WSCF Tournament Rules and Procedures

Last Updated: October 2013
  1. Touch Move, Touch Take –  If you touch a piece you must move it. If you want to center one of your pieces on a square you need to say “adjust” before you touch the piece. If you pick up your pieced and touch an opponent’s piece with your piece or hand and it is a legal move you must take it. If you inadvertently touch a piece and knock it over with your sleeve, then you don’t have to move it. But you must be careful not to touch any piece on the board unless you intend to move it. You and your opponent are the enforcers of this rule. A floor TD will not enforce it so it is up to you. If your opponent and you disagree then you should pause your clock and call for a tournament director. It is best not to play “helicopter chess”. Keeps your hands off the board until you have decided which piece to move.

  2. Checkmate, Scoring and Check –  You do not have to say check but there is no penalty if you do. When you and your opponent agree on an outcome you need to go to the scoring table together where each of you will write your own score. At some tournaments you will have an individual score sheet at your board that you will sign, a floor TD will initial and then take to the score table or to the tournament director. Floor TD’s will not verify checkmate; it is up to you and your opponent to determine if a checkmate is present on the board.

  3. Talking or Distracting Behavior – It is up to you to be a good sport and to not bother your opponent with any comments about moving, hurry up, or say anything about the game. You should not be talking about the game. If your opponent is disturbing you in anyway then call a Floor TD.

  4. Draw Offers – Draw offers must be made only when it is your turn and only after you move and before you hit the clock. You cannot offer a draw when it is your opponents move. This is illegal and you could lose time on your clock or with repeated illegal offers reported to the floor TD, you could forfeit the game.

  5. Using a Clock – Be prepared at any tournament to use a clock. If your opponent comes to the game with a clock you must use the clock. You can ask the TD to borrow a clock before the tournament to practice. In most tournaments if you are on one of the last five boards in the round you may have a clock put on your game. The remaining time will in the round will be divided by two and each player will have that amount of time put on their clock. For example, if there is 20 minutes remaining in the round then each of you will have 10 minutes to make your remaining moves.

  6. Losing on Time – A player whose clock shows no remaining time will lose on time provided his opponent calls that time has expired and has sufficient mating material.   If your opponent does not have sufficient mating material then the game is a draw.   If your time runs out and your opponent does not notice the game continues.  If both players’ times go to zero without either player noticing then the game is a draw.

  7. Bathroom and Water Breaks – You can get up and go to the restroom at any time during a game. If you are using a clock, the clock does not stop. You cannot talk to anyone inside or outside of the playing room about your game. Doing so will result in forfeiture of your game and with repeated abuse removal from the tournament.

  8. Chess Notation – Notation is strongly encouraged for all students 4th grade and older It is not required for WSCF rated divisions and required for USCF rated divisions. It is strongly encouraged for all students 4th grade and older. Students who practice and use notation in their clubs find it easy to take notation in tournaments. Game analysis is not possible without notation and it is the only way to claim a draw because of 3 move repetition or the 50 move rule.

  9. Castling – There is not a penalty for castling if you touch the rook first but it is good chess play or etiquette to touch the king first. If the rook is touched first and castling in that position is illegal then you must move the rook and not the king.

  10. Food or Drink – Food or drink is not allowed in the playing room. In games longer than G30, players can bring water.

  11. Spectators/Photography – At most venues spectators are not allowed. Pictures can be taken at the appropriate time during a tournament of players at their games but only with the permission of the TD and without flash.

  12. Late to Your Board – If a player is late to the start of the round his/her opponent can start your clock. If you do not arrive within 15 minutes then the game is forfeited. In some cases the TD or Floor TD will put a clock on the board and start the clock for the player that is not present.

  13. Kibitzing – Talking to another player or to anyone about a game on the playing floor is prohibited.

  14. Registration Procedure and Deadlines – In general the deadline to register in advance on WSCF’s website is the Thursday evening before the Saturday tournament at 11:00 pm. After that you can register on site for an additional fee. Tournaments hosted by local schools and other minor tournaments are pay at the door upon arrival. Major tournaments such as Grade levels, Class Championships at Wisconsin Dells, Grand Prix series are pay in advance and sometimes have graduated payment periods. If you do not register in advance you can register at the tournament for an additional $5 entry fee. Some tournaments vary from these procedures so be sure to check the tournament flyer for specifics.

