Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

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

CSC Series

The CSC Series — 15th Season

Please note that information on this page is based on preliminary agreements with our host schools and is subject to change due to covid-related developments over the next few months. We will not be able to confirm our sites and schedule until after the 2021-22 school year has started, but we are optimistic that we will be able to proceed as explained below. Entry is free of risk as entry fees paid for any tournament will be refunded if we cancel that tournament.

The Cincinnati Scholastic Chess (CSC) Series comprises monthly, four-round, Swiss tournaments, conducted in October through March, for players in grades K through 12. The six tournaments in the Series are rated tournaments sanctioned by the US Chess Federation. Players are not obligated to play in every tournament but are free to choose how many and which tournaments to play in. Some prizes are awarded at each tournament; others are awarded based on cumulative performance in the entire Series. Players of all skill levels are welcome. In addition to knowing how to play the game, players are expected to be familiar with the basic rules of tournament chess. This page provides descriptive information about these particular tournaments. For those looking for more information about tournament chess generally, we have made the following documents available by download:

  • CSC Series Essential Information explains the rules and procedures that every player is expected to know before playing in any Series tournament. It comprises three parts: I Procedural Matters, II Rules of Tournament Chess, and III Chess Notation. If you are relatively new to tournament chess, this ten-page document is a “must read” for you.
  • CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22 expands on the topics covered in CSC Series Essential Information and explains many additional chess topics as well. We do not expect participants (except the very curious) to read this document cover to cover, but we hope that it will serve as a well organized reference where participants can find succinct but thorough answers to many questions about the Series and tournament chess generally.

The 2021-22 Season includes the 2021 Ohio Grade Level Championships

Many of you will recall that in our 13th season CSC hosted the 2019 Ohio Grade Level Championships, which took the place of our normal November tournament. Well more than 100 scholastic players in the Cincinnati area took advantage of this opportunity to participate in a state championship event. During this coming season we will once again be  hosting the Grade Level, which again will take the place of our usual November tournament. Anyone who plays in the Grade Level and also plays in the Series will be able to count his or her Grade Level score toward a Series trophy just as with any other Series tournament. And since the Grade Level has five rounds, those players will have an opportunity to score up to one additional point toward a Series trophy.

Anchor Links

Use the links below to navigate immediately to a particular topic of interest on this page:

Dates and Venues
Tournament Format
About Ratings
Schedule
Byes
US Chess Federation Membership
Prizes
Entry and Entry Fees
About Event Summaries and Standings
Additional Information

Dates and Venues

Projected dates and locations for the 2021-22 season are as follows:

Oct 9, 2021 Fairfield High School
8800 Holden Boulevard, Fairfield, OH 45014
Nov 6, 2021 Ohio Grade Level Championships – Embassy Suites Hotel
4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, OH 45242
Dec 4, 2021 Lakota West High School
8940 Union Centre Boulevard, West Chester, OH 45069
Jan 8, 2022 Walnut Hills High School
3250 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207
Feb 5, 2022 Lakota East High School
6840 Lakota Ln, Liberty Township, OH 45044
Mar 5, 2022 Princeton High School
100 Viking Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246

Our continued use of these venues depends on using them respectfully and leaving them as clean as we find them. To help in this regard, we ask that players not have food or drinks other than water in the playing rooms, and we ask all participants (players and parents) to be conscientious about cleaning up after themselves in the skittles areas. Thank you for your understanding and assistance in this important matter.

Food is usually not available for purchase at the tournament site except that snacks might be available from vending machines in some venues. We suggest that participants not depend on using vending machines as they might not be accessible or stocked. Participants are welcome to bring whatever lunch, snacks and drinks they might want for consumption (in the skittles areas) during the tournament. Whatever information we have regarding the availability of food either onsite or nearby will be noted for each venue on our Venue Information page.

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Tournament Format

Each tournament is a four-round Swiss tournament with a time control of G/30 d5. Each player has 30 minutes for the entire game, with a 5-second delay at each move before a player’s clock starts to run. Each round could last up to about an hour. Tournaments have four rated sections, which are defined by rating to increase parity among players, and a K-6 Non-Rated section. The sections are described further below. Because of rating changes, it is sometimes necessary to move a player into a higher section and sometimes possible for a player to move into a lower section if he or she chooses to do so. Ratings are explained in the next section.

Players may play in any section described below for which they are eligible. Membership in the US Chess Federation (USCF) is required to play in any rated section, and unrated players who play in a rated section will earn a rating. Players in rated sections may change into another rated section provided that they satisfy the rating requirements of the section they wish to move into. Players who play initially in the K-6 Non-Rated section may move into a rated section of a later tournament, but must become USCF member to do so; and once a player has earned a USCF rating, he or she may not move back into the K-6 Non-Rated section.

