Qualifying Tournaments

Schedule of Qualifying Tournaments in Illinois

Qualifier Tournament Information:

  • The Animal Allies Policies and Procedures will be available soon. 
  • Team Assignments will be available by October 31, 2016. 
  • The Illinois FIRST® LEGO® League's (FLL) Qualifier Tournament Registration will open August 1st and end October 15th.  You must be registered nationally in order to register with Illinois.  You will need your team number which you received when you registered nationally.
  • Qualifying Tournament season is in November and December in Illinois. We use a system of qualifying tournaments leading up to the Illinois FLL  Championship Tournaments.  Approximately 20% - 25% of teams will qualify to advance to one of two Championship Tournaments. Information on these qualifying tournaments is provided in the related links.
  • Remember that all tournaments are free and open to the public, so invite your friends to attend an event!

Cancellation Policy:

The Qualifying Tournament Coordinator will determine if there will be a delay in the start of the event or a cancellation of the event .This will depend upon:

  • The road and/or weather conditions or
  • Conditions within the facility, including power, heat water, fire and contagious disease conditions that are considered to be a threat to the safety or health of the students.
  • Other conditions that might apply.

If a qualifying tournament has to be cancelled,  the Qualifying tournament coordinator  will have 48 hours to secure a back-up date and location for the event., If a new date and location is secured, teams will be notified immediately.  Teams that are not able to attend on the new date will not be eligible for awards and will not be considered for advancement to a championship event.

If a qualifying tournament has to be cancelled and a back-up date and location is not available, the following process will be in place:

  • No Awards will be given
  • A lottery of registered teams that would have attended that qualifier will determine which teams will

advance to the championship tournaments.  The lottery will be held within 48 hours from the day the qualifier was intended to be held with the participation of the head judge, head referee and qualifying tournament coordinator. Teams will be notified by email on that same day

Core Values Poster:

A Core Values Poster will not be required in Illinois.

We believe that the Core Values poster is a good way for teams to organize their thoughts in preparation for the Core Values judging session and is a good way for teams to celebrate the Trash Trek season as they interact with other teams in the pit area.  However, due to the limited time available to judges, the Core Values poster is not required in Illinois.

Teams may bring a poster to the judging session but judges will not review the poster as part of the judging session.  Teams may refer to an item on the poster if it helps them answer a question presented by the judges.

 Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES):

 Illinois tournaments will not require the RDES for the Trash Trek season.

The Robot Design judging session will consist of a 2 and ½ minute ‘interactive robot run’ followed by a Q&A for the remaining 7 and ½ minutes.  The robot run will not be timed or scored in the robot design judging room.

Teams may bring a RDES with them to the interview if they believe it will help them answer questions but teams will not be given an opportunity to present the RDES in the judging session.  The term ‘interactive robot run’ means that teams and judges can talk throughout the table run during the judging session. It is intended to be less formal than the table performance run.


Registering the Day of the Qualifying Tournament:

Upon arrival at the tournament, your team must first find the registration table and check in.  At most tournaments, the teams arrive during the same half hour so it can be very chaotic and lines sometimes form at the registration table for a brief period.  Keeping your forms organized and ensuring that you have all the necessary paperwork when you arrive, can help to reduce the wait for everyone.

Have these forms ready when you arrive:

