36 WIDELY BELIEVED MYTHS
about Continental Chess Association tournaments
Revised January 1, 2016
 
MYTH 1: If I registered in advance, I must register again at the site.
ACTUAL:
Players do not register twice. If you enter in advance, you will be paired for round 1 and need only to show up at the starting time for that round.

MYTH 2:
If I have entered in advance and need to switch sections or schedules or drop out, I should call Continental Chess.
ACTUAL: If you are reading this, you probably have internet access, and it's far more effective if you do not call and instead send us an email.  If you receive no reply to your email and it's less than an hour before the tournament starts, only then might it make sense to call.  For dropouts the best address to use is DropoutsAtChess.US (use the @ symbol instead of "At").

MYTH 3: If I enter in advance and my entry is lost, I will be refused entry in the tournament and my travel to the site will have been wasted. 
ACTUAL: No such thing will ever happen, nor has it ever happened in our over 50 years of running tournaments.  If you enter in advance, the chances that your entry will somehow go astray are very small, not nearly sufficient to justify worrying about, and if this does happen we will get you into the tournament anyway.  We always have sufficient space and no entries are ever rejected due to space considerations.

MYTH 4:
After I submit an advance entry, I need to call or email the CCA to find out whether my entry was received.
ACTUAL: If you enter online and see "Thank you for your registration," your entry is confirmed. For a second confirmation, you can also click on the "entry list" link for the event, and your name should appear there. Our shopping cart often also sends a confirming email, so you may receive a third confirmation- however, emails that are sent are often not received or not noticed, so the lack of a confirming email should not be cause for concern. You can click on "entry list" at any time to make sure that your entry is still there. If you request a change such as a section switch, bye or bye removal, or withdrawal, you can also click on "entry list" to see if your request has been processed.  Online entries are posted on "entry list" instantly, but mail and phone entries, section or bye switches, and withdrawals are often not posted for a week or more.        

MYTH 5:
It is important to confirm that my advance entry was received. 
ACTUAL: We don't think so.  See #3 and #4 above. 

MYTH 6: Advance entries must check in at the site.
ACTUAL: There is no check in, and all who have entered in advance are paired for round 1.

MYTH 7: Children have little chance playing against adults and should face only each other.
ACTUAL: While we hold some tournaments for scholastic players only, most of our tournaments are for all ages, and it is far from true that children have little chance. Children tend to be improving and outperform their ratings and as a result, in rating based sections, they win prizes more often than adults.  Players as young as 5 years old have played in our all-ages tournaments, as have seniors over age 100.

MYTH 8: The best way for you to improve is by facing oppponents of your strength.
ACTUAL: The best way for you to improve is by facing opponents that are better than you.  If you aspire to become an Expert or Master or even a national or world champion, you should always, in a sectioned event, play in a section higher than the lowest available.

MYTH 9: I don't need to bring a set, clock or board to a tournament.
ACTUAL: While there are some tournaments that provide equipment, most do not.  Continental Chess does not supply chess equipment at tournaments (it is usually for sale by a vendor), except for NYS Scholastics sections below JHS. You can still enter with no equipment, but if your opponent is late you will not be able to get a time advantage, and if your opponent has no equipment either, and neither player can buy or borrow equipment, the game may be ruled a draw without play.

MYTH 10: The official ratings that are used to determine eligibility include most or all tournaments played during the previous month.
ACTUAL:
The deadline for events to be included in the official ratings is the third Wednesday of the previous month.  That means, for example, that if you are interested in playing in a November tournament (November official ratings used), events received by USCF after the third Wednesday in October will not affect that rating.  The November ratings will appear online at www.uscfratings.org a few days after the third Wednesday of October. 

MYTH 11: You can't obtain a bye in round 1 by entering after the round has started.
ACTUAL: No problem, just arrive before round 2 pairings and you can enter with a round 1 bye, we don't need to know in advance that you are coming. Or arrive before round 3 pairings and you can take two byes. Of course, this is a late entry so for most events the fee is slightly higher.

