Fencing

 

Youth Enrichment League Fencing has taken a giant step forward.  Ro Sobalvarro, 2012 London Olympics Women’s Epee Bronze Medal Coach, has joined our staff.  Ro will be lending his exemplary skills and international experience to hone the current YEL program.  Ro will take charge of curricular development, ongoing coach training and general oversight of the YEL fencing program.  Our goal is to raise the acumen of our coaches and students as well as raise the level of fencing throughout Minnesota.

Fencing is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States.  It holds a broad appeal for grade schoolers through adults.  It’s safe.  It’s holds great interest for the “intellectual athlete”.

Fencing holds many physical benefits including: Coordination, Agility, Balance, Flexibility, Strength and Cardiovascular Endurance.

The sport also holds mental health benefits for youth and adults, including: Boosts to mental strength and concentration, strategic thinking and decision making skills, fun!

Fencing is a life-long sport.

 Youth Enrichment League fencing coaches go through 20-30 hours of training per year with coach Ro at his Twin Cities Fencing Club.  YEL coaches are kid-friendly and understand that classes must be informative, fast-paced and fun.  Our curriculum focuses on an all-inclusive atmosphere for a variety of levels.

WEAPONS

For the 15-16 school year, our coaches will focus on FOIL and EPEE.  We hope to incorporate Sabre in the 16-17 school year.

FOIL uses a lighter blade with a smaller bell guard.  The foil contact area is the torso, front and back and the lower part of the bib.  Right-of-way is a large part of foil (and sabre) fencing rules.

EPEE uses a thicker, heavier blade with a larger bell guard.  The epee contact area is the full body.  There is no right-of-way in epee.


Honor, Manners & Respect

These core values are discussed on a regular basis with our students.  Fencers must never argue with a referee about a call (Wouldn’t that be great in the professional sports?).  Fencers must salute at the beginning and end of each bout and are taught to give their absolute best for each bout.  Fencers must respect the coach’s directives and the other fencers in class and at tournaments.

Fencing Bands
Students can earn fencing bands of different color for each session they are enrolled in fencing.  There are currently nine levels of band progressing from yellow through black band.  To earn these, fencers must have a high level of participation, adhere to the coach’s standards, exhibit good sportsmanship, show an increase in skills and complete a test (for certain band levels).  Ask your coach for more details.

Tournaments

We currently organize two tournaments per year.  The Holiday Metro Fencing Tournament in December at McGuire Middle School and the Spring Metro Fencing Championship (location TBD).   These tournaments are for fencers of all caliber and are for 2nd-5th grade as well as 6th-12th grade.  It is a non-elimination event where all competitors participate in six rounds of fencing.



  • 1.CHESS TOURNAMENT FAQ
  • How long is a tournament?
    Chet Gunhus26-08-2014

    Chess tournaments last 6 rounds (Anoka is 5 rounds).  We start the first round at approximately 9:15am and typically finish the last round at approximately 2:45pm.  Trophies and awards are distributed between 2:45-3pm.

  • Does my child need to stay all day?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    Our chess tournaments are non-elimination chess tournaments.  Meaning that all students participate all day.  Parents should count on their child staying until after the prizes are awarded.

  • Can I leave early?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    Occasionally a student does not feel well and asks to leave before the end of the tournament.  We do our best to encourage the student to stay until the end, but understand there are other circumstances.

    If a child decides they would like to leave early, we would check them out of the tournament and give them a medal based on their current score.

    If you are leaving early, we request that you make sure to alert a tournament director so we can adjust the pairings for future rounds.

  • What is the schedule for the day?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    We try to keep as close to the schedule as possible, but please understand that all times are approximations.  Rounds may last longer dependent on the pace of all students' play.  One game may last forty-five minutes longer than another (BEWARE THE FOUR MOVE CHECKMATE!).

    A typical schedule is (NOTE: All times are approximations.):

    • 8:30-9am: Check-in
    • 9-:915am: Announcements.
    • 9:15am-10:05am: Round 1
    • 10:05-10:50am: Round 2
    • 10:50-11:35am: Round 3
    • 11:35am-12:05pm: Lunch Break - Pizza, snacks and beverages are provided for all paid attendees.
    • 12:05-12:50pm: Round 4
    • 12:50-1:35pm: Round 5
    • 1:35-2:45pm: Round 6
    • 2:45-3pm: Award presentation
  • Why are chess tournaments important?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    • We feel that chess tournaments are like piano recitals in that they sharpen a student's focus in class and leading up to the tournament.
    • We also fee l it is a great way to increase a student's level of play more quickly.  Students learn a lot in six rounds of tournament chess.
    • It also helps build camaraderie between school mates, between chess players from different schools and can serve as a bonding experience between a child and their parent.
    • Students get an opportunity to play students from other schools.  They rarely, if ever,  play against student's from their school.  NOTE: The Grade 6+ division is a usually a smaller division, so it is harder to avoid playing someone from your school in that division.
    • MOST IMPORTANTLY - they are FUN!  We often see players playing chess between rounds, asking their parent to play chess with them when they get home and just enjoying the whole experience.
  • What is your time control?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    Each round is scheduled for approximately 45 minutes.  In order to stick to that timeline, we may put a clock on each player.  The clock is usually set to 5-10 minutes per player.

