Presented by David Heiser Renaissance Knights Chess tournaments
Presented by David Heiser Renaissance Knights Chess tournaments provide students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have learned in chess club while building their confidence. Tournaments motivate and encourage players to expect nothing less than mastery of the subject from themselves. In doing so,
players develop their focus and concentration, deal with winning and losing in a safe environment, and experience the dynamics of teamwork. Even if a schools chess club is not intensive, or students do not even have a club to study with, a chess tournament offers great opportunities. Chess tournaments can take place with a variety of time controls and formats, allowing students to play a single game per meeting, many games in a single setting, or an the entire tournament. Tournaments can have one Open section or be divided into divisions. Divisions can be based on students ability (beginner, intermediate, advanced), by grade level (K-2,
3-4, 5-6, 7-8) or any variation thereof. Swiss: Perhaps the most common form of chess tournament, the Swiss-style chess tournament offers participants multiple matches in the same event, with the added bonus of producing both a single champion and a minimal number of participants who leave the tournament without experiencing a victory. It is important that the organizer and coaches understand the logic of the system. Players are assigned a ranking; this can be based on a published chess rating or on a ranking system designed by the
tournament director. In the first round, the list of players is divided in two, with the top overall seeded player going against the top player from the bottom half. The second ranked player would compete against the second best player from the bottom half. For example: The logic of this approach is that the tournament should avoid pairing off the two best players in the first match, yet not have
blowouts by pairing off the very top and the very bottom players. In the second round, the Swiss approach really kicks into gear. At this point players are organized into sub-groups based on their results from the first round. Normally, winners play against other winners from the first round. People who had draws or ties, play against others with draws or ties. And those who lost play against others who lost.
The only difference between a Swiss and Team Swiss is that in the Team Swiss the pairings are set such that players do not compete against other players from their own team. If by the final round the only undefeated players are from the same team, then team members should be paired against each other. Given that chess at the scholastic level is a team endeavor, by giving team prizes we promote camaraderie and support of the group. By setting the number of scores to
count per team one can easily give both individual and team prizes. Is a straight-forward event in which all play all. Sometimes organizers bring together dozens of players and organize them into a handful of quads. Instead of one large tournament, say
for 48 players, the structure is 12 minitournaments. This way, there is no clear overall winner; some prefer this system, as it enables (in this example), 12 individuals to earn first-place awards. Round-Robins, however, may not match players against others of similar ability.
This format really fosters a sense of comradeship and support for team. Ideal for after-school challenges. Each school picks a set number of competitors. Each player is assigned a Table number with each teams top player at Table 1, the second best player at Table 2, etc. The teams then square off, playing one, or more often, two games against the same opponent. Each player plays both colors, and the director totals the wins to get the team score.
Easy to organize, logical, and no computer required. Ideal for clubs and intramurals, the ladder tournament is less a tournament and more an on-going team ranking.
Names of players are written onto placards and placed in a rank order with the best player at the top of the list. Players may challenge those above them to a head-to-head match, and the winner of the match either retains the higher position, or, if lower ranked, takes over the higher position, with the losing player moving to the lower position on the ladder. Over the course of the school year, with players constantly challenging one another, the strongest players rise to the top of the ladder.
An elimination tournament, akin to the NCAA basketball tournament, is in my opinion a flawed way to approach organizing a chess event. While the purpose of the NCAAs is to crown a single champion, with half the teams playing but one game, the scholastic chess tournament has the aim of providing students with the opportunity to think, interact, and have fun. If half of the students lose their first game and go home, their interest in on-going chess study wanes quickly.
Many view chess as a game of significant deliberation and study, a game of patience. While some scholastic tournament games can be scheduled to last up to four hours, other games can be over in a handful of minutes, or less. Tournament directors can ensure that games finish in a timely fashion by setting a time control.
Most scholastic tournaments are game 30, a.k.a. G/30, meaning each player has 30 minutes to make his or her moves, for a total of up to 60 minutes to complete the game. Set time limit is known as Sudden Death. Those organizing a chess tournament should have the following materials:
Tournament Site: School cafeterias are often perfect locations for chess events. Tables, Table Number Labels, and Chairs: Computer systems assign players to sit at particular tables for each round of games; numbering the tables in advance avoids many headaches. Chess Sets: You should have at least enough chess sets for every participant to compete simultaneously.
Score Sheets: Students should be encouraged to notate, or write down, the moves that take place during their games. Computer & Peripherals: A computer, a software program, printer, ink cartridge (bring backup), and paper are critical for large tournaments. Name Tags, T-shirts for Tournament Director (TD) and Players, etc: Providing some way of clearly
identifying staff (both for the student players and the parents and coaches) helps participants quickly identify those who can resolve disputes. Prizes: Trophies, plaques, medals, chess sets, t-shirts, and books all make excellent prizes. United States Chess Federation Rulebook: This is good to have on hand in order to solve disputes. Often, heated arguments are quickly resolved by having the parties read for themselves the rules of the game.
Beginner Players: Must be able to do the following: Properly move all of the chess pieces Understand pawn promotion Understand rules for advanced moves: Castling and en passant capture Understand Check and the ways to get out of check
(move, block, capture) Understand Checkmate Understand the touch-move rule Understand the relative value of the pieces (Q=9, R=5, B=3, Kn=3, P=1) Have a sense of how to checkmate with a King and Queen
Intermediate Players: Should also (but not required): Have experience playing in chess tournaments Be able to mate with a King and Queen Be able to mate with a King and Rook Know how to achieve and stop Scholars Mate (the four-move mate) Be able to solve mate-in-one chess puzzles
Advanced Players: Should also (but not required): Have experience playing and winning in chess tournaments
Have a basic understanding of chess strategy including opening play Have a basic understanding of chess tactics including pins, forks, skewers Have a sense of how to mate with a King and 2 Bishops Know how to record the moves of a chess game Know how to play with a chess clock (1) MODIFIED MEDIAN. First, compute the adjusted score of each opponent
played by counting each unplayed game (bye, forfeit, round not played after a withdrawal) as 1/2 a point. If the player involved in the tie has any unplayed games (byes, forfeits, unplayed rounds), those games count as opponents with an adjusted score of zero. Next, discard ineligible adjusted scores as specified. Players with plus scores have the lowest opponent's adjusted score dropped. Players with even scores have the highest and lowest opponent's adjusted scores dropped. Players with minus scores have the highest opponent's adjusted score dropped. Then add the remaining adjusted scores to determine the player's tiebreak points.
2) SOLKOFF. Add the adjusted scores of all opponents (same as Modified Median except no scores discarded). (3) CUMULATIVE. Add the scores after each round; subtract one point for each one-point bye or forfeit win. Example: A player has a bye in round 1, wins in 2, loses in 3, draws in 4, wins in 5. The cumulative tie break score is 1 + 2 + 2 + 2 1/2 + 3 1/2 -1 = 10.
(4) OPPONENTS CUMULATIVE (5) SONNENBORN-BERGER. Add the adjusted scores of each opponent defeated, plus half the adjusted scores of each opponent drawn
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