2018 New York State Scholastics:

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Where do I check-in?  You don’t need to check in if you’ve already registered and paid the entry fee.  You already paid, so we expect you to be here by 11:00 am!  If you have not yet paid or registered, or if your USCF membership is not current, or if you are in the wrong section, on the other hand, you should do that before 10:00 am!

2.  What time is the next round?

In all sections, the games begin Saturday at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm and Sunday at 9:00 am, 12:00 Noon and 3:00 pm.  NOTE:  Daylight Savings time begins Sunday morning!

3.  Do we have to use clocks?  Yes, if either player has one.  If neither player can get a clock, they can start their game without one.  However, if their game goes too long, we may need to find a clock to put on on the game, with both players having a limited time to finish the game at that point (for example, five minutes each). As we advertised in advance, the tournament does not supply clocks.

4.  What are the correct clock settings?  The clocks should be set for one hour each player, with a 10-second time delay for each move for each player. If you have a clock without a time delay, set it the same as above, except that you don’t set a delay if the clock doesn’t have a delay.

5.  How long do the games last?  The games could last up to two hours, or even a bit more if both players take all their time.  Generally, the older and more experienced the players are, the longer the games take.  Probably the K-1 games will be done pretty quickly, and the High School games will take a lot longer.

6.  Where do I wait while the players are playing their games?  Some schools with lots of players have team rooms.  These team room assignments should be posted at the hotel and maybe on the tournament website as well.  If you don’t have a school team room, then the waiting areas would be in the M1 Room (1st Floor) of the Saratoga Springs City Center and also in the Canfield/Carousel Room at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel as well.

7.  Where are the games played?  The High School  sections will play in the Excelsior Ballroom next to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel (11 Excelsior Avenue), about a 10 minute walk from the Hilton. The Primary Championship, Primary Reserve, K1 Championship and K1 Reserve Sections will be in the Saratoga Ballroom of the Saratoga Hilton Hotel. All the other sections will be in the Main Hall (1st floor) of the Saratoga Springs City Center, adjacent to the Saratoga Hilton via an indoor walkway, and in the adjacent Salon C Room (1st Floor) of the Saratoga Springs City Center.

8.  When and where are the trophies awarded?  The Awards Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm Sunday, as previously advertised. Most of the Awards Ceremonies should take place in the same general areas as the games, because the trophies will already be in the rooms.  However, if an Awards Ceremony is in a different room we will post this outside the rooms and announce it as well.  Players who win a trophy but do not stay to receive it will need to contact Crown Trophy Company in Brooklyn at 718-769-4112 (ask for Larry Brown) to make arrangements to purchase a replacement trophy (which can also be engraved with the winner’s name) and for shipping as well.

9.  How do I know whom I should play?  The pairings should be posted a few minutes before each game, in the foyers outside the entrances to the playing rooms above.  Look for your name posted on the yellow pairing sheets, check to see which Board Number you have been assigned (the Board Numbers are on the far left-hand side of the yellow sheet), and check if you are supposed to play White or Black.  MAKE SURE YOU ALSO CHECK YOUR OPPONENT’S NAME TOO—  we don’t want you playing the wrong person or with the wrong colors!  If possible, we will try to text your pairings (if you registered online and selected the texting pairings option) and post them on our website.

10. What if I can’t play all the games?  In that case we need to know that!  We expect that you will play all your games, and if you don’t tell us otherwise ahead of time, you will get paired against somebody and then end up losing your game on forfeit.  We don’t want that.  If you know ahead of time that you can’t play, we can give you half-point byes (unrated draws) for up to two such unplayed games.  However, if you want half-point byes, you need to request them before Round 2 (2:00 pm Saturday) and then after Round 2 starts you cannot take them away.  If you need to request half-point byes because you won’t be able to play the first Round or because you have to miss both Round 1 and Round 2, we need to know that in advance, before you get to the hotel.  If you want to request and commit to taking byes beginning in Round 3, we don’t want to know this until after you get to the hotel, in case you change your mind in the meantime (but you still have to commit to the byes before Round 2 in any case).  If it’s too late for half-point byes, but you are not going to come to the next game, then we still need to know that.  WE DON’T WANT YOU TO GET PAIRED AND LOSE BY FORFEIT!

11. Who gets a trophy?  The top 10 scorers in each section. For players who do not win a place trophy, additional (class) trophies are also awarded to the two top-scoring Unrated players in each of the following five sections: the Primary Reserve, K-1 Reserve, K-5 Reserve, Middle School Reserve and High School Reserve sections. Other class trophies go to the two top-scoring players in the following rating classes:  the 2 top rated Under 1900 and Under 1700 in the High School Championship Section; the 2 top rated Under1600 and Under 1400 in the High School Intermediate Section; the 2 top rated Under 1000, Under 800 and Under 600 in the High School Reserve Section; the 2 top rated Under 1800, Under 1600 and Under 1400 in the Junior High Championship Section; the 2 top-rated Under 1400 and Under 1200 in the Middle School Intermediate Section; the 2 top rated Under 800, Under 600 and Under 400 in the Middle School Reserve Section; the 2 top rated Under 1700 and Under 1500 in the Elementary Championship Section; the 2 top rated Under 1200 and Under 1000 in the Elementary Intermediate Section; the 2 top rated Under 900 and Under 800 in the K-5 Intermediate Section;  the 2 top rated Under 700, Under 600, Under 500, Under 400 and Under 300 in the K-5 Reserve Section; the 2 top rated Under 1400, Under 1200 and Under 1000 in the Primary Championship Section; the 2 top rated Under 500, Under 400, Under 300 and Under 200 in the Primary Reserve Section; the 2 top rated Under 800, Under 600 and Under 400 in the K-1 Championship Section and the two top-scorers rated Under 300 and Under 200 in the K-1 Reserve Section.  You only get one trophy, the bigger one (the place trophy takes precedence over the “class” trophies, which is why the place trophies are supposed to be bigger than the class trophies).  The seven top-scoring school teams win a trophy too.  Please check to make sure that you are listed under your correct school (NOT your Chess Club), otherwise your school’s team score may not be counted correctly.  You need to have at least two players from the SAME school playing in the same section to count as a team.  The top-scoring player in each section also wins free entry to the New York State (Open) Championship in Albany this coming Labor Day Weekend!

