TITLE OF LESSON OR IDEA: Dealing with directors of scholastic tournaments


NAME: Jeff Wiewel


SCHOOL: none (ANTD that has directed at over 100 non-national K-8 scholastic tournaments with over 100,000 scholastic games and also directed at another six national scholastic tournaments)


CITY/STATE: Arlington Heights, IL


E-MAIL: [email protected]


KEY WORDS: Tournament, Director




SHORT 1-2 SENTENCE INTRODUCTION: Here are a few tips on how players can deal with tournament directors to make things easier for the player and for the director.





1) Keep score even at the early grade levels. Many times two players

have conflicting viewpoints of whose move it is or what the position is,

and they both honestly believe that their opinion is the only correct one.

Without a scoresheet the player has to depend on the director to make a

judgment call as to what the position should be.

Even if you have made a mistake in the scoresheet and cannot

reconstruct the early portion of the game, still keep score. This has

helped countless times in determining what the last few moves are, and thus

what the position should be.

On at least one occasion having a scoresheet has helped determine that

the winning final move of a four move combination was planned from the

beginning of the combination and was not played because a spectator said

something, and thus a claim of interference was denied. Without a

scoresheet there would have been a chance that the statement made by the

spectator did interfere with the game and the game might have been declared

drawn (an option the rulebook allows when either allowing or prohibiting a

move that might not have been seen would result in a loss by one player or

the other). Needless to say, the spectator who was also a player at

another board was warned that future interference would result in

forfeiture of his game, and if it had actually affected the outcome of the

game there could easily have been forfeiture of his game with no warning.


2) Do not comment on other games that are still in progress. Even quiet

comments might be overheard and considered to be interference even if

neither player actually heard the comment. Also do not discuss your own

game during your game.


3) Raise your hand or ask for the director if your opponent is trying to

use a rule that you do not know about. Many players have either been

informed of rules that are not really rules (i.e. incorrectly thinking that

you have to say check or incorrectly thinking you can castle through

check), are no longer rules in the USCF (i.e. you must touch the king first

when castling), or have misunderstood what they were told (i.e. incorrectly

thinking it is a 15-move rule draw instead of the correct 50-move rule

draw, incorrectly thinking 50 moves is really 25 by each player instead of

50 by each player, or incorrectly thinking that the 50-move rule draw

starts from move one without realizing that the count has to restart after

each capture, pawn move or loss of castling capability).

If you do not question the rule at the time you may not be able to get

corrected the problems that resulted.

You may stop the clock when you have to ask the director a question.


4) When there is a dispute try to remain calm, however difficult that may

be. Make sure that you state your case to the director, but don't

interrupt or yell to keep your opponents from stating their case. If you

are a witness to a dispute that is not in a game you were playing, do not

interrupt the players when they are talking to the director, let the

director know that you were a witness and answer the director's questions

when they are asked.

If you remain calm you are unlikely to confuse yourself, and when you

put forward your case you will probably be stating it clearly and

consistently. Making statements where you contradict yourself will cause

the director to question whether you truly know what happened. With

nothing else to go on, given a choice between a logical and consistent

story and a logical and inconsistent story a director is more likely to go

with the consistent story.


5) If you believe that the director has made an incorrect ruling you can

appeal it. The sequence is to appeal to the floor chief and then the chief

director. If you wish to appeal beyond that, you will probably want to let

your parent/coach know that you wish to do so. Usually the first director

to make a ruling will be correct, and the chief director will almost always

be correct, but for those rare cases where they are incorrect there is an

appeals procedure. Letting your parent/coach know has often resulted in

the player learning from a trusted source that the ruling is indeed

correct, and has sometimes resulted in the parent/coach being able to show

the director how a ruling is incorrect.

If you lose an appeal, try to calm down and play your game. I have

seen many cases where a player was down a queen, lost an appeal, and still

managed to win the game. I have also seen many cases where a player was up

a queen, lost an appeal over an issue that did not affect the game, and was

so upset over losing the appeal that the player lost the game.


6) Don't appeal to the director unless you honestly have a question or

believe your opponent may have done something against the rules. Having

dealt with multiple directors over the years I have to say that some

directors will get "fed up" with players that continually make seemingly

ridiculous appeals, and that attitude will affect their rulings.


7) Don't automatically think that your opponent is trying to cheat you,

even when they are violating the rules. I've seen thousands of cases where

a player honestly thought he was correct in what he was trying to do, but

didn't really know the rules (such as younger kids incorrectly trying to

take a queen en passant). If your opponent is incorrect then call the

director over and have the director correct the situation and explain the

rules to your opponent.

It will also be easier to remain calm if you realize that your

opponent may be trying to follow the rules and just doesn't know what all

of them are. As stated above, it is easier to state your case when you are

calm, so give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and give yourself a

better chance of making your case at the same time.



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