What to Expect

A tournament day is a long one, but a fun one! Please check the Event Info > Schedule Page for a better breakdown of the specific start times. We are expecting more than 2000 people on-site that day, so please read through the following if you have any questions.


This year we will play the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship at the Three Rivers Convention Center. Grades 1-6 will play in the convention center. The kindergarteners will be playing in the connected Springhill Suites Hotel. The campus has 1500 free parking spots , but please plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. Parking and Entry will take some time and we will not hold the round if you are late. Click here for a map of the campus https://threeriversconventioncenter.com/attendees/campus-map/.

Once you are on-site, child care is not provided at events. A parent or guardian must be there with the student throughout the entire event. When you arrive, there will be rooms designated as waiting spaces either within the convention center building or the co-located Toyota Arena for parents, families, and friends! Many teams will have tables dedicated to them, with their name cards on them (we will do this based on registration). Once pairings are released, parents/guardians will be notified via text message (if signed up for in advance) what table their child will play their next game. There will also be multiple paper postings throughout the building with the same information. You may also use the URL to check for Pairings and Standings as they are complete (signage will be up throughout the Convention Center).

Parents may escort their students to the assigned table, but must leave before play starts. Only players are allowed in the tournament area during the rounds. Players are dismissed from the playing area as they complete their games. Make sure your student can find his/her way back to the waiting area after s/he’s done with the round.

There are 5 rounds, and everyone will get to play all 5 games (there’s no elimination, so your student will play all 5 rounds). There is a lot of down-time between games. In between rounds players should stay should stay in the building, or at least be back before the next scheduled round time. You can also bring books, games and electronic diversions to pass the time.


There is a longer break between Rounds 2 and 3 for lunch. Box lunch tickets will be available for purchase in advance through chessreg.com. Tickets for Box Lunch pickup will be distributed at the help desk. The convention center has a strict policy of not allowing any outside food. Please see the Travel and Dining > Lunch Options page for other lunch options and more information.


Once pairings are finalized they will be posted alphabetically for each section of the tournament. They will also be texted to those who opted in to text pairings. The time control for all games is Game/30 which means each player has 30 minutes to make all of their moves, Clocks are not required for any of the games. However the Chief Judge may add clocks to any games that appear to be running long (This usually happens after 30-40 minutes), and when clocks are added at that point each player is given 10 minutes to complete the game. If for any reason you need to leave the event early, make sure to speak with the pairings director before leaving so that they can properly withdraw you from the event. There is no penalty for withdrawing early with the pairings director.

The Kindergarten section will be in a room away from the main tournament area. This allows them to run that section separately and they will immediately pair the next round for Kindergarten even if there are still people playing in the other sections. This means the Kindergarten students are able to get finished sooner.

Before the start of the first round the Chief Judge will go over the basic rules for the tournament, such as touch move. At any point during tournament play, if players have a question or dispute about their game they should raise their hand and wait for a judge to come over. If a player does not agree with the judge or requires further explanation then they may ask to speak with the Chief Judge.

When a game is complete, both players should note which board they were on and go to the scorer’s table to report their results. Players should not reset their board prior to reporting their result. This will be repeated by the Chief Judge prior to the first round. A player’s score is calculated as 1 point for a win, 1/2 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. A running tally is kept throughout the tournament and standings will be posted after each round. Keep in mind that standings will not contain the results of the most current round. For example, say a player has just completed their 4th game and goes to look at the standings; they will only see the results of their first 3 games. If you look at the standings and believe that an error in scoring has occurred, please contact the Pairings Director immediately.

Notating isn’t required in tournament play, but can be useful to you and your student. Reviewing a game will help you see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Having a record of the game will also be helpful if there’s a dispute about the game. Encourage your student to notate as long as s/he can without it becoming a distraction.

Tournaments observe the touch-move and touch-take rule. If you touch a piece you must move it during that turn. If you touch an opponent’s piece you must capture that piece if possible. If a piece is jostled out of position during play, a player should announce that s/he is adjusting the piece before doing so. Also, if a student needs to use the restroom during a game, s/he can raise a hand and be excused for the restroom by a judge. These will also be reviewed by the Chief Judge prior to the 1st Round.


After the final round is complete the final standings will be calculated. Trophies are determined by score. No tiebreaks will be used to determine individual trophies. Tiebreakers will be used to determine final standing and will be used for team trophies. The M-S-C-O system will be used for determining tiebreaks. For a brief explanation of this tiebreak system see Part 4 on https://chessreg.com/tournament-guide .

At WSECC, everyone participating gets an award. Trophies will be available for pickup following the completion of the final game. Awards may not be picked up early. Those who score 3.0 or more will earn a point trophy for their accomplishments. Those who do not earn a trophy will get a State Medal with this years logo. Players who score 4.5 or 5.0 will be announced on stage and receive their trophy during a small ceremony. We will also announce Team Awards at this time. Team Awards are calculated by the sum of the scores and tiebreakers of the top 5 players from each school in grades K-6.

After the tournament is completed the results will be submitted for rating in the NWSRS database. Once the tournament has been rated the ratings report will be available at: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/tournreports.html – please note that this only shows who each person played and their starting and ending ratings.