The 23rd annual Chess Jam in Ferndale has been ... postponed.
Get ready for the 1st ever ....
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Chess Jam 2020 Online

Online Youth Chess Tournament
and Playday
Saturday, May 9, 2020

For Northwest Washington chessplayers K - 12th grades in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish Counties.

Join the action!
To play:

Day of the Jam: (links coming)

  • See who's registered
  • Players, join your section in before 10am
  • Watch the Jam Livestream (analysis, features & cheese)
  • Watch the games, as they're played
  • Check the Standings
  • Check the Pairings
  • Enjoy the door prize riddles
  • Check the Virtual Playing Room selfies (after the tourney)
  • Play in the Chess Jam Speed Chess Afterparty, 5pm to 6pm

Come play and make history in the first ever Chess Jam Online!
It's for players Kindergarten through 12th grades, from beginner to expert.

Door prizes! Okay, so there's no actual door this time. Still, like before, every player who submits a riddle will have their name in the door prize drawings.

Five Rounds, Swiss pairings (no elimination), each side gets 25 minutes with a 5 second increment bonus per move. Pairings by Rated by NWSRS and

Shake! Playing sections:
If six or more K-1st graders, then four sections:
K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-12th grades.
If less than six K-1st graders, then three sections:
K-2, 3-5, 6-12th grades.

Schedule: (Register in advance, before 7pm Friday, April 17.)

  • 9:00am - Registration opens at Enter the appropriate grade section before 9:59am.
  • 9:30am - Livestream begins.
  • 10:00am - Round 1 begins for all sections. Succeeding rounds begin as soon as all games in a section are done, so be watchful and ready.
  • 2:00pm or whenever all games in your section are completed: Virtual Awards Ceremony in the Livestream.

Cost: Free. No charge for a basic account.

Virtual medals for Top Three in each division. Virtual Badges for 4th-8th places. Recognition to Top Teams. Other digital prizes are being donated by various chess sites worldwide. (See growing list of donors below.)

Door Prizes: There will be some! Working on it. (See below, check back.)

Questions, see FAQ below or email director Randy Kaech,, 36O-255-Ol84.

Chess Jam 2019 Results -- 81 Players

We thank the chess companies below for donating substantial prizes!




Player Avatars What do I do the morning of the tournament?
See The Kraken forum post on what to do. Basically, you just have to log onto and find the appropriate section for your grade, and enter it. Then stay online, and get ready to move at 10:00am sharp. Important: Double check to make sure you're in the correct grade section. See the post.

Can I play in a higher section than my grade?
Yes. Email TD Kaech directly in advance if that's your intention.

I go to school in King County. Can I play?
No. The tournament is restricted to students K-12 residing in Washington State, in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish Counties.

I didn't get to my game in time, I was eating breakfast, and now it says I lost. Can we re-do the game?
No. Be alert. To reduce the chance of a mishap, play in any Swiss tournament before Jam day arrives, to get used to how they work.

My chess pieces look ugly. Can I change them?
Oh yes. You can change your pieces, your board, your background, your sounds, whether the most recent move is highlighted or not, animation speed, and more.

What will be in the Jam Livestream?
We'll be watching and enjoying the games in progress, checking on the standings and pairings, explaining basic chess strategy, answering questions from viewers, discussing the local scholastic chess scene with any guests we can arrange, showing viewers how to navigate, reading some riddles, doing the door prize drawings, etc. Will it be professional? No way! It'll be local, cheesy and fun.

I barely know how to play chess. Should I play in Chess Jam?
Sure! Come jam with the rest of us beginners. We're all learning, and you don't have to be a Grandmaster to have fun at chess. Besides, the Swiss pairings system will match you with opponents of equal ability (after a few rounds). And just think of how much better you'll be after a day of chess jamming.
Tip: Learn how to checkmate with just a Queen left. And learn how to avoid the four move checkmate.

How does the five second increment work?
Players start off with 25 minutes per side. After every move, you get an additional five seconds added to your clock. So, in theory, a single game could take a bit more than 50 minutes.

If I slip or make a mistake with my mouse, can I take it back?
Alas, no takebacks if you have a "mouse slip". We recommend you practice playing some chess online before Chess Jam. Playing in a tournament is good, then you'll learn how to get to the Tournaments Upcoming and Tournaments In Progress tabs.

Player Avatars Why did you choose and not has more robust tournament features. is a great site also, has great content for elementary age players, and is set up with maximum online safety in mind. Parents, consider turning on Safety Mode at, which disables messages, chat and comments.

At, should I replace the boring gray pawn next to my name?
If you haven't yet, YES, please please do! It can be a selfie, a colorful image, chess related or not, a favorite character, whatever. Just get rid of that dull gray pawn. Your image gives you a visual identity, adds to the community feel, and makes the online chess experience more fun. Thanks!
(Go to Settings, or Profile, and click on the boring gray pawn to change it.)

Should I spring for a premium account?
Your call. You don't have to. If you're elementary age and you enjoy more, invest there. If you're upper elementary or higher, it's a good investment. Besides getting rid of the ads, it gives you access to the Lessons and the Tactics Trainer (Puzzles). Start doing those, and you'll get good, fast!

What's this about checking back for prizes?
March 22: Well, no promises here, this will be interesting to see what happens, but I'm contacting the various online chess sites to see if they'll give us premium memberships as prizes. Stay tuned.

March 26: Awesome, the chess community is happy to help. The chess organizations listed (see logos above) are donating premium memberships, access to lessons, videos, training tools and more! See forum post listing the prizes.

Will there be team awards?
We will compute and recognize the Top Teams, based on the best five results from a school (elementary sections, combined) and best four results from a school (middle school and high school section).

What's this about selfies?
All players are invited to help create a "virtual tournament room" by emailing one selfie to, to be added to the Chess Jam Online Virtual Tournament Room photo album. Feel free to add a prop, or do something unusual or goofy in your selfie!

Can I get advice from my dad while I'm playing?
No. Please players, don't get any advice from anyone, a human or a computer chess program. That's one reason why we don't have sizeable prizes at Chess Jam online, some players give in to temptation. Play for the fun, reward and satisfaction of playing the game itself. Also, if detects that you've used a computer engine, they'll kick you off of their website for good.

Is this tournament a State Qualifer? Is it rated?
By special permission, due to the unique social distancing circumstances in which we find ourselves, Chess Jam Online will be rated by the NWSRS. It will not be a State qualifier. It will affect your rating also.

Normally, when we're not practicing social distancing, the largest chess tournament in the state every year is not the Washington Open, the Seafair Open or the State High School Team Championships, it's the State Elementary Championships. Last year over 1,400 players competed in April at the Tacoma Convention Center. And consider this, to attend, players had to first qualify by posting a winning record in a qualifying tournament like Chess Jam!

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