5 Must-Do Things to Prepare for Your Next Tournament

5 Must-Do Things to Prepare for Your Next Tournament

How to obtain your best form in order to perform well at your next tournament?

We all know miracles and shortcut solutions do not really work in chess progress; as in any other activity, consistency is the key. However, for one reason or another, not everyone can keep up with regular training and very often, we are at a stage where our next tournament is approaching and the time we have to prepare for it is limited.

What should we do then?

While all chess training is good, perhaps a more focused program to fix potential weaknesses during competition is best. In this article, we will try to provide our best advice on what the most important things you should take care of in order to perform your best chess are.

Ideally, we have to start preparing for two weeks in advance, but this is certainly subjective. Everyone has a different amount of hours to put into chess work. So, regardless of the available time, what is important is that the job is done.

Here is our shortlist in order of importance:

  • Check your Openings. Openings are not a key factor in chess improvement but they are still highly important. When you have no idea of what to play because it has been a while since you last looked at openings and the tournament begins tomorrow, you are most likely to make wrong choices and get bad positions at an early stage. You become a weak target in this phase. You will either play it poorly or play it accurately by spending an excessive amount of time on the clock. In any case, it does not work well. So your task has to be not to find novelties on everything you play, but mostly to remember (or learn) and be able to survive the opening phase without much trouble.
  • Solving positions. This is like getting your brain to warm up before the real test. Solving is a key part of all chess training. Doing this especially before a tournament will make it more comfortable for you to calculate accurately during the games. Make sure to do it with time limits, during competition time management is key.
  • Study your own games. It makes sense to review your games from the previous tournament (if it has not been too long ago) and refresh your mind about the most relevant errors you committed. You can see what openings didn’t work, what openings you need to watch out for and be alert, etc. It is also a way to get to know yourself and gain confidence, see also your strengths and what positions you play well and then you will know what positions you should try to obtain.
  • Basic theoretical endgames. Believe it or not, this is extremely helpful. There will normally be one or two games where rook endgames will arise or endgames with rook vs bishop and pawns etc. Going over the typical endgames such as rook and 4 pawns vs 3 on the same flank and refreshing the concepts to save yourself from such situations it is quite useful.
  • Physical and mental shape. Finally, yet importantly, the physique is quite an important element for a chess player. It’s necessary to be in good shape to avoid tiredness and stress. Situations during the game can be very diverse and fatigue often transforms in blunders. Another important matter is our mental state, if we have too much on our minds and playing chess is not among the top of priorities, then no doubt failure is the natural result. Therefore, good physical state, harmonious and positive mood is just as important as everything in our training list.

With this, we conclude this article not without wishing you good luck in your next tournament. Feel free to comment and share your methods of preparing for your tournaments!

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Updated 01.07.2024