Chess Tournament, South Jordan Library, October 29, 2016

By Jonathan Whitcomb, chess tutor in the Salt Lake Valley

A free chess tournament will be held for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, at the county library in South Jordan, Utah, on October 29, 2016. If my information source is correct, it will be a three-round tournament from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., with an online registration deadline of Friday, October 28th (one day before the event date). If you have any question not covered here, you can try the following:

South Jordan Library
Laura Renshaw, Youth Services Librarian
10673 South Redwood Road
South Jordan, Utah 84095
801-944-7634

The tournament director will probably be the chess expert Alexander Gustafsson, who is also a chess coach.

As I understand, by the early afternoon of this writing, nine young players had already registered online, but we have only a few more days in which registration is available. I’ll now report what has been made known to me and add some insights from my own experience as both a tournament player (years ago) and a tournament director.

Don’t worry, just enjoy it

You don’t need to decide who to play or worry about where to sit. The pairings will probably be written or printed onto a sheet of paper, so just look for your name and then the name of your opponent (next to your name) for the round that is about to start.

It’s customary to shake hands with your opponent both before and after the game. If you know how to record chess moves, fine, but I predict this is not required or expected in this non-rated chess tournament.

General Information on this Chess Tournament

It appears this will be a Swiss System, which allows about eight players or so to compete in each section of this three-round tournament. No player is eliminated during this chess competition, and I assume the sections will be organized by age. For example, if twenty-four players register ahead of time (registration deadline is a day before the tournament), three sections could be arranged by age, with eight players per section. This could mean that high school and junior high students would play against each other but not against any of the youngest children.

The county library online page says the tournament will be “three rounds of 25 minute games,” which I would translate from chess-competition language into this:

You will play three games of chess. In each game, you will be limited to 25 minutes of thinking time total. That will make each chess game last less than an hour, for each of the two players in each game gets 25 minutes to think in that game.

The officially announced time for the tournament is from 2:00 to 5:00 which can allow the director enough time to process the pairings between the end of one round and the beginning of the next round. I advise that each family/player arrives at the library by 1:30 p.m., to allow the event to start on time, in case of unforeseen traffic problems. This will also allow an early restroom outing and give time for pre-tournament questions.

I’ve not yet seen any announcement of trophy awards, but this is a free tournament so I would not expect anything spectacular.

This is for all levels of expertise, so don’t be intimidated if you’re just a beginner. You DO need to know the rules of chess, however, meaning you know how to move the pieces around. In other words, this is not an event that teaches you the rules of the game. With that said, I would not worry if you’re not 100% clear about the en passant pawn capture or the fifty-move rule for getting a draw in a long end game. Just come and play chess on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., as long as you register online by one day prior to the event.

Here is the link for directions to the library.

Library in South Jordan, Utah

As soon as you enter the library, turn left into the room

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young persons play in a chess tournament

Generic photo of young persons in a chess tournament

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Chess Instruction in Central Utah

I’m Jonathan Whitcomb, of Murray, Utah, author of the book Beat That Kid in Chess, and I’m now offering my services as a chess coach in the Salt Lake Valley. [$25 per lesson]

Salt Lake Valley Chess Tutor

I [Jonathan Whitcomb] live in Murray, Utah, and offer private or group chess lessons in the Salt Lake Valley . . . my lessons can be tailor-made for you, whatever your present skill in the royal game. . . . The first session will be an introduction, a getting-acquainted meeting, and it’s free. Ask questions and learn how I may help you in improving your game. You can then decide if you would like to continue with private chess tutoring, at $25 for each one-hour lesson.

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