Chess Tournament


The L.E.S.T. Northwest Chess Tournament is a competition conducted using the United States Chess Federation (USCF) National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations as a guide. There are four divisions to the tournament (5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades), with a limit of one student from each school for each division. Schools may wish to supply the names of alternates for each grade in case the first person is unable to participate. There will be individual awards within each of the four divisions and team awards for the three teams that score the highest number of cumulative points among their school’s chess participants. To facilitate the team scoring, a substitute will be allowed to play a match if the original player cannot attend a subsequent match because of conflicting events. Any points that the substitute earns will not go toward the individual player for whom they are filling in, but any points they earn will go toward the team award. A player missing a match because of a conflicting event will be at a significant disadvantage as far as earning an individual chess award. Allowing substitutes to fill in for a player who has a time conflict will give the opportunity for more students to participate and give more of a “team” feeling for all of the team members from each school.

PLU will also host a noncompetitive tournament for alternates, concurrent with the competitive tournament. 

The following General Regulations apply: 

  1. Chess sets and boards will be provided. 
  2. Clocks will not be used, except at the referee’s discretion. 
  3. A referee will be present who will adjudicate or clock games when necessary or at the referee’s discretion. The referee’s decisions will be final. 
  4. Each school may have one coach or advisor present for competition to ensure that players understand and follow all instructions.
  5. Parents may help their child find their table in the competition room but may not be present during competition. We will provide some general announcements and instructions to players and parents in the competition room, prior to the start of Round 1. Each school may designate one coach or advisor to be present during competition. After each game finishes, players will immediately leave the competition room to report results to the tournament director, connect back up with their families or coaches, and wait for pairings to be posted for the next round.
  6. Please familiarize yourself with the tournament’s COVID protocols, which were designed for your child’s safety. As a correction, please note that players will NOT be required to supply their own boards for tournament play. Noncompliance with these protocols will result in disqualification. 
  7. Standard Chess Etiquette (behavior) is expected from all players, including:
    • Don’t talk except to say “check,” “adjust,” “resign” and other necessary chess statements. 
    • If you have questions about moves or feel a mistake has been made, call the referee IMMEDIATELY. It is impossible to make corrections once other moves are made. 
    • If you deliberately touch a piece, you must move it, assuming the piece can move legally. 
    • Be sure your board is set up correctly: with a black square on your LEFT corner, the white queen on her white square, the black queen on her black square. 
    • In order to receive credit, winners must notify the chess tournament director after their match has concluded to have their victory entered into the tournament software.


The Chess tournament will be held on Saturday morning. All participants, including alternates and substitutes, must be present at the check-in time so that play can begin on time. Check-in will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 with the first round starting as early as 8:30. After registration and following rounds 1 and 2, pairings will be posted on the wall for each division, outside the competition room and downstairs by the Scandinavian Cultural Center. Rounds will take approximately 45 minutes each with 15 minute breaks in-between to update and post pairings for the next round. All participants will be scheduled to play a minimum three games and possibly one tie-breaker. Pairing for this tournament will follow the Swiss System, using computer software to make the pairings, keep the scores, and calculate any necessary tie breaking.

Waiting Areas

We advise arriving early to familiarize yourself as well as your child with the layout of the University Center. There are currently 58 participants registered for the tournament, so it is important to minimize congregating at the exit from the competition room to wait for your child. Tables and chairs will be set up in the Scandinavian Cultural Center, one level down from the tournament, for waiting families. There are also numerous third spaces located throughout the University Center, for physical distancing. PLU will also be offering a one-hour campus tour, meeting at 9:00 in the main lobby of the University Center, for interested parents.

How to Participate

Prior registration is required for this event. Please use the registration form to enter the participants by December 6. Alternates are permitted and can fill in for a participant who has a time conflict due to another L.E.S.T. Northwest event, but they must also be pre-registered. 

On the Saturday morning of L.E.S.T. Northwest, the list of participants from the participating schools will be posted on the wall outside the room where the chess tournament will be played. It will be very helpful if this information could be updated with any changes before check-in time for the first round. Also, if changes are known before L.E.S.T. Northwest begins, those changes may be emailed to the L.E.S.T. Northwest Director so that they may be updated before being posted.

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