US Chess to Require Safe Play Training

"The U.S. Center for Safe Sport thanks the US Chess Federation for exhibiting due diligence, strong commitment, and action to protect members of their community, especially youth, and for working with a strong sense of integrity by making this a requirement for their organization."

UPDATE 09.16.2023: Information on how to take the SafeSport training will be released next week.

You can take the training course as soon as you have the information from us. By June 1, 2024, only Tournament Directors who have completed the required training will be able to direct US Chess rated tournaments.

If you wish to work a US Chess National Event that begins October 1 or later, you should take the training as soon as possible after receiving the registration information from us. The course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. You will need to complete the training by one week before the event you wish to work. (The first US Chess National Events affected by this are the U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women's Championship which begin on October 4.)

UPDATE 08.16.2023: In response to questions and concerns raised by some Tournament Directors (TDs), we have created this additional FAQ list to supplement the original one at the bottom of this post:

Safe Play Training FAQs for TDs

Why are we doing this?

US Chess is committed to providing a safe environment for all chess players. This training is the standard that other organizations are following. We are aligning ourselves not just with the Olympic movement but other fields such as sports, scouting, and education to promote a safe and welcoming environment.

Why do I have to complete the training by October 1, 2023?

US Chess will require TDs and other staff who work any national event that begins October 1, 2023 or later to complete the SafeSport training. All other TDs have until June 1, 2024 to complete their training in order to maintain their certification.

Why do you think TDs are the problem? Why are you putting the burden on TDs?

US Chess does not see TDs as the problem. Rather, we want to equip TDs with the best available information and training on how to identify and respond to misconduct of all types. TDs are our eyes and ears at tournament sites and are the event officials who are best suited to receive and address safe play complaints. This is also analogous to other sporting institutions that stress that this education is best done at a local, grassroots level.

Why isn’t US Chess paying for this?

US Chess is a non-profit organization with limited resources. At $19 for the initial training and $9 for the annual renewal, it can be more readily absorbed by individuals than were US Chess to incur a cost that could approach $100,000. Unlike FIDE, US Chess does not charge a fee for Tournament Director certification.

I’ve been a TD for many years. Why don’t you trust me to do what I’ve always done?

We value your expertise and experience. In a complicated and changing environment, the training will be a valuable addition to your toolkit. US Chess wants to equip its TDs with the best information available for recognizing and addressing safe play violations.

I have been through the Center’s training for another organization. Do I need to take it again for US Chess?

No, you will not have to take it again provided that it has been within the past year. We will provide a way for you to link your existing training to US Chess.

US Chess has entered into partnership with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a Congressionally chartered organization that is dedicated exclusively to ending sexual, physical, and emotional abuse on behalf of athletes everywhere. It was established in 2017 to help abuse prevention, education, and accountability take root in every sport covered by the U.S. Olympic movement. The U.S. Center for SafeSport makes its training and education resources available to other organizations outside of the Olympic movement.


Beginning October 1, 2023, US Chess will require all US Chess-certified Tournament Directors (TDs) to start taking the authorized core training from the U.S. Center for SafeSport before they can be certified by US Chess. Annual refresher training will then be required to continue their certification. This policy applies to persons who already hold Tournament Director credentials and those who are seeking certification. According to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, “the core training offers a comprehensive 90-minute overview of facts, principles, and strategies to help you provide safe and positive sport environments. Units include:


        Sexual Misconduct Awareness and Education

        Mandatory Reporting

        Physical and Emotional Misconduct (including bullying, hazing, and harassment)"


Tournament Directors and candidate directors will complete the core training online. The required annual refresher training is shorter and also completed online. Both types of training require questions to be answered and scored before advancing to the next topic. By June 1, 2024, only Tournament Directors who have completed the required training will be able to direct US Chess rated tournaments. Any certified Tournament Director, contractor, vendor, or volunteer working a US Chess National Event beginning on or after October 1, 2023 is required to have their training completed one week before the event begins. This includes US Chess National events awarded to third parties. For National events run directly by US Chess, all Tournament Directors must complete the training before a contract will be offered.


The U.S. Center for SafeSport offers a variety of free resources for minor players and their families. US Chess will provide information on how to access the training as soon as our account is fully established at the U.S. Center for SafeSport.



Why is US Chess requiring SafeSport training?


        US Chess adopted Safe Play Guidelines in 2019[1]. Training was always envisioned to be part of the program. Recent safe play violations have highlighted the ongoing need for education and awareness about providing a safe environment for all chess players.

        US Chess wants TDs to have the tools and information needed to recognize improper conduct, respond effectively, and provide a safe and positive environment.


Who is Required to Take the Training?


        All US Chess Certified Tournament Directors, regardless of level

        Any Independent Contractor working at a US Chess National Event

        All US Chess Employees

        Certified Chess Coaches


Are there age requirements associated with this training? If so, how does it affect certified TDs?


        To take the training a person must be at least 13 years old. Furthermore, parental consent is required from ages 13- through 17-years-old due to the explicit nature of the course.

        Effective Oct 1, 2023, US Chess will suspend Certified TDs who are under 13 years old until they reach the age of 13 and complete the required training. US Chess will no longer accept TD applications for persons who are not at least 13 years old.


When a US Chess National event is awarded to a third party, who must complete the training?


        The Organizer, their employees and/or contract staff, and all tournament directors

        Independent Contractors and volunteers working at the event for the Organizer


How Often Is the Training Required?


        Annually, beginning October 1, 2023


For alleged violations of the US Chess Safe Play Guidelines, to what organization do complainants report the allegations—US Chess or the Center for Safe Sport?


        US Chess will continue to receive complaints about violations of the Safe Play Guidelines and will apply its internal procedures to reviewing and imposing sanctions, if warranted. As an organization that is outside the formal Olympic movement, US Chess is not eligible for having the U.S. Center for SafeSport review, investigate, and sanction its members.


What is the Cost of the Training?


        $19 for the core course

        $9 annually thereafter, provided that your training is current when you take the refresher


Who Pays for the Training?


        The covered person pays for the training.



How to Report

If you are made to feel unsafe at a US Chess sanctioned event, please report this under the US Chess Safe Play Guidelines. You have 3 options for reporting:

[1] US Chess adopted Safe Play Guidelines that are modeled after the SafeSport code. As a non-Olympic sport, US Chess is ineligible to access the full resources offered by the U.S. Center for Safesport. Therefore, all reporting, investigations, and sanctions will come from US Chess.

Revised 08.10.2023 with language clarifying the start date and a second bullet under "Why" FAQ. 

Revise 08.16.2023 with additional FAQs addressing questions and concerns from TDs.