Posts Tagged ‘scholastic chess ratings’

Why I Run Rated Chess Tournaments for Kids

May 24, 2014

For the most part, every tournament run by the Torres Chess and Music Academy is rated by the United States Chess Federation. The TCAMA believes that rated tournaments are beneficial for youth chess players because they:

1) Use an official set of rules so that our competition will be fair.

2) The official nature of the chess tournament encourages your child to play a “more serious” chess game.

3) Ratings allow us to break children up into skill level sections.

4) Rated play means that your child must learn to stand on their own and receive no outside assistance.

5) All the major chess events worldwide are rated.

6) Rated play can serve as a reward for hours of chess practice.

7) A rated tournament encourages children to prepare more and thus improve their chess.

Kids playing chess at a rated tournament directed by the Torres Chess and Music Academy.

Kids playing chess at a rated tournament directed by the Torres Chess and Music Academy.

All Torres Chess and Music Academy rated tournaments are non-elimination events. In addition, we always provide coaching for free to all the children in attendance. Every child who attends one of our rated tournaments will receive an award(trophy, medal, ribbon etc.)


For more on youth chess ratings please read: How Important are Chess Ratings for Children?





How important are chess ratings for children?

May 22, 2014

A chess rating is just a number used in chess to estimate the strength of a player based on his/her past performance. For years, I have been advising chess coaches, parents and kids to avoid becoming preoccupied with ratings as doing so creates unnecessary problems for children. Some common problems I see regularly from over emphasizing chess ratings are: 

1) Avoidance of tournaments for fear of losing rating points

2) Avoidance of tournaments out of embarrassment from having a low rating

3) Being overly confident because his/her rating is higher than his/her opponent’s

4) Playing in a self-defeating mindset because his/her rating is much lower than his/her opponent’s

5) Dropping out of chess because of too much pressure to maintain a high rating.


So it was a real pleasure when I read a recent blog post by Susan Polgar where she offered her wisdom on chess ratings for scholastic players:

Q: How important are chess ratings for children?

A: My answer may be unpopular but ratings are not very relevant at an early age. The problem is that many parents are so concerned about the ratings their children become too timid to play “proper” chess in order to improve. They are so afraid of losing that they play not to lose instead of playing to win and this can seriously hinder the development of their children.

While in the short term ratings can satisfy one’s ego, it is better to look at the long term outcome.



I will be teaching with Susan this summer at the MSJE Fremont Summer Chess Camp.


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