Registration FAQ

Tournament Sections

How do I know which Section to select on the registration form?
VSCA tournaments are organized into different sections to allow players to play against others of approximately the same age. Most tournaments include 4 sectons: K–3 (Kindergarten through 3rd Grade), K–5 (4th & 5th grade), K–8 (6th through 8th grade) and K–12 (9th through 12th grade). Players will be placed in the lowest section in which they are eligible to play unless they request to “play up” to a higher section. For example, kindergarteners will be placed in the K–3 section, 4th graders in the K–5 section, etc.

USCF Membership

What is a USCF membership and why is it required?
The USCF is the United States Chess Federation—the official, not for profit, membership organization for chessplayers of all ages and levels from beginners to grandmasters! Among other things, the USCF maintains the official rating system for all scholastic tournaments and requires that all participants in these tournaments maintain a current USCF membership. The VSCA is an affiliate of the USCF, and most VSCA tournaments are USCF rated events. Learn more about the USCF.
How do I get a USCF membership?
You may join the USCF through on the USCF website. Membership information may be found by clicking on the link marked “Join or Renew” at the top of their home page. You may also join by phone or at a VSCA tournament. Please join or renew at least several days before a tournament so that we will have time to verify your membership.
  • Online: Visit and select the link to “Join or Renew”. You may charge your membership and most major credit cards are accepted.
  • Phone: Call the USCF at 1-800-903-USCF (1-800-903-8723) from 8:00am–5:00pm, (Eastern Time / GMT-5) Monday–Friday and charge your membership; most major credit cards are accepted.
  • Onsite: USCF Membership applications are available at VSCA tournaments prior to the start of a tournament (8:00am–8:45am). You may pay by check or cash, credit card payments are not accepted. Players registering onsite need to arrive early to allow time for filling out forms.
How much does a USCF membership cost?
The USCF offers a range of membership levels. Most scholastic players chose to join as “Scholastic” member (ages 12 & under), “Youth” members (ages 15 & under) or as “Young Adult” members (ages 24 & under). Please refer to the USCF website for current information on membership dues.
How do I know if I have a current USCF membership?
If you have a USCF membership but have not attended a tournament recently, your membership may have expired without your notice. You may check the status of your membership by checking your ratings on the USCF website. Your membership expiration date will be listed next to your name on your ratings page. Once you have registered for a VSCA tournament please check the List of Registered Players (there is a link posted on the front page of the VSCA website for the listing for the upcoming tournament). Expired USCF memberships are marked in red on that list. USCF memberships may be renewed using the same methods outlined for new memberships, above.

Payment Options

What’s the best way to pay tournament entry fees?
Mail Payment is the preferred method of payment as it reduces the number people who need to pay on the morning of the tournament. Instructions for mail payment are provided on the website and via email as a part of the online registration process. Payment by mail must be postmarked by Monday before a tournament so please register early to ensure adequate time to mail your payment.
Payment Options: What other payment options do I have?
If mail payment is not possible, payment may be made by cash or check the morning of the tournament (credit card payments are not accepted). VSCA tournaments are popular events with an average attendance of over 100 players. Mail payment is encouraged whenever possible to keep the check-in lines short and help us to start the tournaments on schedule.

Other Registration Questions

When does registration open for a particular tournament?
Online registration for most tournaments is available approximately two weeks in advance of the tournament date.
When does registration end for a particular tournament?
Advance registration for VSCA tournaments closes at 7:00am on the Thursday preceding the tournament date.
What happens if I miss the advance registration deadline for a tournament? Can I still play?
If a player is unable to register for a tournament prior to the Wednesday registration cutoff date, he/she may still play as a “walk-in” registrant. Walk-in registration is from 8:00–8:45am on the morning of the tournament. Registration fees for walk-in registrations is $14. USCF membership is required. Walk-in registrants should register before 8:30am to guarantee that they will play in the first round. If there are a large number of late registrations, players registering later than 8:30 may receive a “half-point bye” for Round 1.
What’s the best way to avoid missing the advance registration deadline for a tournament?
A schedule of tournament dates and locations for the current school year is listed under our Chess Event Calendar. We also e-mail a monthly newsletter to all players who register for a VSCA tournament, advising them of upcoming tournaments and registration deadlines.
How can I be sure you have my registration recorded correctly?
A “List of Registered Players” for the next upcoming tournament, including each registered player’s name, rating, section, school, USCF expiration date and VSCA expiration date is available on the VSCA website. This list allows for easy sorting alphabetically or by school to help you find your information and it is a good idea to check this listing after registering to be sure that it is correct. Expired USCF memberships are noted in red and a missing USCF ID indicates the player has not yet joined the USCF. This list is updated daily, please allow 24 hours from the date of your registration before your information appears.
How do I get directions to the tournament site?
Addresses and general driving directions for each tournament location are located on our Chess Event Calendar. We recommend that you consult an online service such as Mapquest or Google Maps for door to door driving directions.
What time should I plan to arrive at the tournament?
The registration desk is open from 8:00 am until 8:45 am the morning of the tournament. All players should plan to be onsite to check in with the registration desk prior to 8:45 am. If you have planned to pay onsite, we request that you arrive early as lines at recent tournaments have been long and all players must be checked in by 8:45 am. If you are paying onsite and also need to fill out USCF forms, we request that you arrive “extra early”. If you have mailed your fees by the deadline of Monday before the tournament, then you should plan to arrive by 8:45 am in order to check in with the registration desk. If you are a new or renewing USCF member and need forms, please pick those up at the registration desk when you arrive. Thank you for your consideration in paying your entry fees early.
What should I do when I get to the tournament?
This is dependent mostly on whether or not you have mailed your entry fees or will be paying onsite. Players who need to pay fees or fill out forms should enter the line at the registration desk upon immediately upon arrival. Players who have mailed their entry fees simply need to let the registration desk know that they have arrived and may then proceed to the skittles area.
How much are my entry fees for the current tournament?
For players who register online using our tournament registration form, the entry fee is $7. Players who do not register online may register the morning of the tournament as a “walk-in registrant”. The entry fee for walk-in registration is $14. Additional fees may apply if you do not have proof of USCF membership. See “How Do I Get a USCF Membership”.
Where can I find more information about things like pairings, standings, teams, byes and tiebreaks?
Information on these and other tournament related items can be found on the Tournmament Results FAQ List.

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