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What should I do to prepare for an OTB Tournament?

sholom90
DerekDHarvey wrote:

Score books are not allowed in some federations as they may be used as an aid to memory.

Then how do you keep track of your game?  How can you replay it afterwards?  (Or, do you mean that one has to use a provided scoresheet?)

teju17
sholom90 wrote:
DerekDHarvey wrote:

Score books are not allowed in some federations as they may be used as an aid to memory.

Then how do you keep track of your game?  How can you replay it afterwards?  (Or, do you mean that one has to use a provided scoresheet?)

Official FIDE tournaments record the games

cvjdbkgxc
KeSetoKaiba wrote:

Playing or spectating doesn't matter much, the advice is the same...

enjoy the experience

Yup that simple. This is especially true the first few times you do play because it is a learning process and OTB features a few differences than online - chess is chess, but your heart won't race as much as it does in person versus online and there is a different "human element" that online lacks.

Today is the day! I'll be leaving for the tournament in about four hours. I still feel unprepared, I didn't study enough and I don't have a solid repertoire... I've been trying to learn the Caro Kann (have been for weeks) but I still haven't put it into practice yet, lol. 

padreati

Have fun and good fights!

sholom90
cvjdbkgxc wrote:
KeSetoKaiba wrote:

Playing or spectating doesn't matter much, the advice is the same...

enjoy the experience

Yup that simple. This is especially true the first few times you do play because it is a learning process and OTB features a few differences than online - chess is chess, but your heart won't race as much as it does in person versus online and there is a different "human element" that online lacks.

Today is the day! I'll be leaving for the tournament in about four hours. I still feel unprepared, I didn't study enough and I don't have a solid repertoire... I've been trying to learn the Caro Kann (have been for weeks) but I still haven't put it into practice yet, lol. 

Please report back and let us know how it went! 

cvjdbkgxc

To everyone who is still following this thread:
I had an amazing night! About an hour and a half of casual team analysis over a blitz game with some 1800s and a master, chess talk, and some introductions occurred before the tournament started. I was placed in the unrated bracket (with other people who also were doing their first rated tournament.) And there were three rounds. Here is the first game: 

A smooth victory, wasn't in any trouble, mostly positional maneuvering until my opponent blundered.  The second game was a lot more interesting 

My opponent had excellent prep (Actually had been playing these very moves minutes before the round started!) And I was being rather dominated.. my position was poor and I was quite down on the clock for awhile. However, a few mistakes by him I was able to stabilize, and then he blundered everything and got blown away. Now this is the short version, I haven't taken the time to annotate these games, but there was a lot of analysis post match in the other room,  several other players come over and shared their ideas. 
The third game was the wackiest:



I played lazily for a trap, based on my opponents early moves (b3 specifically) and got a simple piece fork. After 15. Bc7 I spent ten minutes thinking on whether I should draw and repeat moves (Now, it's easy to see engine evaluation and see that this is winning after sacrificing the exchange, but with the weak back rank and passed pawn I wasn't sure.. I in the end decided to sac it back, and then he immediately blundered his bishop, lol. The more stressful part of the game began, I felt like some plain fortune was involved, my pieces were able to coordinate (I see now that it was mostly correct, but we don't have engines during or after the game, this is the first time I've plugged it in.) And I was convinced I just lucked out. At move 25 I had 1 minute left on the clock, to my opponent's 5. I stayed alive via the 5 second delay, and won with 20 seconds remaining, largely thanks to my opponent blundering the rook and king fork. 

There are some very fascinating concepts displayed in this game. To those who may read this, It may just be another game in your eyes, but I see so much depth inside this, as I had the experience of searching the board for moves, defending, and grasping my opponent's ideas. There were a lot of concepts and ideas I caught and calculated during this game, and I'd be glad to annotate if asked. And so, I went 3-0 on first tournament, and got my entry fee back as prize money, I tied with the winner of the rated group. 

