My first chess tournament

Walking into my first chess tournament I notice people wandering around and talking before the games. I wondered what all the commotion was about. Finding a chair to sit in and taking in all that was going on around me. I realize that the pairing for the games was posted on the wall right behind a table with computers. Joe was sitting behind the desk sipping on some coffee when he looked up and greeted me with a smile.

Looking at the pairings I found who I would be playing against and took my seat. To tell you the truth I didn’t know the first thing about playing in a tournament. I had to learn as I went. I highly recommend you join a chess club and practice tournament style games before playing in your first tourney. For your sake and the sanity of everyone playing know the rules. I repeat know the rules and how to keep track of the game by writing your moves and your opponents down.

I was able to wing it as I will call it through my first tourney. Most of the folk playing was new comers themselves. Not at playing chess but playing competitor chess. I remember I lost every game in my first tournament and came in dead last. I was not mad but pondered how I lost so severely. I took to heart what I was told by my Grandfather through my childhood. Learn from your mistakes and don’t you ever stop trying. For if you fail and you try you are not a cowered if you don’t try you will never succeed in anything in your life.

Having congratulated the winners and my opponents I drove home.  In the car I started to think about how to improve my game.  I looked at the value of each piece the opening to the endgame. The values of each piece are.

In the Middle game the Pawns are worth 1 point each. The Bishop is better than three Pawns in most cases. However I love to use Pawns as a decoy or to obstruct the flow of the game. Many people say that a Knight is equal to 3 Pawns. Yes in material value a Knight does equal 3 Pawn but it is how you use a Knight or Pawn that really matters. We will look at what I mean a little later on.

A Rook is worth more than 5 Pawn material speaking, equal to a Bishop+2Pawns and equal to a Knight+2Pawns. A Queen is the most powerful piece on the board in regards to firepower. The Queen is worth one Rook, Bishop and a Pawn. But if you trap a Rook it becomes worthless to your opponent. If the King is Checkmated you lose.

Last but now least the Endgame. I personally love the Endgame. All the chess piece have the same value as they did in the Middle game in regards to material value. You need to keep in mind that even one Pawn can make a difference in a win or a loss in the game of chess. A Pawn can be promoted to any piece but the King when the Pawn reaches your opponents end of the board. Imagine the reaction that your opponent shows when you checkmate him by promoting your Pawn to a Queen and they didn’t even see it coming. Remember if the King is checkmated you lose.

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Chess Confederations

Chess Confederations
  • United States Chess Confederation
  • Alabama Chess Confederation
  • Alaska Chess Confederation
  • Arizona Chess Confederation
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Some Very Basic Rules of Tournament Chess

Record The Moves.

By recording the moves you will be able to show if you won a game or not. This helps when your opponent doesn’t want to admit defeat. You will need to learn how to write algebraic chess notation.   

Questions about the rules!

If you have a question about a rule ask a tournament director (TD) to clarify any confusion you may have about the rules. If you and an opponent have a disagreement, stop the clocks, find a director. Ask the tournament director to make a ruling.

If you touch a piece you must move it.

This is the touch-move rule. If you touch the other player’s piece you must capture it. If you can’t make a legal move you will not have to capture their piece. Let’s say that you accidently touch a piece while moving your hand across the board. You will not have to move that piece.

Interfering with another game is forbidden.

You may not help or comment about a game during the tournament. If you do you may get tossed from the tournament.

Cell phones are forbidden.

Turn your cell phones off. If you don’t and it goes off during to tournament you may get penalized or worse. You could have to leave the tournament and lose all your games.

Know how to use a chess clock.

After every move you make you must hit the clock. If you don’t your time will eventually run out and your opponent will win the game because you run out of time.

Record your results.

If you win, lose or draw you must record your results.


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Fool’s Mate

Fool’s Mate

The fastest checkmate in chess is known as the Fool’s Mate. Unlike some other fast checkmates, Fool’s Mate is rarely seen, even in games between beginners.

White’s first move. 1. f3.

Blacks first moves. 1. e5.

White’s second move. 2. g4

Black finishes the game with 2. Qh4. White cannot capture the queen, cannot move his king to safety, and has no way to block the queen’s attack. White in checkmate and black wins.

Fool’s Mate is very easy to avoid. White moves are extremely bad. White does nothing to controlling the center of the board and keep up king safety. By remembering king safety and controlling the center of the board you will avoid Fool’s Mate.

Scholar’s Mate

In Scholar’s Mate  you checkmate your opponent after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Qxf7#. Scholar’s Mate is also called four move checkmate. Like Fool’s Mate, Scholar’s Mate is easy to avoid.



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How the Chess Pieces Move

King- The King can move one space at a time is any direction. The King cannot move into check.

Queen- The Queen can move vertically, horizontally, and diagonally just as many squares she wants. She cannot jump over any pieces. 

Bishop- The Bishop moves on diagonal lines only cannot move forward,back, left or right. The Bishop may move as many places as he like without  jumping over other pieces.

Knight- The knight moves in a  “L” shaped – two squares either forward, backward, left, or right and then left or right one square.  The knight can jump over other pieces.

Rook- The rook can’t move diagonally.  Just forward, backward, left, and right but as many spaces as desired without jumping other chess pieces

Pawn- The pawn is allowed to only move one square at a time. However, in their first move, they are allowed to  move two squares if they want.  They can only move straight forward. They are not allowed to retreat.  And they can only capture one of the enemy by approaching diagonally.  If they make it to the other side of the board they can be promoted to any piece they like except the king.


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How to set up a chess board



For White

  • Place a white rook on square a1 and h1.
  • Place a white knight on square b1 and g1.
  • Place a white bishop on square c1 and f1.
  • Place the white queen on square d1.
  • Place the white king on square e1.
  • The white pawns go on squares a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2 and h,2

For Black

  • Place a black rook on square a8 and h8.
  • Place a black knight on square b8 and g8.
  • Place a black bishop on square c8 and f8.
  • Place a black queen on square d8.
  • Place a black king on square e8.
  • The black pawns go on squares a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7 and h7.


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Chess Piece Value

The value of chess pieces  from the opening  to the endgame.


  • King-If the king is checkmated you lose.
  • Queen 9 points
  • Rook 5 points
  • Knight 3 points
  • Bishop 3 points
  • Pawns 1 point


  • Pawn is one point.
  • Bishop is better then 3 pawns
  • Knight is equal with 3 pawns
  • Rook is better than 5 pawns. Is equal to a Bishop+2 pawns,Equal to a Night+2 pawns 
  • Queen is equal to Rook+Bishop+pawn
  • King-If the king is checkmated you lose.


  • Pawn is worth one point.
  • Bishop is equal to 3 pawns
  • Knight is weaker than 3 pawns
  • Rook is equal to 5 pawns
  • Queen is equal to a rook+bishop+one pawn.
  • King-If the king is checkmated you lose.

This is just an example of values of pieces and is not always absolute. The position of pieces on a board can change the value of pieces greatly.  


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