Online Chess Tournaments

Published in Chess - 2 mins to read

I play quite a lot of chess online which is no surprise to anyone who knows me I’m sure. I focus most of my energy on correspondence, but occasionally I’m overcome by desire to play blitz, before playing a few games and inevitably getting tilted off the face of the earth and giving up on such a stupid format. “Blitz chess kills your ideas” as Bobby Fischer said, and I rather like my ideas, including the chessic ones. For this reason, I never play tournaments, for much the same reason I rarely played poker tournaments - it’s a big time commitment, it’s hard to concentrate for that long, and if I start doing badly I will lose all motivation and enjoyment and want to quit, but won’t be able to.

The Guernsey chess club has been organizing online arena-format tournaments since we entered our second iteration of lockdown, and I can’t find the energy to play in the first three, but this week I decided I’d better give it a go. I expected myself to have a big advantage over some of the older, less tech-savvy, but ultimately better players in the field, due to being more familiar with the format and online time management. Concentrating that hard for 2.5 hours was absolutely grueling - in a classical game, you can at least get up at wonder around for a bit to have a break, but in an arena tournament, you have to be constantly analysing with only a brief 30 second respite every few minutes. It turned out I was indeed much better in time scrambles than the majority of my opponents, and racked up several points just by having a bit of experience premoving. In the end I finished second, ahead of three of our Olympiad team - ultimately not a bad result given I am rated lower than everybody in the top 5.

Still, I was a bit annoyed I didn’t manage to bag the W. So I’m going to do some practice this week…

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