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Ferndale Elementary Schools Chess Championships 2020

Saturday, April 18, 2020
at Ferndale High School

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Come PLAY at the Ferndale Elementary Schools Chess Championships, a tournament and playday for young Ferndale chessplayers of all abilities, from beginner to experienced, kindergarten through 5th grade. Don't know how to play? Learn how and join us!

Awards/Titles will be granted to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each grade, among K-5th grade students residing in Ferndale or attending Ferndale schools (Beach, Cascadia, Central, Custer, Eagleridge, Lummi, Skyline). This is in addition to the Chess Jam awards given.

The Ferndale Championships takes place as part of Chess Jam, a regional tournament which includes young chessplayers from all around Whatcom County and beyond, and has a division for 6th-12th grade players also.

State Qualifier Tournament! Kindergarten through 5th grade players with winning scores (three wins out of the five rounds) qualify to participate in the 2020 Washington State Elementary Chess Championships, being held this year at the Tacoma Convention Center on May 2, 2020.

Format - Four Playing Sections:
---Grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5: Five Rounds, Game/30 (each player gets 30 min.)
---Grades 6-12: Five Round McMahon Swiss, Game/45 (each player gets 45 min.)
Ferndale and Jam players all play in the same section.
Computer paired. NWSRS rated, no membership required.

8:30am - Registration opens. Note: All pre-registrants must check in. Players who check in late will be receiving a half-point bye in round one.
8:50am - Deadline for 6th-12th grade players to check in.
9:10am - Deadline for K-5th grade players to check in.
. . . See FAQ below for full rounds schedule
3:05pm or asap - Awards ceremony for K-1, 2-3, 4-5th grade sections.
5:40pm or asap - Awards ceremony for 6-12th grade section.

Can't play in all rounds due to other commitments? You can still play! See the FAQ below.

Chess Jam Awards:
Trophies to the top three in K-1, top five in 2nd-3rd and 4th-5th grades, and top seven in 6th-12th grade division. Also trophies to the top five in 6th-12th grade Premiere (lower half) division. Medals to all those scoring 3.0 or higher (or a trophy). Every K-1 player who completes all five rounds will receive a medal or trophy. Upset and Unrated awards. Sweet treat awards to top eight elementary schools (determined by adding the points of the top five scorers from a single K-5 school). Sweet prizes to top three schools in the 7th-12th grade division (based on top four players). Random riddle door prizes in the K-5 division. Tiebreaks by computer.

Ferndale Elementary School Championship Awards:
In addition to the Chess Jam trophies and medals above, the top three Ferndale finishers in each grade will be recognized and certificated as Ferndale Grade Champions.

Door Prizes:
Yes there are! Bring a riddle, write it on the card provided at check-in, put your name on the back, and drop it in the box. We pick a riddle each round, and if your riddle is chosen, you win!

Site: Ferndale High School. We're in the cafeteria for check-in and K-5 sections. Spacious FHS library for 6-12 section.

Let's Play! How To Enter:
Entry is free for players from Ferndale schools, however all players must register in advance before 6pm Friday April 17. We cannot take entries at the door.

Enter via your Ferndale school's chess club, or email your entry to Include name, school, grade, parent's name and phone number.

Remember to check in upon arrival at the tournament before the check-in cutoff time, or else we'll assume you didn't make it to the tournament.

(Players from other Whatcom County schools and beyond register via the Chess Jam website.)

Bring: Boards & sets for personal use in the relaxation area, lunch/concessions money. Pen and chess clock for the 6th-12th grade section if you have one. And elementary players, bring a riddle to write on an index card for small door prizes. It might be read publicly between rounds! (i.e. Q: I'm tall when I'm young and I'm short when I'm old. What am I? A: A candle!)

Director: Randy Kaech, FHS Chess Club advisor, 36O-255-Ol84,

Ferndale K-5 Championships and Chess Jam FAQ

If I submit a riddle for the door prize, will you read my name?
We'll be reading some of the riddles between rounds, but we'll only read your name if you are a prize winner.

I can't play in all five rounds because I have to be somewhere else for awhile that day.
Can I still play?

Yes, you can still play in Chess Jam! Tell us which rounds you will be missing when you check in. You'll get a free 1/2 point bye for each of the first two rounds you need to miss.

Chess Hall So what's the schedule for each round?
Schedule for K-1, 2-3 and 4-5th grade sections:
Check in before 9:10am, there's a player's meeting at 9:15am, and the first round should start around 9:45pm. After that, it depends how quickly players finish their games. We will start each round as soon as the final game in all sections finishes. So, rough estimate is:
Round 2: 10:40
Round 3: 11:40
Round 4: 12:45
Round 5: 1:50
Awards: 3:05 or asap

We will not have an official lunch break, so fit in lunch whenever you have time. You can pre-order pizza from concessions, and it will arrive around noon. (Proceeds benefit the FHS Chess Club, thanks.)

