Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

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

Cincinnati Open

The 58th Cincinnati Open will be played on April 12-14, 2024 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Blue Ash. This is a 5-round Swiss in nine sections; the top three sections will be FIDE rated. $18,000 in prizes based on 280 paid entries.

Please be aware that the FIDE sections (FIDE Elite, FIDE Expert and FIDE Class) and the UNDER sections (U1801, U1601, U1401, U1201, U1001 and Seniors U1801) play different time controls and different schedules, and have separate entry forms. Make sure you are looking at the information, and using the entry form, that pertains to the section in which you wish to play.

Use the navigation links below to go immediately to:
Details for FIDE Sections
Details for UNDER Sections

General Information

The information under this heading pertains all sections.

USCF Membership: A player must be a current member of the US Chess Federation (USCF) on the tournament dates to play in the Cincinnati Open. A USCF membership may be purchased or renewed either as part of entering the tournament online or by mail, or separately on the USCF website.

Ratings:  Official USCF Regular ratings as of April 1, 2024 will be used to determine a player’s section eligibility and pairings. If and only if a player has no official USCF Regular rating as of April 1, one of these alternative ratings will be used, if available:

  • For all sections: If a USCF Regular rating was published in a player’s tournament history after the data cutoff date for official April 1 ratings, the most recent such rating will be used as his or her rating for purposes of this tournament.
  • For FIDE sections only: If the player has no published USCF Regular rating and the player has a current FIDE standard rating of 1301 or higher, the player’s FIDE Standard rating plus 100 points will be used as his or her rating for purposes of this tournament.

If neither of these alternative ratings is available, the player will be treated as an unrated player and is not eligible to play in any FIDE section.

A player’s rating can change between the time of entry and the publication of official ratings as of April 1, 2024. When a rating change makes a section change necessary, we will move the player into the nearest section for which he or she is eligible and so notify him or her as soon as possible after the April 1 ratings become available. When a rating change makes a section change possible but not necessary, we will not move the player unless the player requests a section change by the applicable entry deadline.

Policies and Rule Clarifications: We encourage players to review our electronic device policy, which covers mobile phones, electronic scoresheets, and similar devices, and rule clarifications and policies that will be in effect for the Cincinnati Open.

Byes: Players may take one or two optional half-point byes for any round(s). In the UNDER sections any optional bye is additional to the required zero-point bye. (See Details for UNDER Sections for an explanation of the zero-point bye.)

Players may request, change or cancel a bye for a future round until 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 13, at which time they are committed irrevocably to their selected bye rounds. Players may select byes on their entry form or, until the advance entry deadline, by email to info@chesscincinnati.com. After the entry deadline, players must submit onsite a completed Bye Request Form to request, change or cancel a bye.

Initial wall charts will be posted at the tournament showing all byes for advance entries. Updated wall charts will be posted during the tournament as feasible, and also published on the SwissSys Events website. Players are responsible for verifying the byes shown for them on the wall chart and for notifying the pairings tournament director of any necessary corrections. A player who does not play a round for which he or she does not have a bye will be forfeited, may be readmitted to the tournament at the sole discretion of the chief tournament director, and may be subject to a fee for the readmittance.

Entry Information: The advance entry fee for all sections is $110 through Friday, April 5, and $125 thereafter until the advance entry deadline, 8:00 am on Friday, April 12. The onsite entry fee is $140. The fee to re-enter is $65; each re-entry counts as ½ paid entry for prize purposes. Certain restrictions apply to re-entries; see Details for FIDE Sections or Details for UNDER Sections for specifics. For GMs, IMs, WGMs, WIMs no entry fee is required to enter the tournament, but $110 will be deducted from any prize won.

Advance Entry: Players may enter online by using the FIDE Section online entry form or the UNDER section online entry form and paying by means of a credit card or PayPal account, or by using a mail-in entry form (on the reverse side of the flyer) and paying by check payable to Cincinnati Scholastic Chess. Advance entries must be received by 8:00 am on Friday, April 12.