  • Championship (Rated): All players in grades K through 12, rated or unrated, may play in this section. Scholastic players whose rating is 1000 or more must play in this section. Everyone who plays here must be a current USCF member and must take notation. Note: This is where the strongest players play. Except in very extraordinary circumstances, it is not the section for players who are playing in their first tournament.
  • U1000 (Rated): Only players in grades K through 12 who are rated less than 1000 or unrated may play in this section. Everyone who plays here must be a current USCF member and must take notation. We recommend that only players who have tournament experience and a rating of 600 or more play in this section.
  • U700 (Rated): Only players in grades K through 12 who are rated less than 700 or unrated may play in this section. Everyone who plays here must be a current USCF member and must take notation. We recommend that only players who have tournament experience and a rating of 300 or more play in this section; however, older players who are relatively new to chess might choose to play in this section even if they are rated under 300 or unrated.
  • 400 (Rated): Only players in grades K through 12 who are rated less than 400 or unrated may play in this section. Everyone who plays here must be a current US Chess Federation member, but players are not required to take notation. We generally recommend that players who are new to rated chess play in this section.
  • K–6 Non-Rated: Only unrated players who are in grades K through 6 may play in this section. A player is unrated if he or she has played fewer than four rated games altogether (regardless of how many tournaments he or she has played in). Players will not earn a rating as a result of playing in this section. Players do not need to be USCF members and are not required to take notation. A player who becomes officially rated will no longer be eligible to play in this section. (Unrated players in grades 7 through 12 must play in a rated section.)

Players must use clocks in all sections.

CSC provides boards, pieces, clocks, scoresheets and writing implements for all its tournaments. Players may use their own scorebooks, scoresheets (including approved electronic scoresheets), and writing implements if they wish to do so.

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About Ratings

A rating is a numerical measure of a player’s skill at chess. A player earns a rating by playing in a tournament or section for which the game results are reported to the US Chess Federation (USCF). Based on the results reported, the USCF calculates each player’s rating. It is not necessary that a player already have a rating in order to play in rated tournaments — in fact, it is necessary to play in at least one tournament as an unrated player because that is the only way to get a rating to begin with.

An unrated player will get a rating as soon as the result of his or her fourth rated game is reported to the USCF. Since most tournaments are four or more rounds, a player usually gets a rating after playing in only one rated tournament. A rating is indicated as provisional initially, which means only that it is a new rating and likely to fluctuate greatly as new results are reported; nevertheless, a rating is official even if it is provisional. A rating is provisional until the USCF has processed the results of more than 25 games for the player.

“Unrated” and “non-rated” mean different things. “Unrated” refers to a player who has not yet earned an official rating. A player who has played fewer than four rated games is unrated.  “Non-rated” refers to a tournament or section and means that the results of its games are not reported to the USCF; therefore the USCF does not calculate a rating for players in a non-rated section. Players who are new to tournament chess often begin playing in a non-rated section as a way to check out tournament chess. Because USCF membership is not required to play in a non-rated section, the cost of the membership can therefore be avoided. An unrated player has the choice of playing in a rated section (if a USCF member), where he or she will earn a rating, or in a non-rated section, where he or she will not earn a rating. Once a player gets an official rating, he or she is no longer eligible to play in the Series non-rated section (but might be eligible to play in the non-rated section of some other tournament depending on the requirements specified for that tournament).

For the rated sections of each Series tournament, a player’s beginning rating is his or her official regular rating published in the monthly USCF rating supplement for the month in which the tournament is played, except in the case of players who are still officially unrated, in which case the player’s most recent rating (if there is one) will be used. A player’s most recent rating is calculated from rated game results that are reported after the data cut-off date relevant to the pertinent rating supplement.

For further details please click here for a Q&A About Ratings document or see “Ratings” in the CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22.

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Schedule

Players must arrive no later than 8:45 am to be assured of playing in round 1. Round 1 begins at 9:00 am for all sections. Later rounds in each section start as soon as possible, usually within ten minutes, after the preceding round ends. Play in the Championship section normally ends no later than 1:30 pm; lower sections typically finish earlier than that. Awards ceremonies are held for each section as soon as possible, usually within ten minutes, after the end of the last round.

Onsite Check-In

Lists of entered players by section will be posted at each tournament where participants enter the venue. Upon arriving at the tournament, players should check off their names on these lists to indicate to the tournament directors that they are present. At 8:45 am these lists will be taken down, and those players whose names are checked off will be paired for the first round. Players who neglect to check off their name upon arrival, or arrive after the lists have been taken down, should not expect to be paired in round 1 and will be paired only at the chief tournament director’s discretion. Players who are not paired in round 1 because they did not check in on time will be given a half-point bye for round 1.

For further details please see “Tournament Check-In” in the CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22.

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Byes

A bye is a round in which a player does not play a scheduled game. Players may choose to take one optional half-point bye in each tournament; however, a player who is not paired in round 1 as a consequence of arriving late or failing to check in will be given his or her half-point bye for round 1 (see “Onsite Check-In” above). Players may request byes on the entry form, by sending a request after entering to info@chesscincinnati.com, or onsite by completing a bye request form up until pairings are posted for the round for which a bye is requested. Byes that have already been requested may be changed or cancelled in the same manner. A player who takes an optional bye scores one-half point for that round. (Most players do not take any optional byes.)