  • How do you determine when to add clocks?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    We add clocks to players primarily to stay on schedule.

    We have found that 90-95% of YEL chess tournament games are finished within the first 25 minutes.  We usually add a clock to the remaining games at the 25-30 minute mark.  Each student receives between 5-10 minutes per player.

    Sometimes we may not add a clock.  Some factors in our determination are:

    • What is the position on the board?
      • If one student is markedly ahead of the other (i.e. two rooks versus one king), we would not add a clock.  We figure if the student can't checkmate in the remaining 20 minutes of that round, they won't be able to do it with or without a clock.
      • We will assess each game individually.  We like to avoid using clocks if we feel the game is near the end.
    • What section are the students in?
      • We try to avoid adding clocks to the K-1 division.
      • The 6+ division almost always plays with a clock set at 25 minutes per player.
      • Grades 2-3 and 4-5 we will often add clocks to keep within our timeline.

    We would also like to note that we understand that clocks can change the way a student plays.  Often times they focus entirely on the clock and not on the board and make blunders that wouldn't otherwise occur.  So, again, we try to add clocks sparingly and primarily to keep the tournament on schedule.

  • Student Etiquette
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    1. Be courteous to your opponents.
      1. Shake hands at the beginning of each game and say, “Have a good game.”
      2. Shake hands at the completion of each game and say, “Good Game.”
      3. Talking should be kept to an absolute minimum.
      4. Fidgeting should be kept to a minimum.  Avoid:
        1. Tapping your pencil.
        2. Humming
        3. Tapping your finger
    2. Always use “Touch Move”
      1. If you touch a piece, you have to move that piece unless it is an illegal move.
      2. If you need to rearrange a piece (it isn’t in the middle of it’s square, for instance), you should say “Rearranging.” before moving the piece to avoid confusion.
    3. We also use “Touch, Take”, meaning that if you touch an opponents piece, you have to take that piece, unless it is an illegal move.
    4. Never argue with an opponent
      1. Raise your hand if you have a question or disagreement and a tournament referee will come and answer your question or resolve the disagreement.
    5. Don’t take losses too seriously.  This is only a step in your chess journey.  There is plenty more chess ahead for you.
    6. Don’t take too much pride in victory.  There is a lot of chess out there to be played.  And a lot more to learn.
    7. Have a lot of fun.
      1. Between games, chat (outside the playing area) with other chess players.  Get to know them.  I’m sure you’ll see them at other chess tournaments.
        1. Maybe start a round of bughouse or other games from our booklets.
    8. We may have gym space available between games for competitors to run and burn off some steam.
      1. When you leave the playing area, please be aware that some rounds may start early.
      2. We will have staff watching the gym area (if the space is available) and monitoring the students return for each round.
  • Parent Etiquette
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    • Parents and coaches are not allowed to comment on an ongoing game.
    • No talking is allowed in the playing area.  Please take all discussions outside.
    • Parents and coaches are allowed to watch ongoing games, but must stay out of the playing area to do so.
    • If there is an illegal move or a disagreement, it is up to the players to report it to a referee.  If it goes unreported until after the game or later on during an ongoing game, referees have no recourse but to let the game stand as it is.
      • If a parent or coach interjects about an illegal move or other issues during a game, the child they are advocating for may have to resign that game.  This is at the Tournament Director’s discretion.
    • If parents and coaches would like to help analyze competitors games, we strongly encourage students to take score notation.  Parents, coaches and competitors can then analyze the game in between rounds.  This is very helpful to developing students.
      • Chess notation score booklets may be purchased from Youth Enrichment League for $1 per booklet.  Each booklet has score sheets for 16 games.  Please have exact change.
    • Parents and coaches may approach the referees and tournament directors about issues, however, the primary responsibility of the referees is to monitor the games being played.  The primary responsibility of the tournament director is to keep the tournament running, set up pairings, post results, etc.
    • The Tournament Director may ask a parent or coach, or all parents and coaches, to leave the playing area at his discretion.
  • What is a “Bye” or “Please Wait”?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    When there is an odd number of participants in a division, one person each round is assigned a “Bye”.  It is marked as “Please Wait” on the pairing sheet.

