Chess Tournament Guide for Parents

Q: Do I need to be a member of the United States Chess Federation (USChess)?
A: To play in a US Chess rated tournament will you need to be a member of United States Chess Federation.

Q: How much does it cost to be a member of the US Chess Federation?
A: This depends upon your age. You can review the cost of the memberships by going to

Q: How long before I receive a rating?
A: You will receive a provisional rating after playing three rated games.

Q: What is a provisional rating?
A: A provisional rating is received after playing three rated games. This rating may fluctuate greatly until you receive an established rating. This rating depends upon the strength of the players you have played and the results of those games. The more games you play, more reliable your rating will become. After playing 26 games, you will receive an established rating. Ratings range from 100 to 3000. The higher the rating, the stronger the player.

Q: Do I need a certain chess set?
A: To play in a rated tournament you should have tournament chess set. However, many, but not all tournaments, provide sets. A tournament chess is generally a “Staunton” set. The colors of the pieces should be distinctly opposite in color (black/white) and should be pleasing to eye. The board should have squares that are distinctly opposite in color (black/white, blue/white) and the pieces should fit comfortably in squares. The side of the square should be 5-6cm.

Q: What are time controls?
A: A rated game will have a time control. The format of the time control is generally in the format of minutes and delay. It is written as G/30;d5. This means that each player will receive 30 minutes to complete a game. If the move is made within the first 5 seconds of their turn, no time will come off their clock. A game in G/30 mean that each player receives one 30 minutes and the total game will not exceed 60 minutes (1 hour).

Q: Do I need a chess clock?
A: You do not need a chess to take part in a tournament. However, you cannot claim a win on time.

Q: What are the rules of chess?
A: The rules of chess are very encompassing. You can obtain the rules of chess at Chess Rules

Q: If I lose a game in a tournament, am I done?
A: Just because you lose a game in a tournament, do not leave the tournament. There are many instances where a person has lost a game, but may win a tournament. It depends upon who wins and loses. Points are earned for a wins (1 point) and draws (1/2 point). These points are summed together and the player(s) with the most points win.