Each FLL Season there is a tournament series that leads from local qualifying tournaments to the State Championship tournaments, and then to National and International Comptitions. Every tournament is an opportunity for teams to learn, showcase their accomplishments and celebrate their hard work throughout the season.
Even if a team does not feel 100% ready to participate in an FLL Qualifying Tournament, FIRST Illinois Robitcs highly encourages every team to participate as the tournaments are a fantastic learniing opportunity for teams and their coahces.
Qualifying tournaments typically consist of 10 to 16 teams that compete in all categories for the ability to advance to the championship tournament. Most teams will find a qulifiing event that is in their geographcial area, and will compete with teams from neighboring communities. These tournaments are held in November and December.
25-33% of teams that compete in a qualifying tournament will go on to one of the State Championship Tournaments.
Each State Championship Tournament will be comprised of 48 to 64 teams advancing from the qualifiing tournaments.
Because of the tremendous participation of students in the FLL program in Illinois, there are three State Championship tournaments held each season.
The Tesla Championship tournament is held at the University of Illinois in Champaign, while the Einstein and Hopper Championship Tournaments are held on different days at Elgin Community College. These tournaments are held in January or early February.
Typically the top team from each of the three State Tournaments will go on to participate at a National or International competition, but depending on spots made avaiable to Illinois teams, often several other teams may continue their season.
Each year, there are several national and international competitions in which leading teams from Illinois participate:
World Festival - A showcase competition, held in the United States, for all FIRST-sponsored robotics competitions (FRC, FLL & FTC). For FLL, it features championship-winning teams from around the world. Because of space and funding limitations, not all USA states and championships, or foreign countries, are able to be represented, but it is an exciting world showcase for FLL and all of FIRST's robotics competitions.
The tremendous popularity of this program has required FIRST to expand to two World Festival events each year. Huston Texas and Detriot Michigan are the current host cities, and teams moving on from the Illnoiis State Tournaments will be assinged to participate in the Detroit event.
Open Invitational Competitions - Championship teams from Illinois have the possibility of participating in competitions in the USA and around the world. Some USA-hosted competitions will be for USA-only teams, while others will additionally include international teams. Other competitions may be hosted internationally; these competitions have also typically included USA teams.
Waiting to run the robot!