Online Events

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding US Chess rated online play.

Q1: Can I play regular rated games online?
A: No. As the recently released Executive Board decision clarifies, online events only affect your US Chess Online rating.  In addition, “regular” Time Controls are not eligible for online rating.

Q2: Will the events show up in my member services area (MSA) history?
A: Yes. All US Chess Online rated events will show up in your MSA history with the prefix “ONL” in front of the rating change.

Q3: What time controls can I play in an online US Chess rated tournament?
A: The allowable time controls include both Blitz (3 min + 2 sec to 10 min + 0 sec) and Quick (10 min + 1 sec to 29 min + 0 sec) time controls. At this time, time controls longer than 30 total minutes of think time per player are not eligible for US Chess online rating.

Q4: Where can I sign up to play a US Chess online rated event?
A: Organizers can host events in various places, so it’s best to consult their local schedule. Currently the majority of events are being hosted on chess.com, chessclub.com, or lichess.org.

Q5: Do I need to be a TD to run a US Chess rated online event?
A: Yes. You can download and fill out an application to become a certified tournament director here. TDs will also need an affiliate through which to submit their rating reports. Affiliates can join or renew here. If you are not sure about what affiliate to contact, we recommend you reach out to your State Chapter or a US Chess-certified Tournament Director you may know.

Q6: I’d like to play in a US Chess online rated event, how can I do that?
A: The steps are as follows:
1) Make sure you are a current US Chess member
2) Locate information about the event you’d like to play in (an example would be via the chess.com US Chess landing page for US Chess Online play)
3) Create a username for the online platform you’d like to play on (some sites require you to pay a membership fee to use that site)
4) Follow registration protocol for the event

Q7: I’m a TD, how can I submit an event as “Online rated?”
A: There is a tutorial within the article here which includes screenshots and instructions on submitting an event as Online Rated only. Note that you will be asked to certify that the games were played in accordance with the rules of chess.

Q8: Can I have an entry fee and prizes for my event?
A: All US Chess rules that apply to OTB event entries and prize structures also apply to online events. The TD is responsible for proper administration of existing rules, including collection of any entry fees and distribution of prizes.

Q9: How can I ensure fair play during my events?
A: Many of the primary chess servers have fair play measures and software already in place. An example of how that works can be found here. It is also recommended to have your participants – if possible – participate in a live video call during the event and/or sign a waiver prior to entry that indicates they understand the fair play rules and penalties and agree to abide by them. Fair play violations for online play can be referred to US Chess for further action/sanctions. While difficult, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, the best preventive measure is to have a US Chess-certified TD at every site from which play originates.

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