Frequently Asked Questions
Player & Team Eligibility
Last Revised
December 22, 2022

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After you read these questions, if you still have a Player-Eligibility or Team-related question, please contact Mike Hoffpauir by email or by phone/text to 757-846-4805.

  1. What is a Team? 
    ANSWER:  A "team" is two or more players who attend the same Virginia-based school and who are playing in the same section of the tournament. A school does not have to have a "chess club" to have a "team" in the tournament. If there are two (2) or more players who go to the same school and playing in the same section of the tournament, then by default they are "a team."

  • For the Championship Sections in the Main Event team scores are determined using the game scores of the 4 highest-finishing players.  Teams with few than 4 players only accrue the points scored by the 2 or 3 players on their team.

  • For the "Under" Sections in the Main Event team scores are determined using the game scores of the 3 highest-finishing players.  Teams with 2 players only accrue the points scored by those 2 players.

  • A school may compete IN BOTH SECTIONS within their grade group.  For example, Jonesville Middle School may have a team of 4 players in K8 Championship, and a team of 3 players in K8-Under 1200.

  1. Do all players on a "Team" have to attend the same school? 
    ANSWER:  Yes.  If, during the tournament, a player's "school of attendance" is challanged, the player's Grade Report or Report Card is sufficient to prove attendance. If your player is home-schooled, see Questions 8 and 9 below. The school must be located in Virginia.

  2. Paul (or Sally) goes to Smallville High School, and the school doesn't have a Chess Club. Can Paul (or Sally) play as a member of our School's team? 
    ANSWER:  In general, the answer to this question is "No".  However, we ask that you contact Mike Hoffpauir and describe your specific situation because it deserves to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

  3. To play in the State Tournament do I have to be on a "team?" 
    ANSWER:  No, you do not have to be on a team.  But, you only will be eligible for individual awards.

  4. Our child attends two different schools--one for all math and science classes, another school for other courses.  Both schools have a Chess Club.  What School does our child play with? 
    ANSWER:  This is a complicated question that we usually answer based on your answers to these general questions:  1) Where does the student take "most" of his/her class work; 2) From which school does the player receive their Report Card or Grade Report; and 3) For which school has the player been playing in other (local or national) Scholatic Tournaments?  PLEASE contact us EARLY to get this question answered for your player.  Don't wait until the tournament.

  5. In our School District, the District Office has consolidated "Club activities" at specific schools.  As a result, "Chess Club" is offered only at a couple of schools in our District and our players go to one of those two schools for their Chess Club activities. For what school should such players register? Do they register under the name of the school they attend, or under the name of the school where Chess Club is held?  
    ANSWER: These players must register under the name of the Virginia-based school they attend, not the school where they go to Chess Club. See also Question 2 above.

  6. Our school district does not allow "Chess Clubs" at the schools, can we still play as a team? Or, our school does not have a Chess Club, can we still play as a team?
    ANSWER: Yes, absolutely, as long as there are at least 2 players from the same school who are playing in the same section of the tournament. See also the answer to Question 1 above.

  7. Can a home-schooled player play on our School's Team?
    ANSWER:   Maybe
    For this to happen we must have a letter from the School's Principal, Asst Principal, or the Team's Official School Sponsor (e.g. someone authorized to sign a letter on behalf of the School) saying that the player in question is a member of the school team and is being allowed to represent the school at the tournament.  Contact Mike Hoffpauir if you have additional questions.

  8. I am Home-Schooled.  Can I be on a Team?
    ANSWER:  YES, you have several options ...

    • One option is to form a team comprised of players who are all from the same, locally-formed home school association or co-operative (co-op). The bottom line is that we look to ensure that such an organization does not exist for the purpose of entering this tournament. 

    • If you are not part of a Home School Association or Co-Op, players may form a team with other home-schooled players who all live within the designated school boundary of the public school they would attend based on their home address and their current grade in school.

