Leagues run every 5 Saturdays between September and November paralleling the fall sports season.

Students play 2 games each Saturday. Each player must be supervised by a school coach or parent and physically check in at the scorer's table at the playing site before 10:30 sharp (5th tournament = 8:30 sharp)! Games should conclude by 1:30.

Students from any school in the area including Christian, private, charter, public schools as well as others are welcome to play. Homeshoolers must play for their homeschool group or with a school in their immediate district or area. All students fill out the Player Regstration form in their League button.

Students do not have to belong to their school's chess club. Points earned (win=1, draw=.5, loss=0) by each player count towards his individual and school's team totals for awards.

Take a look at our typical format and general rules for our student chess leagues below. This will give you an overview of the time-tested model we use that has thrived for over thirty years of school competition.


Over-the-Board (OTB): 2 Round Swiss

Tournament Schedule

1st Tournament - September 2nd Saturday
2nd Tournament - September 4th Saturday
3rd Tournament - October 2nd Saturday
4th Tournament - October 4th Saturday
5th Tournament - November 2nd Saturday (4 rounds; must qualify; click on the “5th Tournament” tab above)

* Schedule will vary from year to year.

Playing Site
5th Tournament

General Rules

Abbreviated Terms
Tournament Director (TD) and Head Tournament Director (HTD)

No refunds will be issued due to absences. All fees are non-refundable and considered a donation to the Chess Dr. Orlando

School Chess League should a student be absent for any reason. Absences will count against eligibility for the 5th tournament.

Only approved coaches, assistant coaches, parents and players will be allowed on the tournament site. Siblings under close parent supervision are allowed.

All players, coaches, and other attendees are expected to conduct themselves properly in accordance with the rules of the host school and to promote an atmosphere of respect and encouragements at all times. No arguing with the TD’s is allowed.

A full point bye (1 point that counts as a win ) will be awarded to a player who has no opponent in a round due to an odd number of players in their tournament grade division. No other byes will be given.

All players must be physically present and checked in by their coaches by 10:30 sharp (5th tournament – 8:30 sharp). At 10:30 the check-in list must be transmitted to the ChessDr computer operator to generate the first round pairings. Late arrivals will be scheduled for the 2nd round only. Coaches checking in players who are not physically present will cause the forfeiture of all team points for that round.

Players in the K-5, K-8, and K-12 divisions who have a clock and know how to use it may require their opponents to play with a clock. The player using the black pieces will decide on which side of the board the clock will be placed. A player late to the start of his game will have his clock started. A player using the restroom will have his clock left running. Only the 2 players playing against each other or the TD may point out a fallen flag on their clock. If both flags have fallen and players cannot agree on the outcome, a draw is declared unless one player is in checkmate.

If a player is winning but his flag falls, he loses unless his opponent has insufficient mating material. That game is declared a draw.

If no clock is used, unfinished games after 1 hour are declared a draw.
Stalling to avoid a checkmate in games where no clock is used will result in the offending player resigning. Perpetual checking in not considered stalling.

Coaches must complete the Coach's Form and actively stand against the abuse of any player for the sake of winning. Forms of abuse may include but are not limited to criticizing students for losing, making fun of players, and promoting cheating in any form. It is the responsibility of the Coach to acquaint players with the rules and procedures listed here to prevent penalty situations and to ensure a rewarding experience for all. Coaches must remain available throughout each round should a need arise with their player(s).

Tantrums, distracting noises, gestures, cheating, stalling, and disturbing talking are some of the actions that interrupt a sportsmanlike atmosphere and are subject to penalty. See “Penalties.”

Electronic Devices
These may be used under the following conditions: play music only; headphones used so only the user may hear the music; no phone calls, text messages, note taking, chess playing, or other activities allowed; device kept on table and in view at all times; device must be registered with HTD.

Ending a Game
The two players should be left to decide the outcome of their game. The TD has the power to declare the outcome of a game, but he should normally leave the decision to the players. Automatic draw situations such as king against king can be declared by a TD to save time.

The tournaments will be 2-round Swiss except for the 5th tournament which will be 4 rounds. The Swiss format allows all players to play the same number of games regardless of their outcomes. The computer will pair opponents with the same number of wins as nearly as possible. A player with 2 wins will normally play another player with 2 wins, for example. Players from the same school will not be paired against one another.

No one but the two players of a game should point out verbally or through body language illegal moves, touch move violations, flag falls, or any other facet of the game. Observers may be penalized for such actions that give one of the players an advantage. See “Penalties.”

Move Completed
When a player takes his hand off his piece after moving it, even for a moment, the move is completed and cannot be taken back unless it is an illegal move or if the piece fell over as it was placed on its square.

Notation is not required but highly recommended. Disputes over the position of disturbed pieces and claims of a draw can be made only with game notation sheets unless a TD observed the situation. Analyzing games at a later date is made possible by taking notation. Players are encouraged to help each other take correct notation during the game. Players with clocks do not have to take notation during the last 5 minutes showing on their clocks even though they are notating the game.

Parent and Coaches Meeting
All parents and coaches are welcome to meet during the second round of each of the first 4 tournaments to ask questions and get updates. However, supervision of all players must be maintained.

Penalties that may be imposed during the Grand Prix for various infractions include but are not limited to the following: warning, forfeiture of one or more games or team or tournament points, suspension or expulsion from the tournament or the league.

Playing Area
Only the players and TD’s and anyone designated by the HTD may enter the playing area (cafeteria). Players must leave immediately upon completion of their games and join all other attendees in the skittles area.
Playing Outside of Division
Students may play in any division higher than their grade division and play for their school team but may not play in a division lower than their grade division.