12. How many points do I need to get a trophy?!  5½ points is a pretty good bet (six points even better)!  Otherwise you need to check to see how the other players in your section are doing and see who could get more points.

In the High School sections, there are also Mixed Doubles Bonus prizes as well!  A Mixed Doubles Team is a special kind of team:  only two players, one male and one female, and they don’t have to play in the same section or even attend the same school.  But the average team rating of both Mixed Doubles teammates must be Under 2200.  Both players on the five top-scoring Mixed Doubles teams receive a chess set labeled with their Mixed Doubles prize!  Register as a Mixed Doubles team on-site only, before both players begin Round 3 and it does not cost anything extra!

13. What about the other free entry prizes?     The top-scoring New York player born after 9/1/98 in grades 9-12 of the High School Championship qualifies for the Denker National Tournament of State High School Champions at the 2018 U.S. Open in Madison, Wisconsin; the top-scoring New York player in grades K-8, born after 9/1/02, of the Junior High Championship qualifies for the Barber National Tournament of K-8 Champions at the 2018 U.S. Open! 

14. There must be more rules?  Like “Touch Move,” “en passant,” etc.? Of course!  The rules we have posted here and on our website are used for this tournament.  Other rules also apply, and they are found in the Official US Chess Federation Rulebook, 6th Edition (which might even be on sale at the tournament).  We have a number of National Tournament Directors at this event (that’s the highest level recognized by the US Chess Federation, BTW), and they have a lot of experience dealing with a lot of strange things which sometimes happen in these tournaments.

15. How are the tiebreaks calculated?  By computer!  The tiebreak rules are somewhat complicated, and they are listed in the Parents’ And Coaches’ Guides at the tournament and also posted on our website.  The trophies and plaques and free entries are awarded using the players’ final standings, using tiebreaks to break ties, if necessary.  However, ONLY for players who score 6-0, we have a special speed playoff, because tiebreaks do not work for players who have perfect 6-0 scores.

16. How are the pairings made?  By computer (hopefully)!  General pairing explanations are found in the Parents’ and Coaches’ Guide (a more detailed explanation is found in the USCF Rulebook).

17. How many rating points do I get?  You should wait until Monday and check the USCF’s website at:


NOTE:  The standings listed on the USCF website DO NOT INCLUDE ANY TIEBREAKS!  They are often listed in a different order than the order in which we award the trophies, because our standings include the correct tiebreaks (hopefully)!

18. Why is my child in a different section than I originally selected?  This could be for a number of reasons.

       We use the USCF Official March Rating Supplement, and his/her official March published rating may have been too high for the section originally requested.  In that case, the player is moved up to the next highest section for the player's grade level.  If you would like a different section, (assuming the player is also eligible by grade), please email us this information before it is too late to director@chess.us (list the player's name, USCF ID and which section you are seeking to enter).

        The player may have selected a grade which is too high for the section.  In that case we would move him up to the next lowest section above that grade.

         The player's coach may have switched the player for other reasons.  In that case, someone has to confirm which eligible section to use.

19. Where do I get food?  The City Center has a special food concession prepared for the Chess Tournament and the Hilton and the Courtyard Marriott have premade items for sale as well. The hotels do not wish outside food being brought into the meeting rooms or public areas, so please don’t get yourself (and us) in trouble!

20. When is the Bughouse tournament?  8:00 pm Saturday, probably in the Saratoga Ballroom.  Registration is from about 7:00 – 7:50 pm (registration may be in the Boardroom of the Hilton).

21. What if I get nervous or bored while my kid is playing?  In that case, we have a special tournament for you!  It’s a separate, one-day tournament, called the Parents and Friends Tournament.  It begins at 10:30 am Sunday (register at Chess Control in the Hilton between 9:30 – 10:15 am).  This event is four games, 30 minutes + 5-second delay each player, rated by the US Chess Federation (USCF membership is required therefore).  The entry fee is only $30, but parents, coaches or those affiliated with the NY State Scholastics (as well as alumni from previous years) get a $10 discount!  Trophies are awarded to the 3 top-scorers!  The Parents and Friends game times are 10:30 am, 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00 pm Sunday (two half-point byes are available if you lock them in by 12:00 pm).  You have to supply your own set and clock!  NOTE: This tournament will probably be held in the City Center.  If you have to seat your child for his or her games on Sunday, you might end up being late for your own tournament game and may find that you have used up time on your clock in so doing!

22. Is there anything else?  Yes!  We are hosting a New York State Chess Association (NYSCA) Meeting and Open House on Sunday at about 9:30 am, in the “Wedge Room” at the City Center. Here is your chance to provide feedback on the tournament and find out more about the New York State Chess Association!

MORE QUESTIONS??  Check our websites at www.chesstour.com and www.nyscholastics.com for more information!

Thank you for playing in and supporting one of the US Chess Federation’s longest-running scholastic chess tournaments, now in its 51st edition!