There is an upcoming chess tournament at Iowa State University in Ames, IA that I would like to encourage you to attend. It is the 2022 Iowa Open Reserve (U1600). While it spans 3 days from Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11, you have many options to participate however you would like.
Let’s say you choose the 3-day option. You’ll be slated to play five games using 90 minutes per side with 30 second bonus. The games will be played at 7pm Friday, 10am and 3:30pm on Saturday, and then 9am and 2:30pm on Sunday. You have the option of selecting 1/2 point buys for any games you may miss (say you can’t stick around for the 2:30pm game on Sunday or have to miss the Friday night game).
You can also choose the 2-day option. With this choice, you’ll also play five games, but with 60 minutes per side with a 5 second delay. These games will be at 10am, 12:30pm, and 3:30pm on Saturday, and then 9am and 2:30pm on Sunday. Again, you have the option of selecting some 1/2 point buys for any games you have to miss.
What to Expect
There really isn’t any need to show up really early. If you can get there 5-10 minutes early and check-in, you’ll be fine. You’ll also be fine if you show up exactly on time, but I would never recommend that. Allow yourself a little wiggle room for parking, and finding out where in the building you’ll need to be (there will be signs).
You’ll see many players that bring their own board and timers. Boards and pieces will be available at this tournament, but they’re asking to bring your own timer. You’ll probably be fine if you don’t have one (since most other players will have one).
Expect a cell phone policy. You may have to leave it in a box somewhere not on your person.
Do not rely on any snacks being available. I recommend bringing a small cooler with snacks and drinks. You may have time between games to escape the Memorial Union for a while and go down to campus town to grab something, but I would have some food available just in case time gets tight.
Practice ahead of time. Use chess club to play the games as they will be played in the tournament (1 hour 30 minutes per person with 30 second bonus for the 3-day, 60 minutes per person with 5 second delay for the 2-day). You’ll want to practice recording the game by hand on paper. For knight and rook moves, double check if extra notation is necessary (as in which knight or which rook is moving to a square if both can). You’ll also want to practice tournament play: and that is not to touch a piece until you have completely committed to moving it! Get in the habit of moving-hitting clock-recording in that order.
Let your mind wonder during the game when it is not your turn. Breathe. Relax. Look around at other players. Concentrate on relaxing any tension in your muscles.
Have fun. There is honestly nothing to be nervous about. Just play your best and learn something.