It is no secret that chess is difficult. In fact, we are convinced that it is among the most difficult sports one can choose. Studying chess can very often be frustrating, especially if you do it on your own. It is difficult to measure progress, you are never quite sure if you are improving. Unlike doing a physical sport, you can’t really see your muscles becoming shaped.
We have all been there.
The effort is big, huge, and sometimes (actually most of the times) reward is poor economically. Most chess players dedicate hours of their life to chess simply out of love. However, it is easy to be a prey of the routine, start doubting your abilities, seeing it all negative and without purpose. For this matter, we have elaborated a list that will cheer you up and make you want to go to study chess right away!
Here we go:
The sooner you realize this the better. Chess is not obvious; you are not supposed to “get it”. Every small accomplishment, every step up is thanks to your work. So it is time to take the pressure off and take it easy.
Work without pressure. As a chess player, no matter what your level is, you will never be a finished job. There is so much to learn and the more you know, the more you feel like you know absolutely nothing. Simply have fun by adding new chess knowledge without thinking too much on immediate returns.
One of the main mistakes as an athlete is to pay more attention to others than to yourself. Don’t do this. You are only allowed to compare to who you were yesterday. Try to be a better player, improve at your pace. Everyone has their own time.
If you do one thing very often it becomes easier. For example, read two chapters of a chess book daily. It will become a habit and it will be a pleasant experience. It will also impact your chess positively.
If you invite colleagues to your chess study or you share thoughts from time to time with them, it is more likely that you will get an outside opinion on what you are doing. Some feedback is always a positive thing. You will also discover what others do and maybe there is some technique you can add.
This is so important for us. If you study always the same there is a big chance you’ll be stuck in the same place for weeks. Try to see chess as a whole and be open to studying all its phases. Try to squeeze in things you know nothing about. For example, less known endgames, solving studies, learning new openings, solving difficult combinations. Make sure to vary your training in order to keep yourself motivated.
Sometimes we are too saturated with our chess training. The new analysis, the new opening books dictating what you should and should not play. It certainly can become tiring and boring. One useful thing to do is to check the database for the great players of the past. Games of the legends that you haven’t seen. For example, everybody knows Korchnoi but how many Korchnoi games have you actually seen; did you know how he won tournaments?
Any memorable games?
What were his pet openings?
And that is possible with every legendary player.
You have to acknowledge that no matter how much effort you put, there will always be mistakes in your games. However, that’s not your fault; it is the way it is. You just need to work in order to react better and solve better when those mistakes come.
They say luck in chess doesn’t exist, but the shadow of error always adds a certain randomness to the game, which is a good thing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you will lose, but it will be like that for everyone.
This is another important point. Some players actually behave like little children when they lose a game or draw from a better position (which according to them it was not better but “winning”). Why not search for answers instead of regrets and punishment? To find what made you make a mistake seems like a better thing to do.
Chess really imitates life when it comes to difficulty. You must approach it with seriousness, but also knowing that there are certain things that are out of your control. There is really no point on being too hard on oneself. When you win a game or a tournament, it immediately becomes a past thing, something to tell. You will have to work hard and be lucky to do it again. You are neither the greatest player when you win nor the worst player when you lose. Losing is part of the learning process. Don’t be afraid of failings, embrace them and turn them into something positive.
We hope the paragraphs above turn out useful for you and help you improve your psychological approach to chess training and competition. As usual, we’d like to thank you for reading and feel free to share your comments with us.