  15. Teams – In general teams are formed from students who attend the same school. Exceptions to that include “club “tournaments. Some of WSCF tournaments are club tournaments which mean that clubs that meet outside of a school can form a team for these designated club tournaments. Players cannot join a club just for the intent of playing on a team. They must be regular participants of the club for up to 3 months prior to the event. School District teams can be formed with permission from WSCF if there are a small number of players (less than 4) from multiple schools within the district. Teams can also be formed from feeder schools. This means that if three elementary schools all feed into one middle school then all students from those elementary schools could play on the middle school team regardless if there are any players from that middle school. These teams must be formed before the tournament and registered as such. You cannot put together a club team, district or feeder school team after a tournament has begun. Please do so via the registration process before the tournament. Generally players on the same team will not play each other. Sometimes during the last round if two members from the same team are undefeated and would normally be paired except for this rule then they may be paired to help determine a true division champion.

  16. Tournament Check In and Onsite Registration – Upon arrival parents and coaches should check in at chess control. Please find player(s) name(s) on the online registration list and cross off the name(s). If a player that you registered is not going to be at the tournament do not cross off their name. Students not crossed off are assumed not present and will not be entered into the tournament. Check in opens at 8:00 am and closes at 8:40 am for pre-registered players. If players have not preregistered then please fill out an onsite registration form for each player. Onsite registration closes at 8:30. Players arriving after these times can participate in round 2.

  17. Chess Control – The registration table will serve as chess control for the entire tournament. Depending upon the size of the tournament, chess control could be at the TD’s table, at the scoring table or at very large tournaments stand alone in or near the skittles area. Please go to chess control to inform of any changes needed or any problems. Please use the tournament action form if possible.

  18. Withdrawing from the Tournament – If you are withdrawing, please notify the TD as soon as possible and before the round you are going to miss is paired. Please fill out the tournament action form and turn it in at chess control.

  19. Tie Breaks – WSCF uses Modified Mean, Solkoff, Cumulative and Opponents Cumulative in that order to break ties. You can learn more about these chess tiebreak systems at :

  20. Resolving Board Disputes and Game Outcome – Game disputes need to be resolved before players leave the board. Disputes can only be resolved at the board with the pieces still in place. Please pause your clock if you have one and call for a Floor TD or the TD. If you do not like the ruling of the Floor TD please call for the TD. Any player that knocks over pieces or resets the board before a dispute is resolved will forfeit the game.

  21. Electronic Notation Devices – USCF has approved three electronic notation devices for use during tournaments. WSCF will allow these same devices. They are:

    1. MonRoi Personal Chess Manager (with “Chess Rules = NO” on the setup screen)
    2. DGT Projects Electronic Chessboard (current model, April 2006 or later); conditional: If the DGT chessboard is interfaced to a computer for display or transmittal purposes, that computer must be under the direct control or supervision of the event organizer or tournament director.
    3. eNotate (as sold by the Chess IQ Academy and Chess Center from our website)
  22. Other devices could be used upon approval of WSCF Executive Director prior to a tournament’s round 1 start time.

  23. Round and Tournament Results, Team Codes, Grade Level, Ratings and Pairing Numbers – Results will be posted at the tournament after the 2nd or 3rd round and each subsequent round except the last round. It is the responsibility of the parents, coaches and players to confirm if scores, team code assignments and grade level are correct. Please correct these changes at chess control with a tournament action form. Any error that occurs needs to be made known to the TD before the final results are compiled for the award ceremony. Errors that occur up until the last round and can be seen in the posted results and not made known to the TD will not be corrected after or during the award ceremony. If an error occurs during the last round of the tournament then corrections will be made. If an error is found in the posted results on line after the tournament and the error occurred in the last round of the tournaments then corrections will be made. Pairing numbers for a tournament are derived from players higher of WSCF or USCF rating. If you want your USCF rating to be considered then you must enter it when you register on line. All WSCF USCF divisions are dual rated. Players will be rated in both WSCF and USCF systems when playing in a WSCF USCF division.