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The Dark Side of OTB Chess
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The Dark Side of OTB Chess

Rodgy
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Anyone who has played an over-the-board chess tournament, knows its an experience like no other, it cannot be compared to online chess since it's so different! Just listen to a few regular tournament players on their thoughts about OTB chess! 

"I prefer to be at the actual board, in person, and to see my opponent to move actual pieces, write them down, etc. Really, the whole process is what I prefer." 
- Isaac Snow (2104 USCF - @Lightning)

"I like OTB chess because it's real chess and you get to meet people and socialize and OTB chess means something because it's not a videogame and hard work means something" 
- NM Ike Miller (2295 USCF - @Kylearan

"OTB allows players to interact with different people and have a real sense of the atmosphere of competitive chess. It's a completely different experience from online chess simply because of the in-person aspect."
- IM Ben Li (2361 FIDE - @1e4I-0)

In this blog we'll be answering what exactly the dark side of OTB chess is, does COVID-19 affect your chess skills, and should you be playing OTB chess right now?

The Dark Side:

If you've never played an OTB tournament, then you're missing out! Or are you? In this new year, maybe it's not the best idea to play an OTB tournament. Why? It's the same reason that has been delaying over-the-board tournaments the past two years... COVID-19. 

Me starting the clock in round 6 of the North American Open. As you can see, everyone is wearing a mask.

Maybe you think, OTB players should just be careful, and even though tournaments have made rules where you MUST wear a mask. You can still get COVID! How do I know this? Because recently 2 days after playing in the North American Open, I tested positive for Coronavirus and so did many of my friends who also played in the tournament. Who else tested positive? Well one of the most famous chess players, Hikaru Nakamura, tested positive while playing in the World Rapid & Blitz Tournament. 

How Does COVID-19 Affect Chess?

Me Playing in the North American Blitz Tournament, I likely had COVID-19 at the time this photo was taken.

First let's just take a look at some real-life examples. Well I started the North American Open with 1.5/3 against a 2230, 2120, 2140. Then I ended with 2/7... does this mean that COVID-19 makes you play like an absolute patzer? Well yes, and no. It really depends on the person, personally when I had COVID I was often and much of my thinking was foggy, although I'm sure other people could still play their A-game. 

I played a few online rapid tournaments during my quarantine and the only way I can really describe it is a tired, fuzzy, confusing feeling that resulted in making one-move blunders. If you want to read more about this you can find a deeply analyzed article talking about the effects of COVID-19 on chess players. 


Is it Safe to Play OTB Chess in 2022?

The 2022 Dreaming King Open which I played in.

Yes, no, maybe so. Again, it really depends on the tournament, in a place like Vegas it probably isn't the greatest idea for quite obvious reasons. If you really want to play in OTB chess, you probably should choose to play somewhere safer like your local chess club or smaller tournaments with not 1000+ people. Although it's your choice, not mine.

Maybe you don't care, maybe you even want COVID. Although to me, playing chess, Minecraft, and Valorant locked in your room 24/7 doesn't seem all too fun. Thank you for reading, it's actually my 1 year anniversary as a Top Blogger, hopefully in this next year I can improve my content. RIP Kobe, stay safe, cya. 

Just a 13-year-old blogger from San Diego who wants to share my knowledge and opinions on the hot topics in chess. I started playing chess at 7 and I have a peak USCF rating of 2007. Other than chess I enjoy soccer, basketball, geoguessr, cubing, and video editing. 

My Most Viewed Blogs:

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If you enjoy my blogs then you're probably enjoy:  https://www.chess.com/blog/LightningReports