Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chess Metronomes

A video that I made from various chess tournaments.  I probably should have paid closer attention to my game rather than peoples feet!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Family & Friends Tournament

Chess the Halls with forks and pins!
Tis' the season for christmas music, candy canes, and chess tournaments! Upcoming articles include the Western Idaho Open, Christmas Blitzkrieg, and Integrating Chess and Critical Thinking Tournaments.
Kitt Connor and Danny Mills return (Best Ever Team)!

Today, I hosted a Family & Friends Chess Tournament that attracted eighteen players.  Including two special WRHS alumni, Danny Mills and Kitt Connor!  The tournament format consisted of two player teams in a 5SS G/15.  We played Bing Crosby Christmas songs during the first two rounds and forgot to tell Pandora we were "still listening" during subsequent rounds.  Deck the Halls!
Remembering past games, I ended up in a draw -  Danny's still got the moves!

With players ranging in age from 7 to 45 years old, the atmosphere was relaxed and "chill" as the teens put it.  Danny and Kitt were out to re-coup old glories and proved to be the most competitive team (Best Ever), earning 9.5 out of 10 points.   Both Danny and Kitt were former officers of the WRHS Chess Club and also WRHS Champions.  Desmond Porth and Jake Whitlock (Team PWN) won second place with 6.5 points, and Tyler Avila and I won third place with 6.0 points (The Purple People Eaters).  There was a three-way tie for  4th place, each team having 5.0 points.
Quentin Van Law (Leaping Lizards) plays Melissa Young (Pirate Booty)

Heidi Mungall (Life of the Party) plays Deborah Van Law (Rockin' Rollers)

Deb Van Law didn't go home with a trophy, but scored a board signed by GM Maurice Ashley in our mid-tournament drawing.  GM Maurice Ashley won the title in 1999 and was the first African-American International Master.  He says [about chess], "Your passion is the window to the world."
Jake Whitlock (Team PWN) plays Lynnet Porth (The Healies)

Despite the G/15 time controls, players played as if it were a G/5 tournament with only a couple of games lasting the full time.  It is important to play and monitor time so that the best possible moves can be found and time is used in the most efficient way possible.  To accomplish this:  1.  don't waste time on moves that are obvious or given, 2.  Memorize some common 1. e4 and 1. d4 openings so that time is not wasted in the beginning when the board is not very complicated, 3.  Use time to consider options when a move is not obvious or the board is complicated, 4.  when in time trouble and down material, try to be conservative, avoid exchanges, and keep the board complicated.  Why lose a game in 3 minutes when there are 12 more on the clock?

Tip:  En prise is bad!  Don't give pieces away for free - get some compensation, equally valued material is best.  Don't give up material for attacks, checks, or for lack of attention when you are playing experienced players. 

Cross Table

Team Name
Best Ever
People Eaters
Life of the Party
Pirate Booty
Leaping Lizards
Rockin' Rollers


Darwin practices his TD skills
This was the last tournament of the year.  The next tournament is Chess 960 (Fischer Random Chess) on January 17.  Tomorrow my family is heading to Barnes & Noble to play in a Winter Solstice Tournament hosted by the Magi Valley Chess Club.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NM Josh Sinanan Simul

Last Friday night, December 14, NM Josh Sinanan performed a simul against 19 competitors.  Most were also slated for the Western Idaho Open scheduled for the next day.  I arrived with Desmond, Dylan, and Riley Clark just 5 minutes before the opening words from TD Jeff Roland.  After introductions and an interesting decision by Josh to allow folks to choose either black or white, Josh shook hands with the first competitor and continued to move counter clockwise around the tables.  He even varied his openings depending on the age of his opponents!

