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The Chicago Open is in four days. Assuming a player continues his daily regimen of reading chess books for a few hours and playing two, perhaps three slow games (60/5, at least) a week, what else should a player be doing?

Also, should a player stop this regimen before the tournament to "clear the mind"? If so, how many days before?

Regarding openings

I'm completely confident in the middle game. Everyone says that opening study should be reserved for when I'm higher rated (~2000).

This is true, because by following general strategy, I can transition into the middle game easily. With a plan, it's hard (if not impossible) to go wrong.

Why, then, does everyone advise to review openings before a tournament? (I have taken perhaps a brief look at the classical variation of the Ruy Lopez, but that's it.)

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Eat your carbs, get up at a time such that you'll be most alert during the games, maybe play a few blitz games to go through your opening repertoire. Move around according to your level of physical activity, because you're going to be sedantary for a long time.

Playing long, proper games is exhausting if you're really focused throughout, so you don't want to play any extra games just before the event. Reading chess books at a time so close to a tournament has its parallels with cramming before an exam: it pays off if you're faced with something relevant, but could cost some precious mental energy.

Be rested and stop training long enough so that you feel ready on the day of the event. For some, one day is enough, others may need over a week.

On an indirect note, fatigue usually starts to set in after 4 rounds or so; physical endurance is actually important here. While it's a little too late to address this now, if you find yourself making incredibly careless mistakes in the later rounds, you'd want to consider adding a physical part to your regime if you're serious about the game.

  • It's not cramming when you've been doing it for months. – Jossie Calderon May 23 '17 at 14:45
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The Chicago Open is in four days. Assuming a player continues his daily regimen of reading chess books for a few hours and playing two, perhaps three slow games (60/5, at least) a week, what else should a player be doing? you should be playing more and studying less. Your study-to-play ratios are fragged. Acceptable ratios (suggested by "everyone") is somewhere around 4:1, maybe even as high as 50/50 if your opening play is solid. I know you advocated a 20:1 ratio in previous posts, and that is way too high. You need to play more, see more positions under fire.

Also, should a player stop this regimen before the tournament to "clear the mind"? If so, how many days before? What ever brings peace of mind and reaches your comfort level.

Regarding openings I'm completely confident in the middle game. Everyone says that opening study should be reserved for when I'm higher rated (~2000). This is true, because by following general strategy, I can transition into the middle game easily. With a plan, it's hard (if not impossible) to go wrong. Why, then, does everyone advise to review openings before a tournament? (I have taken perhaps a brief look at the classical variation of the Ruy Lopez, but that's it.)

"You have to choose the systems you feel comfortable with and understand their principles." - Chess instructor

Define "Everyone". you should know enough to play an opening comfortably. I suspect you are somewhere in the [1600] 1499 range (edit: based on the Chicago Open Entry List and your name, you are rated 1499) based on your previous questions. Studying openings before an event won't help all that much. Mental quietude and rest is much more valuable in my opinion. My name is not Everyone.

Good luck at the Open. We look forward to seeing some of your games here on Stack Exchange.

  • I can see what you mean by needing to see "positions under fire": playing to achieve a certain, favorable position. You can't do this unless you know the favorable positions by heart, or at least the idea of the favorable positions (such as playing to open the position to make use of your bishop pair, closing the position when you possess several outposts, etc.) Either way, this is more effectively achieved through practice. The only advantage playing games has is getting used to the physical setting. – Jossie Calderon May 24 '17 at 13:48
  • "The only advantage playing games has is getting used to the physical setting." ~ you could not be more wrong about that. It's one thing to "study" positions from books where you are spoonfed perfect examples, and a totally different animal to recognize them during play. This is why it is important to have a good mix and not lean heavily on one side or the other. you can memorize your "7 imbalances" until the cows come home but if you are not used to performing your positional assessments under game conditions, forget it. You will not be able to recognize "what matters" during a game. – Priyome May 25 '17 at 21:18
  • Which is why you're supposed to play games...20:1 does not mean "never play a game", which is what you're (incorrectly) supposing. – Jossie Calderon May 25 '17 at 21:34
  • Really? Is that what I supposed? Yet, I explicitly stated " This is why it is important to have a good mix and not lean heavily on one side or the other.", which you conveniently ignored, and which the 20:1 ratio you are propping up "leans heavily" to over-studying, and makes my point. It's pretty obvious I did not suppose anything of the sort. But feel free to read between the lines and completely ignore most of what I wrote. – Priyome May 25 '17 at 22:11
  • Great. You follow your philosophy, I'll follow mine, and I'll see you in the tournament soon. – Jossie Calderon May 25 '17 at 23:04

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