Frequently Asked Questions
Specific to this website:
- Why do I have to fill out a profile?
- What is a participant?
- How do I register for a tournament?
- Why is my birthdate necessary?
- Why is my school information necessary?
- Why is my grade level 'unspecified'?
- Where do I send my check?
- How do I pay by credit card?
- How do I get my tournament listed on ACT?
New to chess:
- What is the USCF and why do I need an ID?
- What is a bye?
- What do I do if I can't come to the tournament?
- What if I show up late for a round?
- How long does the tournament last?
- Do parents have to stay? Who is responsible for the players?
- What do we do about lunch?
- What is a Swiss System?
- What is notation?
- Can I watch the chess games?
- What are the benefits of playing with a team?
- What are tie-breaks?
Specific to the Region VI Championships:
- Why do scholastic onsite entries at the Region VI Championships receive a round 1 bye?
- Who is eligible to participate?
- Why does the open section not allow scholastic players to participate?
- How do I choose my section?
- How are team trophies determined? Do I have to play in the same section to be on the same team?
- What are the TCA rules for section placement?
Specific to UIL Chess Puzzle Solving Competitions:
- Can I compete more than once in UIL Chess Puzzle Solving?
- How do I participate? What is benefit on registering online?
- What types of puzzles will I need to solve?
- What do I need to bring to the event?
- How long is the event?
- Can I just sign-up for the UIL Invitational in Chess Puzzle Solving contest, without playing in the chess tournament?
- Do I have to be a member of a chess club or USCF to participate in Chess Puzzle Solving?
- Is there an online special for registering early?
Why do I have to fill out a profile?
Questions often come up in processing chess tournament registrations, and contact information is important. The person listed in the profile should be the one responsible for decisions including section placement, byes, and payment. Please keep all contact information up-to-date. If you purchase a USCF membership thru our site, the mailing address given will be the mailing used by USCF for your memberships cards as well. AustinChessTournaments.com will communicate with you primarily via email.
What is a participant?
A partcipant is anyone who might, at some point, be registered for
a chess tournament. Once a profile is completed, new 'participants'
are created. These participants are attached to your profile.
Whenever you log in, you choose from this list of participants when
registering for an event. If the profile owner will also be
participating in tournaments, that person must also be listed as a
PLEASE keep your participant information up to date. If you renew your USCF membership, update your expiration date. If your child advances a grade level, please update his grade. If your child changes schools, please update that information.
How do I register for a tournament?
Registration for a tournament is simple, once your basic
information has been entered.
-Create/update your profile (menu link on right)
-Create/update participants (menu link on right)
-Click on upcoming tournaments (menu link on right)
-Choose a tournament and click the blue 'register now starburst. (Click once more if the starburs appears again.)
You will be shown a list of possible participants.
-Click next to the participant you wish to register for the tournament.
-Choose your USCF type (membership purchase/renewal or none)
-Choose your section
-Choose any byes (description of bye in this FAQ list!) by clicking in the box to the left of the round number in which you would like a bye (i.e. not play!)
-type any additional comments you feel to be relevant
You will be directed to a payment screen.
-Choose your method of payment.
-Type any additional comments you feel to be relevant.br/> -Click submit.
-You will receive a confirmation email from AustinChessTournaments.com.
-If you are sending a check, please postmark by the deadline indicated in the tournament description. If you do not mail your check, you run the risk of not being paired for the first round.
-If you are paying via paypal/credit card, please procede to payment via the paypal link given. You will receive an email receipt from paypal when your payment is complete. If you do not receive a payment confirmation, your payment was not processed. Contact ACT if this is the case, and we will assist you.
-If you have decided NOT to participate in the tournament, please let us know asap so we may withdraw you.
Why is my birthdate necessary?
In order to purchase a USCF membership, a birthdate is required (by the USCF). Certain age and grade-level restrictions for scholastic events can also be verified by birthdate. We have multiple chess players in the area of the same name, and birthdate can help to differentiate between them. We will not share your information with anyone, and the site is secure.
Why is my school information necessary?
In many of our local events, not only are awards for individual recognition handed out, team trophies are also awarded. In scholastic chess in Texas, a team consists of all players who attend the same school. The school may or may not have a chess club.
Why is my grade level 'unspecified'?
