Frequently Asked Questions

Specific to this website:

  1. Why do I have to fill out a profile?
  2. What is a participant?
  3. How do I register for a tournament?
  4. Why is my birthdate necessary?
  5. Why is my school information necessary?
  6. Why is my grade level 'unspecified'?
  7. Where do I send my check?
  8. How do I pay by credit card?
  9. How do I get my tournament listed on ACT?

New to chess:

  1. What is the USCF and why do I need an ID?
  2. What is a bye?
  3. What do I do if I can't come to the tournament?
  4. What if I show up late for a round?
  5. How long does the tournament last?
  6. Do parents have to stay? Who is responsible for the players?
  7. What do we do about lunch?
  8. What is a Swiss System?
  9. What is notation?
  10. Can I watch the chess games?
  11. What are the benefits of playing with a team?
  12. What are tie-breaks?
  13. What is a time control? What does G/30 mean?

Specific to the Austin Area Championships:

  1. Why do scholastic onsite entries at the Austin Area Championships receive a round 1 bye?
  2. Who is eligible to participate?
  3. How do I choose my section?
  4. How are team trophies determined? Do I have to play in the same section to be on the same team?

Specific to the Region VI Championships:

  1. Why do scholastic onsite entries at the Region VI Championships receive a round 1 bye?
  2. Who is eligible to participate?
  3. Why does the open section not allow scholastic players to participate?
  4. How do I choose my section?
  5. How are team trophies determined? Do I have to play in the same section to be on the same team?
  6. What are the TCA rules for section placement?

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 participant.

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.
-Login
-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 starburst 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
-click Register.

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 to:
P.O.Box 1386
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 area.

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 hours.

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.


What is a Time Control What does G/30 mean?

In any chess tournament, we have to have a way to limit how long each round will take. The time control is this limit. If your time control is G/30, that means that each chess player has 30 minutes to complete his or her portion of the game. The game could then last a full 60 minutes (30 minutes for each player). Our local scholastic events usually have a time control with a 5 second delay. That means, if a delay-capable clock is brought to the game by one of the players and used, each time a player takes a turn, the clock waits 5 seconds before subtracting any time from that player's allotment. In a 60 move game, using 5 second delay could then mean that the game might take an additional 10 minutes to complete.


Why do scholastic onsite entries at the Austin Area 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: Scholastic and adult players in a CHAMPIONSHIP section must reside in or attend school in one of the following counties: Williamson/Travis or the neighboring counties of Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hayes, Lee, or Milam.
There are no residence requirements for players in a NON-CHAMPIONSHIP section.


How do I choose my section?

You may not play outside of your grade level.
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.

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?

Specific to the 2014 Austin Area Championships: Team trophies will be awarded in each scholastic section. The team's score is the sum of the top scoring 4 players (minimum of 2 players) from that team within a single section. If you attend the same school yet play in different sections, your scores will not combine for team trophy purposes.

Parent-child trophies will be awarded to the best family teams. Here, we add only two scores, 1) the family's best score from the adult section and 2) the family's best score from one of the other sections. You must have at least one adult player and at least one non-adult player to qualify.


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 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. 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 email 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?

Team trophies will be awarded in each scholastic section. The team's score is the sum of the top scoring 4 players (minimum of 2 players) from that team within a single section. If you attend the same school yet play in different sections, your scores will not combine for team trophy purposes.

Parent-child trophies will be awarded to the best family teams. Here, we add only two scores, 1) the family's best score from the adult tournament and 2) the family's best score from one of the other sections. You must have at least one adult player and at least one non-adult player to qualify.


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 will play in Primary simply because they are more comfortable playing against opponents closer to their own age. All students, including Pre-K must attend the school in order to compete on the school team. Unrated players may choose any section which is grade-appropriate.

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. 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 or after you register to be sure you are in the required section.