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John Balch Memorial

VERMONT STATE SCHOLASTIC CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS
SATURDAY / SUNDAY, MAY 29th & 30th, 2021

PLEASE NOTE

The 2021 Vermont State Scholastic Chess Tournament will be in a different location (Capital City Grange Hall in Berlin, VT) and follow a different format than past years for safety and compliance reasons.  Please read these instructions carefully.  

--  Mike Stridsberg, Tournament Director

 

Please announce this tournament in your school and community.

 

OVERVIEW

Vermont students Kindergarten through Grade 12 compete for State Championship titles in the following divisions: Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Middle School (Grades 7 & 8 combined) and High School (Grades 9 through 12 combined). There will be no Team Championships awarded this year.  

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.

 

ELIGIBILITY

The tournament is open to Vermont students in grades K through 12.  Participants must be Vermont residents, or be enrolled full time in a Vermont public or private school.  No prior tournament experience is necessary.  Home schooled students are eligible, as long as they are Vermont residents and under 19 years of age.  Home schooled students in a program that doesn't use traditional grade levels should enroll in a section appropriate to their age.

 

COVID RELATED TOURNAMENT PROCEDURES

The following stipulations have been put in place this year for the safety of participants: 

  • All players must pre-register and pre-pay for the event. No day-of registration and no walk-ins will be allowed.

  • All attendees (players, guardians, and staff) will wear a mask at all times while inside the hall.

  • Everyone entering the hall will be asked to sign in and provide contact information in case contact tracing becomes necessary.

  • Due to the pandemic capacity of the hall, please limit guardians/coaches to one unvaccinated person per player. (Fully vaccinated people do not count against the cap.)

  • The hall will be continuously ventilated using ceiling fans and exhaust fans. Therefore the temperature of the hall will be similar to the outdoor temperature. Please dress in layers and be prepared for cold or hot conditions. Players may wear ear plugs or muffs to block out the noise of the fans, but electronics (earbuds, headphones, etc.) are not allowed.

  • Tournament play will be on sanitized chess sets provided at the venue. You may bring your own set for skittles play, but not for official games.

  • All players must use hand sanitizer before and after each game, or wear gloves (rubber, latex or nitrile.) Gloves and hand sanitizer will be available, but feel free to bring your own.

  • Contact with other players, including the common acts of sportsmanship such as shaking hands, high fives, hugs, etc. are not allowed.

  • Food or drink will not be available for purchase. Please bring your own. Only water will be allowed in the main playing hall; food and other drinks must stay in other parts of the building or remain outside. 

  • There will be no group photos this year. Candid photos may be taken and posted on this web site.

GENERAL TOURNAMENT PROCEDURES

The 34th Vermont Scholastic Chess Championships will follow standard United States Chess Federation (USCF) rules for scholastic tournaments.

All players will play 4 rounds  - 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 be 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.

For grades K through 8 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 accumulated a similar score for the day's event. All games in each round are expected to be completed within one hour.  Any game lasting longer than 40 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.

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 not be sold at the event by the tournament organizer.  All High School 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.  Clocks will be provided.  High School players are required to notate their games.  If unfamiliar with notation, just do your best.  Notation becomes optional for both players 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 we believe that 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

Due to capacity and spacing restrictions, there will be three groupings which will play at different days/times:

  • Grades K-3 will play Saturday morning.

  • Grades 9-12 will play Saturday afternoon.

  • Grades 4-8 will play Sunday afternoon.  

The schedule for each group is below.  Please check in at least 15 minutes before round one in order to guarantee your seat.
 

Saturday, May 29th

Event

Time

Grades K - 3

Check-In

8:30 AM

Grades K - 3

Round 1

9:00 AM

Grades K - 3

Round 2

10:00 AM

Grades K - 3

Round 3

11:00 AM

Grades K - 3

Round 4

12:00 PM

Grades K - 3

Awards

1:00 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Check-In

1:30 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Round 1

2:00 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Round 2

3:15 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Round 3

4:30 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Round 4

5:45 PM

Grades 9 - 12

Awards

7:00 PM

 

 

 

Sunday, May 30th

Event

Time

Grades 4 - 8

Check-In

12:30 PM

Grades 4 - 8

Round 1

1:00 PM

Grades 4 - 8

Round 2

2:15 PM

Grades 4 - 8

Round 3

3:30 PM

Grades 4 - 8

Round 4

4:45 PM

Grades 4 - 8

Awards

6:00 PM

 

Each student will play 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.
 

NATIONAL QUALIFIERS

All national tournaments correspond with the U.S. Chess Open and this year are being held in Philadelphia, PA from July 31 to August 3, 2021.

2021 Denker National High School 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. 

2021 Barber National Middle School Selection.  The top finishing student in the Grade 7-8 division will be selected as the Vermont representative to the Barber Tournament of Middle School Champions, a national competition with a representative from each state. 

NOTE: Any player in grade 6 who is interested in competing for the opportunity to represent Vermont in the national Barber event may declare their intent prior to the tournament and compete in the grade 7-8 division instead of their actual grade level.

2021 Rockefeller National Middle School Selection.  The top finishing student in the Grade 5 division will be selected as the Vermont representative to the Rockefeller Tournament of Elementary School Champions, a national competition with a representative from each state. 

NOTE: Any player in grades K-4 who is interested in competing for the opportunity to represent Vermont in the national Rockefeller event may declare their intent prior to the tournament and compete in the grade 5 division instead of their actual grade level.

 REGISTRATION

All players must pre-register and pre-pay for the event by 5 PM on Friday, May 28th.  There will be NO day-of registration and NO walk-ins allowed.  Registration fee is $15, and may be paid by PayPal or credit card. Click the link below to register:

 

        REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED

 

USCF membership:

Current USCF membership is required for players in the High School division 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.  Please make sure your USCF membership is current prior to registering. 

Important Note:  If registration and/or membership fees are a financial hardship, please contact the tournament director.  Scholarships are available, and no one should fail to participate for lack of funds. 


DIRECTIONS to the Vermont State Scholastic Chess Championships:

This year, the tournament will be held at the Capital City Grange Hall on Vermont Route 12 in Berlin, VT (approximately 2 miles from I-89 exit 8.)  The hall is about 1.5 miles from downtown Montpelier.

The physical (GPS) address is: 6612 VT-12, Berlin, VT.

http://capitalcitygrange.org/

Public WiFi is available at the hall.

 

NOTICES 


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


PRESS RELEASE

The 34th Vermont Scholastic Chess Championships will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30th at Capital City Grange Hall on Vermont Route 12 in Berlin, VT.

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. 

Advance registration is required.  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.