    If you receive a bye, you get 1 point and you take a break for that round.  It is very unusual to receive more than one bye in a one day tournament.

    In divisions with 13 or more players, byes are usually assigned to students with lower point totals.  If 9 or fewer players, the computer tries to make sure most participants receive a bye, but this is not always possible.

    It should also be noted that the computer software tries to avoid assigning byes to players from the same school in the same division throughout that tournament.

  • How does the scoring work?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    Scoring follows United States Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation (FIDE) guidelines.

    • Win = 1 point
    • Loss = 0 point
    • Draw = 1/2 point
  • What are the tiebreakers?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    We use tiebreakers when the score is tied.  The tournament software (WinTD) is designed to determine a true champion.  The final results may contain a number of students with the same score.  For instance, 12 students may end up with 3.0 points.  To rank these students, a tiebreak method is used.

    • Tbrk1 (or Solkoff) - This tiebreaker is a direct measure of the strength of your opponents throughout the tournament.  This tiebreaker adds up the scores of the listed players OPPONENTS.  The higher the score, the stronger competition you have played.
      • For instance, #4 Ryker Huseby competed against numbers 14 (2.0), 13 (2.0), 8(3.0), 2 (5.0), 3 (5.0), 1 (5.0).  Add up the opponents points (in parentheses above) and you get the TBrk1 Score of 22.
    • Tbrk2 (or Cumulative) - This tiebreaker indirectly measures the strength of your opponents.  The calculation is based on the logic that if you win in early rounds, you face stronger competition in those rounds and so it gives more weight to having points in the earlier rounds.  It adds up your cumulative scores for each round.  So if you have 1 point (a win) after round one, 2 points after round 2 (a second win) and still have 2 points after round 3 (2 wins and a loss), your cumulative score would be 1 + 2 + 2 or 5 points.
      • Using Tommy Clobes and Bennett Kerfeld as examples from the chart, their Tbrk2 scores would be:
        • Round 1: Tommy = 1; Bennett = 1
        • Round 2: Tommy = 3 (1+2); Bennett = 3 (same)
        • Round 3: Tommy = 5 (1+2+2)- Tommy lost in round 3 to Bennett; Bennett = 6 (1+2+3)
        • Round 4: Tommy = 8  (1+2+2+3); Bennett = 9 (1+2+3+3)- Bennett lost to Ryker Huseby in Round 4
        • Round 5: Tommy =  12 (1+2+2+3+4); Bennett = 13 (1+2+3+3+4)
        • Round 6: Tommy = 17 (1+2+2+3+4+5); Bennett = 18 (1+2+3+3+4+5)
        • So by winning in an earlier round and losing in a later round, Bennett’s Tbrk2 is a bit higher.
      • There are two other tiebreakers we use, but in 5 years we have never had to go to them, so we leave them off of the chart.
  • What is Swiss style pairings? How are pairings determined?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    At all YEL chess tournaments, we don't know the level of play of all chess players.  So, the software we use (WinTD) is designed to put all students into one bracket, separated by grade levels.  This is called Swiss Style bracketing or pairing.

    In early rounds, students are paired at random with preference given to pairing the most experienced students against the least experienced.  So, if you have an established LOCAL rating of 800 or more, you will likely play another player with no rating or an assigned rating of 200-400.

    As the rounds progress, the determining factors are:

    • Score - In the fourth round, for instance, a student with 3 points will likely play another player with 3 points.  A player with 0 points will likely play another player with 0 points.  Etc.
    • Color - If you are due to play black, the software tries to pair you with some one with the same point total who is due to play white.
    • Team - The software will avoid pairing students from the same school.  Usually only the Grade 6+ division might play players from the same school, but the K-1, 2-3 and 4-5 divisions will not unless an announcement is made to the contrary at the tournament.
      • PLEASE LET US KNOW IF A STUDENT IS PAIRED AGAINST SOMEONE FROM THE SAME SCHOOL!

     

    NOTE: When a division has 7 or fewer players, we may decide to use a round robin or double round robin format.  In this format, each player plays every other player in their division once or twice.

  • How is the team score determined?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    • Team standings incorporate all divisions between kindergarten and 5th grade (6th and up don’t count for the team trophy).
    • We take the top four scores from each school and add them up.  We do this manually based on the computer calculated individual player scores.
    • The standings will be posted throughout the day.  It is sometimes difficult to post the Team Standings after each round, but we will try to come close to that.
    • The software is designed to avoid pairing students from the same school.  However, if there are fewer participants in a division or if the top players are from the same school, it is unavoidable to pair students from the same school.
      • We will make an announcement if a division must include pairings from the same school.
    • TIEBREAKERS are used in the same fashion for the team score as they are for the individual scores.
  • How are prize awards determined?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    • Trophies are given out to 1st-5th in each section
    • Medals are given out to the rest of the participants based on their score at the end of the tournament.  Typically, it works like this:
      • 3.5 points or more without a trophy = Gold
      • 2.5-3.0 points = Silver
      • 2 or fewer points = Bronze
      • These may be adjusted if more or fewer games are played.
      • NOTE: The Anoka tournament does not include medals.

