March 17, 2007

Bidding Guidelines for State Scholastic Tournament

Hotel Contract

There are two main venues that the State Scholastic can use.

Hotel - Can use one hotel that has a lot of ballroom space or can use
several hotels that are next to each other. It is also possible to
split the events into two separate weekends and in the same or
different cities. Note that this split option has yet to be used. An
examples of a hotel tournament was the 2003 State Scholastic held at
the Hyatt Regency ReUnion in Dallas.

Convention Center - Can use a convention center that has nearby
hotel(s). An example of a convention center tournament was the 2002
State Scholastic held at the Bayfront Plaza Convention Center in
Corpus Christi.

There are some advantages and disadvantages inherent with these either
venue types.

Hotel Venue

Pro: A hotel venue can yield free space. Most hotels will trade hotel
space for hotel rooms nights and for the food and beverage that is
sold to feed the tournament staff. (Corpus also fed the coaches at the
TCA Business meeting.) Hotels can provide some free sleeping rooms for
the staff.

Con: If the tournament does not sell the room block, then the
attrition and sliding scale charges can be quite high. Cancellation
penalties at hotels can also be quite high.

Convention Center Venue

Pro: These can have plenty more space for the tournament than a hotel
venue. The price can be fixed at a known rate. Many convention centers
have a lower nonprofit rate. Hotel rebates can be used to help pay for
the space. Convention Centers are more likely to allow the use of
outside food vendors. These can lead to savings in food and beverage
for the tournament staff.

Con: Chess parents are smart. They will go around the room
blocks. This means that you may not get many room rebates and that the
space will not be free. Convention Center housing Bureaus are many
times not structured to deal with attendees who go around them. An
alternative is making individual deals with hotels. This is more work
and more financial risk, as hotels will not block out their rooms
without compensation if the rooms are not sold. Depending on the
distance from the hotels to the Convention Center, the organizer may
have to provide transportation to and from the hotels to the
convention center. Some convention centers have table and chair rental

Guidelines for Hotel Venues

Anticipate Attendance: 1300-1900 kids, 800-1500 accompanying adults.

Time of year: March, spring break is customary but not required.

At least 39,000 sq. ft. of main playing area. (This may be more than one room.)

At least 12,000 sq. ft. of secondary hall for casual play, exhibits
and adult waiting. (This may be slightly less if either there are
exceptionally big foyer areas or if bleachers are provided for the

At least a 1,000 sq ft staff room. This can also double as the staff
feeding room. A good size computer room. If the tournament is on
various floors, then more than one computer room may be used. Room
should have power outlet and phone(s). Internet connection is

Registration Area

At least 1,000 sq. ft. for the book vendor. This may be more. This
room should be lockable and have a phone line. (Usually the vendor
pays for the phone line.)

At least 1,000 sq. ft. for the TCA meeting. This may be held at a room
that has another function. For example, it may be held where the
Kindergarten section was held.

10 - 15 rooms ranging in sizes. This are for team rooms. Suites can be
used as team rooms but care should be taken with suites if they have
pull out beds or access to beds. Note that hotels are more likely to
allow outside food in suites. Team rooms should have keys for the
occupants. Asking for too many team rooms from the hotel can raise the
price if room block is not met, but asking for too few team rooms
means that the hotel can sell team room in competition with you.

Ice water refreshed regularly should be available in all meeting
space. This should be complimentary.

Approximately 1100 6'x30" (or equilvalent) rectangular draped tables
and 4400 chairs. Round tables are not adequate for tournament play but
are acceptable for team rooms and for parent hang out. Tables should
be complimentary. Note that most hotels have sister hotel properties
from which they can borrow tables. Note that 8' x 30" tables are an
acceptable substitute. These can seat 6 players at the lower grades,
but should probably seat 4 players at the high school and college
level. Using two by 18" tables is not ideal. More ballroom playing
space may be needed if using two by 18" tables, as they are half a
foot wider than by 30" tables.

At least one stage with podium and microphone. These should be
complimentary. Note that if award ceremonies are held in different
rooms, then more microphones are needed. (Care should be taken that
the noise from one award ceremony does not disturb the players in the
other sections.)

At least four phones lines with no installation fees.

Complimentary sleeping rooms provided, based on a 1 for 30-50
cumulative calculations of entire paid room block. Most hotels will
give one free room for every 50 rooms sold, but there have been hotels
that have given 1 free room for every 30 rooms sold.