Again, really fun night, I look forward to analyzing, studying and playing more otb in the following weeks happy.png


sholom90
cvjdbkgxc wrote:

To everyone who is still following this thread:
I had an amazing night! About an hour and a half of casual team analysis over a blitz game with some 1800s and a master, chess talk, and some introductions occurred before the tournament started. I was placed in the unrated bracket (with other people who also were doing their first rated tournament.) And there were three rounds. Here is the first game: 

A smooth victory, wasn't in any trouble, mostly positional maneuvering until my opponent blundered.  The second game was a lot more interesting 

My opponent had excellent prep (Actually had been playing these very moves minutes before the round started!) And I was being rather dominated.. my position was poor and I was quite down on the clock for awhile. However, a few mistakes by him I was able to stabilize, and then he blundered everything and got blown away. Now this is the short version, I haven't taken the time to annotate these games, but there was a lot of analysis post match in the other room,  several other players come over and shared their ideas. 
The third game was the wackiest:



I played lazily for a trap, based on my opponents early moves (b3 specifically) and got a simple piece fork. After 15. Bc7 I spent ten minutes thinking on whether I should draw and repeat moves (Now, it's easy to see engine evaluation and see that this is winning after sacrificing the exchange, but with the weak back rank and passed pawn I wasn't sure.. I in the end decided to sac it back, and then he immediately blundered his bishop, lol. The more stressful part of the game began, I felt like some plain fortune was involved, my pieces were able to coordinate (I see now that it was mostly correct, but we don't have engines during or after the game, this is the first time I've plugged it in.) And I was convinced I just lucked out. At move 25 I had 1 minute left on the clock, to my opponent's 5. I stayed alive via the 5 second delay, and won with 20 seconds remaining, largely thanks to my opponent blundering the rook and king fork. 

There are some very fascinating concepts displayed in this game. To those who may read this, It may just be another game in your eyes, but I see so much depth inside this, as I had the experience of searching the board for moves, defending, and grasping my opponent's ideas. There were a lot of concepts and ideas I caught and calculated during this game, and I'd be glad to annotate if asked. And so, I went 3-0 on first tournament, and got my entry fee back as prize money, I tied with the winner of the rated group. 

Again, really fun night, I look forward to analyzing, studying and playing more otb in the following weeks


Congrats!  Well done!  And thanks for reporting back!

Where was this, btw?  (I can't recall if you've already mentioned)

pawnstar1957
cvjdbkgxc wrote:

Hello everyone! 
I may be attending a tournament at a local chess club in the next 2-3 weeks. It is an "official" one- one that is certified for USCF rated tournaments. The games I will most likely be playing are 24 minutes with 5 second delays. I'm reasonably excited for this new experience, as I haven't put otb skills to the test much at all, as I've been using Chess.com. I'm also a tad bit nervous about this as well, so I've been searching up on chess etiquette, the USCF rulebook, and other preparation-related things. I want to ask those on chess.com (assuming this is even seen, not unlikely that this will be buried) who have participated in otb tournaments (pre-Covid or during Covid, it doesn't matter) what should I do to prepare? 

Thank you!

clean each piece with hand sanitizer every time your opponent touches it. but dont forget to say 'i adjust.'

verylate

congratulations on a successful tournament, and thanks for getting back to us. A couple of thing:

more than one person said to just go and have fun. That's what you did. Yes, you can always prepare more, study more opening variations, commit more to your already crammed to the ceiling memory. But there comes a time when you have to stop studying and just play. That's what you did, and it worked. 

Second, the time control of 24 minutes + 5 second increment is pretty fast. That's a fair bit faster than classical time controls of 40 moves in 2 hours/20 moves per (and it pretty much precludes serious positional planning and maneuvering), but does guarantee that the club can finish a tournament in one evening.  More important, it is a good bit slower than the blitz chess you are used to on the internet. When you play slower time controls, you have to learn how to slow yourself down, take time to breathe, and not panic. As you analyse your games, look at the tactical mistakes you and your opponents made. You capitalised nicely, but I will bet most of those mistakes would not happen if your opponents played more slowly, deliberately. 

