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John Balch Memorial

VERMONT STATE SCHOLASTIC

CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS

SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2018


Please announce this tournament in your school and community.

NEW PROCEDURES THIS YEAR - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
For grades K through 6 this will be an unrated event and USCF membership is not required.

For grades 7 through 12 this will be a USCF rated event and USCF membership is required.

OVERVIEW

All Vermont students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 are eligible to compete for State Championship titles in the following divisions: Elementary (which includes individual titles for K though 6), Middle School (Grades 7 & 8) and High School (Grades 9 through 12).  Team Championships will be awarded in the Middle School and High School divisions based on the top four scores from each school or club represented.  

All abilities are welcome and encouraged to participate; no prior tournament experience is necessary.  If this is your first tournament, please check out our Tournament Beginners Guide for tips and answers to frequently asked questions.

This tournament is named in honor of John Balch, a great promoter of scholastic chess in Vermont, who passed away in 2004. He taught chess to hundreds of Vermont youth.
 

TOURNAMENT PROCEDURES

The 31st Annual Vermont Scholastic Chess Championships are actually several concurrent events, and may have different procedures based on grade level as described below.  The actual chess matches will follow standard United States Chess Federation (USCF) rules for scholastic tournaments.

All players will play 4 or 5 rounds depending on the number of participants in each division - there are no eliminations.  The champion for each division will be determined by the best overall score after all rounds of play.  If there is a tie for the top position, a playoff game will be played between the tied players to determine the champion.  If that game ends in stalemate, additional games will played at successively reduced time controls until a winner is declared.  Ties in all other positions except the top position will be determined using the USCF recommended tie breaking procedures of Modified Median, Solkoff, and Cumulative, in that order.  For an explanation of the tie-breaking procedure, click here.

Please bring your own chess set(s) and chess clock(s) if you have them.  Please label your belongings so they can be returned to you if lost or misplaced.

VERMONT STATE ELEMENTARY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

Individual State Titles will be awarded for Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, and Grade 6.  Players will compete in separate sections based on grade level. (Note: The tournament director reserves the right to combine grades if a section has less then 5 players, but awards will still be given for each grade separately.)

Important:  For grades K through 6 this will be an unrated event, and USCF membership is not required.  First round pairing will be by random draw. Pairing for subsequent rounds will follow Swiss pairing rules, which matches players who have a similar score for the event.

All games in each round are expected to be completed within one hour.  Any game lasting longer than 45 minutes will have a clock applied to assure timely completion.  Players are encouraged to Notate their games (i.e. write down each move as it is made) but it is not required.

VERMONT STATE MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS and NATIONAL K-8 QUALIFIER

The Middle School Individual State Title and Team State Title will be awarded for players in Grades 7 and 8.  (Note: Accomplished players in grades K through 6 have the option of "playing up" into the middle school division instead of playing in their individual grade if they prefer to attempt to qualify for the K-8 national event.)

The Middle School section will be USCF rated, and current USCF membership is required for participation.  Please make certain that your membership is current prior to the tournament, as memberships will no longer be sold at the event by the tournament organizer.  See the Registration section for details. 

Timing: All games will use a chess clock.  Matches will be “Game 30, delay 0” meaning each player will have 30 minutes, for a total of 1 hour maximum, per game with no clock delay per move.  The tournament has several clocks, but please bring one if you have one.  Phone and tablet based chess clocks are allowed, but you must be able to demonstrate that the device is in "airplane mode" (i.e. all wireless communication turned off).
Notation: Players are expected to notate their games (i.e. record each move.) Players who do not notate will incur a 5 minute time penalty, meaning they will have 25 minutes on their clock instead of 30. Notation becomes optional once there is 5 minutes or less left on the clock for either player.

VERMONT STATE HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS and NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL QUALIFIER

The High School Individual State Title and Team State Title will be awarded for players in Grades 9 through 12.

The High School section will be USCF rated, and current USCF membership is required for participation.  Please make certain that your membership is current prior to the tournament, as memberships will no longer be sold at the event by the tournament organizer.  See the Registration section for details. 

Timing: All games will use a chess clock.  Matches will be “Game 30, delay 0” meaning each player will have 30 minutes, for a total of 1 hour maximum, per game with no clock delay per move.  The tournament has several clocks, but please bring one if you have one.  Phone and tablet based chess clocks are allowed, but you must be able to demonstrate that the device is in "airplane mode" (i.e. all wireless communication turned off).
Notation: Players are required to notate their games.  If unfamiliar with notation, just do your best.  Notation
becomes optional once there is 5 minutes or less left on the clock for either player.