Questions During Play
Players should raise their hands and wait for a TD to assist them if they have any questions. Players are expected to know how the pieces move prior to the tournament with the possible exceptions of castling, pawn promotion, certain draw situations, and en passant. Players not knowing how the pieces move may forfeit their game. No arguing with the TD’s is allowed.

Reporting Scores
BOTH players must stop at the scorer’s table and report their scores as they leave the playing area. Failure to do so may result in each player being charged with a loss in that round and in their next scheduled round.

A player may admit defeat and discontinue play by saying, “I resign” or by intentionally knocking his king over. Either action should be followed by shaking hands with his opponent for confirmation.

Restroom Breaks
Coaches should encourage players to use the restroom prior to each round even if the player doesn’t seem to need to at the time. Players taking a restroom break during a round must go directly to and from the restroom without socializing or delay of any kind. His clock will run during this period if it is his turn and disqualification may occur for tardiness.

Saying, “Check”
This is allowed but not required and should not be done in annoying fashion or frequency. However, it must be said if a player’s opponent does not see that he is in check and fails to make a move to get out of it.

Saying, “Your Move”
This should only be done if a player feels his opponent does not realize it is his turn. Attempts to hurry or annoy an opponent are not allowed.

Each player should bring his own set with his name on each piece/board/case/clock etc. Sets should be standard and not themed, fantasy, or excessively large or small.

Players must be supervised by school-approved coaches, assistant coaches, and parents who are present at the tournament. Players will not be allowed to play if they are not properly supervised throughout the day. Parents are ultimately responsible for the safe supervision of their player(s). Items that are lost, misplaced, stolen, etc. are the sole responsibility of the person supervising the player(s). The hosting facility and Chess Dr. are not responsible for any injuries incurred throughout the tournament day.

Coaches are to have their players on time at their correct boards to begin each round. Latecomers may have a clock placed on their boards and started. After 10 minutes, a latecomer to a scheduled game will be disqualified.

Team scores are compiled automatically by the computer from the top 4 highest finishers from each school. All team players must be enrolled in the school for which they play. Home schoolers must play for their umbrella school, the public school in their zone, or as individuals only.

The computer tournament software will automatically break ties between players with identical point totals since trophies cannot be split in half. If, after the first tie-break is computed there is still a tie, the next tie-break will be examined and so on. Again, tie-breaks factor in only if there is a tie in point totals from wins and draws. The tie-break methods, their order of priority, and a brief description are as follows:
Individual results will use Solkoff, Cumulative, Opponent’s Cumulative Scores, and Average of Opponent’s Ratings in that order to break ties. Team results will use total Solkoff of top 4 players, and total Cumulative of top 4 players in that order to break ties.

  • Solkoff – determines which player played the tougher opponents and awards him the edge accordingly.
  • Cumulative – gives the nod to players whose tournament losses were in later rounds where the opponents are, theoretically, stronger.
  • Opponent’s Cumulative Scores – analyzes which player had the tougher opponents that day as opposed to the entire tournament.
  • Average of Opponent’s Ratings – awards tiebreak points based on the historical strength of each player’s opponents.

Time Limit
Sudden death G/30. Each player has 30 minutes on his clock and must win prior to his time expiring. Players not using clocks must finish in one hour or the game will be declared a draw. TD’s have the power to rule otherwise should an exception arise.

Touch Move
If a player touches his piece and can legally move it, he must do so. If he touches an opponent’s piece or strikes it with his own piece intentionally and can capture it, he must do so. Players may adjust (center; reposition) their pieces on squares on their own turn by verbally announcing their intent prior to touching the piece. Adjusting many or all of the pieces is considered a distraction and should be done prior to beginning the game. Accidentally bumping or knocking a piece over is not considered touching it.

Tricky Moves
All players need to become familiar with the rules for castling, pawn promotion, draws (by triple occurrence of position and various other types) and en passant. These terms can be Googled or researched in chess books.

Wrong Board Set Up
The pieces are reset to their original squares and the game is played with the remaining time if the board is discovered to be set up incorrectly.

Wrong Colors
The pieces are reset to their original squares and the game is played with the remaining time if players are discovered to have started with the wrong colors. Players cannot agree to switch colors assigned by the computer.

Wrong Pairing
Players discovered to be playing at the wrong board may be relocated to the correct board if done so within 20 minutes of the start of the round. After 20 minutes, violators are disqualified.

Schedule a School Chess League Start Up Consultation Now!


"Bringing a group of elementary school kids to their 1st "official" tournament can cause some anxiety in them.  The Chess Dr. eased those concerns by running a well organized event with emphasis on good sportsmanship and having fun..."

-Daniel Acton
Ocoee (FL) Elementary School chess club coach

"...The kids were matched up with others of equal strength as much as possible so everyone had a chance to make some points for their team.  Communication with the parents was great, match-ups and results posted on site as well as sent electronically to coaches and sponsors..."

-Daniel Acton
Ocoee (FL) Elementary School chess club coach

"...Many, many certificates, medals and trophies were awarded to make the last round of the Gran Prix a highlight! Thank you Chess Dr. for making chess fun!  My kids can't wait to go back next year."

-Daniel Acton
Ocoee (FL) Elementary School chess club coach

"Chess Dr. provides a supportive opportunity for chess players at every level. The momentum that we gained from this tournament has contributed to a greater interest in our school's chess program and has led to a more focused path to development."

Nicholas Koebe
Passport School
Orlando, FL

"During the past school year, Zellwood Elementary was proud to host a number of Chess Dr. chess tournaments. This was a choice of pride for our students and their parents. It was wonderful for our students to have the opportunity to be able compete with students from our school district and schools from other areas. The matches were exciting and it was inspiring to see children of all ages engaged with and excited about critical thinking."

Frank Mattucci

Zellwood Elementary School
Zellwood, FL