Details about Sections


K1 & K3 Learning Sections

K1 means Kindergarten through 1st grade. Likewise, K3 means Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Therefore, if you are a K or 1st grader, you can choose to play in either K1 or K3. However, if you are a 2nd or 3rd grader, you may only play in the K3 section (or higher). If you're talented or motivated enough, you are always allowed to play up into higher sections but you cannot play in lower sections.


The "Learning Section" sub heading is something Chess Performance invented in 2015. As most of our new players are in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, they don't always understand all of the tournament rules. Therefore, when in these sections, the tournament directors have more power to help than usual. Typically, tournament directors are discouraged from intervening as much as possible. But we are also chess coaches and have found players are far more likely to stick with chess if they understand the rules.


Therefore, in the K1 and K3 Learning Sections, we allow our tournament directors to do all of the following:


1. They can explain what check, checkmate, and stalemate are during an active game.

2. They can point to all of the ways a player can get out of check (if there are ways out of check).

3. They can rule if something is checkmate or stalemate and will then proceed to explain why that is the case.
4. They can demonstrate how pieces move.

4. They can tell the players about rules that pertain to a situation when unasked.


K5 Section

K5 means kindergarten through 5th grade. If you are in K - 5th grade, you can enter this section. Note that 4th and 5th graders cannot enter the K1 or K3 sections. This section is run like a normal section. In the K1 and K3 Learning Sections the TD has a lot of latitude with explaining rules; however, that will not happen in the K5 section (or above sections). It is expected that players know all of the rules, or at least the most common rules, by the time they reach the k5 section. If you are a new player in the k5 section, we do explain all of the important tournament rules at the player's meeting 15 minutes before round 1. So, pay close attention.


K8 & K12 Pods Section

K8 means kindergarten through 8th grade. Likewise, K12 means Kindergarten through 12th grade. It is obviously very uncommon for a Kindergartner to join in these sections but tournaments are formatted to reward progress. Thus, if a super talented player wants to play in higher sections, they are allowed to do so.


The "Pods" sub heading is unique to Chess Performance. Essentially, we take all of the participants in these sections and order them by national US Chess ranking. We then create small sections that contain 4, 6, or 8 players. That way, everyone in each section is assured 3 tough games because you play people who are similar to you in strength. If you do well, then in the next tournament you will be put in a higher pod as your ranking grew. If you don't, you'll be put in a lower pod as your ranking with have gone down.


Pods are very competitive and fun. They are very good practice for the state championships.


Sections by Grade

During one tournament each year, sections are done by grade only. This event is put on by the KCA (Kentucky Chess Association) and it is called the "Grade Level Championship." Essentially, if you're in 4th grade, then the only eligible section you can enter is 4th grade. The idea is to determine the 4th grade champion (and the champion for all other grades, including Kindergarten).


Sections by Rating

In our December tournament, we're breaking everyone down based on their US Chess rating. The sections will be represented by a number preceded by the letter U. For example, U400 and U1000. These are read as "Under 400" and "Under 1000" respectively.


The US Chess ranking system goes as follows:


Unrated means you haven't played 5 games and are brand new

Provisional ratings mean you have not yet played 25 games

100 is the lowest rating possible
1000 is Average among kids

1200 is average among adults

2200 is Master

2800+ is the highest ratings ever reached


Therefore, in the December tournament, select any section that is higher than your rating. For example, if you are rated 500, you can select the U600, U800, U1000, U1200, or the "Anyone" section. However, your best chance would be the U600 section since not many people would be rated higher than you! But do keep in mind that if your rating is 500, you cannot participate in either the U300 or U400 section since your rating is higher. You can find your rating by going HERE if you have played in a US Chess tournament before. If your name is not on the list you need to select U300.


Split Sections

If we have too many participants in a single section, then we have a choice. We can either add an additional round or two (which takes a lot of time) or we can split the section. We will be choosing to split sections if we encounter enough sign ups in one section. If we split a section, we will announce it on Friday by noon or as close to noon as possible. This is, of course, assuming we have enough people signed up to make a decision to split a section before this deadline. We'll do our best to keep people informed.


Merged Sections

Often, when we have too few participants in a section, we have a choice. The first choice is to lower the number of rounds in that section. The second choice is to merge that section into the next highest section or the next lowest section. We will make any of these choices based on the style of tournament. Generally, we find merging sections is preferable to lowering the number of rounds.