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US Chess Invitational Requirements Print E-mail


NOTE: This page is no longer being maintained as of 12.07.2020. For current information, please visit   https://new.uschess.org/invitational-information


Effective June 21, 2019


1.       Guidelines.  The following pertain to players wishing to receive invitations to the events listed in Section 2:  


a.      US Chess membership requirement.  Every player must be a member of US Chess in good standing at the time of the invitation.  Invitations are a privilege, not a right, and are not afforded to any player by virtue of his or her status as a US Chess member.


b.      FIDE Federation listed as USA.  Players must be registered with FIDE as a USA player to participate in these events and the date of eligibility to participate under the USA flag must be prior to the date the invitation is issued.


c.       FIDE Federation Transfers.  In order to be eligible for participation in International events, transferred players must fulfill all FIDE transfer fee requirements prior to invitation to these events.  See https://ratings.fide.com/fedchange.phtml for federation transfer information.  Click on the appropriate year to show transfers approved, to include dates when players become eligible to participate in FIDE events under the USA flag and when they may represent the USA at International competitions without paying the transfer fee.


d.      U.S. residency.  Non-US citizens, including those who have an approved FIDE federation transfer, must provide documentation of U.S. residency.  Documentation includes I-94, work, refugee or humanitarian visas.  In accordance with ADM 14-31 approved at the 2014 Delegates Meeting, a student or tourist visa is not sufficient for eligibility to play in US Chess Invitational events.  Students and tourists desiring invitation to such events must demonstrate their commitment to the U.S. by providing a Green Card or properly processed Green Card application.  


2.       Invitational Events: 

a.      U.S. Championships.  In even-numbered years, players must meet all the requirements listed in Section 1, with the exception of transfer fees (required for USA representation at International Championships).  Players must still be listed as USA Federation in FIDE.  In odd-numbered years, when the US Championships are also the Zonal Championships, players must also meet the transfer fee requirements as explained in 1.d above.


The following will be automatically seeded into the U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship:


1)      Previous year’s respective champions.


2)      U.S. Open Champion


3)      U.S. Junior Champion


4)      U.S. Junior Girl’s Champion (for U.S. Women’s Championship)

5)    U.S.  Senior Open Champion - For the U.S. Senior Open Champion to qualify for the U.S. Senior Championship, they must satisfy the above residency requirements and earn clear first or a tie for first. In the case of a tie, the playoff results or the tournament tiebreaks will be used. 


Other players will be selected utilizing the Invitational Rating list (US Chess ratings with appropriate adjustments as defined in 5 below) posted on the US Chess website.  At the discretion of the organizer, wild-card entries may be added.  These players (rating and wild-card) must also meet the requirements of Section 1.

For the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open, only players who finish clear first or tied for first are eligible for seeding into the U.S. Championship and U.S. Senior Championship, respectively. 


b.   For Scholastic National Invitational Event and Award Requirements click here.


c.      Olympiad and World Teams.  The US Champion and US Women’s Champion qualify automatically for the respective team, but foreign players must also meet the requirements in 1.d.  Other participants are selected by using the appropriate Invitational Rating List.  The use of this combined list also applies to the Zonal Championships (U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship in odd-numbered years) since they lead to qualification to the World Championship cycles.  For the Olympiad and World Team Championships, the Team Captain and Coaches are selected by the players.  The selection of team members, captains and coaches for one event is independent from the selection of teams for subsequent events.  For example, the members of the Olympiad teams will not necessarily be the same for subsequent events such as the World Team Championships.  For the World Senior Team Championships, the top five players who qualify by age (as of December 31 of the competition year) for the Open 50+ competition and accept their invitations are designated the official team, and will receive any stipend designated by the Executive Board to offset their costs.  There will be no separate Team Captain or Coaches designated for the World Senior Team Championships.  The highest rated player on the team will be designated Team Captain, unless the players choose otherwise.  


