Tournaments are an integral part of Chess and the community. They help to increase rankings and score players based on multiple scales on their abilities to the play the game. Many tournaments offer some incentive, such as cash and prizes, but others may be just for the sake of increasing your ranking and testing your skills. There are many national and international tournaments and Olympiads which are highly regarded and difficult to do well in due to the sheer amount of high-level players that compete in them. There are tournaments for certain skill levels, that require a fee, pay money, or a combination of those. The US Chess federation, for the most part, are the official head of most tournaments and provide the guidelines for setting up and playing in tournaments. The types they offer on the website include Grand Prix Events, which are major tournaments with guaranteed cash prizes, and Scholastic Tournaments for lower rated players looking for a fair match against players similarly ranked.
Chess tournaments are similar to Table Tennis (Ping-Pong) tournaments in that the rating system is based on points, and typically, above 2000 denotes very skilled players. The similarity in the two are most likely due to the easy scaling and just the fact that the system works well and has been for quite some time.
Chess tournaments are among the only ways to achieve Grandmaster status, which is an elite group of an estimated .02% of Chess players worldwide. They are considered the best of the best, the elites, the geniuses that are able to play the game so well. Want to become a Grandmaster? Put in hours a day playing the game, practicing, and attend a few tournaments. This is not for the faint of heart.
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