Onsite Entry: Players may enter onsite and pay with cash, credit card, or check payable to Cincinnati Scholastic Chess. Entry deadlines are as follows:

  • Friday, April 12, 6:00 pm to play Friday evening
  • Saturday, April 13, 8:45 am to play at 9:30 am on Saturday
  • Saturday, April 13, 10:00 am — final deadline to enter

Onsite entries will be accepted during the following periods:

  • Friday, April 12, 5:00–6:00 pm to enter any section and any schedule.
  • Saturday, April 13, 8:00–10:00 am:
    — To enter a FIDE section 2-day schedule.
    — To enter a FIDE section 3-day schedule with a half-point bye for round 1.
    — To re-enter a FIDE section after playing round 1. See Details for FIDE Sections for specifics about re-entries.
    — To enter any UNDER section with a zero-point bye for the Friday, 7:00 pm round. Players must enter before 8:45 am to be paired in the Saturday 9:30 am round. Players entering after 8:45 am will be given a half-point bye for the Saturday 9:30 am round.
    — To re-enter any UNDER section with a zero-point bye for the Friday, 7:00 pm round. Players wishing to re-enter an UNDER section must do so before 8:45 am. See Details for UNDER Sections for specifics about re-entries.

Entry fee refunds: If a player withdraws from the tournament, we will refund the entry fee paid only if we receive notice of the player’s withdrawal by email or text prior to 6:00 pm on Friday, April 12. The amount refunded will be the entry fee paid less any applicable transaction fee.

Posting Pairings Online: We will publish tournament files on the SwissSys Events website. This will enable players to view current wall charts, standings and pairings online, alleviating congestion around the section boards where these documents are physically posted. To see these files, follow the instructions for accessing the SwissSys Events webpage.

Venue: Embassy Suites, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, OH 45242. Click here to see a map. The discounted room rate is $114 for a suite with a king bed, and $124 for a suite with two queen beds. All suites include a sofa bed. The room rate includes a made-to-order hot breakfast for up to two guests sharing the suite.  Click here to book at the Embassy Suites online. Players may also book a room by calling 513-733-8900 (reference the 2024 Cincinnati Open Chess Tournament). Reserve by Friday, April 5, 2024 to ensure rate and room.

Because the Embassy Suites typically sells out, we have arranged for a block of rooms also at the Hampton Inn, 4761 Creek Road, .8 of a mile from the Embassy Suites (see map link in the preceding paragraph). The room rate is $132.00 for either two queen beds or a king bed. Click here to book at the Hampton Inn online. Reserve by Friday, March 29, 2024 to ensure rate and room. Please note that cancellations must be made at least 48 hours prior to the date of arrival to avoid a room charge.

Click here to see maps showing hotel locations.

Other: No smoking, no computers.

Email questions to info@chesscincinnati.com, or text/call Alan at 513-600-9915.
Back to Top

Details for FIDE Sections

The information under this heading pertains only to the FIDE sections. If you intend to play in an UNDER (“Uxxxx”) section, see Details for UNDER Sections.

FIDE Identification Number: Players must have a FIDE Identification Number (FIN) to play in any FIDE section. If you do not have a FIN, please obtain one before entering the tournament. Players who qualify for a FIN under the US Federation may obtain one by completing the FIN application form on the USCF website. The application requires that you provide your full name, whether you are a past or current USCF member, your USCF ID number, whether you currently reside in the USA, and your sex, date of birth, and email address. Please make sure to apply for a FIN early enough to allow processing to be completed before the tournament. We recommend applying at least three weeks prior to the tournament. It does no harm to apply for a FIN even if you later decide not to enter a FIDE section, or do not enter the tournament at all. You could very well want to have a FIN at some future time, so getting a FIN now prepares for that.
Players who do not qualify for FIN under the US Federation must obtain their FIN through their national federation.

Ratings: Players should know the Ratings information provided under General Information above, in addition to the information presented here.

