About Tournaments

The Southern Nevada Chess Club (SNVCC) hosts a number of different types of tournaments each month. To understand our tournaments requires little knowledge about how Chess tournaments work. There is a national organization, called the US Chess Federation, which applies ratings to players as they complete games and tournaments against other players. Typically, when you win a game, your rating will go up and, conversely, if you lose a game your rating will go down. Of course, there is a complex mathematical formula to determine ratings and it’s never as simple as win=up and lose=down. The rating of your opponent also factors into the equation so if you’re just beginning and lose to a Grand Master, your rating will not be impacted as much as if you were playing another beginner. The lowest possible rating is 100 and the highest rated play in the country is somewhere around 2800. Ratings are published by USChess on a monthly basis, taking into account all the games played in the previous month. Players may see on the internet how their ratings fluctuate after each tournament. All of our tournaments are official and rated EXCEPT when noted in the description of a specific tournament.

Time Controls
Chess tournaments are played with a chess clock on each table and are often described by time control in the format of Gx+y. The G simply means “Game”. The x refers to the total number of minutes each player receives on the clock and the y refers to “increment” where the number of seconds each player receives after each move. Time is consumed on a player’s clock only by the player whose move is pending. No time is used on your clock during your opponent’s turn. An example: G25+5 means that each player receives 25 minutes on the clock (a total of 50) and will regain an extra 5 seconds after each move he/she makes. 

While we don’t run them often, a game may be described as Gxdy. Here, the “d” stands for “delay” rather “increment”. A delay means that a player’s time does not start consumption until the delay in “y” seconds has elapsed. Modern Chess clocks handle these automatically. A tournament spanning only one day will have multiple rounds during that day and a tournament spanning multiple days will have fewer, but longer, rounds each day.

Types of Tournaments
Swiss vs. Round Robin
In a Swiss tournament, players are paired with opponents based on algorithms defined by USChess and implemented via computer software. These are best for a larger number of players in a tournament.

In a Round Robin tournament, all players play against all other players. These are ideal for a small number of players in a tournament.

Most, but not all, of our tournaments are Swiss.

Long, slow games, sometimes in a series
Also known as “classical Chess”, these tournaments give players a lot of time on their clocks. This provides players ample time to think about each move and typically appeals to intermediate and advanced players. SNVCC runs a monthly series, usually on Thursday nights, with time controls of G75+15. Players play only one round per Thursday night which can last up to about 3 hours. After four consecutive Thursdays, the tournament concludes. Due to holidays or other commitments, we sometimes rearrange the schedule.

Scholastic Tournaments
These single-day tournaments are geared specifically to only kids and usually have a fast time control of G15+15. Adults may not play in these tournaments.

Beginner Tournaments
We also host tournaments for players who are just starting or have some minimum expertise. We currently host tournaments each month for players who have a rating of Under 1250.  No experts are permitted to play in these.

Minimum Rating tournaments
As you continue to develop your Chess experience, your rating will likely rise and you will prefer the challenges of playing against opponents with similar and higher ratings. SNVCC runs tournaments with minimum-required ratings, for example, 700.

Ladies Tournaments
Some of our girls and women enjoy playing against players who are of their gender.

Blitz tournaments have a VERY fast time control, often G3+2 or G5+0. In a blitz tournament, players may even play both White and Black in “double rounds” against each opponent.

A Quad is a group of four players of similar rating in a Round Robin providing for a three-round tournament. There may be more than one Quad tournament happening simultaneously. Players are also encouraged to form as much of a quad as they can and may request our help in finding a suitable participant(s) to complete their Quad.

Unrated and Unofficial
Occasionally, SNVCC will run an Unrated and Unofficial tournament to introduce players to tournament Chess without the pressure of feeling the need to perform well.

One such tournament might be for kids and their parents to compete against other kids and parents. Another tournament, by popular demand, is called “Bughouse”. Bughouse tournaments are played in teams of two vs. other teams of two. Usually, the time control for a bughouse tournament is fast, in the neighborhood of G3+2 or G5+0. Bughouse tournaments are never official or rated.

The Southern Nevada Chess Club does not run Bullet tournaments.

For our scholastic tournaments, we sometimes award trophies to the the winners. For adult tournaments, we sometimes award cash prizes. If a tournament awards any prizes, they will be announced and listed in the description of individual tournaments.

US Chess Federation and Ratings

The US Chess Federation (USCF) will rate tournaments submitted by Affiliates throughout the country. Annual dues are charged by US Chess to become members. An Affiliate is generally a Chess Club which organizes and runs tournaments. Southern Nevada Chess Club is a USCF Affiliate.

Players who play their first tournament will receive a “Provisional” or temporary rating. Ratings are considered provisional until each player completes their 26th game at which time the Provisional status is removed. Ratings are public for all players and can be looked up on the Internet at any time using the “MSA” portion of the USChess website. That website is: https://uschess.org/msa