Tournament Tips

A beginner’s Guide to chess

The following link (a 3 page pdf file) gives a few good points for when starting out in chess, that covers basic techniques, planning your game, time management and how to survive a day of chess. A beginners guide to chess .

Tips when playing in tournaments

For those people that have not played in an event with clocks before, we offer the following advice. The following are some important items to remember – the arbiter will also usually mention these before round 1:

  • touch move : if you touch your piece on your move, and it has a legal move, then you are obliged to move it
  • touch take: if you touch your opponent’s piece on your move, and you can legally take it, then you are obliged to take it
  • say ‘I adjust’ if you need to straighten a piece on its square
  • use the same hand as for moving the piece as for pushing the clock
  • do not forget to press your clock to complete your move
  • if you notice that your opponent’s clock time has expired, then you can point this out and claim a win
  • shake hands with your opponent before and after the game (chess etiquette)
  • do not distract or annoy your opponent in any way. You can offer your opponent a draw, but repetitive offers may annoy.
  • if you are unsure about anything, then please stop the clocks and ask for assistance from the arbiter
  • players, parents, coaches are not allowed to speak about or interfere in a game. If someone observes an irregularity, they may inform the arbiter. This includes illegal moves, loss on time, etc.
  • mobile phones are usually not allowed to be turned on in the playing area

For games where you have less than 60 minutes for all your moves, then there is no need to record your moves.

For games where you have 5 minutes or less for all your moves:
– if your opponent makes an illegal move, and you claim it on your turn, then you win the game.
– one consequence of this, is that you do not need to announce ‘check’ – so if your opponent does not realise he/she is in check, and makes another move, then you can claim the win as listed above.

For chess teachers/coaches: it might be a good idea to go over all of the above with the players in advance, do some practice, etc. if possible.

The pairing of games (who you will play in each round) will be by the Swiss system – this means that you will be playing someone each time that is on the same score as you. So for instance if you lose the first 2 games, you will play someone who has also lost 2 games in the 3rd round. If you had 2 draws, then you could play someone that has won 1 game and lost 1 game. There is 1 point for a win, 1/2 for a draw, 0 for a loss.

If there is an odd number of players, then one player gets a bye in each round (you get 1 point for that).

When the draw for the next round is announced, quickly find you name on the list, and note the board number on the left hand side. If your name is on the left, you are playing WHITE, if your name is on the right you are playing BLACK. When your game is over, quickly inform the Director of Play (DOP) of the result. And it is best to say the board number and result, rather than “I won”. The DOP may not remember your name or it will slow down the entry process finding your board number. So “White won on board 5” is a better approach.


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