For example, against Desmond he played the Queen's Indian Defense (1. d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6) and against Dylan, he played Alekhine's Defence, the Maroczy Variation (1. e4 Nf6 2. d3 d5).  As white he played the Ruy Lopez (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.  Bb5) against Riley Clark and Queen's Gambit declined against me.  Naturally, I played the Marshall Defense out of ignorance of the outcome.  But, now I know.  If he was playing by the book against all 19 of us, then his head must be a file cabinet of information.  Or, maybe he was playing naturally?

Both girls look pretty even (except for pawn structures)
The exhibition was held in the Student Union Building of Boise State University and it was clear that the environment was going to be festive.  A fraternity and sorority was holding a Christmas party and Deck the Halls, Silent Night, Christmas Rock, and other holiday favorites could be faintly heard through the walls.  Occasionally, a lost elf or elfette with pointed hats and plaid vests, would peek in to see if the party was in our room.

I played a very even game up until move 31 where 31 ..Qe7??  Un retrospect, I believe 31. ..Ne8 would have been a much better move and might have salvaged a draw.  Here is a the theoretical position after all the exchanges.  Not so bad!  With more experience, practice and endgame study, I might actually be more than just an amateur.
What could or should  have been?
NM Josh Sinanan is President of the Washington Chess Federation and highly involved with Northwest Chess.  He was a bit busy so I decided not to interview him during the simul and the games began at 5:00 and lasted until 8:30 pm, so I figured he would be a bit too tired to compile information afterward.  But my kids were all able to sneak a board under his pen to add to their collection of Master's signatures after the tournament.
Riley waits for  Ruy Lopez
As the games progressed, the party ended and bongos could be heard from another corner of the Student Union Building as another party began.  Spectators quietly moved in and out of the room, silently pointing at positions and whispering analyses.  One little boy that was playing next to me ate a crunchy and very moist apple.  His cheeks were wet with apple juice and I swear I saw drops on the board in front of him.
Riley gets her board signed by NM Josh Sinanan
I am sure Josh did not even notice all the activity in the room as he concentrated and quietly moved a piece and then himself.  It was hard for me to not notice because it took up to 5 minutes for Josh to make it around the room back to my game, and I found myself looking at my kids games and soaking up the atmosphere.

Josh ended by winning 18 games and drawing against Caleb Kircher.

I love attending and playing in tournaments.  I love what I notice on the board and off.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Got Your Bat Leth handy?

"DaHjaj SuvwI'e' jiH.  tIgwIj Sa'angNIS.  Iw blQtIq jIjaH."  
-  Today I am a Warrior.  I must show you my heart.  I travel the river of blood.

Qab JIH Nagil!  The Western Idaho Open came and went this last weekend and it was one of the best attended and most prestigious tournaments the Idaho Chess Association has experienced in nearly a decade.  The tournament featured over $1800 in prizes, a simul, scholarships, and three master level players (ja' chug):  GM Alex Yermolinsky, FIDE Master Nick Raptis, and National Master Joshua Sinanan.  Idaho chess is usually relaxed and casual between opponents, but I wonder if the outsiders perceived Idaho chess players as Klingons, ferocious in battle, but lacking in table manners.  Each round included breaches of etiquette and grace as opponents squared off with high rated players. Thankfully, nobody was stuck with a painstick for their transgressions. Being a Klingon myself, these were great lessons for me and the WRHS chess club members in attendance, as well as the other participants.

Here is a list of etiquette that "we" should consider :