The stressful part of the game is the thinking part. Who would have guessed! But that's what chess is. It isn't a game of who remembers what, but rather of who can pose problems for the other player to solve, who can better handle the difficulties that the other player presents.  All told, you did well.

cvjdbkgxc
sholom90 wrote:
cvjdbkgxc wrote:

To everyone who is still following this thread:
I had an amazing night! About an hour and a half of casual team analysis over a blitz game with some 1800s and a master, chess talk, and some introductions occurred before the tournament started. I was placed in the unrated bracket (with other people who also were doing their first rated tournament.) And there were three rounds. Here is the first game: 

A smooth victory, wasn't in any trouble, mostly positional maneuvering until my opponent blundered.  The second game was a lot more interesting 

My opponent had excellent prep (Actually had been playing these very moves minutes before the round started!) And I was being rather dominated.. my position was poor and I was quite down on the clock for awhile. However, a few mistakes by him I was able to stabilize, and then he blundered everything and got blown away. Now this is the short version, I haven't taken the time to annotate these games, but there was a lot of analysis post match in the other room,  several other players come over and shared their ideas. 
The third game was the wackiest:



I played lazily for a trap, based on my opponents early moves (b3 specifically) and got a simple piece fork. After 15. Bc7 I spent ten minutes thinking on whether I should draw and repeat moves (Now, it's easy to see engine evaluation and see that this is winning after sacrificing the exchange, but with the weak back rank and passed pawn I wasn't sure.. I in the end decided to sac it back, and then he immediately blundered his bishop, lol. The more stressful part of the game began, I felt like some plain fortune was involved, my pieces were able to coordinate (I see now that it was mostly correct, but we don't have engines during or after the game, this is the first time I've plugged it in.) And I was convinced I just lucked out. At move 25 I had 1 minute left on the clock, to my opponent's 5. I stayed alive via the 5 second delay, and won with 20 seconds remaining, largely thanks to my opponent blundering the rook and king fork. 

There are some very fascinating concepts displayed in this game. To those who may read this, It may just be another game in your eyes, but I see so much depth inside this, as I had the experience of searching the board for moves, defending, and grasping my opponent's ideas. There were a lot of concepts and ideas I caught and calculated during this game, and I'd be glad to annotate if asked. And so, I went 3-0 on first tournament, and got my entry fee back as prize money, I tied with the winner of the rated group. 

Again, really fun night, I look forward to analyzing, studying and playing more otb in the following weeks


Congrats!  Well done!  And thanks for reporting back!

Where was this, btw?  (I can't recall if you've already mentioned)

Sorry for the delayed response, but this was at a chess club downtown. They are authorized by the USCF for rated tournaments, which is what I participated in that night. 

mpaetz

     Welcome to otb chess. Much more enjoyable than online. I see that you realized that you actually see more in the position when you play live and in person--it seems to add to the excitement and help you concentrate better. Now you should look to play tournaments with longer time controls (you'll learn even more when considering your position more thoroughly) and enough time between rounds for you and your opponent to analyze the game immediately afterward. Your opponent will probably tell you he was thinking about moves and problems you hardly noticed. Many chess clubs hold tournaments on one night per week, allowing for one round each time and letting you get in a good game and have time for post game analysis. Also, most players in such situations are regulars so you will come to know their opening repetoire and be able to prepare specific opening ideas in advance.

cvjdbkgxc
mpaetz wrote:

     Welcome to otb chess. Much more enjoyable than online. I see that you realized that you actually see more in the position when you play live and in person--it seems to add to the excitement and help you concentrate better. Now you should look to play tournaments with longer time controls (you'll learn even more when considering your position more thoroughly) and enough time between rounds for you and your opponent to analyze the game immediately afterward. Your opponent will probably tell you he was thinking about moves and problems you hardly noticed. Many chess clubs hold tournaments on one night per week, allowing for one round each time and letting you get in a good game and have time for post game analysis. Also, most players in such situations are regulars so you will come to know their opening repetoire and be able to prepare specific opening ideas in advance.

