Chess Psychology 1: Your First Tournament

Aug 3, 2010, 1:24 PM |

Chess Psychology centers around one's mental state during the game, and the factors that affect it. With that in mind, please enjoy the blog and feel free to post your comments.

Playing on is a very unique experience. The very concept of being able to play against people across the world in itself is amazing. Even so, tensions are somewhat limited. Although almost every game played is against an unknown opponent the only thing that really changes from game to game is the username, flag, and rating (which doesn't mean much). Playing over the board, however, is a completely different experience. Seeing the often cold and calculating face of your opponent makes some players bite their nails. Others are intimidated by the awkward-looking facial expressions that are given off by some of the more daring adversaries. If you have seen such behavior during a chess match before, it is highly likely that you have attended a tournament.

During your first tournament, especially if you are relatively new to the game, most of the following points will take place:

1. Nerves- The feeling you get where you feel like the room is freezing and your 1500 opponent is with the mob.

2. Strange Opponents- Usually an intimidating opponent will try to destroy you on the inside by making weird faces or smirking at your every move. The best thing to do in your position is to ignore it. If things get out of hand, just ask the referee to intervene.

3. Failure- Everyone loses a discouraging amount of games during their first tournament. You are not alone. I started chess less than year ago and on my first tournament I lost all of my games, except for one, and my opponent was on my own team. Now I'm a 1500 on Don't give up.

4. Distractions- The people next to you break out into a fist fight. Your opponent is a supermodel. Your clock randomly exploded. Your pieces start to talk to you. All of these things can happen, so be ready.  :)

Well, I hope you're not too freaked out by this list. Hopefully it will help, and good luck to anyone just starting out. My last words of advise would be to calm down and to always try to win. Never say "There's no way I can win, this guys a 2832". There is always a chance. Oh, and one other thing: have fun. As corny as it sounds, it is very important.  

Well, see you all next time,