A player may get “paired out,” which happens when the section has an odd number of players to be paired for a round so that one player necessarily is left without an opponent. In this situation the player is given a full-point bye for that round and is not permitted to take an optional half-point bye for any later round. A player who is paired out scores one point for that round, just as if he or she played a game and won.

If a player chooses to take another bye in a tournament after already taking a half-point or full-point bye, the additional bye will be a zero-point bye (the player scores no point).

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US Chess Federation Membership

Players must be current members of the US Chess Federation (USCF) to play in any rated section of a Series tournament. USCF dues are additional to entry fees. Participants can purchase or renew a USCF membership directly online at www.uschess.org or through CSC as part of entering any Series tournament.

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Prizes

Prizes are awarded based on the number of points scored. A player scores one point for each win or full-point bye, one-half point for each draw or half-point bye, and no point for each loss, zero-point bye, or forfeit. The following prizes are awarded:

  • Individual Tournament Medals: At every regular tournament and in every section, place medals are awarded to those who finish in first through fifth place based on their game score only. Any player scoring 3.0 but not finishing among the top five places wins an honorable mention medal. Calculated tiebreaks will be used to determine the order of finish among players with the same score.
  • Series class trophies are awarded based on the number of points a player accumulates during the Series. These trophies are awarded in rated sections only,  counting each player’s best five scores out of six tournaments during the Series. A maximum of 21 points will count for purposes of Series class trophies. (The maximum is 21 points instead of 20 points because the Grade Level is five rounds. Thus anyone who plays in the Grade Level has the opportunity to score a “bonus” point.) A Series class trophy will be awarded to each player (other than the Cincinnati Scholastic Chess Series Champion) who scores a designated number of points as indicated below:
    • Gold-class trophy: 15.0 points or more
    • Silver-class trophy: 12.5 to 14.5 points
    • Bronze-class trophy: 10.0 to 12.0 points
    • Honorable mention trophy: 7.0 to 9.5 points
  • The Ron Giffin Trophy will be awarded to the player scoring the most points for the series exclusively in the Championship section, based on players’ total scores in the five regular Series tournaments (October, December, January, February and March). This player will be recognized as the Cincinnati Scholastic Chess Series ChampionThe maximum possible score for the Ron Giffin Trophy is 20 points.

Trophies are not awarded in the K-6 Non-Rated section, although players who move from the K-6 Non-Rated section to a rated section will be eligible for class trophies. In certain circumstances some of the points scored by such players in the K-6 Non-Rated section can count for trophy purposes. See “Points” and “Prizes” in the CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22 for more information.

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Entry and Entry Fees

Players must enter Series tournaments in advance. There is no onsite entry.

To enter online, complete the online entry form and pay the entry fee and any US Chess Federation charges (as applicable) through PayPal using a PayPal account or a credit card. Online entries must be submitted no later than noon on the day before the earliest of the tournaments being entered. When entering online, it is necessary to complete the entry form and pay the entry fee and any USCF charges individually in separate transactions for each player entered.

To enter by mail, complete the mail-in entry form (one per player). For payment of the entry fee and US Chess Federation charges (as applicable), include a check payable to Cincinnati Scholastic Chess. The entry fees and any USCF charges for multiple players can be paid with a single check. Mail entries to Cincinnati Scholastic Chess, 9180 Pinewood Drive, Loveland, OH 45140-8234 early enough that they are received by Cincinnati Scholastic Chess no later than on the day before the first tournament in which a player wishes to play.

The entry fee is $15 per tournament. If you miss any tournament for which you enter, you may transfer that entry to any other future Series tournament.

See “Tournament Entry” in the CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22 for our entry fee refund policy and other information.

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About Event Summaries and Standings

A crosstable is a table that shows all players’ results in a tournament by section. The crosstable can take different forms. We post two different versions on this website; here is an explanation of how the two versions differ:

The Event Summary is created by the US Chess Federation from the rating report that we, the tournament directors, submit to the USCF to report the results of the tournament. The Event Summary includes only the rated sections, because the Non-Rated section does not get submitted for rating. The Event Summary is important because it shows the new official rating for all players with the results of the tournament factored in. This is the place to go (in addition to the USCF website, www.uschess.org) to see how a player’s official rating changed as a result of the tournament. It is important to note that players are listed in the Event Summary in order by their new (“final”) rating, without taking tiebreaks into consideration. For that reason players are often listed in an order different from that in the Final Standings document.

The Final Standings document is created from the tournament software that we use to run the tournament. It shows all sections, including the Non-Rated section, and it lists players with the same score in order by tiebreaks. It does not include final (“post”) ratings for players in the rated sections because these would not be official ratings and in fact will usually differ from the official ratings calculated by the USCF. It does include final ratings for the players in the Non-Rated section, however. These are not official ratings; they are calculated by our pairing software, and we use them for pairing purposes in the next tournament because they are generally accurate.

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Additional Information

If you have questions or need additional information, we refer you to the CSC Series Handbook for 2021-22. If you still have a question after reviewing the Handbook, contact Alan by phone/text at 513-600-9915 or by email to info@chesscincinnati.com.

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