Local Grand Prix chess tournaments will usually be events for children to gain experience playing chess in tournament conditions. These are great for beginners, and most children will pay their first competitive games outside of their school in a local Grand Prix tournament. These events usually held within county regions, and here in Somerset we have a series of 6 Grand Prix each chess calendar year.
What is the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix?
The Somerset Junior Chess (SJC) Grand Prix is a series of 5 individual rapidplay tournaments in which the players can accumulate points to qualify for the Finals Day, where they have the opportunity to play for the overall title of Somerset age group player of the year.
Scoring at Tournaments
The 5 Grand Prix tournaments will be typically be held between October and April each year – full details of each grand prix tournament will be included here. Each Tournament will have 6 rapid rounds with a time control of 25 minutes each per player. The result of each round will be scored as follows: 1 pt for a win 0.5 pts for a draw and 0 pts for a loss. The maximum number of points each player can score from a tournament is 6 pts. There will be a trophy for each individual tournament winner and runner-up, medals will be awarded to all players scoring 3.5 points or more, and a certificate will be given to all entrants taking part.
The players will be able to discard their worst tournament score as only the best 4 tournament scores will count towards their overall grand prix total. The maximum Grand Prix points a player can score is 24 pts. This also allows the players to miss one tournament which they can use as their discard score.
The age groups that will be competing for the titles this year are U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12 and U16. See the current league tables.
The four players in each age group with the highest points totals will be invited to a finals day in June. At the finals day 1st will play 4th, and 2nd will play 3rd in a best of 3. The winners of each of these matches will play a best of 3 matches Grand Final to decide the overall age group winner.
How do I enter a tournament?
Anyone under the age of 16 can enter. Tournaments will be organised by age category, so that children have a good chance of playing others of a similar ability.
Find the tournament you would like to enter and follow the instructions.
What is the Tournament format?
Most junior chess tournaments use the Swiss System, and run for 6 rounds over the course of a single day. The Swiss System means that all children are guaranteed to play 6 matches and will compete in all 6 rounds (although they may miss one game if there is an odd number of entries). This is essentially a mini-league played on the day – there is not a ‘knockout’ cup format.
Tournament organisers will often use Swiss System chess software to decide the pairings for each round (i.e. who plays who), which is broadly based on performance during the competition. We at Somerset Junior Chess currently use the FIDE-approved (World Chess Federation) Swiss-Manager pairing software to ensure pairings are not biased by any volunteer organisers.
Find out more about what to expect at a junior chess tournament.