1st Annual John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions
Information & Rules
Revised November 22, 2019
The John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions is an annual invitational event run by US Chess to determine the Rockefeller National Champion. $16,870 in prizes will be awarded, including $5,800 to the champion. The champion will qualify for the US Cadet Championship and either the World Youth Championship or the World Cadet Championships, as long as eligibility requirements are met.
The Rockefeller will be held August 8-11, 2020 in Saint Charles, MO at the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis-St. Charles Hotel during the 121st Annual US Open Chess Championship. To reserve a hotel room at US Chess’s reduced rate, click next to Reservations. If calling, mention US Open Chess. Players who complete all 6 rounds of the Rockefeller may register onsite at Chess Control for the US Open’s 4-day schedule, 6-day schedule, or 9-day schedule (with byes) for 50% of the early registration fee.
Each state affiliate may nominate 1 player to represent its residents in grades K-5, and that state representative will receive free entry to the Rockefeller. Washington, DC will be considered a state, and California will be considered 2 states (Northern California and Southern California). US Chess recommends the following methods of qualification, in descending order of preference:
1. Restricted to players in grades K-5 who are state residents, a championship section that is part of a state championship tournament open to players in grades K-5.
2. A section restricted to players in grades K-5 with a high rating who are state residents.
3. The highest-rated player in grades K-5 who is a state resident.
Ultimately, though, a state may determine its representative by whatever method of qualification it deems best—as long as the representative is a state resident in grades K-5. If the representative is unable to compete, then the state may substitute its next highest qualifier as an alternate.
US Chess’s Governance Coordinator Jennifer Pearson will email a nomination form to each state. By June 20th the state must email the completed form back to US Chess at [email protected] US Chess reserves the right to appoint a representative for a state that fails to meet this deadline. To eliminate byes, the host state (the state in which the tournament is held) may provide an alternate who will play only in rounds that have an odd number of players. If the alternate is not needed to play in a round, then the alternate will be paired for free in a concurrent round of the US Open and any concurrent US Open side events. The alternate is eligible for prizes.
During the State Qualifier for the Rockefeller
The representative must be enrolled in a curriculum approved by the state for grades K-5. During or prior to the qualifier, the representative may be enrolled either part-time or full-time at a school for grades 6 or above. The representative must be a resident of the state the representative will represent. Each state may determine who is a state resident—but only of that state. Consequently, if a player were to be considered a resident by multiple states (say, both by the state in which the player maintains a home address, and by a different state in which the player attends school [day or boarding]), then the player would be eligible to represent multiple states and could compete in multiple states’ qualifying events.
During the Rockefeller
A player may not represent multiple states—neither in the same national state champions invitational, nor in multiple national state champions invitationals. A player may represent only 1 state and may play in only 1 of the 5 simultaneous national state champions invitationals. Proof of eligibility is the responsibility of the representative and of the state certifying the representative. The representative must have a current US Chess membership.
After the Rockefeller
The representative must be 12 years old or younger on September 1 of the year in which the tournament is held.
All players, including the host state’s alternate, are required to attend the opening ceremony. Boys are expected to wear a collared shirt and slacks. Girls are expected to wear a blouse and slacks or skirt—or a dress. T-shirts, tank tops, and shorts are not permitted. Photos will be taken for Chess Life, Chess Life for Kids, and state chess publications—so, look sharp. This dress code applies only to the opening ceremony.
Players are required to play all 6 rounds of this Swiss tournament. Players unable to play
in a round or in the remainder of the tournament because of an emergency (medical or otherwise) must notify a tournament director of their withdrawal as soon as possible, so the host state’s alternate can be substituted, if needed. Players forfeit prizes if they withdraw or are expelled. The time control is G90 +30: 90 minutes base time with a 30-second increment added after each move. Players should bring a chess clock that supports time increment. The tournament is FIDE-rated and follows FIDE rules. US Chess's National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations do not apply. Players are required to furnish a complete and legible scoresheet at the conclusion of each round. While a player is playing in a round of a national state champions invitational, the player may not play multiple games simultaneously. So, a player may neither play simultaneously (for multiple states) in the same tournament, nor play simultaneously (neither for the same state, nor for a different state) in another tournament (a different national state champions invitational, the US Open, a side event of the US Open, or any other tournament).
