Mechanics' Institute
Scholastic Chess Highlights
News & Updates --
In-Person, Live Scholastic Tournaments
Report & Upcoming Schedule
July 10, Saturday 10AM - Report

37 players across 3 sections have competed in this month's in-person live tournament.
Congratulations to section winners:
700+: Anrirudh Badrinath
u700: Reyansh Dsouza
u400: Melissa Xu

Next Live Scholastic Tournaments @ Mechanics' Institute
August 14, Saturday 10AM

Tournament Format
  • Four rounds: Win or lose you play all four games.
  • Time control: G/30;d5 - Game in 30 minutes with a five second delay.
  • Round times: Tournament starts at 10AM. Next rounds start as soon as all the games are finished in the previous round (aka rolling schedule.)
  • Awards: We have trophies, medals, and fun alternative choices (magnetic sets, scorebooks, analysis boards) for players.
Advanced Virtual Chess Camp
utilizing Zoom & ChessKid
Aug 2-6 - 12PM to 3PM
The Advanced Scholastic Chess Camp in June was FULL and junior players had a blast with Coach Andrew. Don't miss it in early August - Secure your spot NOW and use the last few weeks of summer to master a few new concepts in chess.

Advanced: Ideal for players with USCF 1000+ rating, or 1200+ rating. Players should know basic checkmating patterns, opening principles, and ideally, have experience with USCF-rated tournaments. Students will participate in analysis of master games, work on tactical patterns, learn opening theory, and have opportunities to play with friends. Advanced camps are in the afternoon: 12PM to 3PM.
Understanding Chess Tournaments - Part 3

Understanding USCF Ratings
US Chess Federation is the national chess affiliate. As such, they have some roles and duties.
One of the most important one is to maintain a national rating system, it's called USCF ratings.

Every player in a USCF-rated game has their scores sent to US Chess for rating by the tournament organizers and directors. Each player's rating is updated and maintained based on strict rules and formulas.

But what kind of ratings are there and is one more important than the other? How do we navigate between numbers?

There are three rating systems: Regular (slow), Quick (fast), and Blitz. These three types exist for OTB (over-the-board) and for ONL (online) games. Therefore, a player can have up to six different ratings if they are active in both OTB and ONL.

If the regular rating system is used, the playing time for each player is greater than 65 minutes.
The quick rating system is used if the total playing time for each player is more than 10 minutes but less than 30 minutes. A game is dual rated, both regular and quick ratings affected, when the total playing time for each player is between 30 and 65 minutes. Dual rating is only applicable for OTB events. Finally, blitz rating system is used and blitz rating is affected if the total playing time for each player is between 5 and 10 minutes. Of course there are other fine prints in the regulations, but the main guidelines are based on the time controls.

How can the total playing times be calculated? Take the time control: G/minutes and inc/seconds or d/seconds: total time equals minutes plus (seconds times 60) or minutes + seconds. For example: our common time controls: G/120 d5 = 120+5 = 125 minutes, G/40 d5 = 40+5 = 45, G/15 +2s = 15+2 = 17. Easy, right? Just need to practice some mental math :)

Finally, two other definitions to keep in mind: Actual and Supplemental. Actual rating is the rating that is changing after every rated game, after every rated tournament. This can be checked at the last page of everyone's USCF (MSA) page. Supplemental rating is a rating that is determined for each player on the third Wednesday of a month, by taking a snapshot, or freeze, of the rating, and it is used for the following month, for the entire duration of the month. It's also called monthly (supplemental) rating. Any player must have at least four rated games in order to have a supplemental rating. Most tournaments use supplemental ratings when running tournaments, like Mechanics' Institute does as well.

It may be confusing at first, but as players start to enter tournaments, and learn to check their entries, this becomes very clear and easy to understand and monitor.

Any questions? Coach Judit loves answering any and all questions when it comes to chess rules and regulations! Email her at

To be continued - Part 4 - Tournament Etiquette
Online Tournament Schedule - July 2021
USCF Online rated tournaments -- on Saturday or Sunday @ 3PM

July 17: 4 games of G/20+10
July 25: 6 games of G/10+2
July 31: 6 games of G/15+2
August 7: 8 games of G/5+2

For more information and to register:

Free practice tournaments - every day @ 4PM
To get more information on the tournaments, including links, please visit:
Tournament results & Featured Games
Weekend USCF Online Rated Tournaments

July 4th weekend's special event attracted 28 eager players.
Two sections were offered: Open section and under1400 section (based on ChessKid rating)!
Congratulations to all the players!
6/19: 6SS G/10+2
ChessKid results: Click here

6/27 6SS G/15+2
ChessKid results: Click here

7/5 6SS G/10+2
ChessKid results: Open: Click here and u1400: Click here

7/11 8SS G/5+2
ChessKid results: Click here

Game Analysis by Three-Time US Champion
GM Nick de Firmian

Gu,Thomas (660) - Suarez,Sebastian (1433) [B01]
Round 1 of Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM u1600 San Francisco (1.22), 13.07.2021

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 Sebby seems to like this opening, even though White becomes a little more mobile. 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 e6 8.0-0 Bb7 9.Re1 Be7 10.Bg5 0-0 11.Ne5?! [11.d5! would be a chance to use the lead in development. White is better even if he loses a piece, e.g. 11...b4 12.dxe6 bxc3 13.exf7+ Kh8 14.bxc3] 11...Nc6! 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 Now development and the game is all equal. 13.Bxf6?! Bxf6 14.d5? 
4...Bxc3! 15.bxc3 Bxd5 Black has netted a clean pawn and has better pawn structure. 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.Re3 Qd7 18.Rh3 h6 19.Qd4 Rfe8 20.Rg3 f6?! 21.Qh4 [21.Qxf6!] 21...Kh8 22.h3 Re2 23.Rd1 c6 24.Rd4 Rae8 25.Rdg4 R8e7?! [25...R8e4! diffuses the attack by trading a pair of rooks] 26.Rg6 Kh7 27.Qd4 [27.Qh5! Qe8 28.Rxh6+! gxh6 29.Qf5+ Kh8 30.Qxf6+ Kh7 31.Qf5+ would be a draw] 27...Qf5 28.R6g4 R2e4! now Black is in control again 29.h4?? (This was an unfortunate touch move that cost the game in an otherwise very well played effort for white) Rxd4 30.Rxd4 Re2 31.Rdg4 Qxf2+ 32.Kh1 Re1+ 33.Kh2 Qg1+ 34.Kh3 Qh1# 0-1