Your 2020 Nationals Questions Answered

2020 Nationals

What is Nationals?

Nationals is an annual tournament where elementary chess players from around the country compete!

Where will the 2020 Chess Nationals be held?

Nashville, TN at the Opryland Hotel

How do I know if Nationals is appropriate for my child and how can they qualify?

Nationals is an ‘open championship’ meaning that there are no qualification requirements. Every participant simply must have a USCF membership. There are sections for all rating levels, from unrated through ‘open championship’ sections. We recommend that if a student enjoys competing in tournaments already, then attending nationals can be an amazing experience!

Does Chess4Life have a team traveling to Nationals?

Yes! Chess4Life will be training and traveling with a team of students this year. Note that the awards at nationals are for individual and SCHOOL team achievement, not a club team; however, the Chess4Life group will be coached and receive the “Chess4Life experience” involving special prep, team shirt, and the ‘one-of-a-kind’ Chess4Life coaching experience.

Why should my child participate in Nationals?

Nationals is a ‘pinnacle’ type event that inspires chess students to focus on growth and improvement. The life lessons that can be learned by attending nationals with Chess4Life include dedication, planning, developing healthy habits, teamwork as we celebrate success and encourage each other through losses, and perseverance as they see that each game presents the opportunity to Win, Draw, or Learn!

How can my student best prepare for the tournament?

While the below are not requirements, students that commit to this level of training enter nationals with much more confidence and typically perform better than those who do not set aside time to regularly train & practice.

Ideal prep includes:

  • Practice tactics puzzles AT LEAST 15 minutes per day, 4-5 days a week, using CT-ARt 3.0, 4.0, or another tactics program or book (ask your coach for a specific recommendation)
  • Compete in the Nationals Training Longer time control training games one time per month, or as often as possible
  • Attend ALL team training days (more information for these training sessions can be found in the next question!)
  • If possible, take private lessons on top of the team training days
  • Participate in at least 1 chess tournament every 2 months, although once a month is preferred.
  • Review the last 6 months or the last year of chess games from your scorebook if possible and KNOW what could be changed in each game to improve. (If your child doesn’t yet record games, start doing so immediately)
  • Decide with the coach what 1-2 books will be read by nationals or at least studied (a partial list of recommendations included below)
    • Complete Endgame Course – Silman (book)
    • How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (book)
    • Chess Tactics for Kids (book)
    • CT Art 3.0 or 4.0 (software)
    • TASC CD (software)
    • King in Jeopardy (book)
    • Chess Training Pocketbook (book)

What training is Chess4Life providing? Are all students eligible?

Chess4Life is providing Nationals Training on Saturdays starting in mid January, running until May. These classes will run from 3:45-7:00 PM.

Classes will include tactics, specific training on key concepts, worksheets, tournament-styled games, and post-game analysis.

Any student who displays an eagerness to learn and a willingness to invest time and effort into improving is welcome to join the team. We do recommend that participants have a chess rating of 1000+.

Where can I find accommodation information?

Each participant will be responsible for  booking their own flights and hotel rooms. For optimal convenience and closet proximity to the tournament and team, we recommend staying on site at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Further information about accommodation can be found here:

Where can I find day of information (round times, waiting areas, meal information)?

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