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I found out recently my club is having a 6 week tournament starting in a week. I hadn't planned on playing so soon because I have only played about 4-5 OTB games so far. Most of my chess has been correspondence where I can usually figure out a position given enough time to think.
The good thing for me, being this is my first tournament ever, is that it is a 120min time control.
Do you remmeber your first tournament ever, and can you give any advice to me? At this point I plan to just practice tactics as much as I can until the tournament. I was told not to worry about specific openings, rather solid (general) positional chess openings, and to look at tactics. Maybe some basic endgames.
The French defence and e5 for black as a response to e4 were suggested to me to study. FOR White, I was told to just follow the basic principles of center control, development, castling..etc.
I feel like I am missing something I should do to prepare....
I really need some advice...
Well I would say to play e5, as the French can lead to games that might be too complex for you if you are just starting.
This may sound simple but I have won many tournaments by applying these 3 habits. Don't play tired, don't rush, and use the Analyze option.
He's talking about an over the board, in-person tournament, not online.
ok......well the first 2 apply then....
stressin'?? its part of the game spectators dont see. This is why chess should be considered a sport! my advice, rest, enjoy the experience, and most of all, "HAVE FUN!"
I wouldn't focus on opening preparation. Make natural developing moves, attack the center, castle early to avoid getting your king stuck in the center and under fire. Studying tactics is absolutely a good idea as many of your games will be decided on a tactic (or tactics). At our level being proficient in end games could save you a lot of lost games and win a lot of drawish games because us amateurs tend to play inaccurately and if your playing more accurately in the end games than your opponents your bound to recover from past inaccuracies you made earlier or exploit their present inaccuracies.
Use your time efficently, try to make general plans when its your opponent's move and look at tactical shots or specific moves when its your turn. Also make sure you have sufficent time in the end game (avoid time trouble as it can be a real game wrecker!). I usually play faster than most players so I never get into time trouble, but I know someone who does. He has a strategy of making marks on his scoresheets pregame where he'll write "15 minutes" on his 10th move, "1hr" on his 20th move, and so on. This way he can check after making those moves if he is behind or ahead on his clock, and that helps him manage his clock better. Something to think about if you know you take longer to make your moves.
General tournament preparation...
Starting right now, avoid excess sugar foods and caffine. Make sure you get plenty of sleep every night. Drink sufficent amount of water. Work out routinely, either walking, running, swimming, even strength training exercises, or mix them up. Physical activity helps reduce stress and keeps the mind clear and focused, increases blood flow to the brain and over all gives you more energy.This could be a motivator to be more healthy in general, but specifically during the tournament you want to remain rested, sharp, and clear of mind as much as possible.
During the tournament games...
Always be at your board (or table, wherever your actually going to play your opponent) a few minutes earlier. You want to get comfortable with your surroundings and not be rushing around. During the game, if you see a move you like, make a mental note of that, then see if you can find a move you like better. Always double check your move(s) before making them, and never touch a piece until you've done the above. You have two hours for the game and you don't get any reward for having a lot of time left over after the game, so use as much time as you feel you need (of course, avoiding the trouble issues as noted above).
The above is what I generally practice and have learned through personal experience or been advised by others and it has worked out well for me. Enjoy the games and be sure to post the games afterwards, I'd be interested in seeing them!
Thanks guys! That's some good advice. Especially about the exercise and healthy eating. My club doesn't have many beginners. They say at least one will show for a tournament (that will likely be me...lol as no one else is registered as unrated). He told me that even though I am unrated, I will be playing against people rated 1700, 1500, or higher...etc. As far as that goes, I am at a disadvantage knowing/having played these high-level players before and doing OK but not winning. There's really nothing to say about that. Its just the way it is and I have to get on with my development.
