Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

Inviting you to enjoy the king of games in the Queen City

Cincinnati Open

54th Cincinnati Open, April 6-8, 2018

5-Round Swiss — An Ohio Grand Prix Event — Open Section FIDE Rated

In 2018 the Cincinnati Open will be played once again at the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 5300 Cornell Road, Blue Ash, OH 45242 (near the intersections of Cornell Road with Kenwood Road and Reed-Hartman Highway). Click here for a map. This is where the 2016 and 2017 Cincinnati Opens were played.

Sections and Prizes

The total prize pool is $6,700, based on 120 entries. Prizes will be adjusted in proportion to the total number of paid entries plus one-half of the total re-entries, but in no event to less than 50% of the amounts shown below. Prizes will be split among tied players. Unrated players may not win more than the third-place prize amount except in the Open section. Players may choose to play up but may not play up more than one section. Accelerated pairings might be used in any section with more than 32 players.

Open: $800 – 550 – 400 – 300 U2200*: $250 – 200
U2100: $550 – 400 – 300 – 200 U1900: $200 – 150
U1700: $400 – 300 – 200 – 150 U1500: $175 – 125
U1300: $300 – 200 – 150 – 125 U1100: $150 – 125
*Note: Flyers distributed at the Kings Island Open in November 2017 showed the Open section under prizes erroneously as U2300. U2200 is correct.

(The prize pool for the 2017 Cincinnati Open was $6,500 based on 120 entries. We had 115 entries and paid all prizes at 100% of advertised amounts. With 24 prizes to be paid among a projected 120 players, at least 1 player in 5 will win a prize.)

USCF and FIDE Membership

US Chess Federation (USCF) membership is required for all sections. To purchase or renew a USCF membership, click here.

To play in the Open section, players must be members of both the USCF and FIDE. If you are not a FIDE member and you qualify for FIDE membership under the US Federation, the information you provide on your entry form will be forwarded to the FIDE Titles and Ratings officer at the USCF, who will obtain a FIDE Identification Number (FIN) for you. You must be assigned a FIN before the section can be rated by FIDE; however, you might not be notified as to what your FIN is until after the tournament is over. If you are not a FIDE member and you do not qualify for FIDE membership under the US Federation, you must obtain your FIN through your proper national federation prior to entering the tournament. See the Comparison of FIDE and USCF Rules for details.


USCF ratings will be used in all sections for pairing purposes.  Section eligibility and pairings will be based on April 2017 official USCF ratings, except that unofficial ratings, if available, will be used for players who are officially unrated.

Time Controls and Schedules

Time Controls — Open Section

3-day schedule: 40/90 SD/30;i30 for all rounds. All rounds are FIDE rated.

2-day schedule: Rounds 1 and 2 G/75;d5. Rounds 3-5 40/90 SD/30;i30. Only rounds 3-5 are FIDE rated.

Click here to see a Time Control Comparison.

Schedules — Open Section

3-Day: Friday 7:00 pm; Saturday 11:00 am & 6:00 pm; Sunday 9:00 am & 3:00 pm

2-Day: Saturday 11:00 am, 2:00 pm & 6:00 pm; Sunday 9:00 am & 3:00 pm

U2100, U1700, U1300 Sections

Time control: G/120 d5 all rounds.

Schedule: Friday 7:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am, 2:00 pm, & 7:00 pm; Sunday 9:00 am & 2:00 pm

Six rounds are scheduled. Players must select any one round of the six for a zero-point bye so that all players play a five-round schedule. This schedule provides the flexibility for players to choose a bye round and still play five games all at the regular time control so that they can:

  • Skip the Friday night round,
  • Sleep in Saturday morning,
  • Take Saturday evening off,
  • Take a long break between morning and evening rounds on Saturday,
  • Skip the Sunday morning round, or
  • Leave for home earlier on Sunday without giving up a game.

Interested players will be paired in side games during their zero-point bye round if possible.

Optional Byes

Players may elect to take one or two ½-point byes, but must commit to byes by 5:00 pm Saturday. For players in the U2100, U1700 and U1300 sections, these optional byes are additional to the required zero-point bye.

Tournament Rules

Play in the Open section will be governed in accordance with the FIDE Arbiters’ Manual, 2014 edition, except with respect to some points where the application of USCF rules is permitted. Play in the U2100, U1700 and U1300 sections will be governed in accordance with U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess, 6th Edition, ©2014 as amended. Click here for the mobile phone policy or for other rules and policies that are additions to or clarifications of standard USCF or FIDE rules that will be effect for the Cincinnati Open.

With respect to the Open section, there are many differences between FIDE and USCF rules, some of them quite significant. For the most part FIDE rules will apply in the Open section. Everyone intending to play in the Open section should be thoroughly familiar with these rules. This applies especially to anyone who has rarely or never played according to FIDE rules, but even players with FIDE experience should review the rules in case our intended practice in the Cincinnati Open differs from practice they have encountered in other tournaments. Click here for a two-page Summary of the differences; for details click here: Comparison of FIDE and USCF Rules. Pairings under FIDE rules are determined very similarly to USCF pairings, but there are subtle differences, especially relating to color assignment, which might occasionally produce pairings different from those determined under USCF rules. Except for the points identified in the Comparison of FIDE and USCF Rules, FIDE and USCF rules are effectively identical, and USCF rules will apply.

