Get Ready for OTB (Over the Board) Chess with Shelby!

Posted by Shelby Lohrman on

Shelby Lohrman prepares you for over the board chess


Hey Everyone,

Shelby from American Chess Equipment here and today we are going to be going through getting your chess equipment ready for “OTB” (Over the Board) tournaments again.  We here at ACE are constantly striving to make your OTB chess playing experience the best it can be!  I know I am getting ready to go play at the US amateur Team East (USATE) in Parsippany, NJ next month and I want to make sure all my gear is in top shape. 

You would think that “Hey, it is only chess equipment…what kind of maintenance do I really have to do?!?!?”  You’ll actually be surprised on that.  These are some of the things you should correct before you head off to the tournaments.  Remember that it has been over 2 years for most of us since our last OTB experience!

  1. Take out your chess board and make sure it lays flat.  There is noting more annoying than having a chess board with bumps or a curl in it.  Many people store their chess boards rolled up with the printing on the inside.  This will cause the edges of the board to curl up.  Make sure to have your board rolled with the printing on the outside.  If for some reason you have folded or crumpled your board…make sure to lay it out flat with some heavy books on it to get it laying flat.  If you want to check out something new and cool in the tournament chess boards market, check out our Ultimate Tournament hybrid Chess Board - Grey Woodgrain with 2.25" squ – American Chess Equipment (  We combined the vinyl AND the mousepad board to make the BEST board ever!
  2. The next item you need to look at is your chess clock.  Most do not realize that if your chess clock will be sitting for a long time…it is best to take out the batteries.  If you don’t…you might get a problem of “salting” in the battery case.  What this means is your batteries leak and a kind of salt forms in your battery case.  This is the corrosive material and it needs to get cleaned up as soon as you see it.  Check out the YouTube video on how to deal with this problem here:  Fixing a Salted out Chess Clock - by Shelby Lohrman from American Chess Equipment - YouTube.  You would never guess on the main ingredient we use to fix this problem (you’ll have to watch the video to find out!)
  3. Set up your board completely and make sure all the pieces are there.  So many people show up to tournaments and don’t have full sets.
  4. If you have weighted chess pieces…go through each piece and find any with loose weights.  I used to dread playing with weighted sets with loose weights.  If you find some with loose weights you should fix them.  Most people use superglue to re-set the weights.  That is one of the worst things you can do.  Superglue is very strong, but at the same time very brittle.  It does not hold the weights well.  If you use superglue to fix the weights you will be repeating the process every couple of years.  What you need to do is get a 2-part epoxy that binds metal top plastic instead of the superglue.  That stuff lasts forever.  If you don’t want to ever have to deal with the loose weight problem you should buy our Bobby Fischer® Ultimate Chess Pieces with New and Improved Weighting System – American Chess Equipment (  This set uses a revolutionary weighting system where the weight becomes part of the chess piece making it next to impossible for the weights to loosen up or come out.  Yes, it is more expensive than a regular weighted set…but you need to pay for quality.
  5. Check out the tournament website and check to see what the time control is.  I know for the USATE the time control is 40/2 SD/30 D/5.  Set your clock at home and forget about it.  Yes, the tournament directors and bookstore vendors know how to set the clocks but they are usually busy with other things…like selling chess equipment.  If you need help setting your clock for the USATE, check out my YouTube page to find videos for your tournament setting here:  Shelby Lohrman - YouTube.  You can also check out product informational videos and see what new projects we are working on.

I know that my team will be set up for the USATE.  We will all be using some variation of our Bobby Fischer Ultimate Chess set in plastic, wood, or metal.  We will have custom printed boards (Customized Mousepad Tournament Chess Board in Assorted Colors, 20 inch – American Chess Equipment (, Custom printed clocks, Custom team magnetic chess sets to hand out to our opponents/victims, and other cool gear.  If you would like some custom gear for your club or organization email me at or call me on my cell at 562-225-8324 so we can get your order started.

Wish you all the best in getting back to playing OTB chess.  If you are an organizer and would like me to make clock setting videos…email me at


Shelby Lohrman

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