Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

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

2018 Ohio Elementary Championships

Cincinnati Scholastic Chess is proud to be the host for the 2018 Ohio Elementary Chess Championships. The tournament will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at the Embassy Suites, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash (Cincinnati), OH 45245. This is a five-round Swiss tournament with six sections and a time control of G/30;d5.

This is an Ohio Scholastic Chess Association/State Championship Event!

This tournament includes two sections in which the 2018 Primary (grades K-3) and Elementary (grades K-6) Ohio Champions will be determined, but it isn’t exclusively for players competing for the championship. There are four other sections as well, two for grades 4-6 and two for grades K-3, where players of all skill levels are invited to play. Individual and team trophies, and participation medals, will be awarded in every section. So while we expect only two players to be recognized as state champions, we hope that 200 will take part in the event.

This event will be conducted in compliance with the Ohio Scholastic Chess Association Tournament Guidelines as of April 8, 2017, which are available at the OSCA website on the Event Guidelines page. Parents, coaches and players are referred to these guidelines for the rules and conditions applicable to this event.

Tournament Format
US Chess Federation Membership
Tournament Schedule
Forfeits and Withdrawals
Other Matters (Clocks, Notation, Equipment, Scoresheets, Devices)
Venue Information
Registration and Entry Fees

Tournament Format


For players through 6th grade (older sections):

  • K-6 Elementary Championship – open to all players in grades K-6
  • Elementary Premier 4-6 U700 – open to all players in grades 4-6 who are rated under 700 or unrated
  • Elementary Reserve 4-6 U400 – open to all players in grades 4-6 who are rated under 400 or unrated

For players through 3rd grade (younger sections):

  • K-3 Primary Championship – open to all players in grades K-3
  • Primary Premier K-3 U500 – open to all players in grades K-3 who are rated under 500 or unrated
  • Primary Reserve K-3 U300 – open to all players in grades K-3 who are rated under 300 or unrated

Section Eligibility Requirements

Residency Requirement: Championship sections are limited to players residing or attending school/home school in Ohio. Players from other states who meet the grade, rating and USCF membership requirements for the Premier and Reserve sections are invited to enter these sections.

Grade and Rating Requirements: Players may play only in a section for which they are eligible by grade and rating. Unrated players may play in any section for which they are eligible by grade. For home school students, the grade is determined by the level of material they are studying in a majority of their subjects. See Ratings and Pairings below for further details about ratings.

US Chess Federation Membership Requirement: The USCF membership requirement is specified below for every section. For information about renewing or purchasing a USCF membership, see US Chess Federation Membership below.

Older sections (K-6 Elementary Championship, Elementary Premier 4-6 U700, and Elementary Reserve 4-6 U400):

  • All players must be current members of the USCF.
  • Players whose membership has lapsed must renew their membership, using the same USCF ID number assigned to the lapsed membership.
  • Players who have never been USCF members must purchase a new membership. This includes players who who have played in past tournaments under the Junior Tournament Player Program (JTPP — the JTPP allows a player to play in a section limited to grades K through 3 without being a current USCF member). Former JTPP players must purchase a new membership using the same USCF ID number assigned to them under the JTPP.

Younger sections (K-3 Primary Championship, Primary Premier K-3 U500, and Primary Reserve K-3 U300):

  • USCF membership is optional.
  • Players who are not current USCF members may choose any of the following options:
    • Renew a lapsed membership if they have previously been a USCF member but their membership expired.
    • Purchase a new membership if they have not previously been a USCF member. Anyone purchasing a new membership who previously played under the Junior Tournament Player Program (JTPP) must use, for the new purchase, the USCF ID number assigned to them under the JTPP.
    • Enter the tournament under the JTPP. The JTPP allows a player to play in a section limited to grades K through 3 without being a current USCF member. This applies to former members whose membership has lapsed as well as to those who have never been members, including players who have previously played under the JTPP.

