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How to Win Your First Chess Tournament? | Chess Roll

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Some people may think that playing chess is easier than sports since it does not require serious physical exercise and environmental conditions. But it’s not completely true because to be mentally ready, surroundings must also be in the proper condition. Whatever sport you’re in, a healthy mind and body must be your priority more than anything else to be able to perform well. Environment affects an individual’s way of thinking and chess is a game of mind that requires focus and concentration. So, if you want to know more about chess preparations, here are tips to help you win your first tournament. 

Prepare and Develop Your Strategy

Chess Preparation

Learning how to optimally prepare for a competition is challenging. Distractions and unique circumstances are scattered everywhere especially during the times that you need to focus. Having someone or a coach to help you overcome these challenges and maximize performance is crucial in achieving victory. It is important to provide yourself with adequate care during your preparations to ensure that you perform at your best. 

Identify your strengths and weaknesses is an important preparation as well, whether you are stronger during openings or gradually climbing up stronger in the end game. Since every chess player is distinctly different, some value openings more than the end game and vice versa, you need to find your niche. 

If you already know your opponent’s name, you would want to make research on their gameplay to find his style. By that, you can try to predict your opponent on how he would take on the match. 

Pick An Opening You’re Comfortable With. 

Moskow, 1984: All traffic has been stopped, and thousands of chess fans, with minuscule chessboards in their hands, gather in any intersection, praying to see Garry Kasparov — or his lifetime rival, Karpov — at least for a few seconds passing in the tournament’s official cars.

Gary Kasparov is known for his greatest openings and his favorite ones are The Grunfeld Defense and the Sicilian Defense, while Bobby Fischer’s was The Ruy Lopez. As a chess player, you need to identify what openings work best for you because it helps you develop your pieces quickly to build your defense and get control of the center. However, some might say that openings are not important in the game and it is easier to spend too much time on them but it is best to master it anyhow. 

You might ask yourself, which chess openings should I include in my repertoire? This decision indeed is very important. Your openings can be identified what will be your middle-game position. You can write down all the openings that strike interest in you, compute your statistics about your previous match, and make a list of all main black defenses you know. In making your list, it is suggested to follow a very practical and rational approach. 

Join a Chess Club 

Joining a local chess club in your community or school is a fun and convenient extra-curricular. Like sports, chess club is a community that shares the same interests it is also a good way to find people who can relate to your passion for playing you have. Also, if you’re keen on participating in chess tournaments, your colleagues in the club can help you get used to playing chess on a real board. 

If you’re about to play your first tournament while reading this, you’re probably invited because of your local club, and one of the reasons you should join is for you to get invited to significant events. Through tournaments, you will be able to face different types of chess players. Thus, it’s useful to broaden your experience and in establishing your career. Lastly, you will never run out of knowledge and information since you get to borrow chess equipment and book from them.

Don’t Relax! 

Having a nice sleep and getting the right Vitamin B and C, and eating healthy food with regular exercise will give you endurance while playing chess. Your first tournament can surely be heart-pounding, nonetheless, you have to believe in yourself and bring all your confidence with you. A clear mind before any tournament is a great start to win the game. 

However, some people welcome stress because it keeps them alert and the adrenaline is keeping their mind and body get along with the excitement. In certain situations, when players start to relax, they tend to play bad games and ended up defeated. If your opponent is in the last place of the tournament today, it does not mean anything. Just because they played badly in the previous games does not mean they can’t play good chess anymore, so you should stay focus and keep concentrated!

Trust The Process

This is a common phrase for people but some players set too many expectations on the result but not in the game. Fear is a part of human nature and it helped our species to survive and strive for thousands of years. For chess players, fear of losing is also normal since training is hard enough so it feels good to win. However, losing is inevitable, and playing chess is always going to be risky. So, in the middle game, do not let yourself go into a safe space and draw positions. Let go of your fear and take risks. 

The Etiquette of Resigning

Chess etiquette and knowing when to resign are crucial, especially during tournaments. Chess coaches often instruct students to never give up and always play out the game to checkmate. Even if it’s true, losses are bound to happen sometimes, and wasting your opponent’s time when you know you already lost is rude. So, knowing when to resign is a mark of respect to your opponent. Extend your hand to congratulate your opponent, you can always redeem yourself in the next game. 


In every game, there is an opening, middle, and endgame. And after every match, there will always be opportunities that will come your way. During your first tournament, remember to not play random openings. Time management is important to incorporate into your gameplay, you must have enough time to strategize and execute. Always be grateful for every life lesson during the game. Bigger risks may result in bigger success but do not take too many risks in your games because your opponent will usually find the best defense. 

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