Entry Fees and Discounts

The entry fees for all sections are $99 in advance, $110 onsite $110, and $50 to re-enter $50 (re-entry counts as ½ entry for prizes). For GMs, IMs, WGMs, WIMs there is no entry fee; $99 less any applicable entry fee discounts will be deducted from any prize won.

Loyalty discount for veterans of the Cincinnati Open: If you played in the 2017 Cincinnati Open, you may take a $10 discount. Eligible players are named on the A List. If you did not play in the Cincinnati Open in 2107 but did play in any year from 2012 through 2016, you may take a $5 discount. Eligible players are named on the B List. Click here to see the A & B Lists.

Ohio Chess Association discount: Current Ohio Chess Association (OCA) members get a $3 discount with the expectation that their membership will still be active at the time of the tournament. To purchase or renew an OCA membership, visit

Players eligible for both the loyalty discount and the OCA discount may take both discounts.

Entry Fee Rebate for Recruiting New Players to the Cincinnati Open: Any player who played in any Cincinnati Open in any year from 2012 through 2017 and plays in the 2018 Open is eligible for an entry fee rebate for recruiting “new players” to play in the Cincinnati Open. This rebate is in addition to the above discounts. Cincinnati Scholastic Chess will pay a $15 rebate to any returning player for each “new player” whom he or she recruits. A “new player” is one who (a) did not play in any Cincinnati Open from 2012 through 2017, (b) enters the 2018 Cincinnati Open with the payment of a normal entry fee, and (c) plays at least one round of the tournament. To confirm eligibility either to recruit or to be recruited, check the A List (2017 players) and the B List (2012-2016 players). Anyone on either list is eligible to recruit new players; players not on either list are eligible to be recruited. Click here to see the A & B Lists.

A player may recruit any number of new players, but the total amount rebated will not exceed the amount of the entry fee actually paid by the recruiting player. To be credited with recruiting a new player, a player must notify the tournament organizers of the name and USCF ID number (“new” for players who have not yet purchased a USCF membership — see USCF and FIDE Membership above) of each new player he or she recruited. This notification can be provided on the mail-in or online entry form when entering the tournament, or by email to Each recruited new player must likewise indicate on his or her mail-in or online entry form the name and USCF ID number of the player who recruited him or her.

Rebates will be paid to players at the tournament when all criteria have been confirmed. We will pay the rebate for each instance where we can match recruiter and recruit referrals. Only one player will be credited as the recruiter for each new player recruited. No rebates will be paid for recruits who do not enter the tournament or withdraw before playing any rounds.


Enter in advance either online or by mail. Advance entries must be received by 9:00 am on Friday, April 6, 2018.

  • Enter online: Use the online entry form; pay the entry fee through PayPal using your PayPal account or credit card.
  • Enter by mail: Download the mail-in entry form. Mail the completed entry form along with your check made payable to “Cincinnati Scholastic Chess” to Cincinnati Open, 9180 Pinewood Drive, Loveland, OH 45140-8234.

Enter onsite and pay with cash, credit card, or check payable to “Cincinnati Scholastic Chess”.

  • Friday, April 6, 5:30–6:30 pm to enter any section and any schedule.
  • Saturday, April 7, 8:00–10:00 am to enter only the following:
    • Open Section 2-day schedule
    • Open Section 3-Day schedule with a half-point bye for Round 1 (Friday, 7 pm)
    • U2100, U1700, U1300 Sections with a zero point bye for Round 1 (Friday, 7 pm) and a half-point bye for Round 2 (Saturday, 9 am) Players who register Saturday morning will not be paired in the round at 9:00 am Saturday even if they register before 9:00 am.


Hilton Garden Inn, 5300 Cornell Road, Blue Ash, OH 45242 (near the intersections of Cornell Road with Kenwood Road and Reed-Hartman Highway). Click here for a map. Room rate $99 for room with king bed, $110 for room with two queen beds. These room rates include breakfast for up to two guests in each room. Reserve by Thursday, March 22, 2018 to ensure rate and room. For reservations, call 513-469-6900 or click here to book online.

Directions from north or south: Take I-71 to exit 17 and exit onto I-275 east. Go one exit to exit 49, Montgomery Road. Go north on Montgomery Road a quarter mile. Turn left at the first traffic light onto Cornell Road and go 2 miles. The hotel will be on the right.

Directions from east or west: Take I-275 to exit 49, Montgomery Road. Go north on Montgomery Road a quarter mile. Turn left at the first traffic light onto Cornell Road and go 2 miles. The hotel will be on the right.

This contemporary hotel is less than 17 miles from downtown Cincinnati. All rooms offer polished decor and custom-designed beds, plus flat-screen TVs with premium cable, microwaves, minifridges and free wifi. Suites add pull-out sofas and/or whirlpool tubs. The hotel restaurant offers a cooked-to-order breakfast and dinner. There is also a lounge and a 24/7 convenience mart. Guests can use the fitness center as well as the indoor pool and whirlpool (located a suitable distance away from the playing hall). Other amenities include a business center and free parking. For more information, visit the hotel’s website.

Nearby eating options outside the hotel include Arby’s, Skyline Chili, Subway, Ho’s Diner, and Decent Deli, located across Cornell Road from the hotel, between Wood Road and Kenwood Road.

More Information

Open section: The organizers will provide all pieces, boards, clocks and scoresheets.

All other sections: Players should being pieces, boards and clocks. Players may provide their own scoresheets or score books if they choose. Scoresheets and clocks will be available for players who do not have them.

All sections: No smoking, no computers.

Email questions to, or text/call Alan Hodge 513-600-9915.