    Curious students may ask how they know if they get a trophy.  We don't know until the entire tournament is finished, but typically you need 4.5 or more points to get a trophy.  Sometimes you need 5.0 or more to get a trophy if there is a number of students tied at the top of a division.

  • Do parents need to stay all day?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016
    • A lot of parents ask if they need to stay the entire day.  Some bullet points:
      • We ask that parents stay through the opening announcements which start at 9am.
      • We encourage them to stay through the first round which should end around 10:05am.
      • We suggest that parents return by 2:30pm in case the tournament is over quicker than expected.  The awards presentation usually starts between 2:45-3pm, but may start as early as 2:30pm if the event is finished faster than expected.
      • K-1 students: Parents usually stay with their child in the k-1 division.
      • 2-3, 4-5 and 6+: It's really dependent on the child.  Some 3rd graders are completely independent.  Others need more nurturing.  We suggest you ask your child.
        • Often a parent will leave for an hour or two and come back.
      • Cell phone numbers - If you leave the event, please make sure that we have your contact number on the sign in sheet and make sure you take our contact number at the event.
  • Should my child play in a chess tournament?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    YES!  Chess tournaments are fun and a great way for students to accelerate their chess skills.  Some determining factors for whether your child should attend:

    • K-1 grades: Students in this division should understand piece movement and capturing, can identify check and have a basic understanding of the Rook Ladder.
      • NOTE: Students who finish at the top of this division usually have a solid grasp of the Rook Ladder.
    • 2-3 grades: Same as k-1 grades, but they should understand solid openings (e4, Knights before Bishops, castling, etc.), should have a grounding in how to block the four move checkmate and should have a firm grasp of the Rook Ladder.
    • 4-5 grades: As above.
    • 6+: As above.
  • What do players do between rounds?
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    We offer a lot of options for players to have fun between rounds.

    • Gym time with some organized games.
    • Snacks and beverages.
    • Pizza at the end of round three.
    • Parents versus kids dodge ball.

    In addition, some kids like to play chess with friends or family between rounds, do sudoku, read, joke around with friends, etc.

  • Parent tips.
    Chet Gunhus03-02-2016

    Prepare for the tournament:

    • Play some practice games and positions in the week leading up to the tournament.
    • Get your sleep the night before.  It's a lot of thinking and lots of sleep helps lots of thinking.
    • Eat a good breakfast, but not too much.
    • We have crackers, cookies and beverages for snacks and pizza coming as well.  If you want something more, please provide it.
    • Bring some extras for your child.  We will have access to a gym to burn off steam between games, but you can also send Sudoku, reading material or other things to keep kids engaged between games.

    The day of the tournament

    • Focus on fun!  Ask questions like:
      • How was the pizza?
      • Did you get anybody in the dodge ball game?
      • Are the cookies tasty?
      • Isn't chess fun!
    • The game - Some students want to race to their parent and tell them the result.  Others prefer to move on with their day and dive into a book or gym time.  Parental encouragement can serve as a life lesson for your child.  Properly phrased questions can help the student get ready for the next game.
      • What did you do right in that last game?  (castling, knights out in opening, captured opponents queen, etc.)
      • What do you think might work in the next game?
      • Let's go play in the gym!
      • Remember, every chess player will lose at some point.  Even the world's greatest players lose occasionally.
  • Do we need four players to make a team?
    Chet Gunhus04-02-2016

    The short answer is no.  We count your school as a team whether you have 1 player or 20 players.

    We merge all divisions (K-1, 2-3 & 4-5) and take the top four scores from your school.  We total those scores to get the team score.

    We use the same tiebreakers for the teams as we do for individuals.

  • What is a good result?
    Chet Gunhus04-02-2016

    I think the first determining factors are:

    • Did your child have fun?
    • Are they interested in future chess classes, chess games at home, chess tournaments?

    As far as the score goes, Swiss Style tournaments are designed to have a few people at the top, a few people at the bottom and a bunch of people in the middle.  Most players leave with a score of 2.0 to 3.5.

    In chess jargon:

    • A plus player is a player with a final score greater than the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 3.5 or more at a YEL six round tournament.
    • A minus player is a player with a final score less than the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 2.5 or less at a YEL six round tournament.
    • An even player is a player with a final score equal to the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 3.0 score at a YEL six round tournament.
  • How closely are the kids monitored?
    Chet Gunhus04-02-2016

    We have a lot of staff in place at each event.  However, the primary responsibility of our tournament staff is to monitor chess play, monitor the gym and keep the tournament timeline on track.