    • A Home-Schooled player also has the option to play as a member of the Public School he/she would attend based on his/her home address and current grade in school.  Permission to play on that school's team must be in writing, signed by a school official (e.g. Principal, Asst. Principal, or the Chess Team's Official School Sponsor).  See also the answer to Question #8 above.

  9. I will be attending Jones Middle School next year, can I play on their team this year?  
    ANSWER:  No, except as described below.

    • Exception   Pre-school (or Pre-K) players are an exception to this rule because they are not yet enrolled in school or home school. Therefore, a Pre-school player's team option" is to play for the school that they will attend when they become age-eligible for that school.  For this to happen we must have a letter from the future School's senior administration (Principal, Asst Principal) attesting to the fact that the pre-school player is expected to attend their school when s/he becomes of age.  Contact Mike Hoffpauir if you have additional questions.

  10. I attended Smithville Elementary last year, but my new school does not have a Chess Team.  Can I play on the Smithville team with my former friends?  
    ANSWER:  No, players can only play for the Virginia-based school they currently attend.

  11. Our School is a K-6 school.  Can our 6th Graders play with their school-mates on our K-5 Team?
    ANSWER:  No, to compete as part of a team the 6th graders should form their own team and register in the K8 Championship or K8 Under 1200 Section. 
    Alternatively, any of the K5 eligible players can "play-up" as part of your school's K8 Team (e.g., in this example, it means K5 players playing-up on their school's K8 Team).  As this example suggests, it's also possible for your school to have two teams, one playing in the K-5 Section, the other in the K-8 Section.

  12. We don't have a School Team, but our town has a "Scholastic Chess Club."  Can they compete as a team?
    ANSWER:  No, all team members must be students at the same school or otherwise meet at least one of the Team Composition criteria outlined above. 

  13. I live in Washington D.C., but go to school in Virginia near where my father (mother or guardian) works.  Can I compete in this tournament?
    ANSWER:  The answer probably is YES, the tournament is open to all players who attend public, private or home-school full-time IN VIRGINIA. 

  14. I am a resident of Virginia, but I attend school (K thru College) out-of-state.  Can I compete in this tournament? 
    ANSWER:  The answer probably is YES, the tournament is open to all Virginia-residents of school-age.  For any player attending school out-of-state, the player or his/her parents or legal guardians may be asked to provide "proof" of Virginia residency (e.g. Player's Drivers License, Parents Utility Bill from January or February of the current year).  Also, players who attend school out-of-state are not eligible to compete as a "team", their participation in the tournament is as an individual only.  (See also Question #4 above and #17 below.)

  15. I was born in Virginia, but I now live in Connecticut.  Can I compete in this tournament?
    ANSWER:  The answer is very likely NO.  But you should contact us to check and be certain.

  16. I attend Jameson Community College in McLean, VA, and I take night classes there. But I go to the University of Maryland during the day in pursuit of my degree.  I live in Virginia.  Can I compete in this tournament?
    ANSWER:  YES, because you are a Virginia resident.  However, unless Jameson Community College is your full-time school, you cannot participate as a member of that school's team.  You also cannot compete using Univ. of MD as your school. In other words, you are playing in the College Section of the tournament as an Individual, you are not part of any team.

  17. Our son/daughter lived in Virginia and attended a Virginia-based school when we registered for the tournament, but we have since moved out-of-the state and no longer attend school in VA. Can our son/daugher compete in this tournament?
    ANSWER:  NO.  Players need to be current residents of Virginia, or attending school full-time in Virginia.

  18. My father (mother or guadian) is in the U.S. military and stationed in Virginia. We live in Virginia. I attend the local public or private school, or I am home-schooled in Virginia. Can I play in this tournament?
    ANSWER:  YES.   See also the rules above concerning schools and home schools.

  19. I don't see an answer to my particular eligibility or team question.  Who can I call to ask my questions?
    ANSWER:  Contact Mike Hoffpauir by email, or by phone/text to 757-846-4805.  Don't wait until the tournament to get your questions answered.

If you have a question about Team Composition, contact Mike Hoffpauir by phone at 757-846-4805,
or by email to