Two one-bedroom suites provided complimentary from Thursday -
Monday. Some hotels will also give a limited number of room upgrades,
that is a suite for the price of a normal room.

Hotel site should have fast food or 'kid friendly' restaurants or
menus at the site or within easy walking distance or light rail

Complimentary drayage and storage. (6 - 8 pallets.) This is important
is vendor is from far away, of if sets are being shipped or inventory
is being shipped.

Complimentary easels (or 18" wide tables) for movable signage.

New Key hotel security.

Be sure that the hotel has enough restrooms to handle the amount of
players. Restroom location is also important.

Valet parking passes. You may want to negotiate some free valet

Check the lighting. Some hotels have very poor lighting. The cost if
any of extra lighting should be in the hotel contract.

All meeting space must be available on a 24-hour basics on the
indicated days:

For experienced organizers in volunteer laden city:

TBA: a storage room. This is important if the organizer is from
another city and is making multiple trips to the site.

Friday: Computer room, vendor room, space for side events, td staff
room and registration area. All playing areas should be set up such
that sets and board numbers can be put down as soon as playing areas
become available.

Saturday - Sunday: All space (except if used, the separate award
ceremony room.)

Sunday - separate awards ceremony room if used.

For inexperienced organizers or organizers in a non volunteer laden city:

TBA: A Storage room.

Thursday: The vendor room, the staff room, and the computer room.
Friday - Sunday: All meeting space.
Sunday: The separate awards ceremony room.
Monday: The vendor room, the computer room and one small meeting room, and a storage room.

The room rate for single, double, triple and quad must be less than
$100 per night. Ideal is a rate under $90. This rate should be
available at least two days before and one day after the scheduled
meeting days. If the tournament is during spring break, then it would
be desirable to room rate available for even more days.

Estimated room block:

Th F Sa Sun Mon
20 530 550 30 2


This tournament has a high rate of room cancellations. Coaches will
reserve rooms a year in advance before they even know how many rooms
they need. Coaches will be conservative and will reserve more rooms
than they need. Thus there are many last minute cancellations. You may
want to negotiate overbooking the block by 20 or 30 percent.

There is a slight art in hotel negotiations. The lower the room block,
the less risk that an organizer has, but then players may not get a
room. Too high a room block can be risky. Having a high room block
will make negotiating easier as the hotel anticipates higher
revenue. However, this can lead to more costs if the block is not met.

There are two terms/concepts that you must be aware with hotel contracts.

Sliding scale: This is the charge for the meeting space if you do not
sell enough rooms. Be careful of per day charges. For example, be sure
that you and the hotel are on the same page on the definitions. Is
Friday a day or a half day etc. etc.

Attrition: This refers to the loss of revenue suffered because they
sold fewer hotel rooms and also consequently sold less hotel food.

Most hotels have both a meeting space sliding scale and an attrition
scale, so beware that you know just how much is owed if the room block
is not met.

Ask for free space if you sell more at least 80% of your room
block. Then the charges for the space should graduate down as the
percentage of rooms sold goes down.

Room rebates: Some hotels will allow you to negotiate room
rebates. For example, the room rate is $97. $5 of that goes back to
the organizer. Note also that some hotels will not give you any
money. They will apply the rebate toward your food and beverage and
room bill. If your rebate exceed that bill, then you will lose the
rest. Some hotels will give you the excess money. Be sure you know
which the hotel is doing.

One final note about room rebates. From TCA's point of view they are
only acceptable for very stringent reasons.

A non-profit may use the hotel rebate to pay for a an experience
organizer to negotiate and help organize the tournament. In other
words this is a carrot for nonprofits to hold the event when they are
volunteer rich but organizer poor.

In high transient cities such as San Antonio, the hotels will not
trade room nights for meeting space. In this case, an organization may
need the rebates to help pay for the high cost of meeting space.

If your room block is full, you probably want to negotiate with a
nearby hotel for more room nights.

Hotels can help you hire off duty policemen as security guards.

Note that an the hotel will be more willing to give you a good deal if
you are flexible. Perhaps you can get one of the ballrooms late
Friday, that way the hotel will not lose any daytime or evening
revenue. Hotels will then give you the space earlier if they have not
sold it to another vendor.

