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Georgia Chess Association

You Ask, We Answer!

   Parents and kids who are new to scholastic chess usually have a lot of questions that they would like to ask an experienced parent or scholastic chess player.  These are not the strategic and tactical questions that are posed to chess coaches, but the general sorts of questions that come up in casual conversations between parents or between two or more kids.

Before submitting a question, read The Beginning Scholastic Player:  How to Get Started, A Parent’s Guide to Scholastic Chess Tournaments, and ourScholastic FAQ to see if the subject has already been addressed.  If not, email your question to either Dear Chess Mom  or Dear Chess Kid.  We will print and answer all valid questions (not already addressed in the above articles) in these forums, as time permits.

Ask a Chess Mom!

Dear Chess Mom,

My inexperienced child is paired against a player with a high chess rating!  What’s up with that?

-  Stickler for Fairness

Dear Stickler,

   Did you register your child in the right section?  An inexperienced player should be in one of the lower sections, typically Under 600.  But remember, a rating of 590 can play in Under 600 … and they have to play someone! 

  It’ll work out over the course of the tournament, as those with the most points play against each other and those who’ve yet to win a game will be paired together, too.  Good luck!

Dear Chess Mom,

How long are each of these rounds?  I don’t want to miss my child when 

he’s done!

-   Watching the Clock

Dear Watcher,

   The tournament will state on its registration the length of the rounds. Scholastic rounds are mostly either G/30 (that’s 30 minutes of timed play 

for each, for a total 1 hour game) or G/45 (each player has 45 minutes to play, for a total of 1 ½ hours). You can never tell when a game will be finished, so don’t wander too far from the tournament hall! That’s what 

the skittles room is for.

Dear Chess Mom,

My child doesn’t have an assigned pairing for one of the rounds.  What should he do?

-   Fretting

Dear Fretting,

  He must be in a section with an uneven number of players!  Sometimes, someone must sit out a round.  But here’s the upside:  your child will be awarded 1 point, same as if he’d won the game!  And maybe a coach or another kid in the same situation (but different section) will be around to 

play a chess game, just for fun.

Ask a Chess Kid!


Dear Chess Kid,

I play a lot of sports and our games are on the weekends.  I don’t think I have time for chess!

-   Ball Boy

Dear Ball Boy,

   I’m a sports kid, too!  It just takes 15 minutes of chess practice every day or three to keep your chess game strong.  And you can always take a bye at a chess tournament to work around a baseball or soccer game.  Sure, you can do both!  Besides, the mental training you get from chess will give you an edge in any sport you play.

Dear Chess Kid,

What if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a game?

 -  Holding Tight

Dear Holding,

Hey, we’ve all been there. No problem. Just raise your hand, wait for one of the assistant Tournament Directors to come by, and ask for a bathroom break. It will be on your time if your match is played with a clock so it's always best to go before the round begins.

Dear Chess Kid,

What if I think the other kid is playing unfairly?

-   Blowin’ the Whistle

Dear Whistler,

   Your name says it all!  Raise your hand and tell the Tournament Director the problem.  Maybe the other kid just doesn’t know the touch move rule.  (You take your hand off a piece you moved, it’s final.  No do-overs). Remember that sometimes when a player's hand hovers over a piece it may look to the opponent that the piece has been touched. This can lead to a dispute.  Try not to hover! In the end it's up to the Tournament Director to make the call.  Please be a good sport.

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