Rebecca Holt

Chess4kids Free Online Classes May 27

Chess4kids(  will be hosting free online classes in May. The teachers will teach students chess strategy and tactics for the first part of class. After that, kids will play with each other online.  All teachers have a rating of 1500 or above. 

Time: 7:00-8:30PM
Date: May 6, 13, 20 and 27 (Wednesday)
Students: Should know basic chess rules

Please create a zoom account for the lesson, and a chess account on for playing online. 

Chess4kids online class registration

Play chess online, anytime (but maybe not past bedtime)!

OSCF encourages chess players to keep active in chess through online play. Here are two of many online chess sites that are popular with Oregon chess players:
Geared toward younger scholastic players, this chess site offers instruction videos, tactics, and online games. The site is safe for kids – no personal information is shared, chat is restricted, and activity reports are available for parent monitoring.
A very popular, free website for online play. Free registration allows you to earn a rating and play against players at your skill level. You also have the option to purchase a membership for greater flexibility and convenience.

There are many other sites for online play, learning, and research. Check out our listings here.

Online Northwest Regional Scholastic Chess Championship on May 16

The Washington Chess Federation presents a tournament open to all students registered in grades K-12, especially from the greater Northwest region including WA, OR, ID, and British Columbia.  Their goal is to provide an opportunity for scholastic chess players to compete in a large-scale online tournament at a time when many local and national events have been cancelled.

Format: A 5-round Swiss in six sections: K-1 U800, 2-3 U800, K-3 Open, 4-8 U900, 4-8 Open, 9-12 Open.

Eligibility: Open to all students registered in grades K-12. A and Zoom account are required.

Schedule: 9:15am, 10:30am, 11:45am, lunch break, 1:30pm, 2:45pm. Entry fee: $25 before 5/13, $30 after.

Time Control: Game in 25 minutes with a 5-second increment per move starting from move 1.

Prizes: Trophies and medals will be available for pick-up or mailed after the tournament, awarded to the top scoring individuals in each section. Medals for first timers that don’t earn a trophy.

Rating: NWSRS Rated. Higher of NWSRS or US Chess rating will be used to determine section and pairings. US Chess membership not required.

Procedure: Pairings will be released prior to the start of each round. Players will be paired automatically by the TD in the Live Chess area. Players will inform the TD of their result upon completion of the game.

Fair Play Policy: All players and parents are required to sign the WCF Fair Play Agreement prior to the start of the tournament. WCF’s Fair Play Committee will review any suspicious games on a case-by-case basis. Cheating of any kind is strictly prohibited.

Online Registration: – pay by Credit/Debit/PayPal. Registration deadline Fri. May 15 @ 5:00pm. No registrations or payments will be accepted after the deadline. No checkin since this is an online tournament. Unpaid players will receive a zero-point bye for round 1.

Questions? Jacob Mayer | WCF Tournament Coordinator | 206.697.5625 |

Introduction to Oregon Scholastic Chess for the new parent

My child LOVES playing chess, do how do I get him/her/them in competitions? Most tournaments are individual tournaments, meaning players compete on thier own and don’t need to be part of a team. Some schools chess clubs organize their students to attend tournaments, but it is most often up to the parents to register their kid(s) for events. A list of upcoming tournaments can be viewed here.

When is the Chess Season? While chess tournaments occur year-round, the “chess season” roughly follows school season culminating in a fun event – the OSCF State Championship. Don’t let the name fool you. All active chess players are welcome and we give out LOTS of trophies and medals. The Championship is in Seaside and has been rescheduled to August 24-25, 2020.  

Since all active chess players are welcome, how do I make sure my player(s) qualify to attend the OSCF State Championship? To qualify for the tournament, players must have played in one tournament, have 8 qualifying games this year, and have played 15 lifetime games (check out NWSRS Ratings – the #Gms is their lifetime games, the #GmsYTD is the number played this year). Don’t stress too much about this, just be sure your kid plays in a few tournaments/quads during the school year (September through April).

There are two main ways to play games: Tournaments and Quads. Tournaments are all day events on weekends. Typically 5 games for the beginning/intermediate players. The tournament is broken into section of players of similar “rating”. Usually age does not matter, only rating. The tournament will pair the player in the first round with someone in their section. Then after the first game, it will pair players who win against each other and those that tied or lost against each other, sorting out top players for awards in the section. The great thing about this is typically all but 1 or 2 players win a game. There is a “skittles” room (an old English word referring to a casual chess game or “pick up” game played for fun) where parents hang out while kids are playing and kids wait for next game. Bring lots of stuff to keep busy. Lots of waiting! Rounds start at designated times, depending on how long the time control is for each round.

Quads are smaller events – sort of mini tournaments. Players are broken into groups of 4 with similar ratings, then they each play the other 3 players. There is less waiting. As soon as the current pair of games is complete, they swap and begin the next round. It can be very fast for beginners. This is a great way for beginners to get experience and qualifying games.

How does my player earn a chess rating? Your player will get a rating automatically after the first tournament they play.  The player’s rating starts at 400. After each tournament it goes up and down based on whether they win or lose, and the ratings of their opponents. Results from each tournament are submitted to Chess Ratings Northwest (NWSRS), and volunteers compile results and calculate players’ ratings.

Are there chess coaches who can help my player improve? Believe it or not, like any activity there are chess coaches. It is totally not necessary at the beginning phases, but it can also help your player’s game progress quickly and gain confidence. There are a few “basics” that really make a difference beyond just how the pieces move.  Your school’s chess club (if it exists) can provide coaching or you can supplement with private coaching.

