Preparing and Supporting Your Child in Chess Tournaments



Chess tournaments serve as a platform for young players to showcase their skills and compete against peers – and they can come with a mix of excitement and nerves. Whether your child is a beginner or seasoned player, being prepared and understanding the fundamentals of chess tournaments is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience.


These practical tips and strategies can help your child feel successful no matter what the outcome of the tournament may be.


Find out the tournament structure ahead of time

Well before the tournament takes place be sure to find out the tournament format, time controls that will be used (standard, rapid, or blitz), the pairing system, the scoring system, and any other tournament specific rules. Be sure to go over these together ahead of time and then again in the morning before the tournament begins.


Make sure your child has mastered the basics

Its essential that your child has the basic knowledge and skills needed to compete in a tournament. To do so, play regularly, watch and study games online, and if you’re still unsure, talk with your child’s instructor to get their input.


Establish a pre-tournament routine

Having a set routine can help your child feel more prepared and confident as they head into a tournament. Make sure they get plenty of rest the night before, wake up in the morning with time to relax, and eat a healthy breakfast to start the day.


Practice and plan moves in advance

Discuss potential tactics with your child to prepare them for different scenarios, and plan a few moves that they can confidently use during game play in response to their opponent. Simulating games at home can give your child great opportunities to practice.


Stay positive and offer support

Remember to maintain an encouraging attitude, regardless of the outcome. Praise your child for the achievements they made, talk with them about improvements they want to make for next time, and always demonstrate good sportsmanship.


Celebrate achievements

Acknowledge your child’s achievements and hard work. Share their joy where you can and support and encourage them through any challenges, frustrations, or setbacks.  



Chess tournaments are invaluable for a child’s growth as a chess player, and with the right preparation and support, they can thrive in competitive settings. Remember to approach your child’s first tournaments with care, and emphasize learning and growth. With time, practice, and support your child can find their place in the world of chess.