For players participating in our online USCF rated tournaments hosted on chess.com, we ask that you review and adhere to the rules and guidelines below.

Platform

  • The chess tournament will be played online and hosted on the Chess.com site.
  • All chess.com accounts will be eligible to play, FREE or premium.
  • If you do not have a Chess.com account, you can easily set one up from this page.
  • Your chess.com account can be affiliated with our chess.com team/club on this page, but it is not required. We regularly host free tournaments.
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How to Play

Follow these steps to play.

  1. Login to chess.com with your username and password. You should have already created an account, as mentioned above.
  2. Enter the Live area.
  3. Once logged in correctly, games will begin automatically at the designated start times. No further action is required.
  4. You MUST BE LOGGED in at the start of each round in order to get paired.


Important information regarding how to play

  • Login at least 15 minutes before the tournament starts.
  • Make sure you login with the same username you used to register for the tournament.
  • Devices allowed: desktop, laptop or notebook computers, running MacOS, Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD.
  • Tablets can be used, but it is not recommended to run Zoom with video on and play on the same device.
  • WARNING: Playing on a phone is not allowed, however a phone or tablet is a good option for running Zoom, especially the side/rear view camera.
  • The use of a phone or additional device for any other reason except a Zoom camera is subject to penalty at the TD’s discretion up to immediate removal from the tournament.
  • Use of a physical set/board is not allowed, unless authorized by the director for accessibility reasons.
  • Board settings: click on the gear icon near the top-right corner of the board on the front page of Live. We recommend you turn these board options OFF: Enable Premoves, Always Promote to Queen, Multiple Games, Move Method: click squares.
  • At the appointed round time, players will automatically receive a “pop up” or “flash”, and all they have to do is accept the assigned pairing.
    • Players who have not started their games at this time, or are having trouble should contact the Zoom TD.
    • Players do not need to challenge their opponents, or report their results, this is done automatically through Chess.com
    • NOTE: If a player is not going to play a future round, or is withdrawing from the tournament, they must inform the Zoom TD at least 30 minutes before the next scheduled round.
    • PLEASE DO NOT FORFEIT. We want to make sure all players get to play every round if logged in correctly!

Tournament Standings / Pairings

Each round, the game by game standings and pairings will be available during the event in real time via Google Sheets. As these will be publicly viewable (URLs), you will not be required to login to Google to access these updates.

If Zoom is specified as a requirement for a Pittsburgh Chess Club Online Tournament:

A side-rear view zoom camera is required to be eligible for all prizes with video on showing the player in their playing environment with view of the screen. Preferred is a double camera setup including a normal front view as well. The TD will be looking for a view that shows the player (including their hands so we can see they are not accessing another device) and the player’s computer.

Players who are not visible on Zoom will not be eligible for any prize.

Guidance for joining Zoom Meeting Rooms:

  • Make sure to test Zoom by arriving early (~30 min) to the event.
  • Players are recommended to stay logged-in to Zoom but can turn their cameras off once done with their games. They also can leave the Zoom area once they have completed their game for that round. They should expect to join the correct Zoom meeting rooms 15 minutes before the next scheduled round.
    • CAUTION: Players who logout of Zoom after their games are completed risk not being re-admitted quickly because TD’s may be occupied with other task.
  • Correct Zoom links by Section will be posted at pittsburghchess.club/zoom
    • Players must go to the zoom room that corresponds to their section

Zoom Rules:

  • Players must be visible on Zoom throughout their games, using their real first and last names.
  • Side/rear view cameras should be set so that they display the player, the player’s screen and the surrounding playing area. The best location for this camera is on a separate device, clearly showing the player, the playing screen and and the surrounding area. The camera angle should be behind the user, that allows a view of the player, entire chess board, monitor, and mouse. Fixed laptop, desktop or Mac cameras are allowable.
  • No headphones or headsets will be allowed once games have started.
  • Follow all directions given by the Zoom TD, and please keep in mind these might be in verbal announcements, screen shared visual aids, or most importantly direct chats.
  • The Zoom TD may on occasion require that Zoom cameras be adjusted if a player falls out of view or their side/rear view camera in order to see the screen and the playing environment.
  • Players with the wrong Zoom requirements, not following zoom TD directions, or who are not visible on Zoom throughout their game will usually be given a warning before there is any penalty. Non-Compliance may result in a player being ruled ineligible for prizes.
  • Players found to be accessing applications and/or windows outside of chess.com, Zoom, discord.com, pittsburghchessclub.org, pittsburghchess.club, or Google Sheets during the event may be penalized at the tournament director’s discretion up to possible forfeiture.
    • Players are recommended to close all other windows, and to have Zoom running separate from your playing device. This reduces the possibility of lag affecting your connectivity.  Make sure you test Zoom and your webcam before the event starts
    • CAUTION: Being on Zoom and Chess.com are not the same thing! Players must be logged into Chess.com as well as the Zoom call in order to play in the tournament.


Break Policy:

The number of breaks initially permitted by the tournament will depend on the time control. If a player leaves his seat but remains visible on Zoom, that is not considered a break.

  • Game/45 or faster: One break per round.
  • Game/60 to Game/75: Two breaks per round
  • Game/90 or slower: Three breaks per round

Additional breaks may be penalized at the tournament director’s discretion and will be a factor considered in “fair play” measures.

