One of the best ways for chess parents to become involved in chess is to become a tournament director, or TD. As you are probably aware, a TD is a USChess-sanctioned official who runs rated chess competitions. If you are sick and tired of being bored, sitting around, and waiting while your child finishes their round, you can get involved and become a TD!

  1. Be a USChess member.

First, in order to become a TD, you must be a member of the U.S. Chess Federation in good standing. If your membership is expired, you will not be able to become a TD. Join USChess or renew your membership at

  1. Know the Rules.

Next, you will need to know the rules of chess, as set forth by the US Chess Federation. Those rules are contained in the U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess, 6th Edition. We highly recommend that new TDs spend some time with the rulebook before they try to run their first tournament. You don’t need to memorize everything in the book cover-to-cover, but you do need to have read it. Additionally, familiarity with some of the trickier rules of chess, as well as the Swiss-pairing system, can only help a TD do a better job.

  1. Become a Club TD

Once you are a USChess member and have familiarized yourself with the rules of chess, you are ready to become a tournament director. The first level of TD is called a Club TD. The Club TD license is good for three years. To become a Club TD, all you need is to be a USChess member and to submit a signed statement stating that you have read, have access to, and will abide by the rules contained in the USCF’s Official Rules of Chess.

That form is available here.

Note: If you are already a Club TD and need to renew, you will have to pass an objective test of moderate difficulty to re-certify as a tournament director.

  1. Plan a tournament!

Now that you are an active USChess member, know the rules of chess, and are certified as a Club TD, you are ready to run an event. The House of Staunton has many products that can make running a chess tournament much easier on a director. Click here to see our full array of tournament director supplies.

We highly recommend that tournament directors use Swiss-pairing software such as WinTD (Windows), WinTD (Mac), or SwissSys (Windows) to help pair their tournaments.

Other useful items include score sheets, pairing cards, and wall charts, which are all available together in the TD Refill.