Over the course of the past few years, thousands of participants have been saved in our system. Unfortunately, many of those have not been updated (esp. grade level and school team)in quite a long time. On August 21, 2010 we manually cleared out all of the saved grade level information in all accounts (except for adults). Up-to-date information on each player is essential for proper section placement. Please re-select your participant's grade level, and also verify the school team in order to be able to register for future events.
Where do I send my check?
For tournaments with online registration, you will send payment
Round Rock,TX 78680
How do I pay by credit card?
If you wish to pay for a tournament via credit card and you have
not yet registered, please register online and you will be directed to
pay at the end of your registration.
If you have already submitted your tournament registration and you need to make a credit card payment, please email the registrar. We will send you a 'bill' which will allow you to pay thru paypal via credit card.
Alternatively, if you would like to pay via paypal account, please email the registrar for paypal account information.
How do I get my tournament listed on ACT?
If you would like your event listed on ACT, please contact us. This website is run solely by
volunteers who would like to encourage chess in the Austin
We reserve the right to refuse our services to anyone who does not abide by the ethical guidelines set forth for TD's by the USCF. These guidelines state that tournaments must be rated in a timely fashion, prizes distributed in a fair and equitable manner, and events TD'd with fairness and according to USCF rules and regulations.
In order to post events on ACT, the events do not need to be USCF rated. However, they do need to be chess events. If an event must be cancelled, it should be done in a timely manner, or you will forfeit your priveleges of posting on our website.
What is the USCF and why do I need an ID?
The USCF is The United States Chess Federation. Membership in the USCF allows the chess player to participate in our National Rating System . A USCF membership is necessary to play in most tournaments in the US.
What is a bye?
A “bye” is simply a request for a player to miss a round without being withdrawn from the tournament. For most local tournaments, one 1/2 pt. bye is available for any round that you must miss, if requested before the start of round 2. Additional byes will be at 0- pts. Some multiple-day tournaments will allow additional 1/2 point byes.
What do I do if I can't come to the tournament?If you have registered for a tournament and cannot attend, it is very important to contact the organizer asap. Often, if the withdrawal is made early enough, a full or partial refund may be obtained. When you register and complete payment, the organizer takes it as a sign of your attendance and will pair your chess player into the tournament. Not showing up will leave your intended opponent sitting at the board - waiting. The same goes for leaving a tournament early. Always notify the computer room before you leave!
What if I show up late for a round?
If you know in advance that you will be late, simply request a bye for the round you might miss. For most scholastic tournaments, any player missing an opponent at the start in round 1 will be repaired asap. In subsequent rounds, the missing player has an hour or his personal 'full playing' time to arrive, whichever is shorter. (E.g. In a G/30 tournament the opponent would be required to wait for 30 minutes.) In our local tournaments, an effort to contact the missing player will be made. We want everyone to get a game each round! However, if a player makes this behavior a habit, that player will not be allowed to register for future events.
How long does the tournament last?
Our local scholastic tournaments are all day events. Please plan
to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes before round 1 begins, and stay thru
the awards ceremony. Five rounds of G/30 typically takes 6 to 7
In many of our smaller local events, the rounds are schedule on an 'as soon as possible' basis. In this case, and round schedule posted is APPROXIMATE. If a game requires TD intervention or perhaps runs long, or we have technical difficulties with computer or printer, the schedule might run late. If the games finish more quickly than anticipated, we might run ahead of schedule.
Regardless, please know we will encourage the schedule to progress as quickly as is humanly possible, but only in as much as it benefits the chess players.
Do parents have to stay? Who is responsible for the players?
We have a limited staff of at each tournament. The organizers and
TD's will be responsible for the players while they are playing their
rounds in within the tournament hall. However, once the player leaves
the playing hall, parents and coaches must take over that
responsibility. Parents and/or coaches, please provide age-
appropriate activities during the time between rounds. You are
responsible for your players between games! If it is discovered that
a child has been left unattended and no responsible party has remained
on-site, that child will be withdrawn from the tournament and the
parents contacted for immediate pick-up.
Parents, another reason to be onsite involves your child's emotional well-being. Occasionally losses are very traumatic. If you are available for your child immediately after a tough loss, recovery time is much quicker. "We can't win them all" is a difficult concept for kids!
What do we do about lunch?
