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Frequently Asked Questions

Aside from being just a fun and exciting game, chess can teach kids (and adults as well!) many different lessons and emphasize many other skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.  

The Effects of Chess on Children

We encourage you to read the above study conducted by many different educators from around the world who found out,  through long hours of research and simple trial-and-error, just how beneficial chess can be to everyone -- but especially to young people.  See some of the articles listed at the bottom of the page for even more information on how chess can enrich your life and the lives of your children!

Now on to the FAQs!


Q:  Where is the Moline Dispatch Building Annex in Moline and how do I get there?

A:  The Moline Dispatch Building Annex, 515 18th St., is a separate building behind the Moline Dispatch Building (which is on 5th Avenue) in downtown Moline. It is behind (south of) the Dispatch Building across the alley from the loading dock. It is accessible from 18th St. Both street and lot parking are available.   See map below:



Q:  What do I have to do and how much does is cost to join the club and/or play in the tournament?

A:  Currently there are no dues to become a member of the Illowa Chess Club.  However, you must be a member of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) in order to play rated games and all of the tournament games are rated.  You can join the USCF at our club or on their website.  The cost for a regular adult membership is abourt $50 per year, which allows you to play rated games all over the country, obtain a national rating, and get a free subscription to Chess Life, the USCF's monthly magazine. Student packages are offered at lower costs.

The fees for the monthly tournaments are currently $8.00 per month, which covers the rating fees required by the USCF and supplies prize money for the winners.  What other four-round tournaments do you know of that only cost $8.00?  However, this amount could go up to obtain some extra funding for club supplies, but we will notify you in advance of any increase in dues.  We'd like to emphasize that anyone is welcome to join the club and not participate in the tournaments.  

Q:  What if I don't want to play in the tournament?  Can I just play skittles? 
("Skittles" is the term chessplayers use to define an off-hand, unrated game.  You might "skittle" with your parents, your kids, or someone from work or school.)

A:  You don't have to play in the tournaments if you don't want to and there are always people ready and willing to play skittles on Tuesday nights.  Of course, we encourage participation in the monthly tournaments as it enhances the experience of playing chess and increases interest for the other members since new opposition is always a challenge.  Plus, there's nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of a rated game!  However, we understand that some people just want to play chess for fun, so please don't feel obligated to join the USCF.

Q:  How long do the tournament games usually last?

A:  We use a time control of G/100 for our monthly tournament games.  This means that both you and your opponent have 100 minutes each to complete all of your moves.  So the game could take up to 200 minutes (three hours and twenty minutes) to finish.  It all depends on how fast you (and your opponent) play.  Of course, games hardly ever last that long.  Most people are done by 9 o'clock or 9:30pm.

Q:  What if I pay to play in the tournament and then can't make it for a regularly scheduled game?

A:  We realize that emergencies and other situations pop up that will prevent you from playing.  All you need to do is contact the month's tournament director and your scheduled opponent to make arrangements to reschedule your game (consult the member contact list).  If you can't get ahold of someone or forget to call, you may forfeit your game unless you can work something out with the Tournament Director (TD).  It will ultimately be up to the TD and your opponent if he or she wants to accommodate your request to reschedule your game.

Though it isn't required, it is generally considered good manners to pay $2.00 (1/4 the cost of the entry fee) to your opponent for paying to play and not getting to because you didn't show up.  After all, he or she paid to play four games and wasn't able to because they didn't have someone to play, so it seems fair for the person who was absent to "refund" their opponent.  But like I said, it's a courtesy -- it's not required.

Q:  I'm not very good - or - I haven't played in a while - or -  I don't know how to play.  Will there be someone to teach or play with me?

A: There is a good mix of chess-playing abilities at the Illowa Chess Club. We have several strong players (rated 1700+), but we also have a variety of weaker players to either teach you the game or play with you. There is no shame in getting beaten; after all, someone has to lose! But if you don't like losing, chess isn't the game for you. It's not easy -- it takes a lot of work to become really good. All the players at Illowa are very friendly and more than willing to go out of their way to go over your games and analyze them with you. 

It's important to remember that no one at our club will look down on you for not being a very good player. 

We all have to start somewhere and we know that all the theories and enigmatic intricacies of chess can seem pretty overwhelming, even for someone who has a real desire to learn the game. Don't worry about all that for the moment; just develop a real love for playing.  That's what we really want: a bunch of people who really appreciate and enjoy chess. The rest will come later.

Q:  Can I bring my kids with me to play?

A:  Absolutely!  We encourage parents to teach their children chess.  It teaches and enforces many different qualities that can be associated with and pertain to real life. Benjamin Franklin wrote a paper about all the benefits chess can provide to both you and your kids; it's called The Morals of Chess. However, we do want to provide the other players with good, quiet thinking time to concentrate on their own games, so please don't bring babies and very small children.

Q:  What do I get if I win?

A: Monthly rated tournaments are open to all paid USCF members. Prizes are awarded 3 ways: $20 goes to the overall tournament winner. $10 goes to the top under 1400 (USCF rating) score. Tiebreakers are not used, the prizes are split. Also, $10 is awarded for an upset prize. A game is considered an upset when the winner is at least 200 USCF rating points lower than the loser.

Monthly participants earn points for each win tallied. A club championship tourney featuring the players with the best six monthly scores for the year is played in January and King of the Hill honor is awarded to the player with the most total points for the year.

Club champion and King of the Hill honors include a trophy and cash award. Usually a most improved player award is given. Players need to show at least a 200 point rating gain over the year to qualify for this award.

Q:  Where can I find a list of chess players in Iowa or Illinois?

A:  Go to the USCF's website to find an individual by name or USCF ID# or to find a list of active players in the U.S. by state.