A bidder can get two different types of hotel contracts. One is a
proposal and the other is an actual complete bid. A proposal is good
from the hotel's point of view, since it is once page. So the hotel
does not have to invest time an effort on a complete contract. There
is are hidden problems with proposals. The proposal may say based on
your room block, your space is free. But when you get the contract,
you may find that the space is $20,000 if you do not meet your
block. Another problem is that proposals do not have which meeting
space the hotel is giving you. A 100,000 sq ft meeting space hotel may
be only offering you half their space. For these reasons, the
Scholastic Committee prefers complete contracts and not proposals.

Putting a food and beverage guarantee in the hotel contract will get
you a better deal. $4,000 to feed the staff is not unreasonable.

There are two differing philosophies about scheduling. One is a USCF
philosophy that all rounds for each section start at the same
time. Another philosophy that this tournament has used is to stagger
the rounds.

The USCF philosophy works when there is plenty of space, plenty of
super quality computer operators, plenty of time between rounds and
plenty of high speed computer equipment and/or copiers.

The staggered rounds seems to work better at state. This is because
parents seem to congest the hall more so than at nationals. Staggering
the rounds allows for not all players and parents being in the
hallways at the same time. Putting the lunch break after round 1 of
the staggered rounds, also allows the computer operators to 'catch' up
with the correction and pairings changes made on the floor.

Keep these philosophies in mind while choosing a hotel.

Guidelines for Convention Venues

Anticipate Attendance: 1300-1900 kids, 800-1500 accompanying adults.

Time of year: March, spring break is customary but not required.

The same guidelines for space and tables and chairs as the hotel venue
is required. Note that with a convention center bid, you can probably
get even more space.

Try to get all tables and chairs comped, but be aware that many will
not comp them. Be sure that the price for tables and chairs is in the

Some cities have been able to let non-profits use the convention
center for free. This avenue should be investigated.

Hotel rebates are acceptable for convention center bids. The rebates
are used to pay for the convention center. If convention center is
comped, then rebate is not okay for organizer, but it is okay for the
convention center. (The convention center may comp the space for

Convention Center contract is required with bid. This contract should
mention which space the Convention Center is providing.

Hotel contracts from surrounding hotels must also be provided to
insure that there are enough rooms available in the area.

If hotels are not near the hotel, then transportation plans should be
provided. Note that some hotels will provide transportation for free.

Convention Centers may not have enough team rooms. Skirted cubicles
have been used as a substitute. Be aware when setting prices that the
surrounding hotels may compete with you. The hotels will probably sell
out, so they have meeting rooms to sell. A logical move for them is to
sell their space cheaply as team rooms. You may want to talk to the
hotels and have them sell team rooms at hotel in exchange for the
hotel providing transportation to convention center.

Some convention centers do not provide water stations. If this is the
case, ensure that they provide cups by the water fountains in the
playing halls.

Convention center may not comp phone lines, microphones and
staging. Be sure those cost are defined in the contract. Many
convention centers allow taping pairings and the like on the walls. If
the convention center does not, have easel costs in the contract.

Picking a headquarter hotel for Friday's registration and check-in and
for the side event is one way to use convention center for two days
instead of three. Note that there should be enough volunteers and time
to set everything up if the convention center is rented only for
Saturday and Sunday.

If using a housing bureau, make sure they know about the attendee's
tendency to try to get a cheaper rate by calling hotels directly.

Be sure that convention center has at least two lockable rooms. Use
these for the computer room and for the book vendor.

Nearby hotel room rates are usually lower. The hotel sells rooms and
still has space to rent for weddings and other events. consider this
in your finances. Many will stay at hotel 6 even if farther.

Have contingencies in place in case of rainy weather and walking to
and from hotels and restaurants is more problematic.

In general Convention Center events are slightly more complicated to
set up, but there is usually more space available, so the actual
running of the tournament can be easier. The Visitors and Convention
Bureau in each city is a good resource for help.

Special venues like Universities or Fortune 500 companies can use
Convention Center guidelines.

Prize List

This is included to help a bidder in figuring out expenses. In general
there are trophies to the top 25 individual and top 20 teams per
section. In the past two years there were 25 team trophies awarded per
section. Team and individual trophies in championship sections must be
the same size and graduate from a minimum of 20" in height for the
lowest place up to a minimum of 42" in size for first place. Trophies
for the junior varsity sections can be slightly smaller than
championship trophies. Note that side events do not have these trophy
size requirements. Also note that at this time, the Kindergarten and
College sections are side events. An extra label should be available
in case a K-6 team wins the elementary section. The label is for the
highest finishing K-5 team to be the K-5 champions.

