Thank you for your email. I have to say it has worked out really well so far at least within school.
When you sign up you will be sent a box of goodies. These include three posters to advertise the event around the school, a league sheet where you can fill in the pupils who entered and write up their scores after each of the seven rounds, post cards for each pupil which are very useful for managing the pairings, badges, gold sticky spots to award as points are accrued, mascots, score books, golden tickets and two types of certificates - one for those who have taken part and the other for those who qualify to the Megafinal. There was also a trophy for the school champion.
I made an announcement at school assembly and invited the children to sign up if they wanted to play. When they did I assigned them a number, recorded them on the league sheet and completed a postcard for each player. I then created an excel spreadsheet to keep a record of points scored and on separate worksheets within the spreadsheet I set up a sheet for each round to show the pairings. This I completed for the next round after each one was completed. I then printed this off each week so the pupils could see who they were to play next.
For the initial round I tried to pair players off who were equally matched. There is an element of guess work in the first round, but it works out in the end. As recommended I used the Swiss system for pairings. In other words I always paired off everyone with equal points as long as they only played each other once in the competition. The postcards are really useful for this. I set them out like patience grouping all my pupils with same score and then pairing them as best as I could. I also tried where possible to ensure if they played black one week, they played white the next.
We had 27 players take part so a different pupil got a bye each week. I tried to give these to pupils who were not fairing so well in the tournament.
In the end 14 pupils qualified, these included 5 who scored 17 or more points, three year 8 pupils who were over 12 and the rest were highest scorers in their age group, boy and girl.
It remains to be seen how many will go on and play the Megafinal. I have written to parents with instructions on how to register. We are leaving it to them to register for the Megafinals and I will support those who take it forwards. Most of our pupils were motivated to see who would be the best in the school. The prizes along the way helped. They were a nice touch and kept the children interested. Final scores were close and I had to play an extra round for the two joint winners to see who would be School Champion.
It has been illuminating as we have seen who did well, who surprised us such as a year 3 boy who came joint 3rd! And who found the challenge daunting, whom we thought might have done better. All the children have developed their play since taking part and are better chess players as a consequence. We have also registered with Sussex Junior Chess and entered teams in the Primary Cup and Butler Cup. We are now looking forward to organising friendlies with other schools and I have joined a local Chess Club outside of school to develop mown chess so I can keep up with them!!!
I hope this helps you Tony. It has really started something within our own school.