I can't think of any better way to prepare other than tactics at this point. I am going to do 2-3 h of tactics (at least every day) until the tournament, probably 8h worth on Sunday, then take the night before completely off. I know cramming for exams is a sure way to get into trouble, and I am assuming the same applies to chess. The bummer is, is that I don't have any friends that play chess. I mean, I've only played maybe 5 OTB games ever. I think with the time allotted, I will just stand up and look down at the board before I make any move. Playing chess online and seeing everything laid out in 2-D does not help when you are staring at a real board at an angle where some pieces are hiding behind others...lol....blunders tend to occur...
Really, the 120-min time control is great for that... I played in a 75/40 SD/30 tournament just last Saturday, and it really helped my thinking.
And remember to hit your clock!
I forgot to do that in the 1st game of my 1st tournament, and was puzzled as to why the players on the next board were sniggering in my direction. All the while my opponent was keeping a straight face, obviously hoping I wouldn't notice that the clock was still ticking. lol
That is a lot of tactical practice. Make sure to break up that studying into segments as your brain will probable process it more efficently than if you sit down and study tactics for two hours or more straight. maybe 45 minute segments or something with at least a 15 minute break inbetween. Sounds like fun! :)
Tactical practice doesn't really seem to translate into much tactical improvement in games for me at all.
Yea...I typically do 1/2 h segments during breaks at work, or longer if I have the time.
My other concern is I am a morning person. I wake up at 5:30am everyday and thats when I am at my optimal performance level. My brain slowly goes into shut down mode around 5pm and I usually go to bed before 9:30pm...I need to somehow get prepared for a tournament that will start at 7pm and last for hours....
Any suggestions for that...lol? Maybe exercising a bit at night (exercising a few hours before bed so as to not disrupt my sleep patterns) to wake my body up, and trying to stay up a little longer than I usually do to get my internal clock adjusted..
PS. I have clock issues lol. I tend to play my 15 min games like blitz games. I am working on slowing down a bit.....Its been a really hard adjustment for me going from correspondence to under the clock...
Are the rules strictly enforced?
i.e. if you accidentally bump a pawn whiule going for another piece....do you have to move the pawn.
better yet, say I want to castle......will I get into trouble grabbing both pieces at the same time or do I have to move the king first then the rook.....such basic questions, but I am confused because I know these are the rules, but is my opponent going to call me out say, if I move my rook before knight...etc...
Nope. It's touch with apparent intention to move.
I'd have to check the rulebook but I think it can be no worse than a warning for an initial instance.
I'd castle by moving your king first then rook, similar to how it goes in Online play. I'm not as familar with a lot of those technical things, perhaps it is ok to move both pieces at once but I doubt it and I was taught not to.
As for bumping pieces while reaching or another, I'm not as familar with these technical issues as never had this occur with me. If it's clear your reaching for another piece and your arm brushes against another piece while doing so, I doubt most opponents would make a scene over it as long as its clear you were reaching for a different piece. If something like that comes up and your opponent makes a scene about it then I would stop the clocks and tell your opponent that you are new to tournament play and would like to speak with the Tournament Director about it. Honestly I don't see something like that occuring however.
Good idea to slightly begin shifting your internal body clock towards evening hours, that will help you! :)
In castling its best to touch the K first as castling is considered a King move. If you touch the rook first your opponent may insist that you move the rook (and not the king ) at which point the TD will probably get involved and he will have to make a decision . Some opponents are real sticklers for following ALL rules very strictly and some are not . I saw a game once where one player declared " adjust " during his turn to move , adjusted several of his pieces and then several of his opponents pieces at which point his opponent complained and summoned the arbiter. Do you know what he did wrong ?
In castling its best to touch the K first as castling is considered a King move. If you touch the rook first your opponent may insist that you move the rook (and not the king ) at which point the TD will probably get involved and he will have to make a decision .
I now vaguely remember an article on this in CL a bunch of years ago. As I recall USCF rules were more permissive than FIDE's in this, and that it was acceptable.
Your not allowed to adjust your opponents pieces, only yours, right?
Yeah, I think so....
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