Seven Cities ONLINE Chess Championship – NEW

The Seven Cities School Chess Championship scheduled for April 4th in Norfolk has been cancelled based on government guidance on the COVID-19 global pandemic. But don’t despair! HRCA brings you the Seven Cities ONLINE Chess Championship to be held on on Saturday, April 4th beginning at 11:00 AM.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT CLOSED AT MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAY, APRIL 2nd.  If you are a member of the general public who just heard about the event on WAVY 10 and WTKR 3 this week, and you would like to play, please contact Tina (scroll to the bottom of the page) on Friday, and we will try to accommodate you.  All HRCA members / players in our existing clubs / school programs were given three weeks’ notice and several reminders to register.  No additional member registrations will be taken.

A few things remain the same as for the originally scheduled event:

Open to all children in grades Pre-K through 12th residing in the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. Players in “outlying areas” commonly considered to be part of “Hampton Roads,” please contact the organizer before registering, to determine eligibility.

Open to students who attend public school, private school, or who are homeschooled.

A Note on School Teams: A school team consists of any two or more players in the same section. At the end of the event, the top four individual players’ scores for a school comprise the team score in each section. Experienced players may note the different grade format / restrictions for this event than that to which they are accustomed (K-3, K-5, K-8, and K-12). This event was specifically designed for the fairly standard school grade level breakdowns found throughout our region. To avoid confusion for the many new players who are expected, and to keep within the spirit of school teams for this event, no player is allowed to “play up.” Each section is designed for an exact grade range. Players do NOT need to be part of a school team to participate in this event. Any eligible individual can enter.

A Note on Homeschooled students: Because they often work at different grade levels in different subjects and can’t pinpoint a “grade they are in,” we recommend using their birthdate to determine the grade they would be in if they were in public school to determine eligibility; however, we trust and accept all homeschool parents’ grade placement determinations for their children. Homeschooled players may form “school” teams as family members (if they fall in the same grade range) or as members of a recognized homeschool cooperative.

This is an “individual-team” event. This means that players go about their tournament playing their own individual games and competing for individual awards, but at the end of the day, up to the top 4 scores (as explained above) for each school comprise the team score. We make every effort NOT to pair teammates, but for schools with many entrants, or two players from the same school who MUST play each other (e.g. the top two going into the final round), teammates will be paired.

Sections for all ages and abilities.

These sections are open to all players who do NOT have a US Chess rating. US Chess membership is NOT required. These sections are designed for players with little to no tournament experience.
Primary (PK-2) Rookie
Intermediate (3-5) Rookie
Middle School (6-8) Rookie
High School (9-12) Rookie

These sections are open to any player with a US Chess membership. They are designed for players with more tournament experience. Unrated / first time rated players may enter these sections with a US Chess membership. ***UPDATE:  This tournament is not eligible for a standard over-the-board rating from US Chess.  However, US Chess recently announced the ability to rate online events in Quick or Blitz time controls — internet rating-only (no affect on “real” ratings).  If this tournament goes off without a hitch / glitch-free, we intend to submit the “rated” sections to US Chess for an Online Quick rating.***

Primary (PK-2) Rated
Intermediate (3-5) Rated
Middle School (6-8) Rated
High School (9-12) Rated

HRCA will automatically assign players to sections based on your grade as reported on the registratoin form, and whether or not you are a US Chess member / rated player.


There is NO CHARGE to play in this online event. It is FREE to all players.

Though we are requiring our Rated players to enter the Rated sections, THIS IS NOT A RATED EVENT. US Chess has no system for rating online tournaments held on this platform ( Your rating will be unaffected by this event. ***UPDATE:  This tournament is not eligible for a standard over-the-board rating from US Chess.  However, US Chess recently announced the ability to rate online events in Quick or Blitz time controls — internet rating-only (no affect on “real” ratings).  If this tournament goes off without a hitch / glitch-free, we intend to submit the “rated” sections to US Chess for an Online Quick rating.***

All players must have access to a device or computer with internet connectivity capable of accessing the website for the duration of the event. You cannot enter the tournament from the ChessKid app — you must log on to the website.

The event is set to run from 11 AM to 2:20 PM at the latest. We are setting the event up for 5 rounds per section, but extremely small sections (e.g. high school) will have fewer rounds assigned by the computer.  ***UPDATE:  Currently we are planning to combine any registered high school players with the middle school sections.  High school players will be separated back out for awards and will not affect middle school awards.***

Due to the computer-assigned pairings and the inability to specify team restrictions, it is possible that school teammates will be paired against one another more than what may be required at an in-person event, affecting the final team standings.

You will register for the event using the registration form at the top of this page. All players will then be assigned a temporary basic (free) account specifically for use in this tournament. Each player will receive login information prior to the event. You are welcome to use the free account to prepare for the event. It will not affect use of the account for the event. We will leave the free accounts in place for the foreseeable future, so players are welcome to continue to use them. We recognize that many of our players already have ChessKid accounts. For ease of organization, we will NOT use those accounts for this event. Each account will be formatted in a way that identifies the player by school, first name, and initial of last name, e.g. ODSJannieP or NPESToshaP. HRCA will create the accounts. Please do NOT log in to any other account for this event. You will not be able to access the tournament from an account that was not set up by us specifically for this event. ***UPDATE:  We will be using your existing ChessKid accounts for this event.  If you do not have an account, we will set one up for you and send you the login information.  You will know you are registered for the event when you see yourself added to a “Club” on ChessKid with the name of your section for the event, and when you can see your upcoming tournament on Fast Chess.***

On the day of the event, we recommend that players log in no later than 10:40 AM. Earlier in the morning, be sure to do a final technical check from your device or computer to ensure you can access your account.