  • Before going on a break, players must type “break” in the Zoom chat with a Zoom TD and type “return” once they return.
    • A player may not leave for a break while on move.
  • WARNING: Players are warned that improvement of play after a break is considered highly suspicious and, depending on other factors, could lead to a player being forfeited and/or removed from the tournament.


Contact with a TD
:

  • If you have a problem during your game, or if you need a tournament director for any reason, you should take these steps in the following order.
    • Contact the TD via the Zoom chat. The TD will respond and communicate with the player. Do not wait until the end of your game. If it appears your opponent has not moved for a considerable amount of time, the player should contact the TD.
    • Use the tournament channel chatroom in discord
    • Email [email protected] if no reply.
  1. If a TD needs to contact the player during the game, they will take the following approach
    • Contact the player on via the Zoom chat
      1. Responding to the TD in a reasonable amount of time is the player’s responsibility
    • Contacting the player via registration information
  1. To Report a Fair Play concern, players should


Disconnection Policy
:

If you disconnect after the start but before the first move of a game, the game should continue while your clock runs down, but you need to return as soon as possible, or the tournament directors could rule your game a forfeit loss.

If both players have made at least one move, and a player then becomes disconnected to the chess.com server, the disconnected player must reconnect to chess.com as soon as possible. The players should make every effort to resume the game.

If a player’s opponent appears not to have moved for a long time, that player should advise the Zoom TD in their zoom meeting right away.  This could mean that one of the players is not synchronized with the chess.com server during the game, even though it may appear to be the opponent’s move, it is the player’s clock which will continue to run.

The Tournament Director may decide to award a rated win to the opponent of a disconnected or unsynchronized player, who has made at least one move in the game, before the time on that player’s clock has expired, if a reasonable amount of time has elapsed without reconnection to the chess.com server.

Successfully playing US Chess online rated games are subject to one’s ability to use the various interfaces to connect and play. Chess.com, the Tournament Organizers or US Chess, cannot be responsible for games lost due to an entrant’s difficulty remaining connected or inability to use the programs used to play. Completed games cannot and will not be re-started, resumed or ratings adjusted for any reason.


Other Rules for Online Events

  • A player must not enter the tournament on more than one username, or risk being forfeited on both usernames.
  • A player is not permitted to play in other events while simultaneously playing in a PCC Event
  • Use of computer chess engines, databases, chess books, magazines, written notes and any other form of external assistance while playing is strictly prohibited. Assistance from other players is also prohibited and will result in disqualification as well as further sanctions as laid out by Chess.com’s User Agreement and Policy rules.
  • By entering this tournament, I agree to the following.
    • I will not give my password to anyone.
    • I will not share my account.
    • I am the only person allowed to use my account.
    • Specifically, I will not allow other people to use my account.
    • I will not use any account which does not belong to me.
    • I will not use chess database software, analysis software, chess engines or any outside assistance of any kind to assist one’s game while playing US Chess rated games on the Internet Chess Club.
    • I acknowledge and agree that Chess.com, The PCC and US Chess have the right to monitor such activity and further agree to indemnify, defend and hold the Chess.com, PCC and US Chess harmless from and against any and all liabilities, claims, causes of action or damages (including attorney’s fees) arising from the Company’s exercise of its rights herein.
  • The tournament director may, at his or her discretion, refuse to allow a player to enter the tournament or remove a player from the tournament, for any reason, including, but not limited to: connection problems, excessive lag, failure to start tournament games promptly, failure to resume tournament games promptly, disruptive behavior in the tournament or zoom room, suspicion that the player is receiving outside assistance, suspicion that the player is using computer assistance, or discovery that the account or player has a previous history of violating chess.com rules. The tournament director is not obligated to disclose the reason for his or her decision, and his or her decision is final. There is no process for appeal.


“FAIR PLAY” Measures

All games played in US Chess rated tournaments will be analyzed using Chess.com’s sophisticated anti-cheating tools. Such analysis will include, but not be limited to, comparing moves played to the recommendations of various engines. Players suspected of violating the Fair Play rules may: 1) have their results and any prize eligibility canceled, 2) be banned from future play on Chess.com, 3) be banned from future events both online and over the board, and 4) be reported to the US Chess Ethics Committee, leading to possible suspension of US Chess membership.

Chess.com staff may, at their discretion, rule that all games of a player in a tournament are forfeited due to a fair play violation. The scores of the forfeited players’ opponents shall be adjusted as follows:

  1. If the tournament has been concluded, or there is one round remaining, the last opponent of the disqualified player shall receive a win by forfeit. Other opponents who lost to the disqualified player shall receive a half point bye, and other opponents who drew with the disqualified player shall receive a win by forfeit. Anyone who defeated the disqualified player shall retain a rated win instead of a forfeit win.
  2. If two or more rounds remain, all opponents of the disqualified player shall receive a win by forfeit, unless they defeated the disqualified player in which case they will retain a rated win.

The tournament results will not be final while “fair play” analysis of all games takes place. This process usually takes about three weeks as all games are reviewed

Neither Chess.com, PCC, nor US Chess are responsible for things that can happen with internet play. Examples of this can be: slips or dropped pieces; returning a piece back to its original place and accidentally setting it on the wrong square; game boards disappearing; etc. This list is not all-inclusive, as there may be other issues that we cannot control as well.

Participants are expected to use the same computer during the whole tournament.