After my experience with the NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament, it occurred to me was that there were quite a few things that I wish I knew before going to the tournament. As a result, I wanted to pass on some of my lessons learned to you in hopes that you’ll find it useful in winning your next tournament.
Don’t expect your opponents to resign. This may be more so in amateur tournaments than the professional circuit, but you have to remember that people are there for the long haul. These are not like the internet games you play where killing off a single group will cause a good portion of players to go running to the resign button.
Be as familiar as possible with the format of the tournament. If at all possible, try and practice a few games online in the format you will be playing in just to make sure you have the hang of it. (I played Canadian byoyomi for the first time and it nearly cost me the game in the third round.)
Keep an eye on the clock as much as much as possible. This is particularly true for people who are used to playing online since the clock is normally right in front of you and you might even have an alert to let you know if you’re running low on time (which would be useless in Canadian byoyomi). In my opinion, losing on time is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a player; so avoid it at all cost because it will eat you alive for the following rounds and possibly cause you to panic and rush instead of playing your normal game.
Take a break after every round. At the bare minimum, I recommend walking out of the room and clearing your head for a few seconds so you are starting fresh every time. I didn’t do this for the first two rounds, but afterwards I washed my face each time to freshen up and it did wonders for me.
Don’t expect to have a long and relaxing lunch. Unless you and your opponent are rushing to finish on time or happen to play quickly, the odds are pretty good that your game will eat into your lunch break.
Expect the tournament to take all day and consume most of your energy. I was naive in thinking that the tournament would take half a day at most. In regards to my energy level, let’s just say I was ready for an activity that required low amounts of energy.
Don’t forget that you’re there to have fun, socialize, and learn something as well. Although the victory and accomplishment were some of the high points that day, the opportunity to meet and talk with so many other Go enthusiasts is right up there as well.
As always, if you have any advice or tips from your own experience, please be sure to share below and I’ll add them into the list as they come!