The Pit:
  • The pit will be your team’s home for the day.  Your team may be assigned a specific location to set up when you register (a pit station or pit table), but some events have areas that are first come first served.  Check with the registration table to find out if spectators are allowed in the pit, as some facilities allow only team members, coaches and mentors in the pit area.  Regardless of the size of your team’s pit station, be gracious and keep your team within the confines of your space. 
  • Generally, a pit  table will be provided so your team can set up a display for other teams to see, showcase your Core Values, Robot and Project or make minor repairs.  If your team has any posters or banners set them up to show your team spirit.
  • Electricity may be provided at the pit, but if your team brings a laptop, make sure it is fully charged.  You may want to bring along a heavy duty extension cord, duct tape to secure it to the floor and a power strip.  Some venues have no power other than a few scattered laptop recharging stations, so plan accordingly.
Important Locations: 
When your team completes registration at the event, volunteers will probably provide a map or let you know where to find important areas of the event.  Make sure your team knows how to find:
  • Practice Playing Field(s):  Many tournaments provide access to a practice field where teams take turns running matches with their robot.  If a field is provided, scheduling is often tight and teams may need to reserve a time slot to practice.
  • Competition Area:  The competition area is where the official Robot Game playing fields are located and robot performance matches are scored by official referees.  During each table round a number of playing fields may be running simultaneously.  Competition tables will be set up in pairs.  At each double table, two teams will compete side-by-side with their robots.  Lighting and other conditions in the competition area may be different from your team’s practice area and the practice tables at the event.  Be prepared to make adjustments as needed. 
  • Judging Session:  Judging sessions for Core Values, Robot Design and the Project generally take place in rooms separate from the competition area.  Your team will participate in each session during the day, so make sure you understand where and when your team should line up. 

Other Considerations:

  • Consider bringing storage containers to hold your team’s items.
  • Store personal items such as hats, jackets, etc. beneath your pit table to minimize clutter and avoid blocking walkways.
  • It will happen…someone will drop a robot and watch the parts fall in all different directions.  Consider using a plastic container or cardboard shoe box as a garage for carrying your robot during the competition.  If it drops, you have a better chance of collecting the parts and reassembling it.  Decorate your garage to show your team spirit.
How the Day Works: Time Management:
Review the day’s schedule with your team members.  Competition schedules are usually very tight, so it’s important that your team is ready and on time.  Don’t miss your robot rounds or judging sessions.  If the schedule for the day does fall behind, the tournament organizer may juggle your team’s interviews to accommodate the changes.  Be flexible, and check in with the registration table if you have questions about your team’s schedule.  See the sample tournament schedule below, but every tournament schedule varies. 

Sample Tournament Schedule:

8:00 – 9:00am  Team Registration 
8:00 – 9:00am  Team Set-up
9:00 – 9:15am  Coaches’ Meeting
9:30 – 10:00am  Opening Ceremony
10:15 – 10:30  Core Values Judging Session
10:50 – 10:55  Robot Game: Round 1
11:20 – 11:25  Robot Game: Round 2
11:45 – 12:00pmRobot Design Judging Session
12:00 – 12:30  Lunch
12:45 – 1:00  Project Judging Session
1:20 – 1:25  Robot Game: Round 3
2:00 – 3:45  Possible Judge Callbacks/Final Judging
3:00 -3:45  Team Pack-up
4:00 – 5:00  Closing Ceremony

 Coaches’ Meeting:

