2024 Annual Thrive! Chess Tournament

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Where: 2024 Thrive! Conference, Embassy Suites, Winston-Salem, NC
When: Thursday, May 23, 2024. Check in and pairing at 1:30-1:55 p.m. Play from 2:00–5:30 p.m.
Who: All players aged 5-18. To be eligible, your child must know how to play chess. There is a cap of 64 players; 32 in each age group.
Sections: Junior (ages 5-12) and Senior (ages 12-18). 12 year olds may be assigned to either group to even playing numbers and skill levels.
Format: Rapid Pairing (Swiss System) Tournament. Games are limited to 25 minutes unless the tournament director (TD) announces otherwise. All players must complete at least 4 games to be eligible for an award. The TD can call or cancel a game that is moving too slowly.
Entry Fee: $15/player.

Please find the registration form at the bottom of this page.

FAQs — please read!

1.  How will I know that NCHE has received my registration and payment?
     After registering online, you will receive a receipt as confirmation that NCHE has received your registration. If you don’t get this, check your spam folder.

2. Is this a knock-out tournament? Do I leave if I lose a game?
    No! This is not an elimination tournament. All players can and should play 4 or more games within the 3.5 hour time frame.

3. Will my young child have to play high school students?
    Depending on numbers of students of different ages, there will be at least 2 separate age-level groups: junior (5-12) and senior (12-18). An elementary student would be in a different section than a high school student.

4. My child just started playing chess. Can he or she still compete?
    Players should know how the pieces move, including the details associated with castling, checking the king, promoting a pawn, and capturing “en passant.” Players should be able to recognize an illegal move, as well as checkmate and stalemate.
The tournament director reserves the right to disqualify from further participation any student who clearly does not know the basic rules of the game. For example, we will disqualify someone who clearly doesn’t know how a knight moves or what is meant by “checkmate.” No refunds of any kind will be given to any player so disqualified. So, please be certain that your child can play an entire game correctly according to the rules of chess before signing up for this tournament.

5. How are the scores determined?
    A player gets one point for every game won, half a point for every game drawn, and zero points for every game lost.  A player’s point total for the tournament is found by adding that player’s points. Thus, a player who wins one game, draws two games, and loses one game will end up with two points for the tournament (1 + .5 + .5 + 0 = 2).
If you run out of time, the winner is determined by who has captured the most point-value of pieces.
Any player who cannot commit to staying for the entire time will most likely not be able to win an award. Any player not completing at least 4 games will not be eligible for an award.
Players who complete a game in less than the allotted time are welcome to play “for fun” games while waiting for time to run out. These “for fun” games do not contribute to their tournament score.

6.  What about awards?
     Individual awards will be given out for 1st – 3rd places in each section.  Cash prizes donated by Mark Sanger of Sanger Realty in Winston-Salem will be given to the first, second and third place winners.  Additional awards may be presented as determined by the tournament director.

7.  When will all the awards be announced and handed out?
     The awards ceremony will begin as soon as possible after the last game is completed which should be around 5:15 p.m. It usually takes about 15 minutes to get the lists together and get set up for the ceremony and another 10 minutes or so to distribute the awards, take pictures, etc. Everyone should be on their way by about 5:45 p.m.

8.  How do you pair players?
     In general, we will attempt to pair players with equal game scores when possible. For round one, the TD will pair students based on their section (junior or senior) and self-declared skill level.  After the first game, students within a section will be paired with another of same or similar score who they have not previously played.  Because of the need to match players with similar scores, there may be some wait time for players between games.  To determine color in all rounds, one player will conceal a black or white pawn in each hand and the other player will choose.

9.  This is not a USCF rated tournament. What rules will be followed?
     One rule in particular that will be enforced is the “touch move/touch capture” rule. This means that if a player touches one of that player’s own pieces in a manner that can reasonably be interpreted as the beginning of a move, then the player will be required to move that piece, if that piece has a legal move. If a player touches an opponent’s piece in a like manner, then the player will be required to capture that piece, if there is a legal way to do so. Note that an accidental touching of a piece, such as brushing it with a shirtsleeve when reaching for another piece, does not constitute a violation of this rule.
Another important rule that will be enforced: Players must not make any remarks or show facial expressions concerning any other game and must focus specifically on only their own game.
Timing (using a clock to limit how long a player may consider before moving) will not be enforced, however overall game length is limited to 20 minutes.

10.  What if I need to leave the tournament early and unexpectedly?
        In the event that you decide to leave the tournament early, please report in to the scoring table so that you are not paired in subsequent rounds. Breaks for use of restroom do not require that you inform the scoring table.

11.  Am I going to be required to keep score?
       Chess notation (keeping a written log of what piece moved to what square) will not be required.  If you choose to take chess notation, you must be able to do so without slowing play.  Score sheets, however will be provided.  The scoring sheets provide a record of who-played-who and what pieces were captured by each player.  These score sheets will then be instrumental in determining the next opponent and who ultimately wins the tournament.

12. Will I have to use a clock for my game?
      No clocks will be used or required in any of these games.

13. What should I do if I have a problem, or I don’t understand something?
     If you have a problem or a question about anything during the game, you should raise your hand to summon the tournament director. This cannot be stressed too strongly.
Do not take your opponent’s word for anything. Your opponent does not necessarily know the rules any more than you do. The tournament director is there to answer questions and to solve problems, so please don’t hesitate to get him involved.
If you and your opponent believe you are at a stalemate and need to declare a draw, have the tournament director check your board before turning in your score sheets.  Once a game is over and both players have agreed to a result, then that result is going to stand, and it is too late for the tournament director to do anything.

14.  Is there a cap on the number of participants?
      There is a cap of 64 players; 32 per age group. Online registration will be cut off after that number has been reached. Check at the tournament site to see if space has become available due to no-shows.

15.  Must parents stay/be present for the duration of the tournament?
Students 11 and younger must have a parent or responsible older sibling present at the tournament.

Contact NCHE activities director Evelyn Bickley at evelyn.bickley@nche.com if you still have questions.