Illinois Tournaments are structured to allow more teams to have more plays. Teams register to participate in a Qualifying Tournament. From each Qualifier, a consistant percentage of teams advance to a Sectional Tournament. Each Sectional advances a consistant percentage of teams to the State Tournament, held in Elgin, Illinois. 

Tournaments are opportunities for teams to learn, showcase their accomplishments, and celebrate their hard work throughout the season. All teams are encouraged to participate, even if they do not feel 100% ready. No team is ever 100% ready for an event. Tournaments are a fantastic learning opportunity for you and your team.  


Teams will participate in some or all of the following events each season:


The Illinois qualifying and championship tournaments will use competition tables with three or four inch walls.

Tables will be between 24 and 40 inches above the floor.

Approximately 30-40% of the teams at a qualifier in Illinois will advance from a Qualifier to a Sectional. 

Approximately 48 teams will advance from Sectional Tournaments to the State Tournament.

Teams are eligible for advancement if they meet the following criteria as required by the FIRST  LEGO League Challenge Participation and Advancement Policies. Teams must:

  • Have between 2 and 10 members
  • Team members must be between 9 & 14 years of age as of January 1st of the year the Challenge was released
  • Be competing at their first official FLL event of each qualifying level during the season
  • All team members attending an event are required to participate in the judging session and be present as a team at the Robot Game matches
  • Team members’ work must conform to the parameters and rules outlined in the Challenge overview, Engineering Notebook, and Robot Game Rulebook
  • All work presented at an official event is the work of the children on the team
  • Teams, coaches, and other supporters must demonstrate the Core Values in their actions and activities

There is no required format that teams need to use for their presentations and there is no requirement for posters or other particular visual aids. It is highly recommended that teams have some way to “show” at least some of their code to judges during the judging process.

Illinois will be piloting an alternate judging schedule for the 23/24 MASTERPIECE season in which teams will not be participating in a 30-minute judging block. Each team will have 2 separate judging sessions, one that focuses on the Innovation Project and how the team used the FIRST Core Values while working on the Innovation Project and one session that focuses on Robot Design and how the team used the FIRST Core Values while working on Robot Design.

Illinois Judging Flowchart

The Tournament Coordinator will determine if there will be a delay in the start of the event or a cancellation of the event. Factors can include:

  • 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 tournament has to be cancelled, the 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.

Please remember that the participation and advancement policies state that the maximum team size is 10 students.  Any team that attends an event with more than 10 student team members will be allowed to participate to gain experience, but will not be eligible for awards. Furthermore, since the Participation/Advancement policies state “All work presented at an official event is the work of the children on the team,” if the team at any point during the season had more than 10 students on the team, they must be able to confirm that none of the work presented at the event was work done by students other than the students listed on the team roster, or else the team will not be eligible for awards even if only 10 students are in attendance at the event.

To qualify as a Rookie Team, teams must meet the following criteria:

  • All youth team members must NOT have participated at a competition as part of a FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge team for the past two years.