The U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess (6th Edition), edited by Tim Just, describes the rules that govern tournament play in this country. These are designed to guide tournament directors (TDs) in running an event and help players to understand what is expected of them. Sections include a discussion of the conduct of players and spectators as well as a code of ethics. Scouts should understand that chess etiquette occurs before, during, and after a game and reinforces the ideals of fair play. Some of the questions below reference tournament play but some can be applied to even a friendly game of chess. Explore: Starting the game, here are some questions to consider.
What does a player need to do prior to the start of a tournament game? (For example, when sitting down at the board.)
Make sure you are at the correct board assigned from the pairing chart.
Begin filling out the top portion of the result sheet if one is provided.
Determine whose chess clock will be used.
Fill in the appropriate sections of the notation sheet.
Why do players shake hands at the start of the game?
Sample answer: To show respect
Who determines what color pieces will be played?
If this is a large tournament, the computer pairing program will determine the board number, the opponent, and the color of the pieces.
In a friendly game of chess, this is usually done by mutual agreement or by some agreed-upon method such as putting a different colored pawn in each hand and asking the other person to choose which hand.
Why is talking to your opponent forbidden during the game?
This shows disrespect.
This disturbs your opponent and the players sitting nearby.
What does “J’adoube” mean and why do players say it (or its English equivalent) during the game?
“J’adoube” means “I adjust.” If you simply want to move a piece into the center of a square, you would say this before touching that piece.
If you do not, the touch-move rule applies – that is, if you touch it, you must move it!
Why do tournament directors require players to turn off their cell phones?
To avoid cheating.
Also to prevent the phone from disturbing the concentration of players.
Why is it important to call a tournament director (TD) to the table if there is a dispute about the rules at your board?
The TD normally has a greater understanding of the rules and can help players avoid arguments (which will be a distraction to other players).
The chief TD of the event will be the final appeal for tournament related disputes.
How many ways can a game of chess end?
Answer: Win, loss, or draw. Draws can be reached by one of several ways: by mutual agreement, insufficient mating material, three-fold repetition of the position, stalemate
Why might players agree to a draw?
They might see that one of the situations described has been reached or will be reached in a few moves.
They might simply be tired or not sure they can win with the time remaining on the clock. See the diagram below:
Why do players shake hands at the end of the game?
Answer: The handshake at the end of the game signifies that both players agree that a win, loss, or draw has occurred. Be certain that you know why your opponent has offered his/her hand before shaking hands! Make sure that you agree with the outcome of the game. The handshake also signifies respect for the other player
How do players record the winner of the game?
Answer: If a result sheet is provided, the players circle one of the results – White Won, Draw, Black Won – and then sign their names. If a result sheet is not provided, there is likely to be a place on the pairing chart to record who won
Note from Jerry Nash:
SCOUT LEADERS AND PARENTS SHOULD KNOW THAT THE QUESTIONS LISTED IN THESE ARTICLES ARE MEANT TO BE USED AS A STARTING POINT AND A GUIDE FOR THE TYPE OF QUESTIONS AND CRITICAL THINKING YOU SHOULD BE ENCOURAGING IN YOUR SCOUTS. THESE QUESTIONS ARE MERE SAMPLES OF THE KINDS OF QUESTIONS THAT COULD BE ASKED. BY PROVIDING A FEW ANSWERS WITHIN THE ARTICLES, WE MEAN TO HELP THOSE NEW TO CHESS NOT FEEL COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED WITH THE INFORMATION, AND TO HELP PROVIDE CONTEXT TO THE TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE THAT SHOULD BE GAINED THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE. HAPPY SCOUTING, AND HAPPY CHESS MERIT BADGING!