3.       Invitational Cut-off Dates:  


a.       U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship.  Cut-off dates depend on the schedule of the events.  The US Chess Office will determine the invitation date which will be approximately three months prior to the event.


b.      For the Olympiad and World Team Championships, invitation dates will be after the preceding U.S. Championships (including play-off games) are rated, unless the dates for submitting the team rosters precludes from using the U.S. Championships results.  In such case, the US Chess Office will determine the invitation date which will be about three months prior to the event.  For the World Senior Team Championships, invitation dates will be in accordance with the event deadlines set by FIDE. 


4.       Invitational Rating List.  The rating of matches and private tournaments will not be included in the Invitational Rating calculations (see definitions in Section 6).  Only established US Chess ratings will be used for invitational purposes.  Provisional ratings will not be used.  Players found to be inappropriately manipulating their results may face sanctions, including ineligibility for invitations for US Chess Invitational events. 


a.       For the U.S. Championship and US Women’s Championship the US Chess rating list will be used, with adjustments as noted below.


b.     For the World Olympiad, World Team and World Senior Team, the invitational rating list formula will consist of 1/3 of the US Chess Rating, 1/3 of the FIDE rating, and 1/3 of the combined US Chess/FIDE peak official published ratings over the 12 months preceding the cut-off rating lists, with adjustments as noted in Section 5 below.


5.       Activity Adjustments  


a.        The “Activity Period” is defined as the 12-month period ending 120 days before the date of invitation.


1)    Each player must play at least 30 regular rated US Chess games against certain strength opponents as defined below.


2)   Games must be rated by the invitation cut-off date.  Games that are Quick or Dual rated do not count.


3)   Games played in matches and “private tournaments” do not count.


4)   For games to be counted as “activity” they must be against players of strength as noted below:  


                      Event                                                 Strength (US Chess Rating)

                        U.S. Championship                                     2200

                        U.S. Women’s Championship                     2000


b.      Any player who fails to play at least 30 games as defined above during the Activity Period will be penalized one (1) Invitational Rating Point for each game fewer than 30 played.           


6.       Private Tournament and Match Restrictions.  Results from matches and private tournaments will not be used in invitational rating and activity calculations.  


a.       Private Tournament.  A tournament is considered to be private unless is has at least one of the following features:


1)      A TLA which appears on Chess Life magazine at least two weeks before the tournament.


2)      The tournament is FIDE rated, registered as such with FIDE at least 30 days in advance, open to the public to spectate, and adequately publicized at least two weeks in advance.


b.      Matches.  Usually, a two-players event is considered to be a match and does not count in invitational rating and activity calculations, however: 


1)      The US Chess Executive Director may allow a match to count if it is FIDE rated, registered as such with FIDE at least 30 days in advance, open to the public to spectate, adequately publicized at least two weeks in advance, and neither player has been on a rating floor during the past 24 months.


2)      Segments of knock-out match tournaments in which the pairings are determined by a system for Round 1 and by results after that are not considered matches.


3)      Play-off matches for a title prize, if specified in the advance tournament publicity, are not considered matches.


4)      The US Chess rating program considers some events with more than two players to be matches, for example events in which players face each other more than twice or some events in which one player plays more games than others.  Events considered to be matches by the rating program do not count. 


9.       Tie-break Rules.  If after invitational ratings are calculated there is a tie among players, the following tie-breaks will be used to decide order of invitation:


a.       The highest number of eligible US Chess rated games played during the activity period.  This includes FIDE games that are US Chess rated also.


b.      The highest number of eligible US Chess rated games played in the U.S. during the activity period.


c.       The higher FIDE rating from the current FIDE rating list at the time of invitation.


d.      The greatest US Chess rating gain during the activity period.


e.      If multiple players are still tied, US Chess shall have a drawing of lots to break the tie.  



                              These guidelines will be adjusted as necessary and posted on the US Chess website.

The invitation dates and rating supplement or tournaments that will be used   will also be posted on the US Chess website. 

US Chess reserves the right not to issue invitations to any particular event or to change these criteria without advanced notice.