Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

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

Ohio Elementary Championships

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

If you are planning to arrive on Friday, please see the updated Venue Information.

The Elementary Championships will be conducted in compliance with the Ohio Scholastic Chess Association Tournament Guidelines effective November 1, 2019.

Tournament Specifications
Forfeits and Withdrawals
US Chess Federation Membership
Venue Information

Tournament Specifications

This is a five-round Swiss tournament. The time control is G/30;d5 for all sections and all rounds. All players in all sections are required to use chess clocks. Accelerated pairings may be used, but will not be used in any section with fewer than 32 players.


Championship sections are limited to players residing or attending school/home school in Ohio. Players from other states are welcome to play in any other section for which they meet the grade and rating requirements. All sections are rated except the K–5 Non-Rated section.

  • K5 Championship: open to all players in grades K through 5, rated or unrated, who reside or attend school/home school in Ohio. US Chess Federation (USCF) membership is required. Notation is required. The winner of this section will be recognized as the 2023 Ohio Elementary Champion. In case of a tie for first place, all tied players will be recognized as co-champions, and the winner of the Champion trophy will be determined by standard USCF tiebreaks.
  • K3 Championship: open to all players in grades K through 3, rated or unrated, who reside or attend school/home school in Ohio. USCF membership is optional; players who are not USCF members may play, in this section only, under the Junior Tournament Player Program. (See US Chess Federation Membership for details.) Notation is not required. The winner of this section will be recognized as the 2023 Ohio Primary Champion. In case of a tie for first place, all tied players will be recognized as co-champions, and the winner of the Champion trophy will be determined by standard USCF tiebreaks.
  • K5 U500: open to players in grades K through 5 who are rated less than 500 or unrated, regardless of where they live or go to school. USCF membership is required. Notation is required.
  • Grade 6: open to all players in Grade 6 only, rated or unrated, regardless of where they live or go to school. USCF membership is required. Notation is required. Because the Ohio Elementary Championships tournament is now defined as including only grades K through 5, this section is not part of the actual Elementary Championships competition, and the winner of this section will not be recognized as an Ohio champion. However, this section will have its own awards; see Trophies below for details.
  • K5 Non-Rated: open only to unrated players in grades K through 5, regardless of where they live or go to school. USCF membership is optional. Notation is  not required. Players will not earn a USCF rating as a result of playing in this section.


A rating is a numerical measure of a player’s playing strength calculated by the USCF based on the results of the player’s rated games. A player is officially unrated until he or she has played four rated games.

The USCF publishes updated official ratings on the first day of every month. Official ratings as of March 1, 2023 will be used for section eligibility and pairing purposes, except that for a player who is officially unrated but earned a rating after the data cutoff date for the March 2023 official ratings, the player’s most recent rating as indicated in the player’s tournament history on the USCF website will be used.


All sections will play the same fixed schedule as shown below. Players should arrive at the tournament no later than 9:30 am. (See Forfeits and Withdrawals for more information.) The awards ceremony for all sections will follow as soon as possible after the conclusion of the tournament.

Changes/Corrections 9:00–9:30 am
Announcements 9:30 am
Round 1 10:00 am
Round 2 11:15 am
Round 3 1:00 pm
Round 4 2:15 pm
Round 5 3:30 pm


Notation means recording the moves of both players on an approved scoresheet while a game is in progress. All players in the K–5 Championship, K–5 U500, and Grade 6 sections are required to take notation and are expected to know how to do so. Players who do not know how to take notation are referred to our Essential Information document, which explains this and other important matters. Players in these sections who do not record their games will be subject to penalties. Players in the K–3 Championship and K–5 Non-Rated sections are not required to take notation; however, players who choose not to take notation will be ineligible to make certain claims for which a scoresheet is required.


A bye refers to any round of a tournament in which a player does not play a game. There are three types of byes:

Full-point bye: When a section has an odd number of players for a round, one player is necessarily left without an opponent. This is called being “paired out”. Because the player did not choose to be paired out, he or she is given a full-point bye and scores one point for that round, equivalent to winning a game. No player can be paired out more than once in any tournament.

