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Palm Beach Chess
Tournament Rules & Proceedures


In Person Chess Tournaments Rules & Procedures

General Policy:

Unless otherwise stated on the tournament flyer players are required to bring their own chess set and clock.

It is the player’s responsibility to know how to set their own clock for the time controls of the event.

It is the player’s responsibility to be aware of United States Chess Federation tournament rules and procedures. We suggest our curriculum text: Become A Chess Champion (Definitive Edition) for our essential rule knowledge explanation for all of our Florida Chess tournaments.

Electronics Policy:

Players in the tournament cannot have an electronic device on their person while games are in progress. Cell Phones are to be off and in a bag or on the table by your board face down for the length of the game (this includes smart watches and any device that could be used to gain assistance). If you have an electronic device you need for medical reasons please speak with us prior to the start of round one to alert us of this as any electronic device will be seen as suspicious without prior warning.

Score Sheet Policy:

Players at Palm Beach Chess tournaments are provided score sheets for the recording of their games. Score Books with multiple games are not permitted as new developments in rules from the USCF have banned these books in National Scholastic tournaments as players can potentially flip back in the book for ‘written help’. We strongly agree with this and apply this rule to our tournaments.

Any electronic score sheet device must be approved by the USCF for use or it is not allowed in our tournament. Please check the United States Chess Federation’s policies on electronic score sheet devices as it changes frequently.

In our events we require that championship games be turned in if carbon copy score sheets are provided. In our Miami, Florida FIDE tournaments it is required to provide a copy of your game via carbon copy (signed).

Spectator Policy:

We hold spectators to the same standards as players for professional decorum. Do not communicate with players while they have a game in progress and do not analyze or speak in the tournament hall.

If your phone rings in the tournament hall while play is in progress you will receive a warning for first offense and for the second offense you will no longer be welcome at the tournament venue.

Refund Policy:

If you cannot attend one of our tournaments, send us an email at least 2 hours before the first round.  If this is not possible, call the tournament site and ask for the chess tournament. If you have contacted us before pairings have been created you can obtain a refund of the fee minus a $15 service charge.


You may also give notice of withdrawal at least 7 days before the first round.  NO REFUND, full or partial, is EVER given once you have started playing your game in the first round or if your absence without notice effects the results of the tournament.

PLEASE ALLOW up to two weeks to receive your refund.  If you have not heard from us two weeks after the event please send us a reminder and we will make it top priority.

PLEASE REFRAIN FROM REQUESTING UNNECESSARY REFUNDS.  Some players automatically ask for a refund whenever they withdraw.  This causes extra work for us and costs you a $15 service charge you can easily avoid.

Prize Policy: 

1. How do I get my prize? 

WE RECOMMEND THAT ALL PRIZEWINNERS WAIT TO RECEIVE THEIR PRIZES AT THE TOURNAMENT! Prizewinners may receive their prize checks right at the tournament, as soon as the amount of their prize has been determined! The IRS also requires that anyone who wins $600 or more show proof of their Social Security Number to the Tournament Director, in order to receive their check.

Those prizewinners who choose not to receive their prizes at the tournament may instead provide us with their addresses so we can mail them their prize checks after the tournament. However, especially during our busy periods, it may take up to four (2) weeks for us to process all the outstanding prizes, for you to then receive your prize by mail, instead of just receiving it on site, at the end of the tournament.  We strongly encourage all prizewinners to collect their prize checks at the tournament.

2. Where do you mail my prize? 

If you didn't provide an address when you entered, you can send us your address by email to:  and include your name, which section of which tournament you played, how many points you scored, and your USCF ID number.  DO NOT send your Social Security number by email because it is not secure.  


3. Why do I have to wait to get my prize?

It can take a while to process and send out all the prize checks for players who didn't get them at the tournament.  

4. What if I leave early, but I don't want to wait to get my prize in the mail either? 


Do you have an option where I can leave, so I don't have to wait in line to get paid at the tournament, and still get my own prize immediately?
Yes, upon verifying the prize we can also send the prize through PayPal.


5. Can't you just send me my prize right now, so I don't have to wait, and then send everyone else's prize later on?

Sorry, no, understand we appreciate you want to get home faster but USCF tiebreaks require all games in a section to be completed before we can cut checks.

6. What is the Sofia Rule and why do you use it on Championship games in your major tournaments?

In 2005 a set of rules were imposed on the players to attempt to get an actual game out of the top players who frequently have draws at the end of a long event and simply split the prizes. Imposing this rule on players in Championship games in the final round makes an attempt by the organizer to assure that players produce a game that requires actual effort.

Adapted Sofia Rule:

  1. Players are not allowed to offer (and/or) agree to a draw prior to move 30.

  2. Draws can only be claimed by perpetual checks, threefold repetition and if the position is a theoretical draw.

  3. Draw offers should be made to the arbiter/tournament director. The arbiter is the only person who can decide the outcome of the game.


Unclaimed Trophy Policy:

1. Why can't you just send me the trophy if I leave?

Understand with the volume of tournaments that we do and the number of trophies at each event that this is a major burden for the company to handle. If players have won a trophy they need to get it on site after the last round. We do not keep or ship trophies to players. Once a player has left with their trophy from one of our Florida Chess Tournaments it is their responsibility.

