Playing OTB at my local club
After being a member of this site for near enough 2 years, and managing to improve my rating on this site from 1200 which is the default rating everyone gets when they join this website, up to the 1700s range at its highest peak, before dipping slightly to the 1600s range when some unfortunate time outs meant I automatically lost some games, I decided it might finally be time to join my local chess club. (There that was a very long first sentance!)
In this topic on the forum http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/thanks-chesscom I stated that I had joined my local club, and there had been a bit of interest in the topic of how well I would actually do. Whilst I suppose I could update the forum topic I created into how well I was doing, (and I'll probably use that same topic to promote this post in my blog in a moment, thanks for coming here from that topic if you are reading this, ) it also seemed like the ideal opportunity to create my own blog with more detail about how well I was doing. Besides which it probably wouldn't be too long before the forum post was on page 5 of the forum anyway! I thanked the website, because I don't believe I would have bothered to join my local chess club had it not being for this website, whilst I had played chess on other websites before this one, never before had I such a strong desire to really test myself at a local level OTB after playing on this website. Also after reading that most players on this site rated 1,600 or above were probably good enough to go to their local chess club I decided to give it ago.
The first thing I need to comment on is that I would imagine a typical image of a chess club is men (and only men) who are in their 50s (at least) playing chess, whilst making smoking and/or drinking. Well the only drinks in our club is tea or coffee, and smoking in public places has being banned in the UK for a long time. And there are children in our local chess club as well, including a 9 year old who can beat some of the other adult members of the club.
There generally isn't a lot of noise made at the club during matches, but unless its a club championship match, or there is a match against another club in a local league, friendly matches are not played in total slience. The social element of the club is probably the thing that sets it apart from playing chess on the internet as good as any individual chess website may be!
And so onto my first chess match in the internal club championship for members of the club. I was black and lost. Since then, I have played the same guy in friendly matches and have won and lost to him, and also played him in a 5 minute tournament and a buzzer tournament (where a buzzer goes off at 10 second intervals, and you move as the buzzer sounds, not before and not afterwards,) and have beaten him in both of those tournaments. But notation of these wins doesn't exist, and in the main internal club championship it has gone down as a 0 on the paper. Typical isn't it!
More from my blog on me joining my local chess club soon, including me doing better in club tournaments and the local leagues the club is in.