How to play more tournaments?

Last week’s question was: ‘How many tournaments will you play this summer?’ And the answer is: ‘not a lot’. ‘Zero’ was our clear winner, followed by ‘one’, followed by ‘two’, followed by…

I see a pattern.


Perhaps you are all too busy over the summer with work, family, and reading excellent chess books. But I am curious about what could be done to get more people playing tournaments. Any ideas?

And for those of you who will be playing tournaments: Will you be combining a family holiday with chess?

We do have one Quality Chess person in tournament action right now. GM Colin McNab is playing in the Scottish Championship. The games start at 1 pm (that’s a link to Round 3 on Monday 11th; links to later rounds will eventually appear on this page) and the playing hall is about a 5-minute walk from our office in Glasgow, so Colin’s solution is to work in the morning, then play chess in the afternoon. A fine work-life balance.

Meanwhile Andrew and I are here, working away all day…

13 thoughts on “How to play more tournaments?”

  1. If we speed up the time control we can “pack” more games in less (working) days. Not everyone wants (or can) to play 9-10 days tournaments. However most people would be able to play weekend tournaments (Fri-Sat or Fri-Sun) as you can play up to 7-9 games.

    I would like to see more tournaments at faster time control played at weekends.

  2. I would play more tournaments if there would be no more Fischer time control as I really like the “old” wooden clocks and no increments per move…

    But I guess beeing in my mid-thirties and seeing mostly younger people liking this increment-stuff I do have to wait for the seniors tournaments as there are still mostly more classical time controls (at least here in germany)

    Weekend tournaments are really nice…but no more than 2 games a day please…anything else is rapid chess…

    I really would like to see a survey here asking which time control would be preferred by most (amateur) people…

  3. In the end, I’m primarily interested in playing long time controls, so there’s no getting around the fact that playing tournaments takes a lot of time, and with a family I guess I just prefer to spend that time on other things.

    I like to play tournaments that are say, one round on a weekday evening for a number of consecutive weeks, in my hometown. That combines well with family life. But we’ve only had one such tournament here, the last edition was a few years ago, and not that many people played. Apparently that kind of tournament isn’t as popular with other people as it is with me.

    Another option is the model that the Hogeschool Zeeland tournament in Vlissingen, the Netherlands has — in august, near beaches, one week, one round per day in the evenings from 18:30. During the day you can vacation with the family, evenings you play chess. But I’d still prefer to spend those evenings with my wife instead.

    That leaves weekend tournaments, that I play once per year or so (but it’s a huge time investment), rapid (I play it sometimes but it’s not what I like about chess), Internet blitz and club games.

    The chess club is great. Nine league matches per year on saturdays, and each thursday I can decide to go to the club and play a game against strong competition (we have about 25-30 2000+ players). But not during the summer…

  4. For me tournaments with 1 game per day and no increment are the most attractive. I’m 62 and disabled.

    When I was younger there was no increment. At those days I prefered two games per day. So I know there are different groups and there should be different tournament for different needs.



    Yesterday I received “Playing 1.e4 – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 and Minor Lines” by John Shaw and I was truly impressed by my hardcover copy. For few years I’ve been playing 1.d4, but with this high level book I want to get back to my first love, 1.e4 🙂

    My question might be onerous, but I’ll give a shot anyway… When is approximately but for sure date of publication “Playing 1.e4 – Sicilian & French” by John Shaw?

    It’s stated autumn, but this can be 20.12.2016.! Hopefully in September/October, cause it would be big gap for 1.e4 players to be out-repertoired with ever popular Sicilian 🙂

  6. Suggested schedule:

    Round 1-4 15 min + 5s

    Round 5-8 30 min + 30s

    All rounds at the same day. First Round starts at 9 in the morning and finished around 10 in the Evening.

  7. The alternative is all play all tournaments, 4 players, 3 rounds with time 60 min + 30s. All played in one day. I can’t spend the whole weekend on chess.

  8. I think we all need to get used to the increment time controls. I am in my 50s. For the norm tournaments, G90 + 30s is standard and the championship tournaments are using mostly 40 in 90 + 30s and then SD 30 + 30s. I like the latter time control and think it is very fair. It can lead to some long games. The G90 + 30s leads to very intense games and favors the young. But, this is the new chess. Rapids are nice too, but the game quality is not very good. In St. Louis, we have a rapid event every Friday night. There are often some strong players that play. In about 400 games over the last 6 years in these events, maybe 5 or 6 are really worthwhile games. The rest are garbage because of all the errors in time pressure. But, it is fun. Regarding divorce, after being married for 27 years, I got my wife to play in year 26…She plays more on-line chess than I do now…For 30 years we were together and she thought this was the stupidest thing ever. There is hope.

  9. I prefer the increment time controls, and I’m not exactly young (ripe old age of 41), so not sure where this “old age equals old procedures” baloney comes from in other posts. The world changes and all must adapt to it. In 1980, when I was 5, we had no internet, we had no cell phones, we had no digital television, and we had no increment time controls. We now have all of them. Society is different in 2016 than 1980.

    Also, apparently Europe doesn’t do what is extremely common in the United States. Weekend Tournaments that aren’t for Norms (i.e. doesn’t meet the 9-round-minimum requirement).

    They are typically 5 rounds, one Friday night, 2 Saturday, 2 Sunday. Sure, you won’t get your GM Norms in these, but you don’t end up spending a week of vacation time from work, and you get 5 decent, rated games rather than the junk that comes from short time controls.

    I agree with the other poster that said the best is 40/90, SD/30, Increment/30. Nothing is worse than the BS Chess that gets played with both sides completely scrambling and pieces landing in cockeyed positions, often covering 2 squares because you’ve had to move so fast. With the 30 second increment, let the board decide the result, not the speed of your hand.

  10. I need time controls where 60 minutes are added after 40 moves, and then half an hour after 60 moves, beggining with 90 minutes and 30 sec increment from the start. More or less the time controls that are used at the top. I have spoiled countless games because of faster time controls which are not suited to me

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