Frequently Asked Question

Do you ever wonder about details regarding the States?
You are not alone! Below are the questions we have been regurarly getting. Please, browse through and if you still can't find the answer to your question, email us at ask at

1) What is considered a section? K-3, K-6, K-12? Or K-3 rookie, K-3 beginner, K-3 JV, K-3 Champ each is a section?
Yes, each of them is a section, so we have a total 16 sections. Each section will have 20 place trophies, meaning the trophy plate says 1st place, 2nd place etc.. AND every player who get 50%+ score, meaning 3.0 out of 5 rounds of 3.5 out of 6 rounds, will be getting a trophy. IF they finish 21st place or lower, they get a so called super performance trophy, a small trophy that says: CalChess Super Performance

2) Who can be in the same team? Can K-3 rookie player team up with K-3 beginner player if they are from the same school?
Schools or clubs can for Teams in each section. NO cross section team formation.
We need 2 players from the same school or club within the section, and they can form a team then. It’s automatic, so that if both player declares they go to XX ES, then XX will be listed in the School Team list. Similarly if two or more players declares their Club to be YY Club, then YY will be listed in the Club team list.
IF a player has both a school team and a club team, then the points for that player will be counted in both the school and the club competition. so meaning it’ll be a parallel competition, and players do not need to choose between their beloved school or club. they can play for both.

3) Can an unrated player sign up in the K-3 beginner? If yes, does he need to pay extra "play up" fees?
es, they can play in the Beginner section, and no, unrated don’t have to pay playup fee.
Here is a longer explanation:
We do not charge play-up fee for playing up per grade.
For example if you have a 3rd grader, and that 3rd grader wants to play in the K-Grade 5 or K-Grade 6 or K-Grade 8 it’s all the same. until the rating falls into the range.
IF a player wants to challenge him/herself and play in higher rating section, they’ll need to pay a play-up fee. This is mostly to protect the higher rated players from having to play lower rated.
Now, unrated, truly unrated players are special category, and they can choose any section they wish, and they do not need to pay any playup fee. You can only do this, if you do not have ANY rated games in USCF. .

4) How do you determine who are the top 20 individuals? Are they the top 5 players from each of K-3 rookie, K-3 beginner, K-3 JV, and K-3 Champ? Or do you take highest 20 winning records across all rating groups in K-3 section?
Top 20 in each section, separately.
IF many players have the same point, how do we determine the place? tie breaks. CalChess has their specific tie break system and we’ll follow that. Here is the document that has all the CalChess Scholastic regulations, including tieb break system:

5) What should I do when I get there?
Step One:
If you have not registered yet, look for a registration table and fill out all the needed forms. If you pre-registered, look for your name on the list that corresponds with your section. Make sure all information is correct, including name, ID #, grade, team, etc.
Having registered, or found your name on a list, you will wait until you hear an announcement like "Pairings are up!" This announcement typically comes within 10 minutes (before or after) the scheduled starting time for the first round. Pairings will be posted ONLINE here first and then on the wall.

Time to Play:
Find the pairing chart for your section and scan the list until you find your name. If it is the name on the right, you will be playing the Black pieces. If on the left, you will be White. Now, look for a number at the far left. This is your Board Number. Go there, sit on the proper side of the board and wait for your opponent. When he/she arrives, introduce yourself and make sure your opponent's name matches the name you saw across from yours on the pairing chart. When the TD (tournament director) announces that it is time to start, shake your opponent's hand and begin your game. During the game, spectators typically wait outside the playing hall. When the game is finished, the players reset the board, record the result on the pairing chart, and leave the playing hall.
Online and on the Walls:
Throughout the day, the TD will post at lest two lists of information about the tournament. A quick guide:
Wall Chart:
Usually lists the players in order of rating and tells how they have done so far. "W 32" means "White against player # 32." The wall charts are cumulative, which means that if a player had a "2" under the above "W 32" and had already shown a "2" in the previous round, he/she had not gained a point, but rather had lost the game to player # 32.
Lists the players in order of points earned thus far in the tournament. Most computer programs list the players in descending rating order within a score group. In other words, if a 1200 and 900 both had 3 points, the 1200 would be listed above the 900. On the Standings List, "W" is a win, "L" is a loss, and "D" a draw.

6) Different draws
Typical Draws:
Insufficient Material
Neither player has enough pieces for mate. This could be King and Bishop vs. King, King and Knight vs. King, or simply King vs. King.
A player (whose turn it is to move) is left with no legal moves but is not in check.
Both players agree on a draw. The proper way to offer a draw is to make your move, make the offer, then push the clock.
Third Occurrence
The exact same position is repeated three times (with the same player on move). The moves don't have to be consecutive.
50-Move Rule
Nothing is captured and no pawns are moved during a span of 50 moves. This typically happens when a player doesn't know how to mate with a King & Rook.
Clock-Related Draws:
Both Players Out of Time
If either player notices that both players have run out of time (before mate on the board), the game is declared a draw.
No Mating Material
If a player runs out of time, but the opponent is left with no mating material (in such a position that mate will be impossible for that person), the game is a draw.
Insufficient Losing Chances
If a player has a position in which "a Class C player could hold a draw against a master, with both having ample time," that player can stop the clock and declare a draw. If a director disagrees, he can penalize the player making the claim or place a time-delay clock on the board (after splitting the claimant's time in half with no more than two minutes).

7) Who gets trophy, when and where?
Trophy Distribution
Top Finishers
A tournament announcement will typically let you know "Trophies to the top X players in each division." This simply means that the top X players with the best final scores earn trophies. Each player must have a winning record: much have 3.0 points if 5 games were played, and 3.5 point if 6 games were played.
Tie breaks will be used to determine who gets which place trophy in case of ties in final points.
All players with winning record gets a trophy, all others get a medal.

Team Awards
Team trophies for this event are determined by adding the scores of the four top-scoring players on the team (school or club) in any particular section. For most state championships, it is the top four players. School and Club team competition are separate, and any player can be a part of one School team and one Club team.