Free K-12 Chess Tournament in South Jordan, Utah

From the chess instructor Jonathan Whitcomb of Murray, Utah

The public library in South Jordan, Utah, will host a free student chess tournament on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.. This is the library just a bit south of the South Jordan Municipal Services building.

If my source is correct, it will be directed by the chess expert and chess tutor Alexander Gustafsson. The online registration deadline is one day before this free chess tournament: Friday, Oct 28th. (Go here: register online)

Note some contact details for this branch of the county library system:

South Jordan Library
10673 South Redwood Road
South Jordan, Utah 84095

elementary-school chess tournament in Utah

A children’s chess tournament held earlier in 2016, in Salt Lake City


Any student from kindergarten through twelfth grade may play in this tournament, regardless of what school is attended, as I understand. Three rounds means that each player has three games to play, and the time limit will be 25 minutes per player per game. That should leave the tournament director time, between rounds, to make the pairings. I have no idea whether or not chess clocks will be used, but if they are they should then be provided by the tournament director, I would assume. I would not be surprised if chess clocks are not used at all in this event, however, but quickness in move-making may be encouraged to allow the three rounds to be completed by 5:00 p.m.

It appears to be a Swiss system chess tournament, which means that competitors with similar scores will be paired up in the second and third rounds. Three rounds is ideal for up to eight players in a section, in the Swiss system. We can expect the tournament to be divided into two sections, if sixteen students register. It seems natural that the divisions would be by grade level, so that high school and junior high students would play each other rather than play first graders.

This is not rated by the United States Chess Federation (USCF), so students do not need to be a member. I might be able to tabulate the final scores for the new Utah chess rating system (UCER), but I cannot make any promises for the moment. If the event is UCER rated, there is still no charge: This really is a free chess tournament.

Mr. Gustafsson and I are chess tutors, but he has organized this event, so I do not want to get in the way. But I can offer some general advice for students who have not yet played in a chess tournament.

Preparing and Playing in a Chess Tournament

Wear comfortable clothing and arrive early. This chess tournament in South Jordan officially starts at 2:00 p.m., so try to get there by 1:30.

In the USA, a tournament rated by the United States Chess Federation has a number of standards and recommendations for those participating, but the South Jordan chess tournament on October 29th is more informal, so the following is not necessarily required or expected for that.

  • Bring your own regulation chess sets and chess clocks (NOT needed in South Jordan)
  • Record each of your games in chess notation (NOT needed in South Jordan)
  • Tournament games are more formal, with much less talking and noise.

Embarrassing moments are much less likely if all players know all the rules of chess play. With the chess tournament in the South Jordan Library, on October 29th, however, one or more young competitors may not have a perfect knowledge of all the rules of moving pieces. The following suggestions may be helpful.

  1. If your opponent makes an illegal move, point it out by speaking up. If your opponent disagrees with you about it, go to the tournament director.
  2. If your opponent tells you that you made an illegal move, consider it. If you disagree, the two of you can go to the tournament director.
  3. At the end of a game, a concluding score is noted. Once the two players agree on the outcome of the game, there is generally no going back. If someone says that an illegal move was made during the game, that suggestion is generally ignored once a final outcome of the game has been agreed upon. If an illegal move was the last move of the game, however, and one of the two players contests that move, then the game result is not finalized and the tournament director will probably need to decide the matter.



South Jordan chess tournament on October 29, 2016

A free chess tournament will be held for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, at the county library in South Jordan, Utah . . .

Utah Chess Lessons

Chess Coach Jonathan Whitcomb, of Murray, Utah (author of the book Beat That Kid in Chess), offers private and group lessons in the Salt Lake Valley. . . . The standard charge for one-hour chess instruction sessions is only $25 . . . 801-590-9692

Free Chess Tournaments

Chess books have been the subject of posts lately, but we now turn to something new on this blog: free chess tournaments.


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