides who plays black and white in each game. Sometimes a player will be assigned white or black two rounds in a row, but almost never three in a row. If an error is made in assignments, or a score is written down wrong, tell the Tournament Director immediately.

Registration: Each school may enter up to 10 players per Division. Home-schooled students who actively participate in the chess club of the public school for the area where they live are eligible to participate on the team for that public school. The public school chess-club advisor decides if home-school students "actively participate" and selects the team members. Home-school students who do not actively participate in their public school chess club, and players who attend schools without chess clubs, must register as "individual" players.

How to Register: Registration for tournaments is through the online form on this website. If there is a problem completing an online registration, contact the Chess for Success office for assistance. Schools should register by filling out the School Registration Form. Other players should fill out the Individual Registration Form. Please note that Chess for Success is a non-profit organization. Entry fees are used to pay for statewide mailings, venue rentals, trophies, and other costs for the tournaments.

Tournament Structure 

Number of Games: In each Division, everyone plays the same number of games. Nobody is eliminated. Be prepared to stay as long as needed to play all rounds. If you must leave early for any reason, notify the Tournament Director before you leave.

The games are played in "rounds." When all the games in a round are finished, the Tournament Director makes pairings for the next round. Players are matched with an opponent in each round whose score (See below) is the same or very near the same. Tournaments will be five rounds unless player attendance is low enough to require fewer rounds. The Tournament Director will announce the exact number of rounds for each Division at the start of the tournament. Whoever has the highest score after all the rounds is the winner.

At about 9am, the Tournament Director will briefly explain the rules and make pairings for everybody's first round at about 9:30am. At the end of each game, each player reports to the Tournament Director whether he or she won, drew or lost. A win is 1 point, a draw is 1/2 a point, and a loss is 0.

Tournament Rules

Spectators: Spectators must be passive and silent while any game is in process. Spectators should stand or sit well away from the players and make no gestures of recognition; even a nod of the head could be misconstrued as approving a position or a move. If you need to communicate with a player who is playing, talk to the Tournament Director (or an assistant). The Tournament Director may do whatever is needed to make each chess game a fair contest, including banning spectators from the playing area.

Players : Do not talk during the game except to say "check," "checkmate," offer a draw, resign, or to get help from the Tournament Director. It's good sportsmanship to call "check" when you put your opponent in check, but you are not required to do so. Before you move, examine the position carefully. If you overlook a check and touch one of your pieces, and you can use that piece to get out of check, you must move it. If you think you are hopelessly lost, you may end the game by saying, "I resign." If there are any disagreements about your game, if your opponent makes a move you don't understand, or if you forget some of the rules, get help from the Tournament Director immediately. If you wait until somebody moves, you lose most of your rights to make a claim. When you finish a game, report the score of that game to the Tournament Director's designated scorekeeper.

Rules of Chess: You must know the basic rules of chess. You can find copies of the rules with the instructions that come with chess sets, in books on chess, on the Internet, or in encyclopedias. The rules that cause the most trouble for new tournament players are touch move, castling, en passant capture, pawn promotion, and drawn games.

Recording Moves: In all Divisions players may record moves. Even if only one of the players is keeping a record of the moves, the move record will be used to help settle disputes about the position, drawn games, and what moves were made. If one player is recording moves and the other player is not, the non-recording player cannot use his opponent's move record to make a repetition of position draw claim or a 50-move draw claim. If the Tournament Director places a clock on a game in progress, the players are not required to continue recording their moves.

Chess Clocks: The rules governing the use of chess clocks are different for each section.

Chess clocks will not be used in the K-5th grade Division games except:

  • If the Tournament Director puts a clock on a slow game.
  • If there is a clock available and both players request at the start of the game that there be a clock on the game. (Time control will be game in 30.)

Chess clocks will not be used in the 6-8th grade Division games except:

  • If the Tournament Director puts a clock on a slow game.
  • If there is a clock available and both players request at the start of the game that there be a clock on the game. (Time control will be game in 30.)

In 9-12th grade Division games, clocks may be used in games, if approved or required by the Tournament Director (Time control will be game in 45.)