College Scholarships awarded must be prominently advertised.


Tournament booklets. These are usually 8.5" x 11" folded in half. They
should included tournament rules, tournament information,
hotel/convention center information, score sheets, tournament history
and advertisements. It is recommended that extra tournament booklets
be provided for coaches.

Duplicate score sheets for top boards.

Computer equipment and copiers. Laser printers are the preferred


TCA deposit.

Website expenses. Hosting and webmaster.

Mailing expenses. Traditionally, every scholastic, junior and
affiliates members have received a mailing. Some organizers do more
than one mailing.

Flyers to be distributed at tournaments, especially at the Grade and
at Regionals.

Staffing expenses. TDs get paid. (In 6th grade and lower, their should
be one TD for every 50 players, for MS one TD for every 75 players and
HS should have a TD per 100 players.) The overall chief TD should be
an ANTD, an NTD or as last resort, a Senior TD who has directed and
organized this event. Volunteer coordinators sometimes get paid. The
person who enters the pre-registrants into the computer should get

Office supplies.

Printing costs. Various signs and banners.
Tournament booklet ad from prior years state.
Food for staff.
Valet parking costs.
Various hotel costs.
Rating fees.
Security guards.
Phone bills and internet provider bills.
Van or car rentals if bringing chess sets.
If buying chess sets, then price of chess sets.
Tee shirt costs.
Staff shirt and/or badge cost.
Mouse pads and tournament hat cost. (If applicable.)
Master analysis and simul costs.
Graphic design costs.
Banking costs.
Scholarship awarder hotel room cost. (If not one of 50 rooms.)
TCA membership fees.
USCF membership fees.
Press agent (if you choose to hire one.)
Trophy shipment costs.
Bleacher rental and set up, if the organizer chooses to use bleachers.


Entry Fees.

Team Room fees.

Room rebates (if applicable.)

Sale of tee shirts, mouse pads, etc.

Chess Vendor commission.

Sale of chess sets (if applicable.)

Side Event fees.

Tournament booklet ads.

TCA membership commission, (if applicable.)

USCF membership commission, (if applicable.)

Sponsorship, (if applicable.)

Booth sales. (example, Think Like A King will buy a booth for this

Trophy shipment fees.

Organizer's Resume

The organizer/bidder should submit a resume of organizing
experience. (This can be waive if the scholastic Committee is aware of
the organizer's/bidder's experience.)

Synopsis of Bidding Organization

This should include the following:

Is the bidder incorporated? If so, what state?

Is the bidder nonprofit or for profit?

Is the bidder a 501(c)3 ?

Is the bidder a public school or university.

Is the bidder paying a hotel rebate or a fee to another individual for
help in preparing the bid?

Any other relevant information that the Scholastic Committee should

Statement of Insurance

The bidder and/or bidding organization will have Insurance coverage.

The Organizer shall maintain at all times and in full force and effect
commercial liability insurance covering bodily injury and property
damage in a minimum amount of no less than $1,000,000 per person /
$2,000,000 per occurrence, together with such other insurance as is
required by the state of Texas, including workers' compensation
insurance and vehicle liability insurance and will furnish proof of
such insurance to the Texas Chess Association upon demand. The
organizer will also maintain any insurance required by the hotel
and/or convention center.

General Aggregate Limit (other than Products-Completed Aggregate Limit
-- $2,000,000 Products-Completed Operations Aggregate Limit --
$2,000,000 Personal & Advertising Injury Limit -- $1,000,000 Each
Occurrence Limit -- $1,000,000 Fire Damage Limit (any one fire) --
$100,000 Medical Expense Limit (any one person) -- $5,000

Indemnification of State Association

The organizer, if not the Texas Chess Association, must agree to
indemnify and hold The Texas Chess Association harmless from any and
all claims, lawsuits, debts, obligations, and liabilities, including
without limitation attorneys fees and cost associated therewith,
relating to or arising out of the tournament.

Statement of Tournament Guideline Compliance

The bidder and/or bidding organization will comply with the tournament
regulations and guidelines in effect at the time of the Southwest Open
where this bid is awarded.