Chess players will naturally get hungry during the day. Playing
chess requires fuel to keep those brain cells firing! At each Rocks &
Rooks tournament concessions are offered for sale. At a minimum of
pizza and drinks at lunchtime are served. Oftentimes the fare is much
more varied. You are, of course, welcome to bring a cooler for you
family, or 'pack a lunch'. However, concessions are offered in most
cases by the host school's chess club as a type of fund raiser. It's
for a good cause!
The Region VI Tournament is a much longer day than most. A variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items will be available for purchase at a very reasonable rate.
What is a Swiss System?
A Swiss System is simply a chess tournament pairing system which allows players to play all rounds regardless of whether they are winning or losing. No one is 'eliminated' because of a loss. Instead, players will be paired based upon how well they are are doing in the tournament. Barring unusual circumstances, a player with x points, however obtained, would play another player with the same number of points.
What is notation?
Chess notation is simply a form of shorthand for writing down the moves of a chess game. In order to improve in chess, it is important to be able to review games. This is a great way of accessing previously played games. In addition, completed notation is required to enforce many chess rules. Algebraic notation is standard in the US. There are many online resources available for learning notation. ALL players are highly encouraged to take notations, and it is a requirement in many tournament sections. Bring two sharpened pencils and a notation book if possible.
Can I watch the chess games?
In general, during local scholastic events parents and coaches are required to stay out of the room where the children are playing while the games are in progress. Feel free to escort your child into the playhall, but do leave quietly when requested to do so. Keeping adults out of the playing hall helps the chess players to focus on their games and keeps parents from trying to 'help' out of enthusiasm - or despair.
What are the benefits of playing with a team?
Teammates are not paired against one another, if possible. (Per TCA guidelines, players who train with a school chess club but do not attend that school cannot be considered team members in TCA sponsored events.) In most tournaments, teams are defined also by the section in which the team is participating, e.g. the same school could field two teams at the same tournament - one in a K-3 section and one in a K-6 section. The top 4 teams are used for determining a team's total points, but all team members are considered 'part of the team.' A school can break it's players into multiple teams within the same section, but those different teams could possibly be paired against one another.
What are tie-breaks?
In any chess tournament, more than one player can end up with the same score. In the case of tournaments with money-prizes, the prize money is divided evenly between participants who have tied. Trophies cannot be divided. Therefore, we use various tie-break systems to determine places, though all players in that grouping can rightfully say they tied for x-place. Tie-break systems used locally include: MMed, Solk, Cum, & CumOp.
Why do scholastic onsite entries at the Region VI Championships receive a round 1 bye?
Scholastic entries will receive a round 1 bye at the Region VI Championships if the entry is not complete by the time online registration ends. The Region VI tournament is a full-day's event. In order to stay on schedule, we need to eliminate the delays which onsite entries cause. Scholastic onsite entries will receive a 1/2 point requested bye in round 1 and continue play in round 2.
Who is eligible to participate?
Eligibility: TCA’s Region 6 is comprised of the following Texas counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bexar, Bell, Blanco, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal, De Witt, Edwards, Fayette, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, Lavaca, Lee, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Milam, Real, Travis, Uvalde, Washington, Williamson, Wilson. Scholastic players must reside in or attend school in one of the counties mentioned above.
Open section participants are not required to live within the Region.
Why does the open section not allow scholastic players to participate?
This tournament is a Scholastic Regional Championship. The organizers would like to encourage all eligible parties to participate in the scholastic championships. Time controls have been lengthened to G/45 & G/60 within the championship sections to allow for more time to think at higher levels of play. We would like for each regional champion to be a representative of the best that Region VI has to offer. Therefore, during the Region VI Championships, only adults will be allowed to play in the open section.
How do I choose my section?
For experienced players, section choice is easy. If your rating is too high for any of the JV-under sections, you must play championships. However, you may not play outside of your grade level, according to TCA rules.
If you are a new player with a lower rating, you are able to choose between sections. As long as your grade level and rating fit within a section's parameters, you may play in that section. When choosing your section, think about the following: Do you like a challenge? Are you hoping to win all of your games or are you playing for the experience? Do you want to be in a section with lots of your friends? There are many choices. In the past, when we have had one Primary JV section and one Elementary JV section, those two sections have been very large (80 participants). We are hoping to provide smaller sections, giving more participants a chance to succeed.