Half-point bye: A player who chooses not to play a particular round of a tournament for any reason can request a half-point bye for that round. A player who takes a half-point bye scores one-half point for that round, equivalent to drawing a game. Restrictions apply regarding for how many and which rounds a player may a take half-point bye. In the Elementary Championships tournament, players may take one half-point bye for any round from 1 to 4 only; no half-point byes are permitted in round 5. Also, a player who was paired out of round 1 may not then request a half-point bye for any round. Players may request a bye (a) on the tournament entry form when entering, (b) by notifying Alan Hodge after entering (phone/text: 513-600-9915, email:, or (c) at the tournament until pairings for round 2 are posted.

Zero-point bye: A player who chooses not to play a round but does not have a half-point bye available (because her or she was paired out in round 1 or has already used or committed to every allowed half-point bye) may choose to take a zero-point bye. The player can request a zero-point in the manner explained above for half-point byes, and scores zero for each round in which a zero-point bye is taken. When a player takes both half-point and zero-point byes, the half-point bye will apply to the earliest bye round.


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. To represent a school on a team, a player must be enrolled more than half-time in the school. For teams with more than four players, the team’s top four scores will count toward a team trophy.


In the K–5 Championship, K–3 Championship, and K–5 U500 sections, trophies will be awarded to all players who score 3.5 or higher and to the top five teams in each section. In the case of a tie for first place in either Championship section, all tied players or teams will be recognized as co-champions, and the championship trophy will be awarded according to standard USCF tiebreaks. In the K–5 Non-Rated section, trophies will be awarded to all players who score 3.5 or higher, but there are no team trophies.

The winner of the K–5 Championship section (determined by tiebreaks if necessary) will be invited to represent Ohio in the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions, expected to be played in conjunction with the US Open in Grand Rapids, MI in July and August 2023. If the winner of the section is unable to participate in the Rockefeller Tournament, or otherwise declines the invitation, the invitation will be extended to the next highest finishers in order until accepted.

In the Grade 6 section, trophies will be awarded to the players who finish in first through fifth place overall, and to the top five finishers rated under 800 who do not finish among the top five overall. In the case of a tie, trophies will be awarded according to standard USCF tiebreaks.


All pieces, boards, clocks and scoresheets will be provided for players to use, but players may use their own scoresheets or scorebooks if they wish. Use of electronic scoresheets is permitted provided that such use complies with USCF regulations.

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Players must enter in advance; there will be no onsite registration. The entry fee is now $44. A discounted entry fee of $15 is available for those with qualifying circumstances. Click here to enter online or to download a mail-in entry form. Players requesting the discounted entry fee must enter by mail and provide evidence of eligibility. All entries must be received by 10:00 am on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Entries will be confirmed by email if a valid email address is provided on the entry form. Changes or corrections to entries can be requested by email to until 10:00 am on Friday, March 24, or onsite from 9:00 to 9:30 am on Saturday, March 25.

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Forfeits and Withdrawals

Round 1 pairings will be based on entries received. Players who have not requested a bye for round 1 and are not present at their assigned board at the start of round 1 will be forfeited, and their opponents will be re-paired. Calling, texting or emailing a tournament director to notify him of an expected late arrival will not relieve a player of this requirement. To avoid being withdrawn from the tournament, a player who arrives late must check in immediately with the chief tournament director. After round 1, players who do not appear at their assigned board before half their time (15 minutes) expires will be forfeited and withdrawn. A player withdrawn in either situation may be readmitted to the tournament 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. Players are encouraged to leave their cell phones and other electronic devices (except approved electronic scoresheets) with a parent or coach outside the playing hall if possible, and otherwise to turn them completely off and stow them out of sight while in the playing hall.

Players may withdraw from the tournament at any time prior to round 5, but players who choose to withdraw must so notify a tournament director before pairings are posted for the next round. A player who leaves the tournament without notice will be paired in the next round as if still present, which will result in a forfeit and cause other problems. Please be conscientious about this important matter. Notification must be given by means of a completed and signed Notice of Withdrawal form either presented to a tournament director or deposited in the chief tournament director’s in-box.

