Tournament Preparation, Part 1: Pre-Tournament
Hello! My name is Zach Kasiurak. I am a National Master living in Columbus, OH, USA rated 2273 USCF and 2198 FIDE. I am seriously pursuing my chess career and looking to improve rapidly as a player and coach.
I have created my blog to provide insight into ideas or themes I have discovered in my own games, games of my students, or in games of strong players. I hope to convey my personal struggles as well as successes in my own studies, my tournaments, and the coaching scenes.
In this series, rather than analyzing particular chess themes or motiffs, I will discuss some tips and methods for preparing, playing in, and processing tournament play. A proper mindset not only increases the chances of a good result, but the improvement that is possible from analyzing and seriously approaching each game. These methods come from my own experience and may differ for each invidual, however, I hope that these personal methods will provide usefullness in some degree to each reader!
1. Relax the Day Before the Tournament
Similiar to preparing for a test, cramming is not an effecient method of preparing. Learning one more opening line or reviewing one more chapter of your favorite book will not be hugely beneficial one day before the tournament. Instead, eat a healthy dinner, do a few tactical exercises, and go to sleep early. Being able to solve problems over the board is the most important aspect of tournament play. Prepare yourself to perform at your best by not overexerting yourself the day before the tournament.
2. Briefly Review your Openings
It is not a pleasant feeling to have to decide at the board which opening you would prefer to play or have no prior knowledge of a position. Decide before the tournament begins which lines you would like to play and refresh your memory on topical lines. However, do not spend countless hours before a tournament reviewing your openings. Most of your opening knowledge is gained from experience in the resulting middlegame positions and not from twenty-move lines of theory. Review some important or topical games from your main lines and briefly refresh your memory on other ideas. Reviewing your openings is more about building your confidence and feeling ready rather than cramming in more knowledge!
3. Review your Past Tournament
As we will discuss in more detail later on in this series, analyzing your own games is THE most important resource for improving. Briefly look over your own games and reidentify some of your mistakes. Make a short list of goals based on your findings (Be thoughtful of each trade, Castle Early, etc) and do your best to eliminate (or at least limit ) these errors.
Please don't hesitate to check out my links, comment below, or send me any questions!
Coaching Profile: http://www.chess.com/coach/zach-kasiurak
All the Best!