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  Suggestion how to improve your game


Advice for beginners.

You know the way the pieces move, you know the rules and sometimes you beat your friends, but you don't always know why and how things happen.

You are about to join the The Blue Knight Chess Club and you know you will need to get better quickly. So what to do? Here are some suggestions.

·      Buy a chess guide. 'Chess Made Easy' by Purdy & Koshnitsky  is by far the best as it provides a wealth of information and down to earth advice. A must.

·      Participate in as many of the club competitions as you can and ask your opponent to go over the game with you afterwards; win, lose or draw.

·       Study the games of Great Masters. Borrow chess books from your local library.

·      Check out and consider the coaching options available at the club or join  the coaching group which meets on Tuesdays and Sunday morning.

Persevere. It may be quite a while before you win your first competition game but it will be a great feeling when you do because you are then a competitive chess player, with an understanding of the game and a say in what is going on the board. That is the true test of your improvement; when you no longer react to what your opponent dictates but when you have a say in the shape of the game. You will of course still lose many a game! We all do. Come and join. 



 To participate in and enjoy the activities of the chess club and the wider field of organized chess you need to became familiar with the mechanics of the competitive game.

Administration of tournaments

All  competition games in the club are played under the control of an arbiter (usually the club captain) who selects opponents and generally sees that the rules of the games are adhered to. Players in tournaments keep a score of their game and use chess clocks to ensure that time controls are kept. Types of tournaments, playing dates and times are always set prior to the start of the tournament and players who enter are expected to be available at the times on the dates set. The arbiter or director of play is the person in charge of the tournament. He checks the time  controls, makes the draw for the tournament, ensures that players abide by the laws of chess and the rules of the competition. Players are also expected to abide by the laws of chess and the tournament rules.  New players unsure of any of these should always seek information from the arbiter as he is there to help.

Keeping score

Players must keep a score as they play games (except in certain specific circumstances).

The score sheet contains a wealth of information about the game. Note that  modern players use the algebraic method. The squares of the board are numbered 1 to 8 from the white side to the black side and from a to h from white's left hand to white's right hand. Thus square al is the first square on  white's left hand and h8 is the first square on black's left hand. The move on the score sheet indicates the square the pawn or piece moves to and the pieces are indicated by their first letter R for rook, N for knight B for bishop etc. Captures are indicated with a cross. Castling is indicated by writing 0-0 or 0-0-0 for queen side castling.

The chess clock

All necessary clocks for club tournaments are available at the Club. After you make your move you press your clock which stops your time and start your opponent's time. See how they work and practice using them.

Equipment and score sheets

All equipment and score sheets are provided for all tournaments.


Try and attend tournaments at all scheduled dates. Once you have entered a tournament you are an important player in the club. No matter how low your score is you must play all the games in the tournament.

However it may be necessary to seek a postponement.

If you cannot attend a game for a good reason:

·       being too ill to come

·       having an engagement entered into prior to the start of the tournament

·       having to work, you have to ask for a postponement.

What to do.

You must ask the club tournament director or the arbiter for the tournament for a postponement as early as possible, but no later than 24 hours before the start of the game. If he agrees to your request, you must then ask your opponent. If he or she agrees to an alternative date, it should be no later than the Wednesday following. If your opponent does not agree to your request, and you still cannot play, you will have to stand out of  the draw for that round. Whatever happens you must inform the captain or the arbiter of your arrangement, and of course inform him of the result of your game.

Other rules

·       A player cannot postpone a final round game.

·       A player who forfeits 2 games may be withdrawn from the tournament.

·       A player arriving at the board 1 hour after the scheduled start forfeits the game.


Chess, despite an air of calm concentration, is a game charged with tension and it is important to remember that there is less stress when you are at ease with your surroundings, you are familiar with the rules, you show respect for your opponent and you have the respect of your fellow players and the arbiter.

Here are some important do's and don’ts:

Before the game

Before the start of the games players are free to socialise and play friendly games on any of the free boards and use the clocks provided.

However when the call comes for players to move to their allocated boards, play must stop immediately and set up the board and reset the clocks to the correct time control.

When the call is made players should make their way to their allocated board at once and sit down at least until the games have started. This will enable the arbiter to check who is there and will allow you the player to listen to the announcements the officials might make. These announcements are often important and you may miss valuable information if you are outside talking or smoking.

At the start of a game

·         Check that the clock is set correctly and works.

·         Check the board (A1 square on white's left]

·         Check to see if the arbiter has given the all-clear to start.

·         If your opponent is at the board, shake hands and start. If not, start the clock if you are black. If you have white, make your move, then start the clock.

During the game

Respect your opponent and in turn you will receive respect    

·      Pay attention to the game and don't read a book or do the crossword

·      Don't wander away from the board for long periods.

 Don't discuss your game or your friends' games. It is illegal to do so

·      Don't belittle your opponent's moves by facial expression, sighs, or by checking your watch

·       When you lose, resign gracefully, shake hands, and think of your next game.

·       Unless you have the approval of the arbiter don't eat a meal at the table. A cup of coffee a soft drink and a biscuit will see you through the night.

Do not disturb your opponent. (It is illegal to do so.)

·         Don't engage in conversation

·         Don't hang over the board or stand behind your opponent

Don't make aggressive noises when you punch the clock or move the pieces

Always abide by the rules.

·         If you touch a piece, move it. Your opponent should not have to point it out

·         If you know in your own mind that you have lost on time, resign, don't wait to have it pointed out

·         Offer a draw in the correct manner. Make your move then offer the draw and finally press your clock. Remember that the offer remains open until your opponent makes his move.

·         Try to keep as good a score as you can. Always write down your opponents move before you make your own.

When the game is finished

·           Set up the board

·           Take empty drink containers, cups wrappings etc. to the kitchen.

·           Enter the result and hand in a copy of your score sheet COMPLETED with names and results.

·           Then adjourn to the analysis room for analysis and friendly games.


Players, visitors, and parents are welcome to watch the games but need to observe the following:

·        Don't engage in conversation near the boards.

·        Don't stand too close to the players and crowd them out. Allow space for the arbiter to observe the game. He is obliged to do so.

·        As a parent or a coach don't stand behind your child or pupil It will make the player nervous, or the spectator, or both


The Blue Knight Chess Club runs some very large tournaments with the participation of players from 8 to 80 and from international masters to novices. Therefore the above standards of conduct should be observed at all times and also help to ensure a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.

·             As a player keep conversation to a minimum and conduct it in whispers.

·            As a visitor or a parent if you wish to talk go to an area outside the playing area and converse in a quiet voice.

Some advice for juniors.

The Blue Knight Chess Club has a policy for the promotion of junior players into  senior tournaments and treats the large number of junior players at the club as equal to all. There are however some aspects of behaviour that junior players in particular need to remember.

·         Remember you are not at school. You come to the club because you want to come. Playground behaviour is out of the question

·          When you finish your game and become bored telephone home and organise to be picked up. If that is not an option bring a book and read or study.     

·         Don't discuss your game or your friends' games. It is illegal to do so

·         Don't belittle your opponent's moves by facial expression, sighs, or by checking your watch

·         When you lose, resign gracefully, shake hands, and think of your next game.

·         Unless you have the approval of the arbiter don't eat a meal at the table. A cup of coffee a soft drink and a biscuit will see you through the night.

IN CONCLUSION Try and enjoy playing, win lose or draw.
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