  • It is generally considered proper chess etiquette to resign clearly lost positions. The proper time to resign should vary with one’s chess ability. Most beginners should probably play on until they are checkmated. But more advanced players should resign clearly lost positions when they are certain that if they were on the other side of the position, they could beat even a master.
  • During the game players should never discuss their game with anyone. Players are allowed to get up and walk around (e.g. to use the restroom or go out or get a drink of water).
  • Then one should shake hands with one’s opponent, and congratulate him or her for a good game.
  • Spectators should also, as a general rule, not go in between the aisles of play. Remaining on the outer periphery of the tables is commonly accepted as proper etiquette.
  • When observing a game, keeping at least 1-2 feet back from the table so as to not disturb the players is greatly appreciated. Never, under any circumstances, should a spectator touch the board, or even the table, while a game is still in progress.
  • Absolutely, under NO circumstances should you engage in conversation with your opponent or any of the players (whether their games are still in progress or not) at any time. Kibitzing and “chatting” is a distraction to your opponent, the other players near you, and yourself!
  • If you touch a piece intending to move it, you must move it; if you touch your opponent’s piece intending to capture it, you must capture it; and if you move a piece from one square to another and remove your hand from it, you must leave it where it is — assuming, of course, it is your turn to move and the move made is legal. If you knock over a piece with the cuff of your sleeve, or the back of your hand, say “I adjust” (or “j’adoube”) and restore the piece to its proper position.
  • One is allowed to wear headphones in order to listen to music, but it should not disturb anyone near you. If anyone asks you to turn down the volume, you should turn it down, or turn it off. You are allowed to ask your opponent to turn down the volume on his or her music. 

Spatial and Temporal Anomalies!  Hegh Bat! Round 1 surprised FIDE Master Nick Raptis.   His opponent Cody Gorman (11th grade) would leave the board for 15 - 20 minutes at a time and would not submit to the master's reputation or rating.  Mr. Raptis  would also leave the board for extended times and watch other games and I noticed one time that he was sitting with his eyes closed along the wall for quite some time.  I am sure Cody did not know what to think of this.  In fact, unbeknownst to Cody, Mr. Raptis was becoming frustrated and offended that Cody continued a lost game by leaving the table and the room without resigning.  Only to return and move again.  After the third time, Mr. Raptis protested with TD Jeff Roland (Arbiter of Succession).  I was able to observe that Cody was a Queen down with Mr. Raptis moving two more pawns up the board for promotion.  Mr. Roland placated Mr. Raptis by cautioning Cody not to leave the room.  But, the psychological battle continued with Cody playing out the game to it's fullest and resulting in FIDE Master Nick Raptis abstaining from mating Cody until the clock just about ran out.  The game ended on move 79.   The extra hour of  psychological warfare proved great drama for all of the players waiting for Round 2 to begin.

Should Black resign?  (Move 51 Black to move)
cha' Dich!  I am used to players looking at progressing games and wandering around the tournament room, but sometimes they get a bit too close for comfort.  It can be annoying and distracting especially if two players begin conversing about the game in whispers.  I found myself watching a game with a companion that began analyzing the game in an audible whisper to me.  I moved away from the game while a player glanced at us with a lowered brow with my companion following me and excitedly describing how white was going to win. Sto-Vo-Kor!

Who is going to win this one? (Move 28 Black to move)
Discommendation!  In a tremendous breach of etiquette, someone actually sat down at Table 101 with GM Alex Yermolinsky  playing FIDE Master Nick Raptis!   Both masters were visibly disturbed and eventually complained, but I am sure they recognized how excited all the Idaho players were to have professional chess players gracing the tournament.
Age of Ascension Ceremony!  Though players occasionally behaved like Klingons, it is important for organizers, professionals, and educators to encourage and teach expectations of behavior so that everyone can enjoy chess without frustration. After all, most breaches of etiquette are innocent, from naivity, or ignorance.  Painsticks are not necessary to correct these informalities!

Got Bat' Leth?  

Better hone up on your Klingon:  Klingon Imperial Rituals and Traditions

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Northwest Chess Grand Prix Event!!!
Click here for Pre-Registration List
*** Special side-event: FREE Simultaneous Exhibition by Washington Master Josh Sinanan starting at 5:00 p.m. going to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012 also at BSU Student Union Building (Hatch Ballroom) in Boise. Email to sign up. ***

Parking Permit: If you want to have free parking at the tournament, please click this link and print the page that opens, which has a code you will need to enter into the Kiosk machine in the parking garage to the South of the Student Union Building (across street). This code will be good for both Saturday and Sunday.

