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Subject: Chess Tournament Play (OTB)

(For the uninitiated OTB is simply "Over-the-board", in other words to sit down and play in person)
I would like to know, from those who play OTB events, (or just interested) what size entry fee are you willing to pay to enter a tournament? And what are the features that would attrract you to a certain event? Anything from location to No Smoking, GM's there, Class or other type you like, team, etc. Competiion level, time controls, trophies, cash, lighting, TV, so & so there? Anything . . .you like or will attract you to a tmt in particular. What in particular do you dislike at tmts, or might actually turn you away from attending?



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My reply...

It's about time the OTB has been clarified... So many computer geeks think OTB means real time chess over the computer screen... In part it can be correct... But the person to person, wood stauton pieces, 2 1/2 inch squares, are so personal and up close... Thanks for the uninitiated simplification...

The entry fee willing to be paid depends on the participants, like in any tournament... The bigger the chess masters, the bigger the attraction... No smoking is nice but not bothersome... Time controls is always a must, along with the cash prizes... Lighting is always nice, but the TV camera's? (aren't we in the US?)...

The thing that attracts me is the people participating amd the cash prize... Nothing more nothing less... Chess is a way of life... Chess is life.,..



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Depends on the circumstances

For me, I'd be happy to pay $50-100 easy if it meant 1) a day of uninterrupted chess and 2) time beforehand to prepare. As it is, when one is the father of two small children, one never has #2 and can only dream of #1. But as for what features would attract me, perhaps "anonymity" would be right up near the top--if I ever went to such a thing, I'd have to play in the "unrated" section, hanging my head in shame that I play OTB so infrequently that I have never been rated.

As far as the use of "OTB" is concerned, I second the sentiment of the good brobishkin , though I find it a useful shorthand for "non-correspondence," whether that be net chess or otherwise. And speaking as someone who smells the felt at the base of the pieces whenever I chance to set up the board, I agree that--experientially--that is the best way to play.



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depends on,

During hollidays an open, with one round per day (timelimit 40 moves/2hours) is ok,
during semester tournaments with one round per week starting at 19:00 cet is also ok with me (again 40/2).
Other tournaments with a timelimit of 30 mins are ok as well, as long as they don't last any longer than one weekend.
Location Hamburg or somewhere near Hamburg, so that I can sleep at home; since I'm just a student, I'm neither willing nor able to pay for a hotel to play chess.

Entry fees, are a factor as well, I would probably never pay 200 � or 200 $ for a chess tournament even if Kasparov himself participated.

No-smoking, nice to have, but in Germany it is to 99% no-smoking anyway.
Cash prizes, less interesting, since I'm usually not in its range.

Another factor (but less important) is to convince a club-mate to participate in the tournament as well, I think it's nice to walk around a bit and take a look at a friend's board, and a short conversation is also something nice to have.



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$1 :-)



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Oddities at OTB matches

I haven't played an OTB tournament in years for various reasons. My chess learning was through playing my mother and brother, and we started playing in tournaments in the Seattle-Portland area (so long ago Yasser Seirawan was just making a name for himself).

Oddity 1: Every tournament we entered, two us played each other in the opening round or were in the same round robin. Great! You pay tournament money to play someone you can play anytime for free, with the further guarantee that one wasn't advancing to the next round! Granted this could have been simply luck of the draw, but after multiple tournaments it got to be pretty ridiculous.

Oddity 2: I played in a Portland tournament where a second round player (having advanced earlier by eliminating my mother in the round robin) happened to be the tournament director's son. I won the game, and reported the win to the tournament staff. A bit later I checked who my opponent for the next round would be, and found out that I had no opponent--I had been eliminated by the son! He had lied to his father stating that he had won. I immediately questioned the result and produced my move sheet (the son did not note his moves) and was then called by the director not just a liar but a cheat as well, who stated that I must have made up the move sheet after my "loss." Luckily one of the staff members had remembered the general position at one point of my game including that I had a winning position. Without apology, I was placed into the next round, but lost the next game due primarily to lack of mental concentration. I was only 11 or 12.

Oddity 3: The tournament results for Oddity 2 above, though it was a rated tournament, were never submitted to the USCF. One can only surmise as to the particular reason, but one might wonder if it was due to the son's early elimination. There was additional talk at the tournament about discrepancies in the pairings, i.e., the son's round-robin had three poorly rated opponents (not unrated perhaps because an unrated player might turn out to be good) almost guaranteeing an advance into the next round.

Oddity 4: A good one for a change that happened at my first tournament, the Woodpusher Open in Seattle, at about age 10 or 11. Well, the first part wasn't so good as I eliminated my mother in the first round. Third opponent, nearly 1900, took him down--he got so nervous he started shaking his leg up and down hitting the table and vibrating the pieces! So then I got the chance to play a friendly waiting for the next game with the tournament director (don't remember his name but he was at least an IM if not GM). I had little opening experience, but defended with the Sicilian, but playing from the gut so to speak, and set up a middle-game tactical combination as black that won two pawns. The few onlookers quickly gathered into a crowd which surrounded the table. Not knowing that I could have requested that a display board be placed in an alternate room for the viewers (they were really noisy), and here I am winning against at least an IM, I let my nerves get to me, and eventually blundered a knight away, the position and the game! My best and worst chess moments, both in a single game!

With all of that said (except #4), I don't think you could pay me to enter another OTB tournament. Likely just incredibly bad luck on my family's end, as I'm sure many out there have had wonderful experiences in tournaments, but having now discovered GameKnot thanks to my brother I like being able to play chess on my own time, with the opportunity to study games (and finally learn opening intricacies), and to meet and and continue to play excellent opponents and friends halfway around the world. All at no expense! (Though I do plan to join as a paying member.) I'll consider OTB in it's alternate meaning, Off Track Betting.

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