Please explore our OSCF website to learn more about chess in Oregon. After you’ve spent time reading more information, if you have additional questions you may contact us at OSCF@OSCF.ORG. A OSCF parent volunteer will get in touch with you directly.

Special thanks to chess parent, Phil McCoog, for drafting this post!

Season of Giving Fundraiser Tournament on April 25 at 2 pm


OSCF player Kushal Pai is hosting The Season of Giving Fundraiser. This tournament is an online blitz chess tournament for players of all ages. Time control is (3+2).

All proceeds will benefit Blanchet (pronounced Blan-shay) House, a nonprofit social services organization located in downtown Portland. They provide food, clothing and housing programs to people in need. They believe that it is their responsibility to offer assistance in whatever way they can.

The entry fee is $10, 100% of which will go to supporting Blanchet House. Please register your player(s) to support this local charity and to join fellow player Kushal in giving back to those in need in our community!

OSCF Online Tournament Schedule on Lichess for April 20-25

OSCF is continuing to offer free online tournaments in April on Lichess! Each day features either Blitz, Rapid, and other variants. Kids and adults both welcome. Open to all regardless of age or residency. 

Start times for our Monday and Wednesday arenas are 3:00pm-4:00pm. Friday Night Rapid Arena is twice as long, from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Feedback, suggestions, and special requests are welcome and appreciated!

Monday April 20, 3:00PM-4:00PM
OSCF Blitz Arena (5+0)

Wednesday April 22, 3:00PM-4:00PM
OSCF Crazyhouse Arena (5+0)

Friday April 24, 6:00PM-8:00PM
OSCF Rapid Arena (10+0)

Saturday April 25, 2:00PM-4:00PM
The Season of Giving Fundraiser (3+2) 
Hosted by OSCF player Kushal Pai
Tournament link: Register here for $10 and the tournament link will be emailed to you. All proceeds benefit Blanchet House of Portland.


  • Create a free Lichess account. You can do this by going to or by downloading the mobile app.
  • You can join the tournament by clicking on the links above.
  • You will need a password to enter the tournament. The password is “OSCFCHESS.”   


  • Lichess has a chat feature. To disable chat, go to settings and change your account to Kid Mode. 
  • If you get logged out mid-tournament, it can be hard to get logged back in. The best way to get back in the tournament is to go to OSCF.ORG and click the link for the Arena. Sometimes it is difficult to find link on Lichess’s tournament webpage. The link should open the Lichess App.
  • Note: This tournament is not NWSRS rated and is not a OSCF state qualifier, BUT IT WILL BE GREAT FUN FOR YOUR PLAYER(S)!
  • Parents, please do not use your kids’ real names online. Practice sensible precautions for minors.

Chess Class with USCF Master Matt Zavortink on April 21 at 6:30 pm

On Tuesday, April 21st, two-time Oregon State Champion Matt Zavortink will host a two-hour interactive group chess lesson via Zoom, starting at 6:30pm. The topic will be Strategies, Tactics, and Tricks in the e4 e5 Openings. The content is designed for players in the 1000-1500 rating range.

Registration/Cost: To register fill out the form here. The cost is $10. After registering you will receive a follow up email and be asked to pay electronically via Paypal or Venmo. In the unlikely event that the class is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances all payments will be fully refunded. In order to ensure that everyone can participate and ask questions enrollment will be capped at 10 students.

Logistics: Sometime before the start of the class an email will be sent containing a link to the zoom meeting and a link to the lichess study (which will contain all of the covered material and be accessible to all participants indefinitely following the class). Participants should download and familiarize themselves with the Zoom client before the meeting if they have not already used it.

Future Events: Depending on interest more classes/topics will be offered for different rating ranges. Those with more questions can contact Matt at

OSCF Blitz Battle Arenas on LiChess – March 27 at 6 pm

OSCF is moving online for March and April! 

The OSCF Blitz Battle Arena will run on  Kids and adults both welcome! These events are free and open to everyone regardless of age or residency, though you need a password to join. The password is OSCFCHESS. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, March 23 at 2 pm – 4 pm – We had 57 participants including beginners, strong club players, and two National Masters!

Wednesday, March 25 at 2 pm – 4 pm – Record turnout of 73 players! NM b_6 again took first place, giving a masterclass on flank openings.

Friday, March 27 at 6 pm – 8 pm – Click here to join the match! *NOTE: There is a chat feature. KEEP YOUR COMMENTS POSITIVE, EXPLETIVE FREE, AND SHOW GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP, or you’ll be booted from the tournament!

To participate:

  1. Create a free Lichess account. You can do this by going to or by downloading the mobile app.
  2. You can join by clicking on the links above.
  3. You will need a password to enter the tournament. The password is “OSCFCHESS.” 


  1. If you get logged out mid-tournament, it can be hard to get logged back in. Search for the username of someone you know is playing (such as CaptainDubious), then watch the game they are playing. You might be able to click on the game and get back to the tournament that way.
  2. Parents, please do not use your kids’ real names online. Practice sensible precautions for minors.

Note: This tournament is not NWSRS rated and is not a OSCF state qualifier, BUT IT WILL BE GREAT FUN FOR YOUR PLAYER(S)!

Game Analysis from Monday’s Blitz Battle by NM Matt Zavortink

For those of you wishing for more chess analysis, National Master Matt Zavortink quickly analyzed four games that he played during the Monday OSCF Blitz Battle Arena.

He says, “Obviously these are casual blitz games so there are a lot of blunders from both sides, but I tried to make some general comments that people may find useful.” – NM Matt Zavortink

Check out his game analysis from Monday’s OSCF Blitz Battle Arena.