    Participants should be mature enough to either monitor themselves or a parent should be present to watch over their child(ren).

    Our gym staff will organize some activities and are present to ensure child safety.

Faqs



  • 1.FENCING TOURNAMENT FAQ
    A description of Youth Enrichment League (YEL) fencing tournaments as well as other MN tournaments.
  • How do we check in?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    1) Go to the check in table and make sure your name, school, grade and emergency number are all correct.
    2) Go to the gym area.
    3) Find the equipment tables.
    4) Get the equipment you need to compete that day. NOTE: We have enough equipment for 150 competitors of varying size, however, we cannot guarantee that all fencers will have the exact size they need. You'll need:
    • Mask
    • Jacket
    • Glove
    • Chest Plate (grades 2-7 only)
    • Plastron (grades 8-12 and 6-7 at coach's discretion)
    • Foils and epees are provided by staff and are kept at each strip.
    5) Find your seating area.
    • Grades 2-5 are split by section
    • Grades 2-3 are on the right side of the gym as you sit in the audience.
    • Grades 4-5 are on the left side of the gym as you sit in the audience.
    • Grades 6-12 are split by section
    • Grades 6-7 are on the right side of the gym as you sit in the audience.
    • Grades 8-12 are on the left side of the gym as you sit in the audience.
    *NOTE: If one section has significantly more fencers, then we may move a group of kids to a different side of the gym in order to stay within our time constraints.

    6) Parents can sit in the bleachers. Follow the guidelines above so you are seated near your fencer.
    7) Fencers should then warm up.
    • Go through your footwork drills.
    • Find a partner, share a strip and do some blade work.
    • Safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure there aren't other fencers walking around you. If there are, call a "HALT" to the action.
    • Fence a match with a friend.
    • If an electric strip is available, we suggest you practice on one of those strips as well as on a non-electric strip.
    8) Wait for announcements.
    9) See "What is the schedule?" for an itinerary.

  • What is the schedule?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    Grades 2-5 (Grades 6-12 scroll down a bit):
    • 8-8:30am: Check in and set up. Get your gear after checking in.
    • 8:30-8:35am: Announcements.
    • *8:40-9:20: Round 1
    • *9:20-10:00: Round 2
    • *10:00-10:40: Round 3
    • *10:40-11:20: Round 4
    • *11:20-12:00: Round 5
    • *12:00-12:40: Round 6
    • *12:40-1:00: Gap time. Make-up time.
    • *1:00-1:15: Trophy Presentations
    * All times are approximations and may change with no notice.

    Grades 6-12:
    • 1:00-1:30: Check in and set up. Get your gear after checking in.
    • 1:30-1:35: Announcements.
    • *1:35-2:05: Round 1
    • *2:05-2:35: Round 2
    • *2:35-3:05: Round 3
    • *3:05-3:35: Round 4
    • *3:35-4:05: Round 5
    • *4:05-4:35: Round 6
    • *4:35-5:00: Gap time. Make-up time.
    • *1:00-1:15: Trophy Presentations
    * All times are approximations and may change with no notice.

  • How long is the tournament?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    Our fencing tournaments are non-elimination.  Each fencer will compete in six rounds of fencing (a few students may receive a bye if there are an odd number of participants).

  • What do I need to wear?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    All fencing equipment is provided: Masks, jackets, chest plates or plastrons, glove and foils or epees.

    We suggest students wear:
    • Court shoes.
    • Knee high socks
    • Knickers, baseball pants or sweat pants. NOTE: The entire leg must be covered.
    • A light t-shirt.
    • A water bottle, if wanted. We do have bottled water at concessions.
    • Snacks. We do have snacks at concessions.
    • A small towel. High school fencers tend to sweat more. They may want to have their own towel on hand.
     

  • What do we need to bring?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    See "What do we need to wear?"

  • Do you provide equipment?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    Yes.  We provide: masks, jackets, gloves, foils, chest plates (for grades 2-7) and plastrons (for grades 8-12).

    Fencers should also wear:

    • Knickers or sweat pants.  Baseball/softball pants works really well if knickers aren't available.

    • Court or sport shoes.

    • Long socks to the knee if wearing knickers or baseball/softball pants.

    • We recommend a light t-shirt.  The chest plate or plastron and the fencing jacket keep fencers quite warm.

  • Does my fencer stay all day?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    Our fencing tournaments are non-elimination chess tournaments.  Meaning that all students participate all day.  Parents should count on their child staying until after the prizes are awarded.

