“Under” or “Open”!? When and Why?

I’ve been talking to a number of parents over the last few months about the difference between Open and Under tournaments for their kids!  Most parents tend to underestimate their child’s resolve and continually ignore grandmaster advice and recommendations!!  Jennifer Yu’s parents did an excellent job of selecting tournaments for their daughter.  To view the key period relative to this blog, go to this link; http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlTnmtHst.php?14117950.3.  During that 50 game period, the Yu’s did an almost perfect job of selecting tournaments that would help Jennifer’s growth!   Remember if you want to get better at chess you must play against people that you have little to no chance against most of the time!!  Let’s explain why!  Believe it or not, even with a 200-300 point difference, there will be many times that the lower player is holding their own or even winning for a large portion of the game.  It only improves their confidence when they see how long they did well against higher rated players, not equal or lower rated players!!  To get the most, from chess, you must enter tournaments with 2-3 minute per move time controls.  Tournaments with at least a 60 minute initial or game time control will improve your concentration and vision. Make sure that if you get into a post-mortem after a game that the person is good enough to offer solid advice.  The best post-mortem for aspiring players come from players that exceed their rating by at least 200-300 points!   Post-mortems between players of equal strength, rated below 1600, can be dismissed with little lost.  All grandmaster agree that you play, analyze your game, go to work on the areas that you’ve identified, and repeat this process over and over.  The only time you should be in a tournament of players in your own class is if you are trying to win money.  If you aren’t there to win money, you should be getting the best lessons you can.

Thanks Mike C      


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