Oregon High School Chess Team Association

Championship Chess Etiquette


1--Before the matches begin, there will be an announcement for the players to shake hands.  (Players are responsible for bringing their own sets and clocks to use - only a few are available to borrow).  If clocks are being used, the player with black starts the white player's clock.  Set and clock use is decided by black.  Or, if black does not arrive before the TD starts the round, white can set up their board and clock, make their first move and press the clock.

2--During the match, the only appropriate talk are game-related words such as "I offer you a draw."  Comments like, "ohhh, I didn't see that coming," or "GOTCHA!!!" are not appropriate.  
Coaches will be asked to assist in keeping conversation at the match tables to a minimum.  If a player or players become too noisy, penalties, including forfeiture of games, could be imposed.  Coaches, please give the players a chance to quiet down, but if there are complaints from other players, or if you speak to them a couple of times and they just will not be quiet, please let the Tournament Director know and he will provide a solution. 
It is especially inappropriate for anyone to make any comment whatsoever about any game in which they are not participating.  Violations of this can lead to penalties including loss or time,  loss of game, loss of match, and suspension or expulsion from the tournament.

3--One player from each team shall be designated as team captain. The team captain is spokesperson for the team while a match is in progress. The team captain is responsible for completing the scoresheet by ensuring that teammates are playing on the correct board, that results of each game is recorded and that the scoresheet is turned into the tournament director after the conclusion of all games in the match. The scoresheet is to remain visible at the first board and may be consulted by any of the team members. The players may not consult with the captain about draw offers.

4--Coaches and players who are watching matches should do so in complete silence.  If there is room, spectators should walk BEHIND their team's players and only pause briefly at the boards to look at the situation.  The reason you walk behind your team's players is so that you avoid the possibility that the opponent, having you walk behind him and facing your players, feels you might be coaching or advising during the match by gestures or facial expressions.

5--There are times when the matches become very exciting.  For example, four of the five boards have been decided, and the score is 2-2.  The last board is very close, and both players are short on time.  It is NOT appropriate to "hover" over the players at this time.  They have enough stress, with the weight of the match on their shoulders.  Advisors are asked to assist in keeping the spectators at an appropriate distance from the action in situations like the one described.

6--Players should understand how to get a draw, including the rules for "insufficient mating material," and "insufficient winning chances."
How to Offer a Draw:  The player who wants to offer a draw should make his or her move, touch the clock, then say, "I offer you a draw."  The opponent may respond by saying "no" or "yes" or signify "yes" by shaking hands.  However, the opponent does not have to respond in this way.  He or she may say nothing and take time to consider the board position.  During this time, the player should NOT repeat the draw offer, as that is considered interference.  If the player makes the next move, the answer, "no," has been given.  Making repeated draw offers move after move is not allowed.  NOTE:  It would behoove all players not to immediately accept a proferred hand shake without understanding what is being offered.  If an opponent offers a hand shake, ask them explicitly what is being offered before accepting.

7--If there is a dispute about any aspect of the game, players should stop the clocks and raise their hands to summon an official.  Sometimes these disputes can be solved by looking at the notation and reconstructing the position. For example, in the case that a player claims his opponent made an illegal move, the official, looking at the notation, can determine the position before the move was made, and decide if the move was legal or not. 
Sometimes, however, the official cannot determine the veracity of a claim.  For example, a claim of a touched piece is very difficult to prove or disprove.  Players should know that if they touch a piece they must move it, if there is a legal move, and if they touch an opponent's piece, they must capture it, if it can be legally done.  If they touch more than one of their own pieces, they must move the first piece they touched, if there is a legal move. 
If you touch a piece to adjust it on the board, because it is not centered correctly, say "adjust" and this indicates you are not moving the piece, just adjusting it.  Also, when castling, move the King first.  By moving the King two squares, the player clearly indicates he is castling, as there is no other legal move that involves moving the King two squares. 
Calling for a Tournament Director's interpretation:  At any time, should any dispute come up between players, it is not appropriate for them to discuss it to any great length and especially not to argue about it.  The player with the dispute should stop playing, pause the clock, and raise his or her hand until the TD comes to settle the dispute.  Please note that only a participating player can ask for a TD interpretation.  Bystanders, including coaches and teammates, are NOT allowed to call an illegal move, for example.  Interference by coaches, teammates, family members and so forth can end up in game forfeiture.
Illegal Moves:  The Player making the illegal move is usually given a 2 minute time penalty.  This can be critical in an end game.
8-- It is NOT required to tell an opponent he is in "check."  It is up to
the player to see that he is in check, and to deal with it.  This can become a very big deal, because if you are in check and you don't see it, you could touch a piece and be forced to move it to get yourself out of check..

9--Players should understand the "en passant" rule for capturing pawns.  It is not your opponent's fault if you don't know the rules of the game.

10--Players are NOT allowed to "take back" moves that have been made unless it is discovered that the move is illegal.  Even so, the player can be forced, at the insistence of the opponent, to make a legal move with the piece that was originally touched.

11--When the game is over, the players shake hands.  It is more sportsmanlike if the losing player extends his hand first.  "Good game," or "thanks for the game" are appropriate comments at this time.  Then you need to find the appropriate place to report the result of your game.  Both players must report the results together.
12--Once your game is done, please LEAVE the competition area.  If you finish quickly and want to play a second, "friendly" game, pick up your boards and sets and take them away from the competition area.  If you stay, not only might you be a distraction to the remaining players, but also, observers who come along and see a game in progress might be confused, believing that the game you are playing is the counting game. 

"Winning is the science of being totally prepared." – George Allen