Megafinal 2020 entry is now open and entries are pouring in ! With events taking place in Edinburgh, Devon, Belfast and Sandwich we really are covering all corners of the UK !

As is tradition we thought it would be useful to post a guide about what to expect from a Megafinal. Whether you are completely new to the UK Chess Challenge or you are a seasoned campaigner hopefully this guide will be useful.

How do I register?

You can register online by visiting the Megafinal Page

Once you have registered you should receive an automated confirmation email with (including your child’s registration details) and welcome email from us with some useful links (perhaps this is how you landed here). You don’t need to do anything else to register.

So what is a Megafinal?

The Megafinals are the 2nd Stage of the UK Chess Challenge and the first to take part outside of a child’s normal school chess club. For many children this is their first experience of competitive chess outside of school. There are around 50 events taking up and down the UK and we expect around 7,000 children to be competing in total.

To qualify for the Gigafinals (the 3rd stage of 4) you need to get a qualifying score from a Megafinal (unless you are eligible for a “Fast Track Ticket”). This can be done in one of two ways

  1. Score at least 3.5 points
  2. Finish in the top 3 of your age / gender category

What is the format of the competition?

Each Megafinal is 6 rounds of chess. It is not a knockout so everyone will get 6 games. It is 1 point for a win, ½ for a draw and 0 for a loss. The idea is to score as many points as you can – remember 3.5 points or more will qualify you for the 3rd round (the Gigafinals). The 4th and final stage is the Terafinal.

Children will play in appropriate age group sections – for example under 7s, under 8s etc. Some sections may be mixed depending on the number of children entering. The winning girl from each age group will be crowned Suprema and the winning boy Supremo. Please note that in some events only players that live or attend school in the region are eligible for the Suprema/o trophies (this should be indicated on the entry form).

The age category is determined by how old your child was on 31/08/2019. So if they were 9 on the 31/08/2018 they will play in the under 10s. For a full list see this page

Every player will get a certificate of achievement for taking part. There will be a trophy for the Suprema and Supremo plus small prizes for the top 3 players in each section.

What to do on the day

Take note of the round 1 start time from the entry form and aim to arrive at least 30 minutes early – preferably earlier (especially if this is your first Megafinal). Bring along a copy of your booking confirmation in case of queries.

If you have arrived on time the control team will explain how the day will run and how everything works.

To understand who you are playing in the next round you will need to look at the “pairings” board. This may be a large board or even just a printout. The board numbers are typically listed on the left and against each board number there will be two individuals listed. The individual on the left is playing with the white pieces on that board and the player on the right is playing with the black pieces. The board number helps you find the correct chess board in the playing hall (as they are numbered).

Most events will use chess clocks. If you haven’t used one of these before there is nothing to be alarmed about. There are two clock faces (or digital displays) and two buttons. When you make your move press your button and this will start your opponent’s time ticking down. If your time reaches zero you ‘lose on time’. However, this very rarely happens – it is far more usual for players to play too quickly and make mistakes. So – take your time and play slowly and carefully!

The round times will be set out in advance. The next round cannot start until all games from the previous round have finished. So if you finish a game very early you may have a long wait between rounds.

Parents are responsible for their children at all times as we cannot provide supervision except in the playing hall during the games. During the games parents are not permitted in the playing hall – so please make sure your child knows where to find you after the round.