For the first time I decided to enter some online correspondence chess tournaments over the holidays. I've never done this before because I've preferred to play more friendly games against people I know. But I decided to broaden my horizons a bit and potentially improve my play.
I play at chessworld.net (link with referral code on right hand side) and entered three different tournament with mixed results:
The first tournament I entered was an 8 person, single match, open knockout tournament. 'Open' means it is open to anyone of any rating. The 8 entrants are seeded based on rating with #1 playing #8, #2 vs #7 and so on. #1-4 have white and must win to advance (i.e. Black can advance with a win or tie). I was seeded 4th with a rating of 1895 against a player with the handle 'Trapper D' from the USA. We quickly exchanged pieces and I ended up making a blunder in the endgame and resigned - thus quickly ending my first online tournament.
In this style of tournament every entrant plays two games (one as white, one as black) against each other entrant. You get 1 point for a win and 0.5 points for a draw - the entrant with the most points after all games are played wins. I chose a 4 player tournament, so I have siz games to play. So far I won one game with Black and drew another so I have 1.5 points. The other games I'm playing are against much stronger opponents - I hope to be able to salvage a win and a draw out of what is left.
This isn't really a tournament in that there is no fixed end. Rather it is open to as many people that want to play. There are 7 levels to the pyramid - each with about a third as many people as the level below. You start on the 1st level, and advance by beating a player in the level above you. You can also be demoted a level if you lose to someone on the same level (or a level below you). I've won all three pyramid matches I've been involved in so far, so I'm on level 3. Below is the current distribution of players in the pyramid:
Overall, I'm quite enjoying the tournament play - lots of chess boards to move on and lots of new and interesting people to play against.