Who can play in the tournament?
Any Australian citizen or permanent resident who is 17 or younger on 1st January 2017. Those who are not citizens or permanent residents should contact us as they may be allowed to play at the discretion of the organisers.
Players and their parents enjoy the tournament for any number of reasons. Some see the tournament as a social opportunity that allows them to meet like-minded families from around the country. Some parents see the tournament as an educational opportunity for their child in having them sitting down and concentrating for a long period of time (many will say that playing chess improves a child's exam results!) Some like the life lesson it gives their child in dealing with the highs and lows of victory and defeat. Most importantly, many children enjoy playing chess and will see it as a fun school holiday activity.
The tournament format was changed a few years ago to be more inclusive to players of all strengths. Players should ensure that they are aware of the rules of competition chess (players may ask an arbiter if they have any questions about this) and tournament etiquette (see below), but beyond that there is no minimum limit. Note that the tournament format as described below means that while players new to tournament chess may struggle initially, they will soon come up against players of similar ability.
Divisions with enough players (typically most of the Open divisions and the younger Girls divisions) will be 9 Rounds long with opponents determined by the Swiss System. The Swiss System is a method whereby players are paired with opponents with a similar score. This means that after the first couple of rounds players will find that their opponents are of similar strength to themselves, as well as ensuring that the top players get a chance to play against each other to achieve a fair tournament result.
Smaller divisions may be played in a Round Robin format where each player plays against every other player in the tournament. Very small tournaments may be merged with other age groups, with titles going to the highest placed player in each age group.
Yes, the U12 and U14 Open are scheduled such that they do not clash with the U8 and U10 Open. For example, a 9 year-old boy may wish to play in the U10 Open from Saturday 14th to Monday 16th and the U12 Open from Wednesday 18th to Sunday 22nd.
For the U18 and U16 Open, players each have 90 minutes to make all their moves, with 30 seconds automatically added each time they make a move and press the clock. The longest games will take about 4 hours.
For the U14 and U12 Open, as well as the U18, U16, U14 and U12 Girls, players each have 60 minutes to make all their moves, with 30 seconds added each time they make a move and press the clock. The longest games will take about 3 hours.
For the U10 and U8 Open and Girls events, players each have 60 minutes to make all their moves, with 10 seconds added each time they make a move and press the clock. The longest games will last 2 hours. For most players in these events, this is much more time than they need and most games will be over in less than an hour, so encourage your children to take their time!
On the rest day (Tuesday 20th January) a lightning competition will be played. Players entering this competition will each have 5 minutes to make all their moves for games in each round, meaning each game will last less than 10 minutes.
Recording the moves is a requirement of tournament chess where the time limit is long enough, as it is in all events at the AJCC except the Lightning competition. Don't panic though, it's not difficult. This link should help. Players in the U10 and U8 are allowed to stop recording when they have less than five minutes left on their clock. In other divisions players must record every move. Having 30 seconds added each move allows time to record to the end of the game.
Recording the moves makes it very easy to resolve most disputes, as well as allowing players, coaches and the organisers to have a record of the games. Coaches find it particularly useful to review the recorded games, as it helps them identify where a player may be going wrong.
Players in the tournament should abide by these simple rules:
1. Shake hands with your opponent before the start of the game.
2. Do not talk to (except where required, such as to offer a draw) or otherwise distract your opponent during the game.
3. Be aware of the FIDE Laws of Chess and the rules of the tournament and abide by them to the best of your ability. Some rules are complicated and young players can not be expected to understand all of them, so seek the assistance of an arbiter if necessary.
4. Stop the clocks and call an arbiter to the board if you think your opponent is breaking the rules in any way - do not argue with your opponent or wait until after the game if there is a problem. If you are unsure of anything, ask an arbiter, that is what they are there for!
5. Accept the arbiter's decision as you would accept the decision of the referee or umpire in any other sport.