Thank you for your words, I quite agree! The post-game analysis is just as exciting and enjoyable, if not more as playing the game itself. Perhaps it's the mental bond between players as you share similar ideas and what you each think of positions, or maybe it's just the social interaction that I've starved of, I'm not too sure. One occasions where there isn't a rated tournament going on, (or if you do not wish to participate)  there's plenty of opportunities for casual games and study in the back room. I'm trying to expand and deepen my repertoire but I can't get a good situation for it.. practice games are hard to get or low quality and I'm no longer finding as much enjoyment in playing online chess (Probably because I've been exposed to the good stuff.) 

sholom90

Sorry for the delayed response, but this was at a chess club downtown. They are authorized by the USCF for rated tournaments, which is what I participated in that night. 

Do you mind me asking where "downtown" is for you?  (I'm starved for such competition myself!)

cvjdbkgxc
sholom90 wrote:

Sorry for the delayed response, but this was at a chess club downtown. They are authorized by the USCF for rated tournaments, which is what I participated in that night. 

Do you mind me asking where "downtown" is for you?  (I'm starved for such competition myself!)

If you're looking for a place for otb, you only need to do a little bit of research. Searching up "Chess clubs" followed by your zipcode/city/town/county or vise versa should get you some results. Most official (or well-managed) chess clubs will have there own website or at least a page somewhere with times and information happy.png

sholom90
cvjdbkgxc wrote:
sholom90 wrote:

Sorry for the delayed response, but this was at a chess club downtown. They are authorized by the USCF for rated tournaments, which is what I participated in that night. 

Do you mind me asking where "downtown" is for you?  (I'm starved for such competition myself!)

If you're looking for a place for otb, you only need to do a little bit of research. Searching up "Chess clubs" followed by your zipcode/city/town/county or vise versa should get you some results. Most official (or well-managed) chess clubs will have there own website or at least a page somewhere with times and information

Yeah, "well managed" clubs!

I'm just starting to do that.  So far the web pages haven't updated since covid started, and don't have contact information!  Still searching . . . . but, thanks.  I'll get on that.

I'm in the DC area -- willing to travel a bit -- is there anybody who is reading this that knows of one within a few hours of DC?

 

archaja

I only had one OTB tournament up to now. What I did bevore the tournament was to play as much as possible with the real pieces. The fiew of the board is so different in OTB, you should get used to it bevore the tournament. And learn to write down the moves and to hit the clock. And, as one of the commentors said at the beginning of this threat, most of all, enjoy beeing there, together with all these people who enjoy the game like you do. It´s fun, even when you loose your games (I know what I´m talking about wink.png Had 1 1/2 points out of 7.)

cvjdbkgxc

The next tournament took place last night, the first of a four round swiss, 90 minutes with 30 second increments. I was paired up with the same guy I played in my third game in the previous tournament. Here is the game: 

This wasn't a chaotic game, but certainly had some interesting key moments. It was a Ruy Lopez Steinitz Defense (3... d6.) That took on a lot of Ruy Characteristics. He hung a pawn on move 14, I slowly capitalized on that and got passed pawns on the queenside. I played slowly and carefully, stopping any tricks and not taking a lot risks. 

An interesting thing occurred on move 34, when I played Ra8?? And there was an opportunity for a draw!! There was a extremely deadly threat that I would have indubitably missed if he had played it. He played 34. ....Qg5!!, which the Game Report I did a few minutes ago assigned as brilliant. I played Qxd6, and there he had Ng4! With the threat of Qh4, in which has a two mate threats on f2 and h2. White had only two moves that didn't lose.. two that save a draw. 5 points up, several pieces hanging, and White has to worry about losing! My opponent didn't spot this, and instead played Nh5?? I consolidated, traded into a Knight vs Rook, Bishop, and Knight endgame (with three pawns), took away the knight's squares, traded it, and my opponent resigned. What a game!