***UPDATE:  We highly recommend having your parents help you clear your browser’s cache on the device you are using for ChessKid the morning of the tournament.  See tips here:

You will be able to see the tournament on your home page and on your Fast Chess screen. You will be able to enter the event only 15 minutes prior to the scheduled 11 AM start time. Players attempting to enter the tournament late are locked out from doing so by the program — we have no control over this. Please be sure you enter the correct section — this is very important! ***UPDATE:  ChessKid has updated their programming to allow for late entries!  If you enter the tournament late for any reason, you may miss a round, but just wait for the next round to start, and you will be paired.  We are also setting the tournament up in such a way that you will only be able to see and enter the section for which you are pre-registered, so there will be no need to choose the right section.***  HRCA will send out reminder instructions the day prior to the event, and we will include a roster of registered players and usernames, so everyone knows who they are actually playing. as well as being able to reference the section you are supposed to enter. Parents, please oversee this process to ensure your child enters the correct section. Once they are entered and the event begins, we are unable to move them to the correct section. In these cases, the child will be allowed to complete the tournament but may be ineligible for prizes. HRCA will make those determinations after the event is over and correct any standings as necessary.

During the tournament, if you experience a loss of connectivity, unfortunately you may be dropped from the event and be unable to re-enter.  ***UPDATE:  Before you assume you are “kicked out” of a game or the tournament, please use these tips:  If a game appears to be hung up / frozen / stalled — a clock is running but nothing is happening — it is okay to hit the “refresh” circular arrow on your browser.  That will usually clear the problem, and it will NOT drop you from your game or the tournament.  If you find yourself “outside” your game in a tournament due to a glitch, but you have not deliberately clicked the x and confirmed you want to withdraw, you CAN get back in!  Simply go to the list of games being played in the tournament, find your game, and click the binoculars like you want to watch it.  The system will recognize you as one of the players and let you back in!***

This is a known issue with no solution from the programmers, and we know it is upsetting for the players. We are working with to come up with any possible solutions to allow players to enter late, possibly under a different username assigned on the spot (ChessKid indicated they are working on the late entry programming). It is imperative that you do NOT NAVIGATE AWAY FROM THE TOURNAMENT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE ON CHESSKID DURING THE EVENT. Doing so will cause you to be dropped from the tournament. If you finish your game early, you can have fun watching the other games in progress while you wait! Every game is available for viewing.  ***UPDATE:  If you lose connectivity and try the tips above and still seem to be kicked out of the tournament, please immediately contact the tournament director at 757-535-3880 via text.  I will call you immediately to try to find a solution to finish the event.***

At 11 AM, players will be automatically paired by the computer, and Round 1 will begin. As soon as the last game finishes in each section, the computer will automatically re-pair for Round 2. Like the original event, this program uses the Swiss pairing system, which is similar to a bracket system in sports. It is not an elimination event. You will play all rounds. If in one round you appear to still be entered in the tournament but are not assigned an opponent, it likely means there is an uneven number, and you are assigned a free point (bye) to sit the round out. Do not disconnect! Watch the other games and wait to be paired for the next round.

In order to find a compromise time control for each game that doesn’t cause too much boredom for players who finish early, but which allows for decent “Quick” games to be played by our more advanced players, we have settled on G/20 as the time control. This means that each player has 20 total minutes to complete all their moves.  A round could conceivably last up to 40 minutes if both players in even a single game use every minute of their time. The advantage of an online format is immediate repairing by a computer and no delay in entering results before pairing the next round. Therefore, the estimated schedule is as follows:

11:00-11:40 AM Round 1
11:40 AM-12:20 PM Round 2
12:20-1:00 PM Round 3
1:00-1:40 PM Round 4
1:40-2:20 PM Round 5

Please do not take those as exact start times. The tournament may and probably will proceed more quickly. DO NOT STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER. Have snacks and drinks nearby, and have a family member available to bring you lunch. If you are on a portable device, carry it with you wherever you go until the event is over!

At the end of the event, the computer will issue “virtual” certificates and Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals to the Top 3 players in each section. Note those results are unofficial as we check for any issues such as re-entering players who experienced loss of connectivity. We will also manually go through and calculate team results at the end of the event.

In order to lift the spirits of our local chess players in light of the disruption to our lives and this event, HRCA is donating the following actual physical awards at a minimum:

Plaque to the top school in each section (possibly more based on entries).
Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals to the top 3 players in each section (possibly more based on entries).
Other certificates, small prizes, and participation ribbons — every player will get something.

HRCA will coordinate with area schools to ensure delivery of prizes in the fall.

The t-shirts designed for the original event will NOT be sold for the online tournament. Shirts will be sold when and if the physical event is rescheduled.

For more information or questions, please contact Tina at 757-535-3880 or