The rating requirements to play in a FIDE section are as follows:

  • FIDE Elite section: USCF Regular rating of 1801 or higher. There is no rating ceiling.
  • FIDE Expert section: USCF Regular rating between 1601 and 2200 inclusive. Masters rated at their floor of 2200 may play in this section.
  • FIDE Class section: USCF Regular rating between 1401 and 2000 inclusive. Experts rated at their floor of 2000 may play in this section.

Players who have neither a USCF Regular rating of 1401 or higher nor a FIDE Standard rating of 1301 or higher published on the pertinent organization’s website are not eligible to play in any FIDE section.

Prizes: The total tournament prize pool is $18,000, based on 280 paid entries. If fewer than 280 paid entries are received, prizes will be paid in proportion, with a minimum payment of 50% of the advertised amounts. Prizes will be split among tied players. Prizes in the FIDE sections are as follows:

FIDE Elite $1,330 $835 $665 $500
FIDE Expert $1,190 $745 $595 $445
FIDE Class $1,040 $650 $525 $400

Time Control and Schedule: The time control for all rounds is 40/90, SD/30;+30 except rounds 1 and 2 of the 2-day schedule, for which the time control is G/75;d5. (Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2-day schedule will not be FIDE rated.) Players may choose between a 3-day or a 2-day schedule:

  • 3-Day: Fri 7:00, Sat 11:00 & 6:00, Sun 9:30 & 3:00
  • 2-Day: Sat 11:00, 2:30 & 6:00, Sun 9:30 & 3:00

The default time (the period of time after a round starts that is allowed to a player to arrive at his or her board before forfeiting) is 60 minutes. Be aware that if both players are absent when a round is started, White’s clock will be started, and all the time that elapses until White’s arrival will reduce White’s time, even if Black also arrives late.

Re-Entry Restrictions: Only players who play round 1 of the 3-day schedule (the Friday night round) are eligible to re-enter. Anyone wishing to re-enter must do so before 10:00 am Saturday, April 13 and must re-enter a FIDE section. (Players may not withdraw from a FIDE section and re-enter an UNDER section even if their rating qualifies them for the UNDER section.) Re-entering players may re-enter the 3-day schedule, taking a half-point bye for round 1, or change to the 2-day schedule. Re-entering players may re-enter the same section or change to a different FIDE section, provided that they satisfy the rating requirement for the section into which they wish to move.

Players who re-enter will abandon their original entry; only the re-entry will be carried forward into later rounds regardless of the first-round score related to either entry.

Tournament Rules: Play in all FIDE sections will be in accordance with the current FIDE Laws of Chess except in some situations where FIDE permits the USCF rule to apply. Everyone intending to play in a FIDE section should be thoroughly familiar with the FIDE rules. We encourage players to review the USCF summary of FIDE Rule differences. Except for the points identified in the summary, FIDE and USCF rules are effectively identical, and USCF rules will apply.

Equipment and Reporting Results: The organizer will provide all pieces, boards, clocks and scoresheets. Players are required to use the scoresheets provided by the organizer. At the conclusion of each game, the players are required to submit to the arbiter (tournament director) one copy of their completed scoresheets, signed by both players and correctly indicating the game result. At the time when pairings must be generated for the next round, any missing result will be treated as a double forfeit.
Back to Top

Details for UNDER Sections

The information under this heading pertains only to the UNDER (“Uxxxx”) sections, which are not FIDE rated. If you intend to play in a FIDE section, see Details for FIDE Sections.

Ratings and Sections: Players should know the Ratings information provided under General Information above, in addition to the information presented here.

Each UNDER section has a rating range, shown below. Only players whose rating falls within the designated range are eligible to play in the section. This takes into account our policy that a player may play up one or two sections, except with respect to the Seniors U1801 section, which has no rating floor.

