Transitioning from Online Play to Over the Board Play

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin 





When I was interviewing Carsten Hansen for our 198th podcast episode, a Twitch fan asked for advice regarding the transition from online play to over-the-board play. With Queen’s Gambit and the COVID-19 global pandemic, thousands of players have played lots of games online but never once touched a physical chess piece. If you are looking to transition from online to over-the-board play, here are some suggestions:

1)Build Resilience:

When one plays online, he can quit playing after a tough loss. To the contrary, in a tournament, whatever the result is, one needs to play the next round. Next time you play online and lose a game, take a deep breath and playing another game, seeing if you can bounce back.


2) Chess Notation:

The other day an adult private student asked me whether or not chess notation was required at tournaments and of course I replied that it was. Lichess and automatically records the moves of the game as they are played. However, one can still take a piece of paper and write them down, to get in some good practice.


3) Time Management:

Most players play blitz games online and do not know how to manage their time over the board. Before one plays a tournament in person, he should purchase a clock and play a few over the board games. One of the best tips for time management, is that one should divide the time control by 40, the average number of moves in a game, and use that amount of time per each move.



4) Tournament Rules

As per this blog post, it is important to know tournament rules. Online, one can click on as many pieces as he wants before making the move. In an over-the-board tournament, one must abide by the touch move rule. Other important rules that one needs to learn relate to time control, adjusting pieces, claiming draws, etc.

5) New Friends

Instructors, Friends, Family and Clients at our 2nd Annual Holiday PartySome of my best friends today and many of our instructors are players I have met at tournaments over the years. To the get the most of playing in over-the-board tournaments, one should make it a point to get to know fellow players in between rounds and develop a community. Players can do post-mortems, grab meals, walk around and get fresh air, etc. together.

 While virtual chess programs are not going away,  many organizers are excited to host over-the-board tournaments again. Check out Spring 2022 Tournament Series with Top Level Chess, which begins this Sunday at 10:00 AM.

20 thoughts on “Transitioning from Online Play to Over the Board Play”

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