MYTH 12: We need to know about your byes before the tournament.
ACTUAL: We only want to know with an advance entry about byes that will occur before you begin play.  Other byes should be requested at the tournament.  We don't want to hear about them in advance as this creates extra work when we are busiest, and the byes are often later canceled or changed.

MYTH 13: My rating went up, I must notify CCA that I need to switch to a higher section.
ACTUAL: When we process the latest USCF monthly ratings, players who become ineligible for the section they entered are automatically moved up to the lowest section they are eligible for. You need to contact us only if you wish to move up still higher.  Note that if your rating drops making you eligible for a lower section and you wish to play in that lower section, you must notify us; the switch down is not automatic because you are still eligible to play in the section you entered.

MYTH 14: Advance entries are posted so you can see who is in your section.
ACTUAL: They are posted only to inform you that your entry was received and allow you to check that your section and schedule were recorded correctly.  You can't tell well from advance entries who will be in your section, because many players enter on the last day or at the door.  For a better idea of what the field is likely to look like, see the final crosstable of the same event last year.

MYTH 15: It takes 26 games to get a USCF rating.
ACTUAL: It takes 4 games to get a USCF rating. After 26 games the rating is called "established," which means it will change more slowly.

MYTH 16: Provisionally rated players are unrated.
ACTUAL: Provisionally rated players are rated, and in most tournaments are treated the same as established players.  At our largest money tournaments (World Open, Chicago Open, North American Open, Philadelphia Open) there are prize limits for provisional players, but their ratings are still valid for section determination.

MYTH 17: You lose your rating if you are inactive for many years.
ACTUAL: No, the rule is once rated, always rated.

MYTH 18: You can play below your rating if inactive for many years.
ACTUAL: You can never play in a section limited to those below your rating.

MYTH 19: Sections are approximate, so a player rated 1400 or 1401 should ask if he may enter the Under 1400 Section.
ACTUAL: Section names are exact requirements.  A 1400 or 1401 player may not enter Under 1400, a 1200 or 1201 player may not enter Under 1200, etc.  No exceptions.  If we made an exception and such a player won the section, what would we tell the other players, who would no doubt howl in protest?

MYTH 20: Players with foreign or FIDE ratings but no USCF ratings are unrated.
ACTUAL: Players with ratings or categories from any country, or FIDE, are considered rated.

MYTH 21: Players with unofficial ratings are unrated.
ACTUAL: If you have an unofficial rating at uschess.org and are otherwise unrated, we will generally use that rating. On rare occasions we may not, for example if we don't notice that rating because it appears online after we have finished looking up that player's rating.

MYTH 22: Players with very low ratings are unrated.
ACTUAL: The lowest rating possible is 100, and even such players are rated, not unrated.

MYTH 23: Players formerly in a higher class must enter that class.
ACTUAL: You can always use your official USCF rating to decide your section, unless we have assigned you a CCA minimum rating.  At a few of our largest tournaments only, there is a prize limit for those who were more than 30 points above the class in the past year, but those players can still enter that class.

MYTH 24: Tiebreaks are used for cash prizes.
ACTUAL:  Cash prizes are split evenly, except that for some events, there is a bonus, in the top section only, for clear first place or tiebreak winner.

MYTH 25: If 5 players tie for first with 4 and I have 3.5, I place second.
ACTUAL: If 5 players tie for first with 4 and you have 3.5, you place (or tie for) 6th.  (As in sports in which if two teams are tied for first, no one ever says that the team following these two is second.)

MYTH 26: If I can't play the next round, my opponent will be happy to take the win and I don't need to tell anyone.
ACTUAL: It's important that you notify the Tournament Director in advance if you are skipping a round or withdrawing from the tournament.  Many players find it highly annoying to be deprived of a game, even though they win by forfeit.

MYTH 27: If I forfeit without notice, I can just show up for the next round and play.
ACTUAL: Players who forfeit without notice are removed from the tournament.  To get back in you must tell the Director that you are back, and you may be asked to pay a fine or put up a deposit to assure that you don't forfeit again.

MYTH 28: If my opponent doesn't show up, I post a win for me, 1 vs. 0.
ACTUAL: You must post 1F vs. 0F, the F standing for forfeit.  If you post 1-0, we won't know that your opponent failed to show and will pair him or her again, probably causing another forfeit.

