US Chess to Require Safe Play Training for TDs

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I get the point of this and it might be overdue for TDs of scholastic and national events.

But for the guy who signed up as a Club TD because the other club members nagged him into it so they could rate their club championship—where the youngest players are adults…I dunno if it’s right to ask him to pay his own time and $$$ to do this. Not sure everyone in that situation will do so.

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I think this policy change may pretty much spell the end of the club TD.

The part dealing with TDs under age 13 may not be a big issue, we don’t get a lot of TDs that young, though elementary school programs might use them for in-school events if the teacher/sponsor for the chess program isn’t a US Chess member.

It would seem that a more practicable approach to the under 13 issue would be to simply not require the training until someone is 13 and then give those tournament directors a few months after their thirteenth birthday to take the training. Is there a reason why this would not work?

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We don’t allow those under 16 into the Issues forum or give them posting privileges.

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And what does that have to do with serving as a tournament director?

I was just pointing out that we already have other age-based limitations. Moreover, the Forums can be a good place for new TDs to ask questions and learn from more experienced TDs.

When I was 11, I passed the Red Cross certification program for lifeguards, but they wouldn’t issue the certificate until I reached 16.

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It is correct that we have other age-based limitations (16 is also the voting age for example). As for tournament directors, however, I am concerned that imposing a age limitation could exclude some young chess players who might be interested in serving as tournament directors in club events and who might obtain useful experience in doing so. For example, one tournament director who has helped in some of my events was originally certified when he was 11 and I know he gained useful experience as a tournament director before he was 13.

As stated, you have to be at least 13 to even take the safe play training (13 to 17 year old people can take the training with parental approval). As far as TDs younger than 13 go, both the Tournament Director Certification Committee (TDCC) before the US Open and the TDCC workshop during the US Open supported the idea that such TDs would have their current certification level restarted upon reaching 13 and would have a full normal certification period until it expired. That would require an official vote by TDCC and approval by the Executive Board (EB).

I have not yet taken this specific training (the link was recently announced) but have taken similar training for other activities.

Such training included ways of avoiding committing unsafe behavior, identifying potential unsafe behavior, and avoiding situations where a third party might assume unsafe behavior that did not actually occur (one example: when I am teaching back room pairings to a minor I require at least one parent to be present - I will not commit unsafe behavior and the parents trust that I will not do so, but a parent being present allows immediate refutation of any third party walking by the back room and making unfounded rumors of such behavior).

Such training can protect the players, the tournament staff and the reputations of all.

The times are such that it does not matter if people find the lack of trust insulting or the time&expense intrusive. It has become necessary.

I think it is a prudent thing for US Chess to require.Given the Ramirez situation and the the important emphasis of safety it is the smart thing to do,

What do we do with the certificate after the training has been completed?

I’ll have to take the training soon to see what’s in it. I hope it’s not only about keeping TDs from committing problem behavior, but also about teaching TDs how to respond effectively when they witness or get a report of someone being bullied or harassed.


The training is conducted by the Center for Safe Sport, a center that was created by the US Congress to provide ‘safe sport’ training for Olympic sports. This training program is not chess-specific, it is safety focused that applies to pretty much any activity. That said, NTD Mike Hoffpauir completed the training and found it useful.

I do have a couple of questions that maybe should be directed to the office, but others may find the answers useful too.

I have to complete SafeSport training as part of my annual soccer referee recertification. This training is done on the US Soccer website, but is provided by the US Center for SafeSport. Can I provide proof that I have done this training each year and that will suffice for meeting the US Chess requirement?

Can we add the SafeSport information and links to the Tournament Director page at Tournament Directors | US rather than folks having to search for an news item that will disappear off the front page of the website sometime soon?

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Chris, we will accept that training, but the exact mechanism (likely a simple form) has not yet been determined. Once everything is all set up, I do expect us to provide this information/links on the TD page.


I think this thread should be cross-posted if possible, or else duplicated, in the Running Chess Tournaments forum. That might help get the word out to some TDs.

I believe it was emailed to all TDs. I have seen a copy of such an email.

I don’t know of a way to link topics together, but I did put up a post in the Tournament category that links to the article on the website and refers people to this category/topic for comments.

It is supposed to include : "US Chess wants TDs to have the tools and information needed to recognize improper conduct, respond effectively, and provide a safe and positive environment."