Lilit Mkrtchian (5) - How to surprise your opponent with the London System

by Arne Kaehler
11/7/2022 – The second last part of the series tackles Lilit's mindset a bit. With just five more rounds to go, the Armenian IM had the chance to at least qualify for the FIDE Women’s World Cup 2023. Would she struggle with her overall condition, and get distracted from chess? One powerful opponent was waiting for her in round number eight - Mai Narva. But Lilit managed to prepare well, and surprise the Estonian WGM in the opening preparation. In the video, we can see how. And now, Lilit was actually playing for a medal!

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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.

  • 0:45 - What is your favourite number of rounds for a tournament? 7, 9, 11?
  • 1:20 - You managed to get to the top ten of the tournament. Did you feel any pressure?
  • 3:26 - How did the tournament challenge your stamina, or condition so far?
  • 4:30 - You needed one more victory for World Cup qualification. How to approach this situation?
  • 6:45 - I could surprise my opponent in my preparation again!
  • 8:47 - Lilit Mkrtchian vs. Mai Narva (Prague, 2022) Full analysis

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.