FAQs on National Junior Squad Trainings

Q: What are the Selection & Training Guidelines?
A: All members of all SCF National Squads are expected to be familiar with the SCF Selection & Training Guidelines. Please read them.

Q: What are the Benefits of Chess?
A: Chess is an exercise of infinite possibilities for the mind, one which develops mental abilities used throughout life: concentration, critical thinking, abstract reasoning, problem solving, pattern recognition, strategic planning, creativity, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, to name a few. 

View or download “A Collection of Studies and Papers on Chess and Education“, courtesy of the FIDE Chess in Schools Commission.

Q: How intensive are the National Junior Squad sessions?
A: Theory & Practice sessions include 9 to 10 (depending on the school term) consecutive once per week sessions lasting 3.5 hours each lesson. This does not include homework and competition times.

Q: Who are the lecturers with the National Junior Squad?
A: Appointed Chief Lecturers are FIDE (World Chess Federation) certified trainers and instructors, employed and/or registered with the SCF. The SCF maintains a list of its accredited trainers, SCF-accredited arbiters, and SCF-accredited organisers.

Q: How are the National Junior Squad Groups formed?
A: We are guided by the SCF Selection & Training Guidelines. Permanent Groups are based on selected preferred Theory slots, and then formed by FIDE/SCF ratings (published at point of entry/registration), if exceeding the maximum number of trainees allowed per group.

Q: How many students are in a National Junior Squad group?
A: For a session to commence, a minimum of 4 trainees is required to register. A class shall have a maximum of 12 trainees.

Q: Are the training games within the NJS Practice SCF-rated?
A: Yes. All NJS Practice session training games played with the one-hour-per-player time control are scheduled as SCF-rated. In Term-3/2013, for example, each player will have up to 10 SCF-rated games.

Q: Are there any special chess opening training rules within the NJS Practice sessions?
A: In an effort to nurture and promote Singapore Chess Lions into Roaring Lions, starting at the Developmental level of our Training Pipeline, trainees shall intensively practice, by their own choosing when with Black pieces: the Najdorf, Dragon, Classical, Scheveningen, Sveshnikov, Accelerated Dragon, Gaw-Paw, Kalashnikov, Four Knights, Taimanov or Kan Sicilian variations, and when with White – by choosing own responses to these variations.

Q: Where to check FIDE (World Chess Federation) rating?

A: Click here

Q: Where can I learn more on the working of the rating system?
A: Click here (our annual SCF FIDE Arbiter Seminars offer further expert knowledge)

Q: At Practice sessions, is there a possibility of receiving a bye?
A: Yes. Similarly to all chess events held, there may be a situation where an odd number of players arrive to a Practice session. The bye player receives no game points, with the game attendance included in the Swiss Manager data. Each player can receive a bye only once during a Term. Any player with a bye shall spend quality-time training nevertheless, by practicing with our special bye-player-chess-exercises-sheets, followed by joining the rapid games training.

Q: Are the training games within the HPE Invitational Training League training sessions FIDE-rated?
A: Yes. All FIDE-rated training sessions, played with the two-hour-per-player time control, are scheduled as FIDE-rated. A game is FIDE-rated if both players have FIDE rating. A game between a FIDE-rated player and a non-FIDE-rated player is not FIDE-rated for the FIDE-rated player, but is counted for the non-FIDE-rated player. A game between two non-FIDE-rated players is not counted for FIDE rating. All FIDE rating calculations and related rating laws are administered by FIDE.

Q: Are the training games within the HPE Invitational Training League training sessions SCF-rated?
A: Yes. All FIDE-rated training sessions, played with the two-hour-per-player time control, are SCF-rated. All SCF rating calculations and related rating laws are administered by the SCF.

Q: Does the Zero-Start FIDE rule apply for Practice session trainings?
A: The Zero-Start FIDE rule applies for all events with pre-determined round pairings. SCF reserves the right not to pair any player arriving late to the Practice session and treat these as bye-players instead. Please arrive to all Practice sessions 10-15 minutes early and register with the pairing officer, so as to enable proper pairings to be made in time. All pairings are based on the FIDE-approved Swiss Manager paring software program.

Q: What are the requirements in getting an upgrade of National Squad status?
A: These are guided by the SCF Selection & Training Guidelines texts.

Q: Is there a required dress code for trainings?
A: All National Junior Squad members are required to wear SCF Red Training Shirt when coming for trainings.