Some events hold a meeting for coaches at the very beginning of the day while teams are setting up their pit areas.  Find out where this meeting will take place and make sure you attend or send an adult representative.  The tournament organizers often use this time to discuss any changes to the day’s schedule or any logistical concerns.  This is also your last opportunity to clarify the rules before the competition begins, so be ready with any last minute questions your team may have.
Opening Ceremony: 
Usually the opening ceremony is very high energy and sets the tone for the day.  At most tournaments, teams have about an hour for registration, pit station setup and time on the practice fields prior to the opening ceremony.  Judges, referees and special guests are introduced. The Challenge and scoring are explained. Teams not immediately scheduled for the robot performance matches or a judging session should return to the pit to listen for queuing, use the practice fields for final robot adjustments or prepare to meet with the judges.
Robot Matches:
  • During the day, teams get at least 3 robot competition matches lasting 2 ½ minutes each at the competition tables.  Tournament organizers may pair your team with the same team each time or mix up the pairings.  Teams are responsible for making sure they follow the schedule.  Queuing is the process of lining teams up for their robot matches to ensure that they stay on time.  Unexpected delays may occur.  Remain flexible.  The tournament organizers are volunteers, just like you.
  • When your team’s match begins, have both robot operators move to the table while you get your team settled in the team standing area.  FLL expects tournaments to allow teams to rotate robot operators out during their matches.  Remember the clock does not stop for operators to change.  Be aware that most tournaments do not allow coaches or team members who are not robot operators into the area immediately around the table.  You will need to watch from the designated spectator area. 
  • Robot operators should follow the table referee’s instructions at the table, but they should not be afraid to ask the referees if they have any questions or concerns.  Before starting, have them scan the table to make sure it is properly set up.  If the robot operators have a question about the table setup they should talk to the referee immediately.  Once the match starts, it is too late to change the table.
  • Teams that have not participated in FLL tournaments before may be nervous about what to expect of the robot performance rounds.  You can prepare for them by having the team run timed practice matches in the weeks before the tournament, with music playing and team members cheering.  When each practice match is over, have your team members review the field and agree on what their score would be at a tournament.
Scoring Confirmation:
  • At the end of each match, have the two robot operators witness the referee’s scoring of the table.  The referee records the condition of the field at the end of the match to determine the points your team earned.  A team member, not an adult, must talk to the Head Referee if there is any disagreement.  The Referee will then ensure that the score sheet accurately reflects the condition of the field.  This is you team’s only opportunity to bring up any difference of opinion.
  • Once your team leaves the area and the competition table is cleared for the next team, you are no longer permitted to dispute the score.  As in other competitions, the referee’s ruling on the field in final.  Graciously accept the referee’s final decision.  Remember to collect all robot parts when leaving the competition tables and make sure your team does not remove table elements after their match.
 FLL Judging:
  • In addition to points scored during competition matches, each team is judged on its Core Values, Robot Design and Project.  This often happens in areas which are separated from the rest of the competition to eliminate noise and distractions.  Your team will report to each of these sessions during the day, so make sure your team knows where all sessions are located and what time the team needs to be there.
  • Usually, teams meet with a panel of two judges for 10-15 minutes in each judged area.  Teams should always ask the judges if they are ready to begin before starting to set up.  Some judging is done by observing teams in action.  Check with your tournament organizer to find out what format they use, if it isn’t mentioned in the information you receive.
  • There is usually a break between each judging session so teams can travel to their next location and judges can properly assess the previous judging session.  A Timekeeper typically ensures sessions remain on schedule.
  • Some tournaments have restrictions on the number of adults that accompany team members into the judging sessions.  Please recognize that these rules are not designed to make the judging or performance process a secret, but to ensure fair judging. 
  • If the tournament organizer said that there would be audiovisual equipment available in the judging areas, make sure that is still available.  Also double check that any equipment the team brought along is working (such as extension cords and projectors).  If anything is not available or not working, prepare your team to present without those items.
Awards Determination Process:
At the end of team sessions, the judges meet to review all teams.  They may ask some teams to return to a judging room for a “call-back” or visit you in the pit, so it is a good idea to have at least a few team members at your pit station once you are finished competing.  The wait for the final awards decision can be difficult for teams.  Prepare your team before the event for a waiting period at the end of the day.  This can be an ideal time for your team to pack up your pit table and displays and load up the cars to prepare to leave after the awards ceremony.  Your tournament director may choose to do a demonstration, have  a special guest speaker or run an exhibition round on the robot performance table to keep the crowd occupied while the judges make their decisions.  If your team will participate in an exhibition round, be sure that your don’t pack up your robot or Project materials.
Closing Ceremony:
Teams should return to the main competition area for the closing ceremony.  Awards and medals are presented and teams are recognized for efforts demonstrated throughout the day.  There is plenty of cheering, loud music and smiling faces to end the tournament and celebrate the team’s accomplishments.Learn more about how your team will be judged at a tournament by reviewing the rubrics at firstlegoleague.org/event/judging. 
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