Additional info.: Dan Swanson is the Sales Manager for several hotels in the Boise area. He recently booked a group of rooms for some individuals who will be attending the Western Idaho Open. He got them set up with some good room rates. If other competitors are in need of accommodations, you may contact Dan for assistance. Contact: Dan Swanson, Area Sales Manager, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, P: 208-914-2052, Fax: 208-344-7446, email

$1350 Guaranteed Prize Fund
FIDE Rated
USCF Grand Prix

Format: 5 Round Swiss System
Time Control: Game/120;d5
2 Sections: OPEN and U1400 Reserve
Site: Boise State University, Student Union Building, 1910 University Drive, Boise, Idaho 83706.
Entry Fee: $30 ($25 if Under 18 or 60+ years old, BSU Chess Club members entry $10) if registered by December 3, 2012. Special Family Rate of $60. $5 more for all if received after December 3, 2012. FM's IM's, GM's, and WGM's enter for free (no deduction from winnings). E-mail entry will lock in advance entry rate.
Current USCF Membership is required, available at site or online at
Both sections USCF Rated. Open Section is also FIDE rated!
Idaho Chess Association (ICA) membership required. OSA (Other States Accepted). ICA Membership is $10/year (Regular), or $25/year for Premium Membership which includes 12 months of Northwest Chess Magazine. Click here for a current list of ICA Memberships.
Make all checks payable to Idaho Chess Association.
Register & check in: 8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012 Those not paid and checked in by 8:30 a.m. may not be paired in first round. Players arriving for round 2 (even if not known in advance) may take a retroactive first round bye as long as they arrive before the 2nd round starts (1:30 p.m.).
Round Times:
Round 1: 9:00 a.m., Saturday, December 8, 2012
Round 2: 1:30 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2012
Round 3: 6:00 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2012
Round 4: 9:00 a.m., Sunday, December 9, 2012
Round 5: 1:30 p.m., Sunday, December 9, 2012
1/2 point bye (Maximum 1), in any Round. Must notify TD before round 2 is paired. Players may arrive for round 2 and take a retroactive first round half point bye if arrive before 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Prizes: Open: $500, $250, $100. Open section will be separated into two halves for prize payout only (not for pairing purposes). First place in lower half receives $100 and 2nd place in lower half will receive $50. Reserve: $200, $100, $50.
Entries: Jeff Roland, 1514 S. Longmont Ave., Boise, ID 83706, E-mail:,
No Computers, No Smoking, Wheelchair access

Monday, November 26, 2012

Interesting Ad (for only certain people)

Sarcasm:  Only the wealthy and intelligent can play chess . . .*sigh* . . .only in Sun Valley!  
(Note:  the pieces couldn't get any more cheaper looking)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tyler Avila Simul

For the Integrating Chess and Critical Thinking Class, I require a grandmaster project.  This is the third quarter that Tyler Avila has taken the class and it would be the third grandmaster project for Tyler.  But, Tyler asked me if he could prepare for a simul with the class as an alternative.  Being a responsive teacher and desiring students that take control of their education, I couldn't refuse.  A simul is a tournament where one player simultaneously plays a number of players at the same time.  Grandmasters typically play these exhibitions to demonstrate their chess prowess and skills.

In fact, I wish more students did this type of reflection on their education.  Megan Jones avoids my workbook problems like the plague, but she finally shared with me that she completes the problems of the day, almost every day.  Since the class started she completed 81 problems!  She is a senior and now hooked on chess and I found out that she plays OTB and on the computer nearly every day, now.  Her game has greatly improved since she started with this class, so I offered to use these problems in lieu of the workbook credit.  Isn't this what education is all about?  Helping students discover something new and then allowing them the opportunity level up in a variety of ways?

