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Lion's "Tips" For effective
Chess Tournament Play

A.  You play by “touch move” rules at all times
1. The “TOUCH MOVE” rules are    a. if you touch a piece, you have to move it;  b.  if you let go of the piece, it stays there;    c.   if you touch an opponent’s piece with your  piece YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT
2.  playing under touch move rule means you have to be very careful!  It is very easy to make a big mistake (a “blunder”) and lose the game on a single dumb move.  [This really hurts when you lose a game to somebody whom you should have beaten easily; a single mistake could cost you a trophy!]    Therefore:
    a.  always look at your opponent’s last move, and ask yourself: what is he up to?  What is he trying to do?  If he is putting you in danger, you have to take care of that before you think of anything else
    b.  if  you see a good move you can make right away, DON’T move right away!  Take a minute to see if there might be an even better move – THEN pick the best move
    c.  visualize placing the piece where you plan to move it, and make sure that you are not getting into trouble (for example, you might step in front a piece that can take you; or,  you may move someplace where the opponent’s knight can fork you!)

B.  Remember the three principles of opening (starting the game)

1.  control the center (usually with pawns and knights);
2.  develop your minor pieces (knights and bishops); 
3.  castle to make your king safe, and to put the rook in play

C.  Here is some tips on tournament psychology:
1.  Try to concentrate on every move, even against poor players
2.  Do not be suckered into playing fast just because your opponent moves fast.  You don’t get bonus points for playing fast.   Play carefully and  win, that is what counts!
3. If you get ahead by a piece (3 points) or more, trade down (Queen for a Queen, Rook for a Rook etc). If you are behind try NOT to trade;  instead try to attack, and complicate the game by using tactical tricks (pins, forks, discovered checks)
4. Remember, a stalemate is a draw!  Sometimes when you are way ahead it is easy to get careless and stalemate your opponent

D.  Don’t be discouraged if you lose a game – try to understand what mistake you made so you don’t do it again.  Even if you lose a few games and no longer have a chance for a trophy, DO YOUR BEST IN EVERY GAME – that is how you learn. And, remember Susan Polgar’s motto: WIN WITH GRACE, LOSE WITH DIGNITY !     

5.  Look out for the Scholar’s mate! (e4, e5, Bc4, d6, Qf3, xx) QxP checkmate!)

Kiromark (C) 2009
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