Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh

Southwestern PA’s only Preschool through Grade 12 Private Catholic School

A Preschool - Grade 12 Private Catholic School

Tue., 01/21/20 is Block Day 1

The 5th Annual Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh Catholic School Chess Invitational

Saturday, March 9, 2019

1:30 p.m.

Aquinas Academy Rhodora J. Donahue Building

2308 West Hardies Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

Download Registration Form

All Catholic school students from kindergarten to grade eight are cordially invited to participate in a chess tournament held at Aquinas Academy on Saturday, March 9, 2019 starting at 1:30 p.m. All levels of ability are welcome to compete and there is plenty of space for family and friends to attend.

This year’s tournament is organized by Mr. Michael Burchill, Director of the Aquinas Academy Chess Club and Assistant Head of School.


Tentative groupings are as follows, but may be adjusted based on entries:

  • Division I: 6th-8th grade
  • Division II: 4th-5th grade
  • Division III: 2nd-3rd grade
  • Division IV: K-1st grade


Each participant plays four games (approximately 30 minutes each game) unless given a “bye”. Unfinished games will be judged by the tournament director or his assistants. Chess coaches that would like to assist with judging should contact the tournament director. Players will be paired with those of similar records after each round to promote competitive matches.


Numerous trophies and medals will be given to the top finishers in each division. A special award will be given for the highest placing girl in every division. Every kindergarten participant will receive an award regardless of performance.


Students should bring a chess set and report to the school gym by 1:15 p.m. for brief announcements. The matches should end by about 4:00 p.m. and the award ceremony will follow after the places have been determined. Concessions will be on available throughout the tournament.


Entry fee is $10.00 per student.

Final deadline for entries is Friday, March 1.

Download Registration Form

Additional Information

Scoring: Each match will be scored as follows: win or bye=1 point, tie=1/2 points, loss=0 points. Any games unfinished after the allotted time will be judged by the tournament directors. If a player has a decisive advantage (at the discretion of the directors) then he or she will be awarded the win. Otherwise, the game will be drawn and each player will receive 1/2 points. Both players may mutually agree to a draw at any time during the game.

At the completion of the four rounds, scores will be tallied and the awards will be given based on raw score (total number of points). If two or more players finish with the same raw score then a number of tie-breakers will be used to determine a winner. These first include head-to-head (applicable only if exactly two players are tied for a place) followed by other criteria that attempt to measure, in multiple ways, the relative “strength of schedule” based on the performance of each player’s opponents.

Format: Each game will last approximately 30 minutes depending on how close to schedule the tournament is running. There will be only a few minutes break between rounds in order to provide enough time to record game results and pair for the next round. Players will be paired according to score so that players with similar points will play against each other in order to promote the most competitive matches possible (the first round participants will be paired at random within each section). Every effort will be made to avoid players of the same team competing against one another but this situation may be unavoidable in later rounds, especially if a particular match is needed to determine placing for an award.

Rules of the game: All players are expected to know the most basic rules of chess e.g. how the pieces move, how to capture, what is checkmate etc. If at any time a player does not understand an opponent’s move or thinks that a move was made illegally it should be brought to the attention of the tournament director, who will attempt to resolve the conflict in the most fair manner possible. If a player moves a piece during his or her turn and lets go of the piece then the move must stand. The only exception to this is if the move is illegal at which time the player must choose another move.


For more information, contact Mike Burchill by email, or call 724.444.0722, ext. 17.

Member of Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Member of Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Member of Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools Ranked No.1 Catholic High School in Pennsylvania by 2015 & 2016 Ranked No.1 Catholic High School in Pittsburgh Area by 2015-2020