  • U1801: ratings from 1201 to 1800 inclusive
  • U1601: ratings from 1001 to 1600 inclusive
  • U1401: ratings under 1401
  • U1201: ratings under 1201
  • U1001: ratings under 1001
  • Seniors U1801: ratings under 1801

Players treated as unrated (as explained under General Information above) may play in any section but may not win any prize larger than the second-place prize amount for the section in which they play.

The Seniors U1801 section is open to all players who are 50 years of age or older, or will turn 50 in 2024. For simplicity, ages are determined by birth year: anyone born on or before December 31, 1974 is eligible to play in this section. (Players born between April 15 and December 31, 1974 are eligible even though they will be only 49 at the time of the tournament.) Age eligibility will be subject to confirmation upon arrival at the tournament. There is no floor rating for this section; however, accelerated pairings will be used, which, in effect, will divide the section initially into two halves by rating.

Prizes: The total tournament prize pool is $18,000, based on 280 paid entries. If fewer than 280 paid entries are received, prizes will be paid in proportion, with a minimum payment of 50% of the advertised amounts. Prizes will be split among tied players. Prizes by section are as follows:

U1801 $900 $560 $450 $340
U1601 $750 $475 $380 $285
U1401 $610 $385 $305 $230
U1201 $430 $270 $215 $165
U1001 $290 $180 $145 $110

Seniors U1801 prizes: There will be four prizes in the Seniors U1801 section as well. Two place prizes, $650 and $405, will be awarded respectively to the first and second place finishers in the section overall. Two under prizes, $325 and $245, will be awarded respectively to the first and second highest finishers among those players who are rated at or below the median rating for the section. Because this is the first time that we have offered such a section, we have no basis for predicting the ratings range of the players who will enter the section, and therefore we cannot specify in advance the rating ceiling that will determine eligibility for these under prizes.

Time Control and Schedule:  The time control for all rounds is G/110;d5. Six rounds are scheduled as follows: Friday 7:00, Saturday 9:30, 2:00 & 7:00, Sunday 9:30 & 2:00. All players play five rounds out of the six that are scheduled.

Byes: Players must select any one of the six scheduled rounds for a zero-point bye so that all players play a five-round schedule. Any optional half-point bye requested will be additional to this zero-point bye. When a player requests one or more optional byes, the zero-point bye will be assigned to the earliest bye round. This schedule provides the flexibility for players to choose a bye round and still play five games all at the same time control. As best suits their individual circumstances, players can:

  • Skip the Friday night round and play a two-day schedule,
  • Sleep in Saturday morning,
  • Take Saturday evening off,
  • Take a long break between morning and evening rounds on Saturday,
  • Skip the Sunday morning round,
  • Leave for home earlier on Sunday without giving up a game, or
  • By electing a zero-point bye for round 5 and a half-point bye for round 6, play a two-day schedule on Friday and Saturday and still play four games.

See General Information above for more information about byes, especially relating to players’ responsibilities and potential forfeits.

Re-Entry Restrictions: Only players who play the Friday night round are eligible to re-enter, and any wishing to do so must re-enter before 8:45 am on Saturday, April 13. A player may re-enter the same section or any other UNDER section for which he or she satisfies the rating requirement. (Players may not withdraw from an UNDER section and re-enter a FIDE section even if their rating qualifies them for the FIDE section.) Players who re-enter must take the Friday night round as their zero-point bye for the re-entry and will abandon their original entry; only the re-entry will be carried forward into later rounds regardless of the first-round score related to either entry.

Equipment and Reporting Results: Players are expected to bring their own boards, sets and clocks. Scoresheets will be provided, but players are free to use their own scoresheets or scorebooks if they wish. Players are not required to provide a copy of their scoresheet to the tournament director.
Both players are responsible for making sure that the result of their game is recorded correctly on the posted pairing chart. This should be done promptly after the conclusion of their game. At the time when pairings must be generated for the next round, any missing result will be treated as a double forfeit. Please be conscientious about this to prevent confusion, frustration, delays, and skewed pairings.
Back to Top