Chesscampeona on the Move; Tips to Play Without Your Coach at a Tournament


Is your chess coach always with you in all of your tournaments? If your answer is "yes", do I have tips to share with you! At your local chess club you might have your chess coach with you, but once you begin to travel to other states or national events this might no longer be the case.

I learned to play chess when I was six years old. My chess coach, who was my father, was always with me. However, once when I was eight years old, he was unable to be by my side. I was sad and felt I needed him to be there with me because I had never played a tournament without him by my side. I was used to his pep talks prior to each round and his analysis after each game. Just having him by my side was important to me.


I am now a 16-year-old USCF Expert and my national and international chess tournament schedule is busy. At times I am away from home up to 15 days straight because of a tournament. This makes it extremely difficult to have my coach by my side. This is completely understandable, after all coaches also have other students, families and jobs. Although we have technology such as Skype and chess servers by which we can communicate live with our coach, ultimately they do not play our games. We are responsible for our moves and results.

So how can we perform to our fullest when our chess coach is not with us in a tournament?

Here are some tips:

1. Follow your coach's instructions. Your coach's instructions are like a guide for your game and regardless of who your coach is if you do not follow your coach's instructions, your result might not be what you expect. Personally, when I do not follow my coach's instructions I do not have a fun game.

2. Stay calm. Although your coach is not present with you they are rooting for you! Your coach will always be your number one fan even if he or she gets upset at you for making mistakes. They believe in you and they know that you have awesome potential.

3. Have fun! Don't worry because your coach is not there. You need every ounce of energy to "think" and "concentrate" on your game. You do not have time to share your brain with unnecessary worries or concerns. Always remember to have fun and enjoy your games.

I hope these tips help you as they helped me in my chess career.

Here are the best games played against me recently in fast chess!