Starting with our September 19, 2015 tournament Evanston Chess Club will change how we do tournament registration.

Advance registration will now be handled online through the events page on our web site at instead of by email. Advance registration now requires payment in advance using Paypal.

The tournament entry fee is now $7. Entry fees are not refundable, so please be sure you can make it before you sign up.

We still offer free entry to the first five masters or experts who sign up and play. Those of you with a USCF regular rating over 2000 who would like to take advantage of this should email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your USCF number, and I will sign you up.

Why after eight years are we changing things? After all, our $5 tournaments were the best deal in town, and our players loved them. And our pay-at-the-door policy kept things real simple for the organizer (that’s me).

Here's the thing. Our playing space is limited to 54 seats. The tournaments are a good deal, so lots of players signed up for them to the point that we sometimes fill up the day before the tournament. Since we took registration by email there was no way to close registration. People would “pre-register” by email at 8 a.m. on tournament day and expect to have a seat when they arrived (late) at 9:40 a.m. In one instance a couple of players emailed at 5:30 a.m. on tournament day to pre-register, THEN started their 3.5 hour drive to Evanston, only to find we were full.

Since payment wasn’t required, some players who pre-registered didn’t show up, and also didn’t cancel. This made it difficult to manage a waiting list on the day of the tournament and led to my turning away people who could have played. Or giving away seats of people who pre-registered, then arrived half an hour late. Still other players would sign up, then on the day of the tournament they’d bring along a friend who wasn’t pre-registered. That got particularly awkward when they drove to the tournament together and there wasn’t room for the extra player.

I hope having people pay in advance and being able to close registration when we're full will clear up these issues and also make that 45 minutes we have to set up the room and get everyone checked in go more smoothly for everyone. Perhaps the chief TD will even have a little more time to chat on Saturday mornings.

But why $7 instead of $5, you ask? For one thing, taking payment by credit card costs something, as does the software to run an event registration and ticketing system. Beyond that Evanston Chess Club has run a deficit for the past three or more years. We have expenses. Our sets are overdue to be replaced; clocks break, wear out and get stolen; we go through a whole lot of pencils and scoresheets; etc. -- it all adds up. $7 instead of $5 means we can keep doing it all.

I thank all of you for your continued support these past eight years, and I look forward to running these tournaments for a long time to come.

Maret Thorpe

FM Sam Schmakel and Jason Scott Daniels, round 4,
Evanston Tri-Level, July 11, 2015.
Schmakel finished with a perfect 4.0 score, and Daniels scored 3-1.

On March 2, 2012, we lost our chess friend Isaac Braswell to suicide. All who knew him were very sad. His cheerful good humor and ability to instantly light up a room were greatly missed. In response to this, we decided to hold a blitz tournament in Isaac’s honor and use the proceeds to benefit young black chess players in some way.


Chess fathers and sons: Martin Wilber, expert Matthew Wilber, Adam Wallach, NM Ken Wallach, before round 4, Evanston Tri Level, March 21, 2015
(TD's note: Matthew made master at the event. Congratulations!)

FM Albert Chow and expert Hanson Hao
Round 3, Evanston 3x3, January 17, 2015