Q: Will there be homework for these trainings?
A: SCF chess homework matters and is compulsory. It’s unlike any other homework and all should enjoy doing it. National Junior Squad trainees are requested to bring their Practice part of Session post-game homework annotation clearly handwritten or as printouts to the corresponding Theory part of Session, where all homeworks are analysed by the trainer-in-charge and marked with an excellence level, with all details archived inside SCF trainee attendance & homework data sheets. Trainees failing to comply with the homework requirement shall nevertheless complete it during the Theory Session itself, by annotating their corresponding Practice part of Session game (of standard time control) in a separate training area, thus missing a significant part of the Theory Session Programme.

Q: Is there any required chess software?
A: For completing compulsory post-game annotation chess homework assignments, you can use a freeware pgn (portable game notation) viewer & editor. Download, unzip (you can use open source software 7-Zip), install (you may need administrator rights if using Windows 7) and it’s ready. You will be able to easily enter, annotate (with both symbols and text), save (in pgn format) print and email your games. You can also opt for freeware Fritz 5.32. Deep Fritz 12 and Chessbase Reader, both with restricted functions.

Q: Will there be handouts given during the lesson?
A: Training handouts are given at each National Junior Squad Session to the regular group’s trainees. They contain theory lesson content, important reminders and instructions related to compulsory homework and Practice part of Sessions with rules to observe. If you missed any handout due to approved absence from your regular training session, you may file a request with the trainer-in-charge.

Q: Any Code of Behaviour?
A: Check out our SCF Chess Etiquette Guide.

Q: Are the attendances important?

A: All training sessions’ attendance matters. A minimum of 75% annual attendance is required when applying for consideration for various selections. Year-end National Junior Squad Certificates of Attendance may be requested only if with completed all 4 training terms.

Q: What happens if I wish to be excused from trainings?
A: For those who wish to be excused from training sessions, trainees must provide (via email) HPE with a valid reason for absence. These include, but are not limited to – National Examinations: PSLE, GCE N(T)-Level, GCE N(A)-Level,GCE O-Level and GCE A-Level.

Q: What happens if I need to be excused from trainings?
A: Trainees who are absent from any training session due to sickness must provide a valid medical certificate to be eligible for approved absence marks.

Q: How is the facilitation of Training Schedules like?
A1: Make-ups within National Squads trainings are not allowed. The SCF will facilitate if conditions are met.

A2: Requests for permanent or temporary group changes for a National Junior Squad Session can be made via email for the ongoing training week dates only. Such requests (state your full name and contact number) need to be made well in advance by email to SCF, are subject both to approval and admin fee. Please state a valid reason for the change request. All approved temporary group changes trainees shall have lower priority homework game annotation analysis status, as compared to regular group trainees.

A3: If opting to play in an SCF organised/co-organised tournament, or when representing SCF/Singapore in local or international supported events, which clash with the trainee’s session, approved absence / attendance marks shall be acknowledged, if previously announced via email to SCF, with a requirement for the trainee to bring forward (as homework post-game annotation), their selected one annotated game (played at the SCF organised/co-organised tournament, or all – if representing SCF/Singapore).

Q: Are we allowed to leave the trainings before the sessions end?
A: Opting to leave early from the Practice part of session training is not allowed, as it affects the sparring partner trainee. Opting to leave early from the Theory part of Session training is not allowed either, as it does not support our efforts made to excel all within the Training Programme.

Q: Concerns over child safety?
A: As an additional child safety precaution, all trainees are requested to carry an ICE card (In Case Of Emergency, who to contact) to all Theory & Practice sessions. Please provide your child with an ICE card.

Q: Time management?
A: Dear parent/guardian, please come in time to collect your child at the end of the training session.

Q: Discipline?
A: The SCF Executive Council (ExCo) at its meeting on 6 June 2008 has adopted a Disciplinary Procedure, effective from 1 July 2008, to deal with cases of misconduct among players and trainees in the SCF’s programmes.

Q: Is SCF open to parents’ and players’ feedback?
A: Yes, of course. We encourage and welcome feedback from all, and especially from SCF members, parents and players. You may proceed here. Check our website regularly for announcements on our meetings-with-parents and meetings-with-players open and individual sessions as well. Chess Information Sessions for Parents announcements are with more details here. SCF President’s 1-1 Dialogues with players and parents archives are here

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