    Timing is typically (but not always):

    Grades 2-5 = 8:30am-1:00pm (Check-in begins at 8am)

    Grades 6-12 = 1:30pm-5:00pm (Check-in begins at 1pm)

  • Do you provide electric equipment?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    We want to give many fencers the experience of fencing with electric equipment as they do in the olympics and USFA events.

    To do so, we provide four electric strips out of 10 strips at our fencing tournaments.  We also provide lames (pronounced la-mays), body cords, electric foils and epees, floor cords and reels.

    If your child is scheduled for an electric strip, we encourage you to allow them to fence on it.  Yes, it may be new for some, but it is an opportunity to fence "like the big kids".

  • What is the USFA?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    The USFA (United States Fencing Association) is the governing body for competitive fencing in the United States.  YEL adheres to most of the same rules and certainly the same spirit as the USFA.  For the sake of ease for the competitors and parents' pocketbooks, here are some differences between YEL and USFA events:

    • USFA requires each competitor to provide three working weapons.  YEL provides all equipment.

    • USFA requires knickers.  YEL requires sweat pants or baseball/softball pants.

    • USFA requires knee length socks.  YEL requires that the legs are covered entirely.

    • USFA uses the bib of the mask as a point area for foil.  YEL does not provide electric bibs.  The referees decide whether the strike was on target.

  • How do you pair the Grade 2-5 students?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    At all YEL fencing tournaments, we don't know the level of play of all fencing players.  So, the software we use (WinTD) is designed to put all students into one bracket, separated by grade levels.  This is called Swiss Style bracketing or pairing.

    In early rounds, students are paired at random with preference given to pairing the most experienced students against the least experienced.  So, if you have an established LOCAL rating of 800 or more, you will likely play another player with no rating or an assigned rating of 200-400.

    As the rounds progress, the determining factors are:

    • Score - In the fourth round, for instance, a student with 3 points will likely play another player with 3 points.  A player with 0 points will likely play another player with 0 points.  Etc.
    • Team - The software will avoid pairing students from the same school.  Usually only the Grade 6+ division might play players from the same school, but the K-1, 2-3 and 4-5 divisions will not unless an announcement is made to the contrary at the tournament.
      • PLEASE LET US KNOW IF A STUDENT IS PAIRED AGAINST SOMEONE FROM THE SAME SCHOOL!

    NOTE: When a division has 7 or fewer players, we may decide to use a round robin or double round robin format.  In this format, each player plays every other player in their division once or twice.

  • What is a "bye" or "Please Wait"
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    When there is an odd number of participants in a division, one person each round is assigned a “Bye”.  It is marked as “Please Wait” on the pairing sheet.

    If you receive a bye, you get 1 point and you take a break for that round.  It is very unusual to receive more than one bye in a one day tournament.

    In divisions with 13 or more players, byes are usually assigned to students with lower point totals.  If 9 or fewer players, the computer tries to make sure most participants receive a bye, but this is not always possible.

    It should also be noted that the computer software tries to avoid assigning byes to players from the same school in the same division throughout that tournament.

  • What is a good result?
    Chet Gunhus23-11-2016

    I think the first determining factors are:

    • Did your child have fun?
    • Are they interested in future fencing classes and fencing tournaments?

    As far as the score goes, Swiss Style tournaments are designed to have a few people at the top, a few people at the bottom and a bunch of people in the middle.  Most players leave with a score of 2.0 to 3.5.

    In chess jargon:

    • A plus player is a player with a final score greater than the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 3.5 or more at a YEL six round tournament.
    • A minus player is a player with a final score less than the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 2.5 or less at a YEL six round tournament.
    • An even player is a player with a final score equal to the number of rounds divided by 2.
      • 3.0 score at a YEL six round tournament.
  • Is there food?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    We do have a concession stand with snack and beverage items. We have pop, peanuts, cookies, crackers, gatorade and water.

    We ask that your child take good care of the fencing gear they are wearing and avoid spilling on it.

  • Why do we have to wear chest plates?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    Chest plates are used for all students in grades 2-7.  Chest plates help to minimize the impact of a touch on the chest and ribs area.  We have found that students who wear chest plates focus less on getting hit and more on technique.

  • Why do we have to wear a plastron?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    A plastron is vital for safety when fencers are strong enough to break a blade.  The plastron is double seamed so that if a blade breaks during a bout, the broken blade will glance off of the plastron and will not cause injury.

    We require plastrons for students in grades 8-12 and grades 6-7 at the coach's discretion.  Essentially, if you are strong enough to break a blade, you and your opponent must wear a plastron.

  • Why do we use electric equipment?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    We want to introduce our students to the atmosphere they would find if they competed at USFA events or in a Minnesota State High School Fencing League event (the State Tournament, for instance). We would like many fencers to get used the the electric equipment because as they get older, they will be on electric strips more and more.