Tyler studied some books, watched videos, and played an enormous amount of blitz chess in preparation for Tuesdays simul.  He arrived in my room with a serious but nervous look.  His chess confidence greatly improved this year, but as twelve students began to assume their positions, I detected a bit of regret at his project choice.  I almost told him to take his coat off to relax a bit, but he was anxious to begin.
The Colle-Zuckertort Opening strives to create a strong defense before  attacking.  The attack options include getting the f-knight to e5 or advancing a pawn down the c-file.
As I prepped the students, Tyler stood quietly in the front of the room and then began moving counter-clockwise (interesting observation as all other simuls I have seen the contestants moving clockwise? Is Tyler a "lefty?"), shaking hands and then playing 1. d4.    I was immediately surprised as I expected him to play the Scotch opening based on prior conversations and also the chapter he studied on the Scotch Gambit.  I knew he was going to attempt the Colle-Zuckertort System when I saw his first move on each of the boards.

The Scotch Gambit

The Colle-Zuckertort

Tyler's favorite chess video:

Can you find a royal fork?
As the games progressed, I could see the wrinkle between his brows furl.  I am sure he thought, "what have I gotten myself into?"  He found some wonderful forks in some games, however, I also saw him sacrifice in desperation in others.  In two games he lost to the dreaded long bishop, sheltered and camouflaged by pawns, aiming at h2 while his opponent secretly slipped their queen onto a square to attack the h2 square from another location.

Black offered a queen exchange, 1.  ..Qh6.  Tyler declined and moved  Qe2-Qc2??  Black earned  a win with Qxh2.  
Afterwards he commented that "it became so confusing to remember plans for each of the games."  He ended the simul with 6 wins and 6 losses.  A very respectable result.  I am going to have him annotate a game this next week to complete the work. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tie-breaks Explained

     Tie-break systems are used in many tournaments to determine the order of finish among players in the same score group. There is no perfect tie-break system. Each system carries a different bias and is subject to criticism. In events where time is not pressing, playoffs provide an alternative to the use of tie-break systems. Where playoffs are used, time controls are usually much faster than those used for regular tournament rounds.
     Scholastic events are often squeezed for time at the end of the day and tie-breaks are necessary to determine trophies or other non-cash awards. Tie-breaks systems are not used for cash prizes; cash prizes are divided evenly among tied players.
     Depending on the size of the event, more than one tie-break system may be needed to determine the order of finish. The sequence of tie-break systems to be used at a tournament should be posted before the first round. Unless a different method has been posted or announced before the first round, USCF rules indicate that players will expect the following sequence of tie-break systems to be employed as the first four individual tie-breakers:
1. Modified Median
2. Solkoff
3. Cumulative
4. Cumulative of Opposition
     Many of the primary tie-break systems are based in varying ways on the strength of your opponents' play. Generally speaking, the stronger the scores of your opponents, the better your tie-breaks.
     The following tie-break definitions are derived from the U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, Fourth Edition.

Individual Swiss tournament tie-break systems
The sum of all opponents' final scores.
Modified Median
·        The sum of opponents' scores (like Solkoff) but discarding some high or low scores:
  • ·        for players with "plus" scores (more wins than losses) -- the lowest scoring opponent is discarded.
  • ·        for players with "even" scores -- the highest and the lowest scoring opponents are discarded.
  • ·        for players with "minus" scores -- the highest scoring opponent is discarded.
  • ·        For tournaments of nine or more rounds, the top two and bottom two scores are discarded for even score ties, the bottom two scores for plus score ties, and the top two scores for minus score ties.