A word about notation:  Notating chess games is not hard, it just takes a little practice to get into the habit of writing down your moves after you make them.  A printable notation sheet can be found here.  There are many places to learn notation online, and I believe if you can play Battleship, you can notate chess!  Notation has many benefits including the ability to review your games after the event, as well as help to correct errors and resolve disputes.

Questions about tournament rules may be directed to
Mike Stridsberg, Tournament Director: mike@vtchess.info or (802) 223-1948

SCHEDULE

Registration opens at 8:30 am and closes at 9:30 am. All players (even if pre-registered) must check-in during this time.  Games will start at 10:00 am or as soon as the first round pairings are complete. Each student will play at least four games, unless they receive a 'bye' due to an odd number of players in a division. A bye is worth one point (equivalent to a win.)  No player will receive more than one bye.  A player who arrives late and does not play in the first round due to their tardiness will not be awarded a bye, and receive no points for the missed round.  If a player needs to leave for any reason before the end of the event, the tournament director must be informed of the early withdrawal.

Prizes will be awarded to each division shortly after that division finishes.  The tournament may be completed as early as 1:00 pm for the youngest divisions, and as late as 5:00 pm for upper divisions, so please plan accordingly.  Parents and spectators are allowed to accompany their children to the playing rooms prior to each match, but only players and room monitors are allowed inside the Kindergarten through 8th grade rooms while games are in session.  Viewing of play will be allowed at a discrete distance in the High School section.  Spectators may not interact in any way with the High School players while games are in session.

Space will be available in the gymnasium for players, families, and friends between and during rounds.  All children must have adult supervision.

Due to severe allergies, Berlin Elementary is a NUT FREE ZONE.  Please do not bring any food containing nuts or nut oils into the building,

Chess equipment, books, and souvenirs will be available for sale.  Tournament souvenir T-shirts will be sold on a first come basis.
 

NATIONAL QUALIFIERS

2018 Denker Selection. The top finishing student in the High School division will be selected as the Vermont representative to the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, a national competition with a representative from each state. 

2018 National Girls Tournament Selection. The top finishing female student in the High School division will be selected as the Vermont representative to the USCF National Girls Tournament of Champions, a national competition with a representative from each state.

2018 Barber Selection. The top finishing student in the Grade 7-8 division will be selected as the Vermont representative to the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, a national competition with a representative from each state. 

NOTE: Any player in grades K through 6 who is interested in competing for the opportunity to represent Vermont in the national K-8 tournament may declare their intent prior to the tournament and compete in the Middle School division instead of their actual grade level.

All three national tournaments correspond with the U.S. Chess Open and this year are being held in Middleton, WI from July 28 to August 5, 2018
 

REGISTRATION

Entry Fee Options:   EARLY REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.  YOU MAY STILL REGISTER AT THE DOOR.

  1. $12 for registration with payment by mail that is postmarked on or before April 2, 2018.

  2. $12 for online registration with payment by PayPal or credit card before noon on April 6, 2018.

  3. $20 for onsite registration the day of the tournament.

USCF membership:

Current USCF membership is required for players in the Middle School and High School divisions in order to participate in this tournament.

You may obtain or update a USCF membership online prior to the event at http://uschess.org/Memberships will not be sold at the event by the tournament organizer.

Registration Options: 

  • To register by MAIL, click here:  Printable Registration Form

        -or-
     

  • To register ONLINE, click here:  Online Registration Form
     

Early registration helps us plan and start on time!
(Sorry, full refunds may not be possible.)
 

Important Note:

If registration and/or membership fees are a financial hardship, please contact the tournament director regarding scholarships.  No one should fail to participate for lack of funds. 
 


DIRECTIONS to the Vermont State Scholastic Chess Championship:
 
Berlin Elementary School is located in central Vermont outside the city of Montpelier. It is approximately 38 miles southeast of Burlington, and 50 miles north of White River Junction.

Driving directions: Take Interstate 89 exit 7, turn left at the first light, and turn right into Berlin Elementary School.

Physical (GPS) address: 372 Paine Turnpike North, Berlin, VT.

 

NOTICES 


The following notices or their likenesses may be used for advertisements, newsletters, or other promotional material.


PRESS RELEASE
The 31st Annual Vermont Scholastic Chess Championships will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Berlin Elementary School in Berlin, VT, conveniently located in central Vermont just off Interstate-89 exit 7.

All Vermont students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 are eligible to compete for State Championships in nine divisions -- each grade Kindergarten through Grade 6, Middle School (Grades 7 & 8) and High School (Grades 9 through 12).  All abilities are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

Early registration is encouraged.  Check-in from 8:30 AM until 9:30 AM, and games will start at 10:00 AM.  Complete rules and registration information can be found at http://vtchess.info or by contacting Mike Stridsberg, Tournament Director, at mike@vtchess.info or (802) 223-1948.


For a copy of a printable poster, click here.