If there is a tie, then the scholarship will be awarded to the highest finisher, based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the scholarship will not be split. A recipient may use the scholarship at any school of higher learning. To redeem the scholarship, a recipient must provide proof of enrollment in an institution of higher learning, prove standing as at least a half-time student, and claim the scholarship prior to the recipient’s 26th birthday. To redeem the scholarship, contact US Chess’s Governance Coordinator Jennifer Pearson at [email protected]Chess.org.
5th $200 (each player tied for 5th will receive $100)
Rockefeller 8U Chess Award
The $500 Rockefeller 8U Chess Award will be presented to the highest finisher 8 years old or younger as of the first day of the tournament. If there are fewer than 2 participants 8 years old or younger, then the award will go to the top finisher 9 years old or younger. There must be at least 2 eligible players for the award to be given. If there is a tie, then the award will go to the highest finisher, based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the award will not be split.
Gift Certificates for US Open Bookstore
- Best Game $100
- Biggest Upset overall $50
- Biggest Upset in each round $50 (6 rounds)
- State versus State $400 (total)
State versus State Championship
5 simultaneous national state champions invitationals run concurrently with the US Open:
- GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions
- Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions
- John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions
- WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions
- National Tournament of Senior State Champions
The state whose representatives have the highest combined score will be recognized. Gift certificates for the US Open bookstore will be awarded to each player from the 3 highest-scoring states. In addition, gift certificates will be awarded to each player of the highest-scoring state whose players’ average rating is Under 2100, Under 1900, or Under 1600. A total of $400 of gift certificates will be awarded. States must have at least 3 players from the 5 simultaneous national state champions invitationals to be eligible for team prizes. If the host state has 2 representatives in 1 or more of the 5 simultaneous national state champions invitationals, then only the representative’s score (not the alternate’s score) will count toward the team total. Each state’s Senior representative will be the state’s honorary captain.
Internet Chess Club (ICC) Membership
Each participant who completes all 6 rounds (including the host state’s alternate, if available for all 6 rounds) will receive a free, 1-year ICC membership valued at $70. If a participant is already a current ICC member, then the participant will receive a 1-year membership extension.
Cash prizes and gift certificates will be handed out during the awards ceremony. Gift certificates must be picked up during the awards ceremony and must be redeemed with the US Open bookstore vendor before the US Open concludes. Cash prizes are intended to reimburse some players for tournament expenses.
1st Annual FM Sunil Weeramantry National Blitz Tournament of State Champions
First Saturday, 10 AM. Optional. No entry fee. Open only to players in the 5 simultaneous national state champions invitationals running concurrently with the US Open: the Denker, Barber, Rockefeller, Haring, and Senior. 3 sections: Championship (2200+), 1600-2199, & Under 1600. Prizes: $1,200 ($400 per section). Section eligibility and pairings determined strictly by US Chess Regular rating—no playing up. 4DSS: 4 double rounds (players alternate as White & Black) with Swiss-system pairings. G3 +2: 3 minutes base time with a 2-second increment added after each move. Players must bring a chess clock, and it should support time increment. US Chess does not plan to supply clocks to players. If neither player brings a clock to the board, then both players forfeit the round. The tournament is US-Chess-rated only and follows US Chess rules. US Chess's National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations do not apply. 9:45 AM: announcements & review rules. To register, email US Chess’s Governance Coordinator Jennifer Pearson at [email protected]. Include name & US Chess ID #. No onsite signups.
Prizes for Each of the 3 Sections: Gift Certificates for the US Open Bookstore
If there is a tie, then the prize will go to the highest finisher, based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the prize will not be split.
The sponsors are John D. Rockefeller V ($5,000+), the Internet Chess Club (ICC), US Chess, US Chess Trust, Trophies Plus, and Dwight Barber.
Travel & Accommodations
Players are responsible for arranging and financing their travel and accommodations. Players sharing rooms should make their arrangements carefully, as neither US Chess, nor the tournament sponsors are responsible for any consequences arising from such arrangements. Please note that registration in a hotel room will require a person 21 years of age or older to be present.
Contact Information & Confirmation of Participation
By June 20th each state must send a completed nomination form to US Chess’s Governance Coordinator Jennifer Pearson at [email protected]. Soon thereafter, US Chess will contact parents, who are required to confirm a player’s participation.
Contact the Chair of US Chess’s National Tournaments of State Champions Committee, Jon Haskel, at [email protected] or 561.302.4377.
If a tournament-related situation arises that is not covered by the text above, then it will be resolved by the Chair of US Chess’s National Tournaments of State Champions Committee.