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I have been playing chess for many years now in with my friends and online. But I will be participating in first ever chess tournament of my life in few days. It is a FIDE rated Blitz tournament.

Since I have never played any tournament at such a high level, I wanted few tips from you all. Basically Do's and Dont's would help me a lot.

When I play online, all my moves are automatically recorded and also I dont have to check the time control as automatically stops after my moves. But when I will be playing tournament, I will need to do that manually. How much difference would that make?

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Know your openings!

You didn't mention time control, but it doesn't matter, you just may not allow yourself to waste precious time on opening.

Avoid sharp, theoretical lines if you can not memorize them fully.

I usually avoid such openings because if you face a novelty/variation you haven't seen so far, there goes precious time on thinking for a move that will "keep me in the game", and usually you will end up caught in the endless loop of searching the only move that "keeps you in the game".

Take solid lines that give equal chances, do not worry about possibility of a draw. Since this is blitz, people make mistakes/blunder more often, and do not forget that time trouble is a huge factor here.

Your job is to play the opening as fast as you can, without any mistake, so you can get a playable middle game with equal chances and concrete and simple play/counterplay.

In the middle game, simplify a little, so you can protect yourself from sudden tactical blasts and to reduce the calculation (believe me, in blitz, time flies and before you know it, you are in the time trouble ), but keep enough peaces on board so you can complicate if you feel you can win ( exchanging 2 minor pieces would suffice since it greatly simplifies, but still leaves you with good chances to complicate if you really need a win).

BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN EXCHANGING PIECES!!!

In blitz, people often offer exchanges to simplify, so always assess the resulting position that will arise after the exchange.

This method will give you the best results-offer them unfavorable exchange ( e.g. offer your bad bishop for their good one ). You will be surprised how many people make wrong exchanges!

Practice tactical blows on the real games, NOT on the artificial studies/problems and try to find those examples related to the openings you play.This will additionally protect you from sudden blows.

And again, prepare openings thoroughly! ( I just can't emphasize this enough ). You will want to use your time only for calculation, not on the opening.

EDIT ( updated on December, 20th 2013 ):

About the clock:

Do not forget to press it when you play the move-most beginners/those who are not used to clock, forget it.

What will happen is this:

After you make the move, without activating the opponents clock, he/she will just stare at the board like an idiot, doing nothing.

You will start wondering what is going on-are you winning so he/she thinks how to save the game, or did you play something utterly stupid so your opponent calculates the refutation?

Neither is happening! Your opponent saw you not pressing the clock, so patiently waits for your time to expire, in order to claim win due to you exceeding the time limit.

Yeah I know...there are all kind of people out there :)

As for notation, as soon as you play your move, press your clock first, and then write down the move.

Why? Because if you play blitz at more than 5 minutes each, you do not have to write down moves if you have less than 5 minutes ( double check this, since it was a long time I have played blitz, and this information was told to me by a friend ), and your time is always the highest priority in blitz, you can always write down the move after the game.

If I recall correctly, in 5 minute blitz you do not have to write down moves ( again, double check this ).

Hopefully this will help you.

Good luck!

Best regards.

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My recommendation would be to join your local USCF club and play blitz there. Learn to use the clock, learn etiquette, learn your weaknesses, get tips from better players.

I'm not sure you have to record your moves in blitz.

Above all, have fun.

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The first step would be to go over the rules for blitz play in FIDE, this is online at:

http://www.fide.com/component/handbook/?id=125&view=article

If you have no experience with a physical chess clock, I would recommend practicing with one before the event. You want the action of making a move and pressing the clock automatic, forgetting to stop your clock after your move is very costly in blitz.

You will also be responsible for noting when your opponent has run out of time in order to claim a win on time, the clock nor arbiter will alert you to this.

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This seems to be a 2 in 1 question.

  1. How do you (prepare) perform well in a (FIDE) rated blitz tournament?
  2. Will there be a difference between online blitz and over the board blitz?

In general, blitz is compared to games with a longer time control. With this view in mind, blitz games are a lot about having a good control over the time left on your clock. Becoming good at making quick decisions and plans and making moves on the board with short thinking intervals is the key. A good strategy is to decide on your opening systems before the tournament begins. Decide exactly what openings you will use and what type of positions you want to get on the board (queens or exchanged queens, calm or dynamic, balanced or unbalanced, symmetric or non-symmetric, etc.). Also, practice in making quick (some call this intuitive) decisions in your blitz games. Keep making moves and learn to pressure on the clock.

Online blitz is clearly different from over the board (OTB) blitz. OTB, you have to deal with 3D pieces, actually use your (e.g. right) hand to make the moves and press the clock with the (same!) hand. You have to keep track of your time (and the opponent's time!) on a real chess clock. The board allows you (and the opponent!) to make illegal moves that can decide the game. You have to deal with your opponent sitting across the board (e.g. the opponent can eat onions before the game, nervously shake the leg and make other bothering noises and distractions). You have to find thinking poses that suit you well. Also, you have to manage food, drinks and toilet visits. Also, you have to learn to focus in a room with 100 people. All in all, some things can be prepared in advance, while other things will come with experience!

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