    Electric strips also provide more accurate scoring and the referee can focus on other aspects of the rules (right of way in foil, for instance).

    Usually, the students with higher scores are on the electric strips. We do this to give every opportunity for those students to get the right result for their bout.

  • Why don't you have all electric strips?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    Honestly, it's just due to time. As you observe a YEL Fencing tournament, you'll note that the setup for each bout on an electric strip takes considerably longer. At USFA tournaments, all competitors must provide their own equipment and are quite familiar with that equipment.

    Our students are provided with all the electric equipment and so many of them have to get in and out of it after each bout. This adds a lot of time onto the transition.

    The non-electric (dry) strips have referees who are very comfortable refereeing on dry strips.

  • What weapons do you use?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    We have Foil and Epee. We do not offer Sabre at this time.

    FOIL because it is the most common entry level weapon. Most epee-sits and sabre-ists start in foil.

    EPEE because it is the next logical step for middle school and high school fencers.

    SABRE is a challenge. The technique is quite different from foil and epee. As we continue to develop the YEL fencing program, we may add sabre in the future.

  • What are the tiebreakers?
    Chet Gunhus28-11-2016

    We use tiebreakers when the score is tied.  The tournament software (WinTD) is designed to determine a true champion.  The final results may contain a number of students with the same score.  For instance, 12 students may end up with 3.0 points.  To rank these students, a tiebreak method is used.

    • Tbrk1 (or Solkoff) - This tiebreaker is a direct measure of the strength of your opponents throughout the tournament.  This tiebreaker adds up the scores of the listed players OPPONENTS.  The higher the score, the stronger competition you have played.
      • For instance, #4 Ryker Huseby competed against numbers 14 (2.0), 13 (2.0), 8(3.0), 2 (5.0), 3 (5.0), 1 (5.0).  Add up the opponents points (in parentheses above) and you get the TBrk1 Score of 22.
    • Tbrk2 (or Cumulative) - This tiebreaker indirectly measures the strength of your opponents.  The calculation is based on the logic that if you win in early rounds, you face stronger competition in those rounds and so it gives more weight to having points in the earlier rounds.  It adds up your cumulative scores for each round.  So if you have 1 point (a win) after round one, 2 points after round 2 (a second win) and still have 2 points after round 3 (2 wins and a loss), your cumulative score would be 1 + 2 + 2 or 5 points.
      • Using Tommy Clobes and Bennett Kerfeld as examples from the chart, their Tbrk2 scores would be:
        • Round 1: Tommy = 1; Bennett = 1
        • Round 2: Tommy = 3 (1+2); Bennett = 3 (same)
        • Round 3: Tommy = 5 (1+2+2)- Tommy lost in round 3 to Bennett; Bennett = 6 (1+2+3)
        • Round 4: Tommy = 8  (1+2+2+3); Bennett = 9 (1+2+3+3)- Bennett lost to Ryker Huseby in Round 4
        • Round 5: Tommy =  12 (1+2+2+3+4); Bennett = 13 (1+2+3+3+4)
        • Round 6: Tommy = 17 (1+2+2+3+4+5); Bennett = 18 (1+2+3+3+4+5)
        • So by winning in an earlier round and losing in a later round, Bennett’s Tbrk2 is a bit higher.
      • There are two other tiebreakers we use, but since 2009 we have never had to go to them, so we leave them off of the chart.
  • How are the 6-12 Events structured?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    In 2017, {YEL!} reformatted tournaments that grades 6-12 participate in.  The structure is:

    • Pools - The fencers are put in pools of 5-7 fencers.  It is a round robin pool (each fencer fences each other once).
      • Pools are first fencer to five points or whoever leads after 3 minutes of fencing time.
    • Seeding - After the pools, fencers are seeded based on their score after the pools.  Essentially, the more wins you have the higher you are seeded.
    • Double Elimination or Repechage - After being seeded, the fencers participate in a double elimination (repechage) event.  The structure will become evident at the tournament.  Essentially you have to lose twice to be eliminated.
      • Double Elimination is first fencer to 10 points or whoever is ahead after two 3 minute time periods with a one minute break between.
  • How is team score calculated for Grades 6-12?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    TEAM TROPHIES

    • Team points are awarded for the top four fencers from each fencing program.

    • Team points are as follows:

    ° 1st place = 10pt; 2nd = 8; 3rd = 7; 4th = 6; 5th = 5; Top 10 = 3; Top quartile = 2; Top half = 1.

    • Team points are coordinated from both Epee and Foil.

  • Grades 6-12 how long does each bout last?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    In the pools round, each bout is first fencer to five points or whoever is in the lead after 3 minutes of fencing time.

