Tournament beginner - Any advices?


Hey there, 

I really enoyed improving my chess skills with I decided to enter a Torunament in my City, to test out my new skills.  Since it's my first tournament I don't expect too much and I know that most of my opponents are really skilled. 1800+ Elo and tweo of them are 2300+ Elo. 

However, since I don't have any experieneces in tournament play I would appreciate any advice you can give me. 

I have especially worries about the time control. It will be 120 minutes for the first 40 Moves and for the rest of the game additional 30 Minutes.  Meaning that a Game can last up to 5 Hours. Which is a lot of time for me. I never really played games longer than an Hour.  My concern is that I think to much in spesific situations and will be in time truble later on in the game. 

So how should I manage my Time? For example how long should I take for the opening? I tend to play it very fast in other time modes. I know there is not one solution and it depends really on the game, but just that I have an idea how long I should take in different stages of the game. 

Another thing: Which openings should I study? I feel comfortable with the Queens Gambit, Italian Game, Sicilian Defense and Ruy Lopez. Are there some "must know" openings which I forgot about? I know there are a lot but for now it would be enought for me to know some of the most popular. 


Sorry for such a long text. I hope you made it thorugh it and thanks for any help I get!




as a beginner u need to take your time. Trying out a  short plan...if he does that i will do this. DON"T WORRY,it's a game ! After your games go over them w/ someone much better then u are......and listen to their chess insights. good luck ---


You might want to check out the intermediate study plans on site for recommended openings.   There are some 35 openings that are recommended you be familiar with-only the first 7 to 10 moves of course.  Someone in another thread recommended to another tournament beginner that they practice writing down their moves and even using a clock before the tournament so these unfamiliar tasks don't throw you.  As to time management (and again I'm parroting someone else's advice), you certainly don't want to spend too much time on the opening.  You should map a little plan out oncve you get out of the opening, however and that might take a little time.  Likewise as you begin to head from the middle game to end game is a good time to figure out what's next.  Hope that helps, good luck, and I admire your courage.  I hope to grow a pair one of these days and do the same thing.


Thanks for the replies! I'll check out the openings you mentioned. And take the time I need for thinking. 


you should always say check

Often people try to press their clock, but dont notice it didnt actually change. so make sure you hit it extra hard

when resigning knock over your king, otherwise they may think youre offering a draw

A useful OTB trick is that you can point to squares on the board, this helps you visualise and keep in your mind where all the pieces will be

if they touch a piece make sure you call touch move, if you dont call it they may put the piece down and move another, so make sure you do this every time. 

If theyre low on time, make sure you move quickly so they dont have enough time to think.


just kidding.

If im ever lost on a plan OTB, i conciously say to myself "what are my opponents (potential) weaknesses. Its an obvious thing, but often it works great in helping you to begin to re assess the position.

Other than that get a good nights rest, play whatever opening you feel comfortable with. have a coffee and a piece of gum before playing (increase concentration).

Take your time, drink plenty of water during the game. Dont let your nerves get to you.

good luck. 


Manage your time well. However think/analyse long on critcal moments, this is really important. If you play too fast in the opening, you will loose this time evently in the middle/end game anyway. It also depends on your opponent, if he plays slowly too, it is advicable to also slowdown a bit.

If you play too solid opening systems, the max result you will get against a strong opponent will be a draw.The last thing you want is a passive position against a very strong player.

The last advice is a bit silly, but try to play against the board. It can be a bit intimidating when you play a strong titled player, but you need to stay in your own cocoon when thinking, keep focused on the game. Don't panic, most strong player try to intimidate their weaker opponent to play very fast in the opening, but ofcourse they have more knowledge then you. Keep your cool, take your time, when they start to think for longer, you probably did fine in the opening.



I, too, went to my first tournament a few months ago. My advice would be:


Concentrate and think about your moves carefully. Study the board and think about the consequences of the moves you make. I've noticed players (including myself!) play better when they really focus.


Get to the tournament early and play some "warm-up" games with anyone who is interested. It's a good idea to play some chess before the actual games and have your mind thinking about chess.


Don't be nervous during the game; keep your cool and stay relaxed. Remember, if you lose, it is only a game and you will have more chances to play -- and hopefully to win!


I hope this helps. Good luck!