Ratings and Pairings

A player is officially rated when he or she has played four or more rated games, whether as a USCF member or under the Junior Tournament Player Program. Official ratings published in the USCF February 2018 ratings supplement will govern section eligibility except in the case of a player who is officially unrated but earned a rating after the February 2018 ratings supplement was published, in which case the player’s most recent rating as indicated in the player’s tournament history on the USCF website will govern. An unrated player is one who has played fewer than four rated games, whether as a USCF member or under the Junior Tournament Player Program. Unrated players in all sections will earn a rating from playing in this tournament.

Swiss pairings will be used for all sections; players will play only other players in their own section. In any section where there is an odd number of players to be paired for a given round, one player will not be paired because there will be no opponent against whom to pair him or her. Such a player is said to be “paired out” and will receive a full-point bye for that round. For purposes of the player’s tournament score, a full-point bye is equivalent to winning a game, but a bye has no affect on the player’s rating. The player paired out is typically the lowest-rated player in the lowest score group who has not already had a bye or requested a bye for a future round.

Round 1 pairings will be posted based on advance entries; no roll call will be taken prior to pairing round 1 to identify players who have not yet arrived. Players will be forfeited if they are not at their boards when round 1 begins. See Forfeits and Withdrawals for further details.

Accelerated pairings may be used, but will not be used in any section with fewer than 32 players. An explanation of accelerated pairings in simple terms is as follows. A score group is a group of players in a given section who all have the same score. Players in each score group are ranked from top to bottom by rating. When pairing a section normally, the top half of the score group is paired against the bottom half. When pairing a section using accelerated pairings, the first (top) quarter of the score group is paired against the second quarter, and the third quarter is paired against the fourth (bottom) quarter. When used at all, accelerated pairings are usually used only in the first round of a tournament.

Time Control

The time control for all sections and all rounds is G/30;d5 (game in 30 minutes with a five-second delay). This means that each player has 30 minutes for the entire game and there is a five-second delay at each move before a player’s clock begins to run. Accordingly, assuming that in a given section both players in at least one game use most or all of their time, a round will last approximately an hour.


Half-point byes are optional. A player may elect to take one half-point bye in any round through round 4. No player may take a half-point bye in round 5. A player who received a full-point bye in round 1 may not request a half-point bye for a later round. A player who wishes to take a second bye may request a zero-point bye for the later round.

Players may request a bye in advance when registering for the tournament. Players may also request a bye or change a bye previously requested at the information desk during the change period (9:30-10:15 am) or by notifying the information desk staff or any tournament director up until round 2 pairings are posted (at about 12:20 pm). After round 2 pairings are posted, byes may no longer be requested nor can any previously requested byes be changed.

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US Chess Federation Membership

US Chess Federation (USCF) membership is required for players in the older sections (K-6 Elementary Championship, Elementary Premier 4-6 U700, and Elementary Reserve 4-6 U400 sections.

USCF membership is optional in the younger sections (K-3 Primary Championship, Primary Premier K-3 U500, and Primary Reserve K-3 U300).

Players who have a USCF ID number are expected to provide it on their entry forms. This includes former members whose membership has lapsed as well as non-members who have played in a tournament previously under the Junior Tournament Player Program.  A member’s eight-digit USCF ID number can be found on his or her membership card or chess magazine mailing label (if he or she has received a chess magazine by mail). To find a member’s ID number online, search by member name using the  USCF Player Lookup function.

Players who need or choose to purchase or renew a USCF membership may do so in conjunction with entering the tournament or separately at Relevant membership types and dues are listed in the table below. For more information and additional membership options, including family memberships, please visit

Membership Type 1 Year 2 Years
Premium Youth $30 $55
Regular Youth $22 $40
Premium Scholastic $25 $45
Regular Scholastic $17 $30

Premium membership includes six issues per year of Chess Life (Youth) or Chess Life for Kids (Scholastic) mailed to the member. Regular membership includes online access to the respective magazine.