Online Tournament Rules:


How to play

  • Using a desktop, laptop or notebook computer, login to at least 30 minutes before the tournament.
    Play on a phone or tablet is not allowed, however a phone or tablet is a good option for running Zoom.

  • Use of a physical set/board is not allowed, unless authorized by director for medical reasons.


If you want to be eligible for cash prizes, you must use Zoom, and connect to the provided Zoom room. Make sure you test Zoom and your webcam before the event starts. You can play without Zoom, but will not be eligible for prizes. Zoom links will be provided the day of the event via email and tournament chat. A side/rear Zoom camera angle is required. Players with the wrong angle who are notified of this will usually be given at least one round to correct their angle before there is any penalty.



  • You must be logged into lichess, and have joined the provided team and within it the tournament in order to be paired for the event. Disconnect after the start of a game, you will not be removed automatically, but you need to return as soon as possible, or the manager will forfeit you.

  • A player must not enter the tournament on more than one username, or risk being forfeited on both usernames. We ask that during the tournament players put their real name in their profile to make it easier to identify them for the correct section.

  • 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 via USCF.

  • 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. I acknowledge and agree that, FCA, Palm Beach Chess and US CHESS has the right to monitor such activity and further agree to indemnify, defend and hold the named organizations 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.

    I will behave decently toward other players, and follow the understanding if there is nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

    Players are prohibited from giving takebacks or adding time during the tournament.

    All participants are expected to be familiar with the rules of chess used on  In particular, participants should be aware of lichess rules for draws and how to claim a draw if such a claim is necessary to invoke a particular draw rule.  To that end, each participant is encouraged to review the rules. Pairings will follow and rules on checkmate, stalemate and game end will follow standards and will be upheld for tournament results.
    The tournament director may, at his or her discretion, refuse to allow a player to enter the tournament or eject 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 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 rules. The manager 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.


The lichess tournament directors 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:

  • A) If the tournament has been concluded, or there is one round remaining, opponents who lost to the forfeited player shall receive a half point bye, and opponents who drew with the forfeited player shall receive an unplayed win.

  • B) If there are two or more rounds remaining, all opponents who faced the forfeited player shall receive an unplayed win.

  • C) For rating purposes the player violating fair play policy will be forfeited in all games.


    Games played and suspected of fair play violation will be analyzed using 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 tournaments, 3) be banned from future FCA  tournaments both online and over the board, and 4) be reported to the USCF Ethics Committee, leading to possible suspension of USCF membership.

  • After each tournament, results will not be final for up to three weeks while fair play analysis of games takes place.

    Successfully playing US CHESS online rated games are at the mercy to an individual’s connectivity and one’s ability to use the various interfaces to connect and play on our site. We cannot be responsible for games lost due to an entrant’s difficulty remaining connected or inability to use site used to play. Completed games cannot and will not be re-started, resumed or ratings adjusted for any reason.

    Neither, Palm Beach Chess, FCA, nor US CHESS can be 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. 

  • Half point byes are available as breaks in Players need to familiarize themselves with how byes work in in tournament play.

  • Intentional rating abuse (lowering rating to enter lower class) is prohibited and may lead to disqualification as well as further sanctions.

  • Palm Beach Chess and Florida Chess Association reserve the right to use image and name of winner(s) from their online events for publicity purposes.

  • As real names will be made public, all players are required to use their public handles in this tournament, as opposed to anonymous accounts.

  • The tournament directors may at their discretion make a ruling on a particular game, eject a player from a tournament, or refuse to allow a player to join a tournament for any reason including but not limited to: failure to show up on time or to start a game on time, concern that the player's internet connection is not reliable enough for the game to finish in a timely manner, suspicion of chess computer use, suspicion that a player is receiving assistance, suspicion that a player has used multiple accounts during the tournament, or the fact that this player has been caught violating rules in the past.

  • Participants are expected to use the same computer during the whole tournament. Play must be on desktops, laptops and notebooks only, mobiles and tablets are not allowed. 

  • Bathroom break: For Online Regular rated play (G/25+10 & slower), one (1) is allowed per round, but not if the remaining time on both clocks totals under 30 minutes. For Online Quick or Online Blitz rated play, such a break may be penalized at the director's discretion and may be a factor considered in "fair play" enforcement.


  • The bathroom break limit applies to players whether using Zoom or not. Before going on a bathroom break, players must click the "raise your hand" button and type "bathroom" in the Zoom chat.

  • Zoom must be set so that it displays the player and the area near the player. It does not need to display the position as the Director knows this even if you don’t use Zoom.

  • The Director may on occasion require that Zoom be temporarily adjusted to reveal parts of the room not otherwise displayed.

  • Audio as well as video must be enabled on Zoom.

  • Noise such as music that may be loud enough to mask possible illegal discussion is not permitted.

  • The best location for the Zoom camera is on a separate device, clearly showing the player and making him/her easily identifiable. The camera angle should be behind the user, possibly using a cell phone, that allows a view of the entire chess board and monitor. Fixed laptop, desktop or Mac cameras are allowable. Hint: Having Zoom running separate from your internet connection reduces the possibility of lag affecting your connectivity due to bandwidth issues for some, i.e. gameboard possibly freezing.

    A player may not leave for a bathroom break while on move.

  • Players are warned that improvement of play slightly after a bathroom break is considered highly suspicious and, depending on other factors, could lead to a player being forfeited or banned.


  • No player may win more than one prize.

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