Tuesday, June 22, 2021 07:36

Tools of the Trade, Part 5 (Scorepad!)

These series of posts are geared at providing players (or parents) new to the game with some of the things a new player should consider having. This is the last of the “absolute essentials” for a player. The series will continue more sporadically, after an interlude about complete kits, focusing on other tools can be useful to a player.

We’ve looked at set, board, bag, and clock. There’s one last absolute esstential a new player should have. Score pads!

This one is a *lot* easier for the beginner. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

For the non-playing parent out there… Scorepads are what one records the moves a game on, using notation. I’ll mention in passing the “LV’s notation course” link at the right, an A-Z of basic notation. There is no singular thing you could do to improve your play more than to learn and take notation of all your games, then analyze them later.

A basic scorepad costs $2.25 for one at USCF. Each scorepad holds 50 games (pretty much a universal, no matter which one you buy.) I am drawn to Scholastic scorepads, mainly because their area to write moves in is a little larger than the ‘average’ adult version. (The sacrifice here is moves… ‘adult’ pads typically hold 80 moves. Scholastic pads hold about 60 moves.) Pads also typically have one diagram on which piece names could be put for a particular position, and record other data like event name, date, players, ratings, tournament round number, tournament board number, time control, etc.

One can get a little more deluxe, and actually buy a diary-style bound book that holds 80 games for $7.95. The main reason I’ve never bought something like this is that I always put my games into a chess database program soon after playing. Scorepads / books aren’t permanent storage for me by any means. The regularly-backed-up database is my permanent storage.

You can also get smaller. A friend on mine at the club always carries a tiny scorebook with him. It is, opened up, about half the page of a standard scoresheet. I don’t know where he gets them from – or how he records so tiny. But they’re obviously out there.

And, finally, the *extreme* economy version… Ruled notepaper.

Yes, it’s possible! Just handwrite moves in pairs all the way down the page. I’ve used this approach before when, for whatever reason, I didn’t have my scorepad to hand but wanted to record a game. A close runner-up are copies of scoresheets, printed two to a 8 1/2 x 11 inch page. They work, but with no binding or hole punching can get lost easily.

A couple of last notes. First, know that in tournament play taking notation is a requirement – rule 15A. And also that a tournament organizer can provide and specify that you will use the designated scoresheet for recording the game. Scoresheets are the property of the tournament organizer per rule 15G. (But if a tournament requires a copy to be turned in, they are responsible for providing duplicate scoresheets.) Editing to add: Today a thread at the USCF Forums reminded me that directors may excuse beginners from taking notation. But there is no requirement that a director must do so.

Whichever method you choose, keeping score is an essential for a player who wants to improve, or just enjoy replaying wins, or to write up a chess blog. :) Get a scorepad today, and

Enjoy your game!

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