Make Championships and Nationals Count not Cost

Remember, I’m the VSCA Secretary.  I’ve been analyzing post round games from scholastic players regularly for 6 year!  These are the 5 biggest mistakes scholastic players under 1200 make:

  1. They move too fast. When the time control is 60 minutes and your child comes out with a loss after just 30 minutes, they were moving too fast.  Experienced players love when a lower rated player starts moving fast!!  They will actually pick up their pace just so that your child will pick up theirs.  When they make a mistake, they will slow down and take advantage of it.
  2. Too materialistic.  If you win games eventually you will have to play, “up” to steal the championship.  Stronger players will dangle material to fool you into wasting time or leaving things unprotected.  I have a list of things I share with my students called the magic 10.  Material is 10th on that list!
  3. Too concerned about ratings.  Most players do not understand the rating system.  The very best thing to do is look at their tournament history and see how many events they have played in and how they got their rating.  Their are  players that have been in the same ratings range for years.  The longer someone has been in the same rating area the less dangerous they are!  They must be blowing it somewhere or their rating would be higher by now!  Play against what’s on the board!!
  4. Rookies have bad reactions to surprises.  If your opponent surprises you with a really good or a really bad move, walk away from the board for a minute.  Go wash your face, take a deep breath, and then finally come back to the board and get ready again.
  5. Winning a won game.  The better you get at chess, the more it’s about getting your opponent to resign, it’s not about checkmating them!  That means you must induce a feeling of helplessness.  Exchanging so that the advantage you have is overwhelming is the way to shorten your games.

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