Lessons learned at the Teams Championships
I picked up a couple pointers at the recent North American Teams Championships that I thought might be helpful to others.
During this tournament, I didn’t look at any of my opponents’ ratings before starting the matches. In a tournament like the Teams (or any tournament for that matter) anything can happen, so it is best not to psych yourself out by thinking anything like “this player is 2350, he’s way too strong for me” or “this player is only 1800, I should win easily”. Upsets can always happen when a player is not mentally prepared, so you have to play every match with intensity and focus, not thinking about ratings or past matches.
Secondly, it’s very important to eat right at a tournament. Snacking on junk food and soda can really limit your performance in a match. Although you might get an initial burst of energy, it’s very likely that you will get tired quickly and crash afterwards, which isn’t good at a long tournament. Bring some granola bars and bananas and take a couple bites between matches for sustained energy, and drink lots of water.
When you are finished playing, you can learn a lot by watching high level players like the ones in Divisions A and B. I witnessed a lot of top-level technique even in the B division, which says something about the strength of this year’s field.
Most importantly, have fun. This year I was more focused on playing relaxed and having fun, and as a result performed very well. Being overly nervous or too cocky can harm your game and cause you to play far under your abilities, so it is best to just take a deep breath and enjoy your matches.
Good luck at the Nationals!