What to Bring 

  • Chess Set: Pieces should be the standard Staunton pattern. Sets with a different color or design or sets that are too small can be used only if both players agree. The Tournament Director settles disputes about which set or board to use.
  • Sack lunch and drinks.
  • Something to do between games: If your game finishes early, you may have a long wait before the next game.

Regional Tournaments

Regional Tournament Date and Location: The description of the boundaries of each region and the date and sites of the Regional Tournaments may be seen on the Registration Form. Select "Regional Tournaments" and then "Region Descriptions."

Time: Arrive at the Regional Tournament site between 8:15am and 8:45am. Players who arrive after 8:45am may forfeit their first round game. Most tournaments end by 4pm for K-5th grade, 5pm for 6-8th grade, and 6pm for 9-12th grade. These are not set times. Please do not drop children off and expect to pick them up at these times, as tournaments may end earlier (or later).

Titles: Players compete for titles in the following sections:

Teams (there must be a minimum of 5 players to have a team eligible for a title)

  • Elementary Team (K-5)
  • Middle School Team (6-8)

Individual

  • K-4th Grade
  • 5th Grade
  • 6th Grade
  • 7th Grade
  • 8th Grade
  • High School (9-12)

Individual Play: Players who attend public or private schools with a chess club enter as a team in the region where their school is located.

Players who attend public or private schools without chess clubs register as individual players in the region where their school is located.

Home-school students register as individual players in the region where they live. Home school students who actively participate in the chess club of the public school for the area where they live are eligible to participate on the team for that public school.

Team Play: Players from a public or private school also compete for the team division title. Five or more students, up to 10, from a school are considered a team (whether or not they register together). The total of the top five scorers from a school determines the school's score for the tournament. There are titles available in each Region for K-5th grade Team and 6-8th grade Team; 9-12th grade players compete as individuals only. For information about the high school team championship tournament, contact the Oregon High School Chess Team Association.

Registration: All registrations and fees must be submitted by the dates outlined on the registration form.
Note: Participants who qualify for the State Tournament must register for the State Tournament. The registration for the Regional does not cover the cost or registration for the State Tournament.

Oregon State Tournament  

The two-day Chess for Success State Tournament, formerly the OMSI/Chess for SuccessTournament, has been held annually since 1967. It is open to all students in grades K-12 who reside in Oregon. The tournament has two steps: (1) Regional Tournaments and (2) State Championship Tournaments. Players who finish high enough in a Regional Tournament then qualify to advance to the State Tournaments. You must qualify at a Regional Tournament to participate in the State Tournaments -- the only exceptions are the Automatic Qualifiers (See below). See the information for finalists who qualify for the state tournament.

High School individual players compete both Friday and Saturday. Elementary and Middle School Teams compete on Friday. Elementary and Middle School individuals compete on Saturday. Time: Players should arrive at the site between 8:00 and 8:30am. Players arriving after 8:45am may forfeit the first round game.

Some of the previous year's Chess for Success State Championship Tournament individual participants automatically qualify to play in the current Oregon State Tournament. In the 9-12th Division, anyone who scored within one point of the winner automatically qualifies; in other Divisions, anyone who finished first or second. If an automatic finalist decides to play in the Regional Tournament, he or she must register using the same form as other players. If automatic qualifiers compete at a Regional Tournament, their scores are not visible so that other finalists may be qualified. Automatic Qualification is only applicable for the next year's Oregon State Tournament.

Rules: See the Rules in the Regional Tournament Rules section.

Titles: Players compete for titles in the following sections:

Teams (there must be a minimum of 5 players to have a team eligible for a title)

  • Elementary Team (K-5)
  • Middle School Team (6-8)

Individual 

  • K-4th Grade
  • 5th Grade
  • 6th Grade
  • 7th Grade
  • 8th Grade
  • High School (9-12)

Team Play: Qualified teams must consist of 5 students and may have an additional 2 alternates. All players must be students enrolled and attending the school they are representing unless they are an eligible home school student.

Individual Play: Qualified individuals register the same way they did for Regionals.

Registration: All registrations and fees must be submitted by the dates outlined on the State Tournament registration form. Participants must separately register for both the team and individual tournaments if participating in both.

Other Tournaments

The City of Portland and other Chess for Success Tournaments may be limited to specific grade levels. Information will be posted here if they differ from the information above.

Rules: See the Rules in the Regional Tournament Rules section.