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i played in my first otb tournament recently. here is what I learned:
lesson 1: dont play random openings in games that matter/count. I was 3/3 then wanted to "change things up". then I was 3/4 lol.
lesson 2: time management. if you're like me and not too accustomed to 90 minute time controls, force yourself to play slower. none of my first 3 games (which I won) finished in under 2 hours and i took twice the time my opponents did and still had PLENTY of time left at the end. In game 4 and 5 I played fast and lost, missing really easy tactics in both games that I would have seen by playing slower.
lesson 3: I see you play a bunch of correspondance... there is no analysis board at OTB events... I found visualizing positions correctly to be tricky sometimes. Since my event, I've worked hard on that for next time.
lesson 4: people (especially under 1200-1400) will blunder like crazy so even if you're down a bit, make them fight on, create problems etc... if they don't screw up then good for them, they deserve the win. If they mess up, then you;re back in it!
Don't focus primarily on achieving a good result. Instead focus on enjoying the tournament.
Everyone has their own way of managing time. Some seem to play better when they have little or no time available. That is no good for me so I tend to move quite quickly in the opening - as long as nothing seriously unusual happens - and then I am willing to spend twenty or thirty minutes on one or two moves going into the middle game trying to make some good plans and getting some sort of grip on what the main ideas for both sides are going to be. Then I work out how much time I have to reach the first time control and divide that by the moves to make and try to keep roughly to that timetable - typically two to three minutes for each move.
Between games by all means analyse with your opponent, that can be one of the fun parts, but otherwise get away from chess if you can.
Copy the tennis players and eat a banana from time to time. If you don't like bananas snack on whatever you do like. Drink water.
Play lots of chess in the run up to the tournament but with 24 or 48 hours to go drop everything chess related and do just exactly what you like to do best other than play chess.
Hope you have a ball. :)
In the book "One Hundred Selected Games" of former WCC Mikhail Botvnnik are 2 pages (page 10 and 11) that describes how Botvinnik prepares for a tournament (among GMs or an international chess tournament).
All one has to do is adapt the methodology for a GM to an amateur.
The preparation can be outlined as follows:
(1) Select the opening or openings you will use, study games on that opening.
Botvinnik warned "Here I must remark thatin my view a player should not, and indeed cannt attempt to play all the openings known to theory."
Botvinnik recommended 3 or 4 opening systems. But for the amateur, one or 2 opening systems is just fine.
(2) After you have selected and studied the openings you are going to use, the next step is to get what Botvinnik called "Training Games" For the amateur, 30/0 standard blitz games against opponents of equal or higher ratings can be susbstituted as Traning Games.
(3) REST YOUR MIND. Two days or one day before the Tournament, REST your mind of Chess
Continue to REST YOUR MIND during the week-end USCF event. NO chess - no reading chess literature, no playing "practice games", nothing that involves chess. Your mind must always be FRESH before and during a game.
Botvinnik's recommendation in the book is "Five days or so before the contest all chess activities must be stopped completely. You must take a rest; otherwise you may lose zest for the battle"
I think Botvinnik never really explained the most important step in his preparation. Step1: Become a great player!
As far as pacing goes, think of it like time of possession in football. You have that time, you might as well use it. On the topic of resigning, make them prove to you that they can win their position. This is, of course, subjective, but if I get down against a strong player I'm much more likely to resign than against a weak one. My own personal rule is that if they're up by more than the biggest piece left on the board, or if they have a tactic that they clearly can see and I can't prevent it, I resign. Don't turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble, but don't be that guy that doesn't resign, either. No one likes that guy.
Probably the biggest issue you will face once you get started. If you are White be prepared to play an opening you know well. Move quickly but carefully until you are out of the mainline. Get into a rhythm, Move piece, press clock, write down move, look back at board, burst into tears. Ok, maybe not the tears bit. The moment you have to think, pause, analyse, go through your checklist if you have one. Its pointless getting mated in 30 moves & having an hour left on your clock, time is there to be used, it will take a bit to work out what works best for you but that comes with more match play so start early & save yourself a lot of pain. Trust me you don't want to be fighting for a draw with 10 moves in 2 min to reach time control, even worse if the guy on the board next to you goes Postal & gets thrown out of the tournament like happened to me once.
Some ppl like a time checklist, ie, break the time up into 4 segments, check your number of moves at the end of each, but don't sweat over it too much just use it to keep yourself roughly in the correct timeframe to make time control
If you get stuck & your mind gets muddled with all the possibilities don't be afraid to leave the board & get a coffee & then refocus. Playing black is a little more tricky but unless your opponent is playing something weird or unfamiliar use the same tactics as for white.
You should have a basic plan for openings, that way you may get up to 10 moves done in a minute or 2 & that can make a huge difference when you have to start thinking & using up your time.
I started using 3 openings, 1 as White & 2 as black depending on what white opened with. As I got more experienced I expanded my repetoire.
Dealing with distractions.
This takes experience but be aware that it will happen. Whether it be the guy going beserk at his opponent next to you or the hot chick in miniskirt & tanktop that pauses to watch your game it happens to everyone so a strategy to refocus can really help.
I can tell you how to prepare:
Drink 8 pints of beer 15 minutes before a game
Park your bike at the board and play like its a drive through maccas
Kill the opponents (you may actually want to keep this one in mind)
Pick up the opponents king and chainsaw it in half (yes, you need the chainsaw, just for the effect)
Throw the board across the room if your given black
Do u know chess
UR Missing something......
Do i do this before the game or during the game if in a lost postiion.
Or just do it in game for kicks.
I like your B.A.M.N. variation!
whenever you want Mr. Royalbishop ;P
oh, and to whatever the hell your name is , yes I do know chess.
IT'S CALLED A JOKE
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