If you register for one section and find that your rating changes drastically between registration and tournament time, simply contact the registrar via emal for a section switch. If your rating increases above your current section limit, the registrar will attempt to contact you, so you may choose between remaining available sections. Please keep your profile information up-to-date!
How are team trophies determined? Do I have to play in the same section to be on the same team?
Because it is difficult for some schools to form a team in each section, especially with so many choices, we tried something new in 2012 and are continuing it in 2013. Team trophies will be awarded in four categories - Primary, Elementary, Middle School, and High School. We will increase the number of team trophies accordingly. The scores for students from the same team in all Primary sections will be considered for the total team score. The same applies to Elementary, Middle School, and High School. The team's score is is the sum of the top scoring 4 players (minimum of 2 players) from that team. If a school wishes, it may separate its players into as many as 4 teams for trophy purposes. HOWEVER, the individuals representing those separate teams may then be paired against one another. If your school wishes to form more than one team within a section, please have the team coach contact the registrar separate students into teams. This must be done before online registration closes. Students may not change teams as of 9am, March 1st for the 2013 Region VI Championships.
What are the TCA rules for section placement?
Special Information Regarding Section Assignments for TCA tournaments:
Students play in sections based upon their current grade level at school. In TCA tournaments such as this one, Pre-K to 3rd grade students may play in either the Primary or Elementary sections. Elementary schools can have separate Primary and Elementary teams and compete for trophies in both sections, or they can keep all their students together in the Elementary sections. Primary section players’ scores will count toward team and individual standings only in that Primary section—they will not be included in Elementary section standings or the other Primary section standings. Most Pre-K-3rd grade players should play in Primary since the games should be easier in those sections. All students, including Pre-K must attend the school in order to compete on the school team. Pre-K to 3rd grade players with ratings under 400 may compete in the Primary Junior Varsity (JV) section or the Primary Championship section. Pre-K to 5th grade players (and 6th graders who are attending an Elementary school) with ratings under 600 may compete in the Elementary Junior Varsity section or in the Elementary Championship section. Those players in grades Pre-K to 5th with ratings under 200 may compete in the Elementary Novice section. Players in Pre-K to 1st grade may either play in the K-1 Championship section, or may choose from any section listed (but paying attention to rating requirements.)
Texas Chess Association rules require that sixth graders who attend an elementary school must play in Elementary. Fifth and 6th graders who attend a middle school play in a Middle School section. Fifth to 8th grade players who attend a Middle School and have ratings under 800 may compete in the Middle School Junior Varsity section or in the Middle School Championship section. Ninth graders who attend a Middle School also play in the Middle School sections. Homeschooled students play in Middle School in 6th grade and High School in 9th grade.
For schools that include some other unusual grouping of grade levels, consult with the tournament director when you register to be sure you are in the required section.
I participated at a previous UIL Chess Puzzle Solving event in 2011. Can I participate again at a different tournament? Are they going to have the same test or a different one??
Yes, you can participate - each test will be different. Also K-3, 4-5, 6-12 grades will have different tests. The more students that participate, the better it is for the pilot.
How do I participate? What is benefit on registering online?
Sign-up online saves time for you & organizers. When you arrive at the registration desk, you just need to verify name/school district/grade information and pay $5 entry fee. Onsite, you will have to fill out a form at the registration desk, and participation cost will be $10.
What types of puzzles will I need to solve?
Contestants will receive a paper test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. Examples on what to solve: White to move and checkmate in one move, White to move and checkmate in two moves.
What do I need to bring to the event?
Please bring a pencil/pen. Don't forget that you should complete your payment by 12noon in order to participate!
How long is the event?
Puzzle contest lasts no more than 30 minutes.
Can I just sign-up for the UIL Invitational in Chess Puzzle Solving contest, without playing in the chess tournament?
Yes, you can sign-up for only the Chess Puzzle Solving contest. We recommend you spend the day and play at the Chess tournament as well!
Do I have to be a member of a chess club or USCF to participate in Chess Puzzle Solving?
No, you do not have to be a member of a chess club or USCF to participate in Chess Puzzle Solving.
Is there an online special for registering early
Yes, anyone who registers online by the end of the day on April 7th will pay only $5 for a puzzle contest entry and receive a personalized Certificate of Participation for UIL Puzzle Solving signed by Susan Polgar.