So you are taking your youngster to their first chess tournament – very exciting but perhaps you are feeling a little bit nervous about what to expect? Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of the experience.

1) Come prepared

A bottle of water is handy. If the player wishes to write down their moves then of course a pencil is required. Typically the organiser will provide scoresheets.

2) Arrive Early

Try and arrive at least one hour before round 1 is scheduled to begin. This will give you plenty of time to get your bearings and even talk to one of the organisers who will be able to get you settled.

3) Talk to the organiser or other parents

You’ll find most/all people will be very friendly and more than happy to help if you have any questions

4) Agree where to meet your child after the round

Particularly important if you have a young child as you won’t be able to wait in the playing area for them

5) Find the pairings for the next round

Most tournaments are ‘Swiss’ events where every player plays every round and plays an opponent on the same score as them. To find what board you are playing on and against whom you should consult the ‘pairings’ which are usually pinned to a wall near the playing hall (it will be where all the other players are congregating). See out video below for a quick guide to reading pairings

6) Leave behind player’s phone

Player’s are not allowed phones in the playing hall.

Tips for players during the game

  1. Shake hands with your opponent and wish them luck
  2. Try and stay calm and relaxed. It is your first tournament so don’t put any pressure on yourself. Enjoy the game and get used to the playing environment
  3. Don’t be alarmed by the clock – if you are getting increments after each month you’ll always have enough time to make your moves
  4. When the game is finished there will either be a slip of paper to record the result which will need handing to the arbiter. Or you will need to put your hand up and the arbiter will approach to ask the result
  5. Thank your opponent for the game !


Good luck !