Expectations for 3 Tournaments vs the Reality (to come)- Part 1

After covering the U.S. Open for a chess website and not actually playing in the tournament, I am excited and gearing up to jump back into tournament play. Surprisingly enough, my next three tournament choices happen to be one weekend right after another. These tournaments are: the Manhattan Open (8/18-20), the North Carolina Open (8/25-27), and the New York State Championships (9/1-4).

As someone who plays very infrequently, it will be quite bizarre for me to be playing three tournaments in a row, and even more difficult for me to play 3 day long tournaments. Luckily, my school year does not start before the Manhattan Open, I can skip my first day of school for the NC Open, and the NY State champs will be held on Labor Day Weekend.

Going into these tournaments, I have a series of expectations, that I hope will happen in reality. I will write an article later on which of them became a reality.

I hope to…


Never a consistently playing chess player, I did not get my rating past the most amateur levels. I will only need to gain 13 more points to peak, which is easy at a U1200 level.

pass 1200 USCF

Connected to my last expectation, I do not have to reach so far to pass this point, either. I need 54 points, which can likely be achieved in one tournament, much less 3. This depends on my performance, of course, but no one is a stranger to big rating jumps if a tournament goes well.

eat more healthy foods during the tournaments

This one is always difficult post scholastic chess period. No more parents to run around buying meals and take care of you! Worst of all, round times are always tricky. Eating schedules get all mixed up and worse, it is hard to find food at near midnight in some places. I recall at Millionaire Chess 2016, I had buffalo wings so many times at the only restaurant open after the games were done at midnight (or later). For those under 21 like me, bars are not an option, either. Regardless, I’m looking eat healthier in order to keep the energy high. After not playing for a long while, stamina might be an issue.

Also imperative to my performance is eating not too close to the round times or too many heavy foods. Red meat, for instance, takes hours to digest and I do not want to have my body working on some hard digestion while I play.

play better in the endgame

Without a doubt, my biggest weakness at the World Open tournament was my endgame play. I struggled a lot with winning won games and had good games to analyze as a result. Improving upon this weakness currently with my coach, it’s reasonable to hope that I will see some improvement. It is definitely my biggest desire to improve upon that aspect in chess.

meet many new people

Honestly, this has to be my favorite part of chess playing and reporting by far. From the highest seed grandmaster to the youngest beginner of the lowest sections of a tournament, there are always new people to meet, learn from, and share new memories with. It’s always a wonder what old friends I see at tournaments- I bet there will be many at the U.S. Masters/North Carolina Open- and which new friends I make. Especially important to me is to make friends with more female chess players and encourage younger female players to continue with their chess dreams.

learn a bit about tournament organizing and directing

Now that I’ve started doing reporting as well as playing chess, I’d like to continue a more well rounded education and watch what it takes to run tournaments. Maybe in the future I’d like to run some fundraising tournaments or events.

All in all, I feel my expectations are reasonable and perhaps I am not even challenging myself enough, but they are certainly attainable. If anything at all, I am probably most likely to fail the food diet expectation but this deviation from the normally unhealthy experience of a chess tournament is relatively difficult to overcome given time restraints.

What sorts of expectations, if at all, do you set before a tournament (or tournaments in a row)??


One thought on “Expectations for 3 Tournaments vs the Reality (to come)- Part 1

  1. One thing I caution players about is not to alter their diet so much when on the road for chess. I had students who were performing well, then get to their destination to compete, start eating healthfully, and perform poorly at the event. It’s not about eating “healthfully” or not healthfully, but maintaining a diet that doesn’t adversely effect performance. My student found that he was getting nearly enough carbs after breakfast with all of his salad scarfing. Being a diabetic, I am very diet minded, so it was easy to note, adjust, and we got him performing as well as he could when he wasn’t on the road. Realistically, everyone should eat well, balanced, and healthfully, but major alterations, even if seemingly objectively for the better might not be best. There are other factors like caffeine and water intake that should be on out mind, as well.

    I don’t have too many expectations prior to tournaments, except for exercise goals. Keeping up with exercise is really difficult at some venues. Either they have a miserably hot workout room with an apparatus that I’m not used to, or something like that. For all of my complaints about Vegas, the WIngate at the National Open had an excellent exercise facility. Sleep is probably the other expectation I set for myself, which is a hard one for me. I’m a rare breed that can’t do with less than 8.5 hours on consecutive nights, and I have to hit 10-12 every couple of nights to be at my best. It’s safe to say that American marathon chess is pretty hard on me in that way. On top of that, I play in every available rated event I can, since every tournament is as much about the result as being an opportunity for intentional practice; and my growth is strongly correlated to how much rated chess I play. Aside from that sort of thing, I really don’t set hard goals as expectations, especially since ratings climbs have so much statistical variance, especially for a player like myself; but I have an extensive set of metrics I use to assess improvements in the quality of games, for example, which is important.

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