MYTH 29: If I win a prize, I can just leave and the prize will be mailed.
ACTUAL: While we do mail prizes, if the prize minus your entry fee might be $600 or over, or bring your total net winnings in CCA tournaments for the year to $600 or over, we need your social security number or tax ID to report to the IRS.  We also need an address to mail your prize, and will use the one you provided when entering online unless told otherwise.  If you enter by mail, phone, or at the site, you must give us your address at the tournament if you expect us to mail you a prize.

MYTH 30: I am foreign, so I can ignore the above about social security and tax ID numbers.
ACTUAL: If you have no social security or tax ID number, we must deduct withholding 30% from your prize to send to the IRS, unless the IRS rules otherwise.

MYTH 31: My son/daughter is only 8 years old, so I can ignore the above about social security and tax ID numbers.
ACTUAL: The law requiring the reporting of social security and tax ID numbers makes no exceptions based on age.

MYTH 32: If I win a prize and leave without it, it will be mailed within a day or two.
ACTUAL:  We are very busy after returning from a tournament, especially a large one, and rarely are prizes mailed in less than a week.  If we have other tournaments coming up soon, it can sometimes take 3 or 4 weeks before we mail a prize.

MYTH 33: If I withdraw from a tournament before round one, I receive a refund. 
ACTUAL:  This is true only if you ask for a refund, and the flood of refund requests that we receive is a major inconvenience, so to encourage players to not request refunds, there is a $15 service charge for them.  You can avoid this charge by keeping the funds on deposit to use for entry in future tournaments.  Especially if you are considering entering another CCA tournament in the near future, it may not be advantageous for you to request a refund.

MYTH 34: You can't get black twice in a row.
ACTUAL: This is common, and you can even sometimes get the same color three times in a row! Score has priority over color, so colors will alternate perfectly for everyone only if white and black win the same number of games each round.

MYTH 35: If both players had black last round, and the same number of each color in the tournament, the higher rated player (or player with more points) gets white.
ACTUAL: This happens only if both players have identical color histories in every round.  Otherwise, the most recent round in which the players' colors were different decides.  For example, in round 7, WBWBWB gets white against BWWBWB.

MYTH 36: The hotel says there are no rooms left at the chess rate, so I can't stay there.
ACTUAL: Though this could be true, hotels often misinform players, saying there is no availability or quoting a higher rate when actually the chess rate is still available.  Before giving up, call the hotel Sales Office during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 9-5) and if that doesn't work, send us an email.

MYTH 37: I called on the last day listed for reservations and the hotel says no rooms are available, but it was guaranteed that they would still be available on this date.
ACTUAL: How can anyone guarantee such a thing? Rooms can always sell out. After the date listed, the hotel has the right to raise the rate or give our rooms to another group, but even if you are "in time," if other chessplayers got the rooms first, you are out of luck! Best is to not wait until the last few days, and reserve as early as possible, at least two weeks before the date advertised.

MYTH 38: If a tournament announcement says there is a prize or prizes for "top Under 1000" or "top Class E," etc. that means there is an Under 1000 Section or a Class E Section in which players rated under 1000 or only Class E face only each other.
ACTUAL:  These are prizes for the top scorers who have the indicated rating or class, but they do NOT have their own section and they do NOT play only against each other.  "Under 1000 Section" means players under 1000 face only each other.  "Top Under 1000" means either that the section has a higher rating limit which is indicated, or the tournament is in one section.

MYTH 39: All tournaments are held in sections or divisions.
ACTUAL: Although most of the events we run do have multiple sections, if you don't see anything in the tournament publicity about sections, that means it is a one section event.  For example, the Philadelphia International is a one section tournament, as are most of our blitz tournaments.

MYTH 40: The rounds begin at the same time every day.
ACTUAL: This is hardly ever true.  Especially, on the final day of the tournament the round usually starts earlier, and players who think it is at the same time as the day before arrive too late and forfeit their games.  For the starting times, see the tournament announcement at chesstour.com or signs posted at the tournament.

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