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US Chess Federation Membership

Except as noted below, all players must be current members of US Chess Federation in order to play in this tournament.  USCF dues are additional to the tournament entry fee. You may purchase or renew a membership directly from the USCF at Alternatively, you may provide the required information on the tournament entry form (either online or mail-in) and pay the applicable dues along with the entry fee, and Cincinnati Scholastic Chess will transact the membership for you. Dues are $20 for a one-year Youth membership (good for members up to 18 years of age). An optional subscription to receive a print magazine by mail is additional: $12 for Chess Life (12 issues/year) or $6 for Chess Life for Kids (six issues/year). USCF members have online access to these magazines. You may purchase or renew a USCF membership with or without a print magazine subscription.

To check whether you have a USCF membership or to see what your ID number is, go to, select “Ratings”, and then select “Player/Ratings Lookup”. In the search page that displays, enter the player’s name (try variations if necessary) and click on “Submit”. If no record is returned that shows the player’s name and an eight-digit ID number, the player is not a USCF member and does not have a USCF ID. If a record is returned showing the player’s name and an ID number but no expiration date, the player has an ID (obtained under the Junior Tournament Player Program) but is not a USCF member.

Exception 1: In the K5 Non-Rated section, USCF membership is not required. Unrated players may play in this section whether they are USCF members or not.

Exception 2: In the K–3 Championship section, USCF membership is optional. Players without a USCF membership may play under the Junior Tournament Player Program (JTPP). Although they will not have USCF membership status, players participating under the JTPP will nevertheless earn a rating from playing in this tournament. In order to play under the JTPP, however, they must qualify by age as follows:

  • A player in kindergarten must be six years old or younger
  • A player in 1st grade must be seven years old or younger
  • A player in 2nd grade must be eight years old or younger
  • A player in 3rd grade must be nine years old or younger

The following membership options apply to players in grades K through 3 who wish to play in this section:

  • Players with a current membership: Nothing more is required.
  • Players with an expired membership: Players whose USCF membership is expired or will expire before March 1, 2023 must renew their membership to play in this section.
  • Players with no current or expired membership:
    • May purchase a membership. Players may purchase a membership either directly from the USCF or in conjunction with entering the tournament, as indicated above. With respect to players who have a USCF ID number obtained previously under the JTPP, use the ID number assigned to them to purchase a membership: select “Renewing” and enter your existing ID number; do not select “New” because this will generate a duplicate ID number for you.
    • May play under their existing ID: Players who have a USCF ID number obtained previously under the JTPP are not required to purchase a membership; they may play under their existing ID.
    • May obtain an ID under the JTPP: A player who has never had either a USCF membership or an ID obtained under the JTPP may play in this section without a membership by obtaining an ID under the JTPP. To do this, the player must obtain the ID through Cincinnati Scholastic Chess by providing the required information on the entry form when entering the tournament.

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Venue Information

The tournament will be played at Princeton High School, 100 Viking Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246, located near the intersection of I-75 and I-275. Click here for a Princeton High School mapDirections: Take I-75 to the Sharon Road exit (exit 15, the first exit south of I-275), and exit west onto Sharon Road. Turn right onto the first street, Chester Road. Princeton High School is on the west side of Chester Road (on your left). Enter the building at the main entrance near the center of the building; you will see “Viking Village” above the entrance. Click here for a diagram for entering the building.

Updated March 20: For those intending to travel to Cincinnati on Friday, there are several hotels within one mile of Princeton High School; however, a major convention is taking place at the nearby Sharonville  Convention Center on the same weekend, so many hotels are booked up. The deadline for reserving a room at the Holiday Inn Express (11160 Dowlin Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45241, 513-771-9080), where we had arranged for a block of rooms, is now past. Rooms might still be available, but probably not at the discounted rate. Click here for a map showing the location of the Holiday Inn Express relative to the school campus.

Updated March 20: An onsite food concession at the tournament will be offering burgers, snacks and drinks from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Alternatively there are several restaurants located in either direction on Kemper Road, one block north of the high school.

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Email inquiries to or contact Alan by phone/text at 513-600-9915.

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