Lilit Mkrtchian (2) - How to prepare against your first tournament opponent and succeed

by Arne Kaehler
10/16/2022 – Today we want to know from Lilit what is happening one day before a tournament. When should you arrive? What happens if you had a bad sleep? Once you know your first opponent, how to prepare? The Armenian IM shows us the steps on how to do so, of course. We end the episode with a full analysis of her first game against the young, talented Filipa Pipiras, and how Lilit's plan to surprise her nicely succeeded.

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How does a chess pro prepare for a tournament?

with Lilit Mkrtchian

So, how does one prepare for a tournament with ChessBase, Fritz, and the Megagdatabase?

We also wanted to know the answer to this question, and asked a professional chess player. In our six-part series, Lilit Mkrtchian guides us through the tournament preparation, by showing us how to build an opening repertoire, sharpen your skills with tactics training, and gives us many other tips, tricks, ideas, and inspirations.

In this walkthrough, we glimpse over Lilit's shoulder, and spot her repertoire, opponent preps, and we will certainly analyse some of her played games in depth.

Of course, we also tackle the moment, when you know about your next opponent, and how to trap them with your specific preparation. The Armenian IM will show us some examples of how this worked nicely.

A beautiful guide on how your next tournament can be more successful.

  • 0:20 - How many days before a tournament should you arrive?
  • 1:57 - What happens if you sleep terribly before the first game?
  • 4:04 - What is your next step, after knowing your first opponent to play against?
  • 5:37 - Your first opponent in the European Championship was Filipa Fortuna Pipiras.
  • 6:45 - Any tips on how to play a young and perhaps talented player?
  • 8:03 - In the hotel room, how are you preparing against your opponent now?
  • 8:55 - 1. Search for your opponent.
  • 9:45 - 2. Prepare against White/Black
  • 10:30 - The more games they played, the better it is for us.
  • 11:12 - She prefers 1.d4, does this fact alone already help your approach?
  • 11:44 - 3. I check my openings against her games in the Megadatabase.
  • 12:30 - 4. I want to surprise her with a new opening!
  • 13:51 - 5. The surprise actually worked out in this case.
  • 14:53 - FULL ANALYSIS: Filipa Pipiras vs. Lilit Mkrtchian (Prague, 2022)

Lilit Mkrtchian is an International Master from Armenia, and received the IM title in 2003.

She was one of the best female players in the world in the 2010s and represented her national team in the Olympiads since 1996.

In 2003, she won the gold medal with her Armenian team in the European Women's Championship in Bulgaria, Plovdiv.

Furthermore, Mkrtchian won the Armenian women's chess champion four times.

In 2015, the IM won the individual gold medal on the second board, at the Women's World Team Chess Championship in China, Chengdu.

She still remains one of Armenia's strongest female chess players, is coaching several students, and is an active player in chess leagues, and tournaments.

We interviewed Lilit in 2020, as part of our series "The best in"

Lilit is living in Germany with her husband, and enjoys chess almost every day.



Arne Kaehler, a creative mind who is passionate about board games in general, was born in Hamburg and learned to play chess at a young age. By teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess-related videos on YouTube, Arne was able to expand this passion and has even created an online course for anyone who wants to learn how to play chess. Arne writes for the English and German news sites, but focuses mainly on content for the ChessBase media channels.