Continental Chess- General Tournament Information

For questions, the easiest way to reach us is through email.  We do receive many emails, though, and sometimes fail to reply- in that case, we suggest you repeat your email after about a week.  You also may try reach us by calling 347-201-2269, but we are often not available, and for messages such as dropouts or switches, the chances for error are much greater if you call than if you send an email.

For section or schedule changes, it is best to send this email to DirectorAtChess.US (use "@" instead of "At"). We are listing email addresses this way to avoid email harvest spamming programs.

If you are unable to play in the tournament, please write to (use "@" instead of "At").      

For the lowest fees you can enter online at  An entry form for mailed entry is not required, but one can be printed out at

Complete details of all our tournaments appear in the Tournament Life section of Chess Life and in this website.  If you have trouble understanding the symbols or abbreviations, see "How To Get The Most From Tournament Life" on the first page of Tournament Life each month, or click on "How To Get The Most From Tournament Life."    

For entries only (no questions), you may also call our answering service at 406-896-2038.   The answering service cannot answer chess questions and is intended only for players who already know the details and price of the event they are entering.  See the announcement of each tournament for the phone entry deadline- generally for tournaments starting on Friday or Saturday, phone entries are accepted only through Tuesday or Wednesday.  

REFUND POLICY:  If you cannot attend one of our tournaments, send us an email at least 2 hours before the first round.  If this is not possible, call the tournament site and ask for the chess tournament.  You can apply the entire fee (no service charge) to future tournaments, or obtain a refund of the fee minus a $15 service charge.  To apply the fee, wait until you know which event(s) you wish to enter and then send a check for the balance, saying which tournament you have a credit from, or if your credit is sufficient by itself, enter by email (see addresses above) and any balance remaining is a further credit.  You can also pay the balance of an entry fee, using a credit from a previous event, at, making payment to ("@" instead of "At.")

You may also give notice of withdrawal by writing us at least 8 days before the first round.  NO REFUND, full or partial, is EVER given once you have started playing your game in the first round.

PLEASE ALLOW up to four weeks to receive your refund.  Especially during busy periods such as June-August or November-January, we tend to have a large backlog of work: entries, refunds, prizes, rating reports, memberships, invitations, questions, hotel contracts & setup, travel to tournaments, etc.  If four weeks elapses and your refund does not arrive, it has probably been overlooked- send us an e-mail pointing this out and we will give it priority.

PLEASE REFRAIN FROM REQUESTING UNNECESSARY REFUNDS.  Some players automatically ask for a refund whenever they withdraw, only to enter another CCA tournament shortly after.  This causes extra work for us and costs you a $15 service charge you can easily avoid, so please don't do it.    

Likewise, if prizes are available at the tournament and you leave without your prize, don't count on it arriving before four weeks.  Often it will be much faster, but our backlog of work may delay it, especially if we had a recent large tournament. Please note also that we need your social security number to pay prizes of $600 or over, or which bring your winnings for the year in our tournaments up to $600 or over. 

Bring a set and board to every tournament, plus a chess clock if you have one.  We supply no equipment.  However, there is a book seller at most tournaments who also sells sets, boards, and clocks.  

At some of our tournaments for inexperienced players, not enough players provide clocks, and an occasional game must be played without one.

If a tournament announcement refers to a "section," then players in that section play only each other.  They never face opponents in other sections.

Provisionally rated players are NOT unrated.  If you have a provisional rating (a rating based on 4 to 25 games), it will be used to determine eligibility.  For most tournaments, provisionally rated players may win all prizes.  For our largest tournaments, there are special prize limits, in sections other than Open, for some provisionally rated players. See the publicity for each event for details. 

If you have an unofficial rating that appears online and are otherwise unrated, the Director will usually use your unofficial rating.  Note that unofficial ratings are not used if you have an official rating.

If you have an old rating- even 30 or 40 years old- you are not unrated.  Your old rating is still valid, and will be used if it can be verified. Please enter in advance if possible and give us the approximate date you last played, so we have time to do research on your rating. 

If you have a FIDE or foreign rating or category, you are not unrated.  Let us know about your rating or category and we will determine which section you can enter. If you win a large prize in a class section, proof of foreign rating may be required before prize is paid. Adjustment points are frequently added to convert ratings to their Continental Chess USCF equivalents- see

Official ratings: Unless otherwise stated in the tournament publicity, ratings become official when the rating supplement month and tournament month are the same- for example, October ratings are official for an October tournament.  If a tournament starts in one month and ends in another, we use the ratings corresponding to the ending date.  We use only official ratings, unless you would otherwise be unrated.  For the latest official and unofficial ratings, see the USCF ratings website.

Make entry fee checks payable to Continental Chess.  Checks are accepted ONLY if mailed by the listed deadline.  We do not accept checks at the tournament site.  DO NOT MAIL ENTRIES AFTER THE ADVERTISED DEADLINE AS THEY MAY NOT ARRIVE ON TIME.

Please do not send letters to our office regarding a tournament after the published deadline for mailing advance entries, as they may not reach us in time. Likewise, please do not call or fax us after the published deadline for credit card phone entries.  Often there will be no one here, as we have left for the tournament. And even if we are here, the person you need to contact is the tournament director at the hotel.  

We do not send responses to advance entries.  To do so would require much time and force us to hold fewer tournaments. However, if you enter online, our shopping cart confirms the entry immediately- just go to the line the tournament is listed at and click "entries" and your name should be there. The shopping cart also sends an emailed confirmation, but some of these are not received, and this duplicate confirmation is not really necessary if you appear on the advance entry list
1. The entry fee is usually lower than entering by mail or phone, and much lower than entering at the site.
2. We charge less for USCF dues if done together with online entries.
3. Online entry usually gives you another week or so to enter in advance compared with mailed entry. 
4. If you establish a profile (optional), online entry is faster than mail or phone entry.
5. If you use the cart's secure server, this is safer than entering by phone, as we do not receive your full credit card number. 
6. Online entries are immediately confirmed at Mailed and phone entries are also confirmed there, but often with a week or more delay.
7. Online entries are more likely to be processed correctly than mail or phone entries.


If you enter by mail or phone and 24 hours before the first round, your advance entry is not listed, send us an email at least 2 hours before the first round or tell us in person at least 30 minutes before the round.  At some tournaments you can also call the hotel before the round and ask for the chess tournament.      

If you ever show up for a tournament to find we do not have your entry, you will not be turned away, but can still be a late entry. We always have sufficient space, so all entrants will be accepted.  In almost 50 years of holding chess tournaments, we have never rejected an entry due to space limitations.

There is no "check-in" required at any of our tournaments.  If you have entered in advance, disregard the time listed for registration at the site- you can just show up at the round one game time and start playing.

If you wish to enter at the hotel with a half point bye (a draw without play) in the first round, or the first few rounds,  you can do so an hour before your first game. Advance notice is not necessary.

US Chess Federation membership is required for all our tournaments, and may be paid together with the entry fee.  

Please avoid paying your USCF dues separately from the entry fee  if possible, as this may cost you more, is more work for us, and may be inconvenient for you as well if you must wait on a long late entry line at a tournament. To take advantage of special, greatly reduced USCF dues, enter online and pay USCF dues at the same time (the shopping cart will offer this possibility when you pay the entry fee).

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