·        These scores are adjusted for unplayed games (byes, forfeits, unplayed games), which count a half point each.
Median (Harkness System)
The sum of opponents' final scores, discarding the highest and lowest of these scores.
The sum of the cumulative (running) score for each round. One point is subtracted from the sum for each unplayed win or one-point bye.
For example, if a player's results over a five-round event were win, loss, win, draw, loss, the wallchart would show a cumulative score round by round as 1, 1, 2, 2 1/2, 2 1/2. Adding across, the cumulative tie-break total is 9.
Cumulative Scores of Opposition
The cumulative tie-break points for each opponent are calculated and then added together.
A player receives 4 tie-break points for a win, 2 for a draw, 1 for a loss, and 0 for an unplayed game. This system awards aggressive play by giving more credit for wins.
Result between Tied Players
Self-explanatory if two tie, but useful only when they are paired and did not draw. If more than two tie, all results among tied players should be considered, with rank according to plus or minus, not percentage (3-1 beats 1-0).
Most Blacks
Opposition's Performance
This method averages the performance ratings of the players' opposition. Performance ratings are calculated by crediting the player with the opponent's rating plus 400 points for a win, the opponent's rating minus 400 points for a loss, and the opponent's rating for a draw. Results of each opponent against the tied player should not be included, since this would give the higher-rated tied player an unfair advantage. This system may be difficult to use when unrated players are in the tournament.
Average Opposition
This system averages the ratings of the players' opponents, the better tie-break score going to the person who played the highest-rated average field.
Sonneborn-Berger (Partial Score Method)
Add the final scores of all the opponents the players defeated and half the final scores of all the opponents with whom the player drew. Nothing is added for the games the player lost or for unplayed games. This is the most common method used for round-robin events.

Modified Individual/Team tie-break systems
Many scholastic events used a modified individual/team tournament format. In this type of event, pairings are performed as in a normal individual Swiss tournament but often teammates (e.g., players from the same school) will not be paired against each other. At the end of the event, team points are accumulated (usually the top 4 players' scores are used for the team calculation) and team awards presented in addition to individual awards. For this type of tournament, the Team Cumulative tie-break may be employed in the overall tie-break sequence.

The sum of the cumulative (running) scores for each team member at the end of the tournament.
Team Cumulative
·        The sum of the cumulative (running) scores for each team member as the team is defined for each round.
·        This is different from the normal Cumulative tie-break only if there are more than 4 players on a team and the top 4 scores involve different sets of players for at least one round.

Most of the individual tie-break systems for individual Swiss tournaments described above are also suitable for modified individual/team events.

Team tie-break systems
In team tournaments, the team competes as a unit against other teams. The usual example is the 4-board team tournament in which 4 team members compete in each round against the 4 members of another team. Most of the individual tie-break systems for individual Swiss tournaments described above are also suitable for team events. USCF rules describe two other tie-break systems for team events.

Game (or Match) Points
The total game points earned by the team involved.
U.S. Amateur Team System
For each round, the final score of the opposing team is multiplied by the number of points scored against that team. For example, if Team A scored 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 against Team B, which finished the tournament with 3 match points, Team A's tie-break for that round is 2 1/2 X 3 = 7 1/2.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Fall "Turkey Shoot" Results

2012 Fall "Turkey Shoot" Tournament
            The Fall "Turkey Shoot" chess tournament was a lesson in tie-breaks and heartbreaks.  Twenty students competed on Saturday, November 17 in hour-long games in a five round tournament.  The elementary sections played eight rounds due to the fast pace of their games.

A great day for a tournament with a view down Croy Canyon.

Jacob plays Anna in the first round.

Des gets ahead in points and pawns, but neglects the back rank and Jacob pulls out  a surprise attack!
"I took the pawn and blundered the game away!" says Des.

Riley has a fierce opening game as she begins the middle game a piece up.
           In the high school section, 3rd grader, Jacob Nathan from Idaho Falls played up, and looked like he was going to sweep the tournament as the last round approached and he had four points.  WRHS Chess Club President, Riley Clark faced off with Jacob in the last round and succeeded in breaking Jacob's winning streak and took home the first place trophy - her first!  It is remarkable that Jacob did so well with the high schoolers, but chess is based on experience and Jacob actually has over 100 tournament games at the national and state level.  He plays more regularly in ICA events than even my own children.  Most of the participants in this tournament had only a handful of games from tournaments.

