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Beginners and Tournaments

Beginners and Tournaments

Aug 21, 2009, 5:37 PM 3

Chess Tournament Player

Beginners and Tournaments

I joined Chess.com about a month ago.  I have made many friends including a Sultan from Jordan(السلطان هو رجل جيد)!   But in my hurry to play more, I entered some tournaments without looking at what I was up against.

For example, 43 of my losses are in tournaments.  I joined the Diamond Membership Prize Tournament.  I figured the pairings would be fair.  But they were random.

Here is what I was paired against (I am JollyPlayer):

1.  DavidPeng (1474) X  ½  1  1  1  1 9.5 33.75
2.  tsglhh (1328) ½  0 X  _  1  1  1 6.5 16.75
3.  ChillKill (1587)  0  _ X  1  1  1 6 12
4.  Doomclaw (1717)  0  0  0 X  1  1 4 4
5.  aasdfasdfg (1879)  0  0  0  0 X  1 2 0
6.  JollyPlayer  (1019)  0  0  0  0  0 X 0 0

My current ranking is around 850.  Even when this tournament started, the closest player to me (tsglhh at 1328) well over 300 Elo points higher than me at the time.  I played my 10 games hoping to learn, and perhaps I did learn something.

But for what I learned, I paid for in my rating and confidence.  Me, a beginner playing a player with a rating near 1900?  I stood no chance.

Or this tournament -- a thematic tournament on the King's Indian.  Again my hope was to learn something about the King's Indian.  Actually, in this tournament I learned a lot.  But again, I got killed.

1.  dcurry2550 (1109) X  1  1  1  1  1 10 38
2.  markinmadison (1187)  0 X  0  0  1  1 6 16
3.  Sugarlock  (1080)  0  0 X  1  1  0 5 16
4.  ClayL  (1140)  0  0  _ X  1  1 5 12
5.  tv3crew (1165)  0  0  0  0 X  1 2 2
6.  JollyPlayer   (1037)  0  0  0  0  0 X 1


Notice I actually won a game in this one with the pairings being a lot more fair, but 9 more defeats!  My rating took a hammering.  Was what I learned about the King's Indian worth this?  In retrospect, no.  I could have learned just as much from my books - or maybe more.

So for entering 2 tournaments, not knowing the parings, I lost 19 games to much higher ranked players.  I have more examples, but you get the point.

So I am passing on my knowledge.  As a beginner, being Gung-ho about tournaments can be a problem.  You might want to pause and take a second look.  Instead, perhaps you should put out seeks to play games for people ranked under 1200, 1100, 1000, etc. depending on your ranking.

diamond member logoI also would like to put in a plug for the Diamond Membership at Chess.com. At about 35 cents (USD) a day or so, you get videos, tactics trainer and lots of benefits.  And it gives Chess.com the chance with the money to improve the site (no, I do not work for Chess.com and actually I have have been quite critical of it at times). One of the best videos for beginners is: http://www.chess.com/video/player/the-center-in-chess-1

Lastly, as a plug, I decided (privilege of being a Diamond Member) to run a small tournament for players ranked under 1000 (http://www.chess.com/tournament/under-1000-tourney).  Only six players.  You get to play at least 5 games with players ranked under 1000.  I have made some fun trophies that you would be proud to display for 1st through 3rd (half will get trophies).

Like this one for first place.

ist Place

A better tournament for beginners.  You are likely to win a few and have some fun rather than playing 1900 ranked players.  Careful which tournaments you join.  About half my losses have come from these tournaments.  In total, I have 43 losses, 1 win and 1 draw in tournaments.  Not great for my ranking or confidence.

The confidence I can work on and hopefully that will build my ranking too.  I have a Ph.D. in statistics.  Low ranked players tend to stay there.  Do not let that happen to you.  The fun will be gone and you will think you do not have it.  Grand Masters have come from every walk of life:  medical doctors, composers, artists, dictators, sultans, kings, the homeless, and clergy.   You too can move up and learn.  Just start smartly and do not make the same mistakes I did.

Edit 1:  I was looking at the upcoming tournaments.  Pages and pages of them.  They are very fun.  But if you are ranked below the Chess.com average of 1200, and you enter an "open" tournament, you will get KILLED.

I saw one guy post with a rating of about 1150 that he was the lowest ranked player in the tournament.  He was.  The next lowest was 1400 and change.  IF, and since this was a tourney for 100 people, if he drew the 1400 ranked player, according to Dr. Elo's point probability table, he at the best situation, would have only a 20% chance of winning one game.  Just one game.   

Most likely they will make short work of him.  His ranking will fall like a rock and so might his confidence.  Confidence is best built slowly.  But his work to get it over a 1000 would be ruined in days.  After the tournament of 10 games (5 players, 1 game each from each side, black and then the white side) depending on lots of variables, but likely, and I mean likely, his new ranking would be in 700s when it is over.

My friends.  If you are under 1200 or new to Chess.com, please do not enter "open" tournaments.  There are many tournaments where you can enter that have stratification and divisions for players under 1000.  Play in those!

Tournaments are great fun.  But not if you are going to get killed.

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