Monday, January 18, 2016

Rethinking Chess Tournament Strategies

Recently, I have started playing in Over the Board (OTB) chess tournaments and I am on a losing streak due to a combination of factors. I caught a cold the first weekend of January and I am still having problems with my sinuses and post-nasal drip. I waste much of the time that I am awake coughing. I have a humidifier / vaporizer, but the air in my place can still be too dry during the winter and too humid during the summer.

While still recovering from my cold I entered a tournament that is being played on Wednesday nights at a restaurant that is called Smashburger. The playing conditions there are bad for me. The lighting is a little too low and the overhead lights are in my eyes if I do not wear a hat. Also, it is noisy there and I am often distracted by people who are moving around while I am playing.

Last Saturday I played an event that was within walking distance of where I live. I lost a hard-fought game in Round 1 that went more than 70 moves and then I had about 10 minutes to recover before starting the next round! I played horribly in Round Two and missed all kinds of chances to win that game. I eventually ended up in an endgame down material and had to swindle my nine-year-old opponent into playing an endgame that he did not know how to win! In Round Three I had another game that went more than 70 moves and I blew that endgame too!

What I now realize is that I lack the endurance to play out chess games that go more than 50 moves, especially if I have to play more than one game per day! I need to slow down during the early parts of these chess games and really look for the wins in the openings. Failing to end the chess games in less than 50 moves will most likely result in my blundering due to fatigue and then losing.

Mike Serovey, MA, MISM