Most Inspirational Elementary Player, Collin
            Tie-breaks were necessary in each of the sections and are determined using mathematical algorithms that calculate a number based on the difficulty of the opponents faced by each player. In the Kindergarten through 3rd grade section, Darwin Porth won first place with 6.0 points and Quentin Van Law won second place with 6.0 points.  Tie-breaker points determined the outcome.  Luke Baker (4.5 pts.) won third place.  In the 4th and 5th grade section, Alex Baker and Walter Kriesien tied for first with 6.5 points, but Alex Baker won first on tie-breaker points.  Zane Barckholtz won third place with 6.0 points.  Medals were awarded to all other players in the elementary section.

Tournament newcomers:  Wyatt Caccia, WRHS and Terry Zheng, Community School

Rileys only loss was against Desmond.
            The high school section had a three-way tie for first between Riley Clark, Jacob Nathan, and Terry Zheng, who is originally from China and now attends the Community School.  Tie-breaker points placed Riley in first, Jacob in second, and Terry in third.

Twenty Players and three sections
            Tie-breaker points are calculated in a number of different ways and the totals of each are compared and cascade until a result is obtained.  There are over 18 different ways of calculating tie-breaker points and I thank the lord for WinTD and pairing software for calculating all this.  Here are the common tie-breakers used in tournaments around the U.S. and the ones that I select for local tournaments:

1st Tie Break - Head-to-Head
Determine if one of the players beat the other from cross table.  As my friend Barry Eacker and I agree that this is one of the best means of calculating tie breaks.

2nd Tie Break - Modified Median
The sum of all opponent's scores with the highest and lowest scoring opponent discarded.  Additionally, players > 50% have only their lowest scoring player discarded, players < 50% have only their highest player discarded, with = 50% handled as the Median System.

3rd Tie Break - Solkoff
The sum of all opponent's scores with no scores discarded.

4th Tie Break - Cumulative
To calculate this, sum the running score for each round. For example, if a player has (in order) a win, loss, win, draw, and a loss; his round-by-round score will be 1, 1, 2, 2½, 2½. The sum of these numbers is 9. This system places more weight on games won in the early rounds and the least weight on games won in the final rounds. The rationale for this system is that a player who scored well early in the tournament has most likely faced tougher opponents in later rounds and should therefore be favored over a player who scored poorly in the start before subsequently scoring points against weaker opponents.

5th Tie Break - Cumulative of Opposition
This is the total of the opponent's cumulative score.

Dylan and Anna play while Matt, Wyatt, and Terry watch

How do Byes figure into all this tie-breaking business?
           Let me explain by sharing an example from this past weekend.  If a player scores four points by beating four opponents, and another one scored four points but one of the points was from a bye, then who should win the higher placement?  The person that won four games, or the one that beat only three opponent's.

Ipads and Tablets entertain players in between rounds.
          Many students love to get a "bye" for some reason and my experienced players in the club now recognize that byes do not help in tie-breaks and they do not like them.  After all, players enter tournaments to play and not "please wait."

           As indicated, tie-breakers can be tear-jerkers and heart-breakers.  Especially, when the prize is a trophy because tie-breakers are used to determine the placements.  If it is a cash prize, the money is combined and divvied up equally.  Calculating the results and trying to explain to the parents and the pint-size players why their top score is second to the other same score is stressful.  But, with tournament experience, the tie-breaking system will eventually make sense to those that stick with tournaments and they are less of a surprise.


Tyler Avila totes his turkey

           This tournament was a "Turkey Shoot" and all players had a "shot" at winning the turkey.  The turkey was donated by the WRHS Chess Club for the tournament.  And, Tyler Avila, 11th grade, placed 6th place in the tournament but his prize was the turkey.

Brother and sister face off.
            The next tournament is the Christmas Blitzkrieg on Thursday, December 13 with a Family Tournament during Winter Break.

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