Chess Parent Tournament Survival

Yesterday I had my first experience of attending a tournament as a chess parent as my son scored 6/8 and came 2nd= in the Heywood Junior Congress Pawns section. And it occurred to me that there are certain useful guidelines for parental survival at these events:

  1. Getting there early allows you to set up camp on the best tables, marking out your territory with your stuff.
  2. Bring your own food unless you like sausages and chips.
  3. Do NOT give your child coca-cola and mars bars to maintain their energy levels. Water plus apples and/or bananas is much better.
  4. If seating is likely to be in short supply bring a camping chair or two.
  5. Take something to do, there are long periods of waiting which should not be filled with anxiety!
  6. Restrain both positive and negative emotions when your child reports their results; they can live without having to calm you down.
  7. Take a small camera just in case they win a prize.
  8. Consider bringing something for your child to hold during the game, especially if they like to fidget.

I may revisit this subject later on. Meanwhile here’s a short video clip by a chess parent:


Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: