OSCF Championship Qualifier Tournaments

Players must participate in at least one “OSCF Championship Qualifier” tournament in order to compete in the OSCF State Championship for individuals (note that there is no qualifier needed for the OSCF K-12 Team Championship).

In brief, qualifier tournaments must be open, rated, and give generous awards. In addition, they need to be certified and listed as qualifiers on the NWSRS calendar at least two weeks prior to the event–look for the characteristic green font on the calendar http://www.calendarwiz.com/nwsrsevents.

Our goal is to provide as many opportunities to qualify, throughout the state, as possible. While tournament directors have the flexibility to use many different tournament formats, a state qualifier tournament must meet a number of standard requirements in order to maintain fairness and quality, and tournament directors should always contact the OSCF Board before listing their events as a qualifier.

Requirements for “Qualifier” Certification

To be certified as a OSCF Championship Qualifier, the event must be approved by the OSCF Board, and must be a rated, high-quality, open event held in Oregon. In particular:

  1. Prior to advertising the event as an OSCF Qualifier, organizers must have the event certified by the OSCF Board. Because organizers and TDs tend to change from year to year, even “annual” events must be re-certified every year. To get your event certified, contact us.
  2. Qualifier events for a particular year must be played in the period after the prior year’s state tournament, and ending 10 days prior to the state tournament for that year.
  3. In general, the event must be open to all scholastic players in the state. Common types of events that may not serve as qualifiers absent prior agreement with the Board include: “team only” events, dual meets between schools or clubs; “in-house” tournaments within a school or club; events with participation restricted by gender or rating; and events requiring an invitation. USCF membership may be required at open events, and some broad-based age restrictions (such as grades 6-12) may also be allowed. “Team” events may be permitted to be qualifiers only if the director permits and facilitates the ability of unaffiliated players to join a team.
  4. At least one experienced USCF-certified or OSCF-experienced tournament director must be in attendance and properly (and promptly) submit the rated results of the tournament to USCF or NWSRS.
  5. The tournament must be rated either by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) or Northwest Scholastic Rating Service (NWSRS). OSCF strongly encourages tournament directors to transition to use USCF ratings for all events but will continue to certify NWSRS rated events as official qualifiers through 2023. Tournament Directors in Oregon are welcome to submit through the OSCF Affiliate or their own USCF affiliate. If you need help learning how to run USCF rated events, contact us.
  6. If a tournament otherwise meets the requirements as an OSCF Championship Qualifier, but offers unrated sections, the tournament organizer must make it clear to participants in the unrated section(s) that the event will not count toward qualification for the OSCF State Championship.
  7. The tournament organizer must advertise the event as an OSCF Championship Qualifier on the NWSRS calendar at least two weeks prior to the event date (8+ weeks is recommended for best turnout). Organizers are encouraged to advertise through as many outlets as possible. OSCF can post your event on the OSCF web site (oscf.org), in addition to the required NWSRS calendar post. Events cannot be considered state qualifiers “after the fact.”
  8. We want Championship Qualifiers to be known for “generous awards.” A minimum of 25% of the total tournament budget must be set aside for awards. The tournament announcement must clearly advertise prizes, any guarantees, and policies regarding instances where a player may be eligible for more than one prize.
  9. US Chess Federation standards must be maintained in all cases. Policies regarding clocks, notation, section format, class prizes, etc. must be published prior to the tournament. Any changes must be clearly and prominently posted at the tournament site before the event begins. OSCF has no particular requirements regarding tie-break methods or format of sections (age-based vs. ratings based, quads vs. Swiss etc.). We require only that these details be clearly outlined in event announcements. Use of clocks and notation should follow policies outlined in the latest edition of US Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess
  10. The “US Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess” handbook must be on the premises and used to resolve any and all player disputes or tournament director decisions. This is true even if the event is only NWSRS rated. A working knowledge of this book is required for lead TDs.
  11. The results of must be submitted for rating and insertion in the qualifier database within 5 days of the event. Events held during the final qualifying weekend will need to be submitted even more promptly.


    • At least one certified or experienced TD for every 50 players. (For example, a tournament with 101-150 players should have three experienced TDs.)
    • OSCF does not encourage “award inflation,” but we do want qualifiers to be known for sending home attractive and creative prizes. Participants generally appreciate event mementos such as ribbons and certificates, but the top 25% of participants should also expect to take home prizes of increased value and significance.
    • OSCF recommends USCF ratings even for beginner sections and is gradually phasing out the use of NWSRS ratings. The broader the pool of USCF rated players, the more accurate the ratings become. USCF scholastic memberships are available to tournament directors and players at a substantial discount.
    • OSCF encourages the use of clocks and notation in all sections. In the lower sections, TDs should expect a good faith effort to record the game but should not penalize inaccuracies. Players who keep a complete and accurate record of the game get the benefit of doubt in resolving disputes.
    • OSCF recommends tournament formats that best suit the local playing population, facility constraints, and attendance goals of the tournament organizers. To that end, we do not dictate the format of OSCF Championship Qualifiers.

Note that while certain events may not be appropriate as qualifiers, they may still be eligible for NWSRS and/or US Chess Federation rating.