Youth memberships are for members who are 15 years of age or younger, and the member must be 16 years of age or younger at the expiration of the membership, whether a one- or two-year membership is purchased. Scholastic memberships are for members who are 12 years of age or younger, and the member must be 13 years of age or younger at the expiration of the membership. USCF memberships always expire on the last day of the month of purchase one or two years later. For example, a two-year membership purchased on June 10, 2017 will expire on June 30, 2019. Members may purchase a higher category of membership than that indicated for their age.

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Tournament Schedule

Cincinnati Scholastic Chess will strive to begin round 1 on time and to adhere to the schedule published below, and we solicit participants’ cooperation to make that happen. Players wishing to request a bye or make other changes to their registration are responsible for arriving early enough to complete their business before 10:15 am. We expect all players to be present at the tournament no later than 10:30 am. Those arriving late should expect not to play round 1. See Forfeits and Withdrawals for further details.

K-3 and K-6 Championship Sections  K-3 and 4-6
Premier and
Reserve Sections
Changes and corrections 9:30–10:15 am 9:30–10:15 am
Announcements 10:30 am 10:30 am
Round 1 11:00 am 11:00 am
Round 2 12:30 pm 12:30 pm
Round 3 1:45 pm 1:45 pm or earlier*
Round 4 3:00 pm 3:00 pm or earlier*
Round 5 4:15 pm 4:15 pm or earlier*
Awards* 5:30 pm 5:30 pm or earlier*

*In the Premier and Reserve sections, rounds 3, 4 and 5 will be accelerated if possible, with each round beginning approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of the last game in the preceding round. Awards ceremonies will follow as soon as possible after the conclusion of a section’s final-round games.

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Forfeits and Withdrawals

Players who are not present at their assigned board at the start of round 1 will be forfeited and withdrawn from the tournament, and their opponents will be re-paired. (Participants may not avoid forfeiting by calling a tournament director while en route to notify him of an expected late arrival. All late arriving players are urged to check in with a tournament director immediately upon arrival.) After round 1, players who do not appear at their assigned board before their time expires will be forfeited and withdrawn. Any player withdrawn in either situation may be readmitted at the discretion of the chief tournament director.

A player who answers a cell phone call, sends a text message, or reads an incoming text message during a game shall immediately forfeit that game. A player whose cell phone or pager audibly rings during a game shall receive a warning for the first such incident, and forfeit the game upon a second such incident during the tournament.

Players may withdraw from the tournament at any time prior to round 5; however, it is extremely important that players choosing to withdraw so notify a tournament director before the next round pairings are posted otherwise they will be paired, resulting in a forfeit.

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A team is defined as two or more players who (a) attend the same school or qualifying home school organization and (b) are playing in the same section. Distinct primary, elementary or intermediate schools with a given school district constitute separate schools for this purpose. The Ohio Scholastic Chess Association, in its By-Laws §2.3 Definition of a School, defines school as follows:

2.3.1 For all purposes of these Bylaws, a school shall be defined to include any of the following:

a) An institution identified by one name, providing instruction in one building or adjacent buildings, under the supervision of one administrator, and providing core curricular instruction in English, math, science and social studies over the course of a typical school year.

b) A virtual or online school which meets all the criteria above except it has no central physical location for instruction.

c) A home school organization identified by one name, under the supervision of one administrator or administration committee, and providing group instruction in multiple academic subjects.

d) A family which has notified the local public school district of its decision to home school its children, and has been excused from public school attendance.

To represent a school on a team, a player must be enrolled more than half-time in the school. To prevent confusion and facilitate the proper designation of teams, participants are asked to identify the player’s school or home schooling organization by complete name and the name of the city where it is located.

For teams with more than four players, the top four scores will count toward a team trophy. Players from the same team will not be paired against each other unless necessary to avoid pairing a player inappropriately out of his or her score group or otherwise unduly skewing the natural pairings that would have occurred without considering team affiliation.

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In each section trophies will be awarded to the individual players finishing in first through fifth place and to all other players scoring 3.5 points or more. Team trophies will be awarded to the teams finishing in first through fifth place. Places among players or teams with the same score will be determined by standard USCF tie breaks. Participation medals will be awarded to all players.

