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Guidelines for the 2020 Phillip O. Taylor Georgia State Championship

Thanks for entering our first online Phillip Taylor Georgia State Championship.

Some of you are familiar with online play and the Internet Chess Club (ICC), and some of you are new to this format.  Below are guidelines and procedures for the tournament.  Please read carefully and let us know if you have any questions.


Online chess is different than Over the Board (OTB) play.  Playing in US Chess rated online events affects your USCF online rating but does not affect your regular Over the Board rating.

Ratings thresholds for sections in this tournament are based primarily on USCF Regular (OTB) ratings.  While you are playing the game, the rating shown for your opponent may be an internet rating and may not be their US Chess rating. 

In order to play in this event, we need to know who you are.  You must create your own ICC account before the tournament.  Neither the GCA nor ICC cannot do this for you.  Your US Chess ID# must also be linked with your Internet Chess Club (ICC) handle.  There is no way that either ICC or the tournament directors can link these unless you tell them your handle.  YOU MUST TELL US YOUR ICC HANDLE BEFORE THE ROUND OR YOU WILL NOT BE PAIRED!  You can email us at with your ICC handle, if you did not provide it with your tournament registration.

You must be logged on to ICC when pairings are made.  IF YOU ARE NOT LOGGED ON WHEN THE PAIRINGS ARE MADE, YOU WILL NOT BE PAIRED FOR THAT ROUND!  This is not like OTB chess where you can arrive late for a round and be paired.  We suggest you log in to ICC and Zoom at least 15 minutes before the scheduled round time.

There is no touch move!  If you make a mouse click mistake, that move is binding – THERE ARE NO TAKEBACKS! 


Make sure your ICC account is linked to your USCF#. If you are not currently an ICC member, we will email you with a coupon code for a free, 2-month membership.  Then, email us your ICC handle so that we can associate it with your tournament entry ( 

To be eligible for prizes, you must be on Zoom displaying your real name, so make sure you have the Zoom software set-up and ready to go before the day of the tournament.  Zoom links will be published the day before the event.

ICC has two different versions you can download: Blitzen and Dasher.  You can also play via a browser.  We strongly recommend you play a few practice games before the event so that you can get used to the server.

You should familiarize yourself with ICC settings.  You are responsible for these settings.  The default setting is that when a pawn reaches the 8th rank it is automatically a queen.  If you want the ability to underpromote, you must change your settings.  If you do not change the setting and a promotion causes a stalemate, that is binding!

The server will claim certain things automatically (wins on time, checkmate, stalemate, certain draw situations) – make sure you know the policies below.


  1. Default setting is pawn will promote to queen.
  2. Claims made by the computer: a) Win on time b) 75 move rule c) Checkmate or stalemate d) Draw by insufficient mating material (see “help” command - “help draw”)
  3. Tournament room is channel 385
  4. Headphones are not allowed
  5. Zoom is required in order to be eligible for prizes.  One camera that shows the player is required.
  6. GCA uses your OTB rating for pairings and prizes.  We reserve the right to assign a rating and/or use CCA minimum ratings.
  7. Separate chess boards are not allowed.
  8. You can check to see if you entered the tournament at: . Please be aware that the pre-registration list is updated manually, so your entry will not show up immediately after you submit it.
  9. Event standings are posted at


Round 1 starts at 12:00 noon on October 3.  You must log on to ICC and Zoom before the round starts.  We recommend logging into both at least 15 minutes before the round time.

There is no need to click anything to join the tournament or to accept a challenge.  When the pairings go up, your board will appear.  It normally takes the computer two or three minutes to “publish” the pairings.  When the pairings go up, wait 5 minutes before telling the TD you don’t have a pairing.  If your opponent has not made his first move in 5 minutes, inform a TD.  Your opponent is allowed time to think!  Just because they have not moved in 5 or 10 minutes does not mean they are not there.  If you want to confirm your opponent is still online, use the finger command “finger ”.

Pairings for each round are made by the ICC computer.  Pairings are made using basic swiss system rules, but the algorithm is slightly different than what some players may be used to.  For instance, unrated players can receive a bye (same as FIDE pairing rules), and players are ranked according to tiebreak rather than by rating.

During the tournament, you will see two chat rooms.  The main console is the room to enter commands.  There is a separate chatroom for the tournament on Channel 324.  Please note that if you are playing on the browser version rather than the downloadable version, just click “Console” you do not need to type the number. If you have an issue with your game, you can use the chatroom to contact a TD.  Please do not spam comments to the chatroom as that makes it more difficult for the TDs to see and answer questions.

There is a grid where you can see pairings, games, and standings:

Many times, a player will complain that the server booted them off the internet. In nearly every case, the problem is on the user’s end or with the user’s internet service provider. If you get booted, you should immediately log back in!  On ICC the command to resume a game is / resume.  If you want to see whether you are logged in, the command is “finger.”  You will then see your status.  If your opponent logs off, wait for them to return.  The game clock does not run during disconnection. Because of this, the TD will eventually issue a forfeit if a player disconnects for a long period of time.  The time is at the TDs discretion, but if you are logged off for more than 10 minutes, you should expect you may be forfeited.

In OTB chess, it is proper to make your move, offer a draw and then start your opponent’s clock.  In online chess, as soon as you make your move, your opponent’s clock starts running.  Therefore, the best sequence is offering a draw (on your time) and then IMMEDIATELY making your move.


During the tournament, partial fair play analysis will take place, possibly leading to a player or players being disqualified. After the tournament, all games will be analyzed using ICC’s sophisticated anti-cheating tools. Players suspected of violating the fair play rules may: 1) have their results and any prize eligibility cancelled, 2) be banned from future ICC play, 3) be banned from future Georgia Chess Association tournaments, both online and over-the-board, and 4) be reported to the US Chess Federation Ethics Committee, leading to possible suspension of US Chess Federation membership.

After the tournament, results will not be final for at least a week while ICC Fair Play analysis of all games takes place. If any players are disqualified, opponents’ results will be changed; those who lost to a disqualified player will be given half point byes, and those who drew with a disqualified player will obtain forfeit wins.

We are happy to be able to offer a State Championship tournament this year.  Thank you for your participation and your continued support of the Georgia Chess Association!

Please email with any questions about this tournament, and visit to look for future tournaments and support chess in our state.


Participants are expected to use the same computer during the whole tournament. Play must be on desktops, laptops and notebooks only, mobiles and tablets are not allowed.




How to play

To play on the web (simplest), use this link: Play on Web Browser

To use ICC's playing software, download it here. Once you download the file, run it and follow the installation instructions.


During the tournament, the standings and pairings will be available on the website which will be communicated by the tournament manager. 

Finally, if you want to be eligible for cash prizes, you must use Zoom, and connect to the ICC Zoom room.  INSTRUCTIONS HERE.  Make sure you test Zoom and your webcam before the event starts. You can play without Zoom, but will not be eligible for prizes.