Schedule for 6th-12th grade section: Rd 1 9:15, Rd 2 10:55, Rd 3 12:35, Rd 4 2:15, Rd 5 4:00, with awards at 5:35pm or ASAP. These times are firm and will not be moved up, unlike the K-5 divisions.

Will concessions be available?
Yes there will. Goodies from the bakery will be available for brunching, and you can pre-order lunch also.

I don't even know how to play chess. Is it hard?
Easy to learn, but hard to master. Learn, and then come play with us! How can you learn chess? Lots of ways! You can learn

Only three things you need to know to play:
1.The starting position.
2.How the six different pieces move.
3.How the game ends. (Get the King!)

I'm not a good chessplayer. Should I play in Chess Jam?
Sure! Come jam with the rest of us patzers. We're all learning, and you don't have to be a Grandmaster to have fun at chess. Besides, the Swiss pairings system will match you with opponents of equal ability (after a few rounds). And just think of how much better you'll be after a day of chess jamming.

It's my first tournament! Anything I should learn ahead of time?
Great! Here are five things Coach Kaech recommends you should know or review:
1. Review how castling works.
2. Review how the en passant capture rule works.
3. Know and practice the Touch Move Rule.
4. Know how to checkmate with just a Queen left (without giving stalemate!)
5. Know and avoid the four move checkmate.
And practice playing games!

Do I have to write down the moves?
At Chess Jam, scorekeeping is required in the 6th-12th grade section only.

If I haven't taken my hands off of the chess piece yet, can I change my mind?
In a rated tournament like this one, if you even touch a chess piece, you must move it! And if you touch an opponent's piece, you must capture it! So sit on your hands until you know what you want to do. If a piece needs to be centered or adjusted, you may do so on your turn only by first saying "I adjust".

Chess Girl Will we use chess clocks? How do they work?
We'll use clocks in the 6-12 section. They're only used in the Kindergarten - 5th grade sections if your game goes really long, and the floor judges will show you how it works. Chess clocks are a great invention. They keep slow players from slowing and losing players from stalling.

Here's how it works: After your move, you hit the button nearest you on the chess clock. Your timer stops, and your opponent's timer begins. In this tournament each player gets either 30 minutes (K-5 section) or 45 minutes (6-12 section), thus ensuring that no game goes over 60 minutes (or 90 minutes). If a player uses up all his time, it's a loss just like checkmate. If a game starts without a clock and goes really long, we may put a clock on the game, with the time equally elapsed, as one becomes available.
Watch a chess clock in action:
Video: Sehome's Jonathon Dennis speed chess playoff for the 2020 State H.S. Championship

How do school team awards work?
The team scoring used will be similar to cross-country meet scoring. The best five results from a single K-5 school will be tallied and compared with other schools. (Best four results in 6th-12th grade division.) Efforts are made to avoid pairing players from the same school. Eligibility rules are those used by WHSCA for State events at the MS and HS level, and at Elem. level we use the eligibility rules used at Elem. State.

The 6th-12th grade section uses McMahon Swiss pairings. What's that?
The 6th-12th graders generally have ratings that are more established than in the elementary sections. So we're using McMahon Swiss pairings, which allows players of similar strength to play each other sooner, and avoids first round mismatches (i.e. having to play someone 600 points higher/lower than yourself). It's the same as a regular Swiss tourney, except players in the top half of the field begin the tourney with a point. With McMahon, top half players play each other starting in the first round rather than the second, as do lower half (Premiere) players. It's as if the tourney began with one round already played. (Don't worry - you still get to play five games!) It's used regularly in Go tournaments. Trophies are awarded for top performances in the Premiere section.

Is this tourney an Elementary State Qualifier tournament? Tell me about State.
The largest chess tournament in the state every year is not the Washington Open, the Seafair Open or the State High School Team Championships, it's the State Elementary Championships. Last year about 1,400 players pre-registered to compete in Tacoma. And consider this: to attend, players have to first qualify by posting a winning record in a qualifying tournament!

To qualify for Elementary State, a Washington student in grades 1-5 must post a winning record (score over 50 percent) in a NWSRS-rated Scholastic Chess Tournament in Washington State with at least 4 rounds, at least 6 players in their section, and at least 3 different school codes represented. Players in Kindergarten need to score 2/5 in a divison which includes K-2 players.

When their website's up, you can find more information at 2020 Elementary Chess State.

Hey, I've got another question not listed here!
No prob. See if it's answered in the Parents FAQ, then don't hesitate to email Coach Kaech.

Parents, check out the Parents FAQ on the NW Wa. Elementary School Chess page

Black did not castle, and where does it get him?

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