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Other Matters

Clocks and Notation

All players in all sections will be required to use chess clocks. Players in the older sections (K-6 Elementary Championship, Elementary Premier 4-6 U700, and Elementary Reserve 4-6 U400) will be required to take notation. Players in the younger sections (K-3 Primary Championship, Primary Premier K-3 U500, and Primary Reserve K-3 U300) are encouraged but not required to take notation, and will be ineligible to make certain claims regarding their games if they do not.

Equipment and Scoresheets

Cincinnati Scholastic Chess will provide pieces, boards, clocks and scoresheets for all sections. Players may choose to use their own scoresheets or scorebooks. All players are cautioned that they may not, while their game is in progress, consult or look at any other scoresheet, scorebook, or any other document or device other than the scoresheet on which they are recording their current game in progress.

Players who intend to use an electronic scoresheet are expected to comply with the US Chess Federation National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations, Appendix F: Approved Electronic Notation Devices. The USCF has approved only the following three electronic scoresheets for tournament use:

  • MonRoi Personal Chess Manager.
  • eNotate by North American Chess Association
  • Plycount LLC, Plycounter®

The use of any other electronic device for recording a chess game while it is being played is prohibited at the Elementary Championships. CSC tournament directors will monitor the use of electronic scoresheets. Failure to comply with the above regulations will result in a warning upon the first instance, and in forfeiture of the game and withdrawal from the tournament upon the second instance.

Other Electronic Devices

Players are required to comply with the USCF policy regarding other electronic devices, which is summarized as follows:

Cell phones, iPads, e-Readers, and other electronic devices are not permitted in the bathrooms. We encourage you to leave these items with your parents, coach or a responsible adult. If you bring a phone, you may not take it to the bathroom or carry it on your person once your game begins. It must remain off at all times, stowed away, and out of sight at your board. Any player found to have had a phone or other aid to game analysis in the bathroom or on his or her person while his or her game was in progress may face severe penalties.

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Venue Information

The tournament will be held at the Embassy Suites, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, OH 45242. The hotel is located approximately three miles from the intersection of I-71 and I-275. Click here for a map. The Embassy Suites offers a breakfast buffet, lunch, dinner, and a two-hour evening reception for overnight guests. In addition, especially for this tournament, the hotel will provide a food concession at several food stations in the tournament area. For more information about the hotel, click here or visit the hotel’s website. For those wishing to stay overnight, the rate is $109 for a king suite and $119 for a double/ double suite. All suites include a sofa bed in addition to the bedroom. Reserve by February 14, 2018 to ensure room and rate; reservations received after this date will be accepted only on a space-available basis and at rates available at that time. This hotel routinely sells out. For reservations call 513-733-8900 or 800-362-2779 and request the rate for the Elementary Chess Tournament (Group Code: ECT) or book online here.

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Registration and Entry Fees

Players must register in advance, either online or by mail. A mail-in entry form can be downloaded here in Word or pdf, or from the sidebar menu on this page. There will be no onsite registration.

The entry fee is $35 if the entry is transacted online or mailed on or before February 17, 2018, and $45 thereafter. A limited number of entries will be available for low-income players at a reduced entry fee of $10.00 ($15.00 after February 17), subject to verification of player eligibility. Players requesting a reduced entry fee must enter by mail (the reduced entry fee option is not available with online entry).

All entries must be received by 12:00 noon on Friday, February 23, 2018.

Posting and Correcting Registrations

Entries will be confirmed to players by email if a valid email address is provided on the entry form. Entries will also be posted on this site as they are received and processed. Players are asked to verify that the confirmed and posted information is correct, and to notify the organizers of any changes or corrections, including bye requests, by email ( until noon on February 23, 2018, or in person onsite from 9:30 to 10:15 am.

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Direct inquiries to, or contact Alan Hodge by phone or text at 513-600-9915.

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