    In the double elimination rounds, each bout is first fencer to ten points or whoever is in the lead after two three minute periods with a one minute break in between.

  • What's up with the electrical equipment?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    One or our goals for the {YEL!} fencing program is to get the students as close to an Olympic or NCAA experience as we can.  All major fencing events require fencers to have their own, working electrical gear.  As an introductory fencing program, {YEL!} doesn't require fencers to have their own gear.  We encourage it, but we provide every thing a fencer needs to participate at a {YEL!} fencing tournament.

    If your student is on an electric strip, they will be wearing a lame (electric vest), use an electric foil and be plugged into electric scoring equipment.

  • Does my child have to fence on an electric strip?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    In the grades 2-5 tournament, students may request to be place on a different strip.  NOTE: We really prefer that students participate on the strip they are assigned.  We do so because:

    • Electric scoring is more accurate.
    • Having the student on that strip makes the event go faster.  We don't have to move them to an alternate strip at the last second.
    • It gives them the experience they'll need if they take fencing to a higher level (many {YEL!} students have gone on to fence at the national and state levels).
    • Keep in mind that the other fencer may want to try out the electric strip and if your child decides to fence on non-electric, it may take that opportunity away from the other child.

    In the grades 6-12 tournament.

    • Yes, we really need students to fence on the strip they are assigned to, whether it is electric or non-electric.  Any switching at the 6-12 level impacts multiple fencers and requires a lot of leg work to compensate for.
  • How is the team score calculated for Grades 2-5?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    We merge the Grades 2-3 division and the Grades 4-5 division and take the top four scores from each team/club and add them together.  Whether a team has one fencer or 21 fencers, we still take the top four scores for that team and add them together.  Tie breaks do apply.

  • What is a team/club?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    For {YEL!} fencing tournaments, a team or club is made up of fencing students from the location they fence.  For instance, if your child takes classes at McGuire Middle School, they would fence for the McGuire/Lakeville team.  Even if they go to school at Cherry View, they would still fence for the school they take fencing classes (McGuire, in this case).

  • How do trophies and medals work in the Grades 6-12 division?
    Chet Gunhus05-12-2017

    Trophies are given out to the top five finishers.  First and second will meet in the finals and the champion will be determined from that pairing.  Third through fifth are determined by their results from throughout the day.

    • Medals to all participants based on quartile finish:
      • Top quartile without a trophy = Gold medal
      • Top half = Silver medal
      • Lower half = Bronze medal

    • Tie breakers are based on the differential between touches scored and touches received.

Coaches

We take a lot of pride in our after school courses.  We have seen many students emerge from those classes with well-honed chess skills.  

However, a number of accelerated and dedicated students are looking to take that leap into prominence and are willing to put in the extra time it takes to become a top-notch chess player.  1-on-1  or small group lessons are fantastic ways to add more depth, skill and understanding to your chess skills.

Below is a list of instructors who also teach private and semi-private (no more than 4 to a group) lessons.  Fees are based on teacher remuneration, drive time (if in your home) and the number of students.  Please call our office for scheduling and fee information.

Instructors include:

  • Sima Solovaskaya – Sima (Serafima) is certainly one of the top chess coaches in Minnesota.   She has coached state and USA National Champions as well as a bevy of Russian and European Champions; she is the second highest rated female in MN; she is a former coach of the Russian Olympic School of Chess; she has authored a myriad of chess curricula for YEL.  Need I say more.  She is primarily interested in working with dedicated, hard working students who have a thorough understanding of basic chess concepts.
    • AVAILABLE – Saturdays in St. Paul.
  • Nathan Hoover is in the elite National Master category of USA chess players  (USCF rating of 2,200 or more) and he is a former Minnesota State Champion (1989).  Nathan’s students are highly skilled and he had many students in the top 30 at the 2013 state tournament.  He is particularly gifted at analyzing games and positions in significant detail.  Nathan is also a certified computer scientist.
    • CALL FOR AVAILABILITY.
  • Mark Ball – Mark is a highly sought after instructor with years of experience teaching hundreds of students in the southern metro area. Mark’s students often place high in local tournaments and sign up year round to learn the next great chess move from Mr. Ball.
  • John Satre – John has taught thousands of students the basics of chess and is the coach for two of the top six schools from the 2013 k-3 state tournament.  He is particularly good at creating team atmosphere and getting students interested in attending local tournaments.  John is also a wood-smith and archer.
  • Jerry Christians – Jerry has experience in many fields, including chess.  His students and schools are climbing the ranks at local and regional chess tournaments.  Jerry is a former Honeywell project manager and has taught many YEL courses.
    • AVAILABLE – Evenings and Saturdays near Maple Grove area.