Chess clubs are often the first place to visit once a kid or even grown-up falls in love with the game of chess. One does not look immediately for advanced guidance, coach or start reading books; we look for the nearest chess club and check out their schedule and we go to that magic place as soon as we can. The beginnings are all about learning, meeting new people and engaging in chess activities such as lectures, tournaments and the most common one: casual blitz, endless sessions of the casual blitz.
The description above is a natural scenario for many kids who start the game and look forward to becoming much better players, but what happens next?
What should the next step for this kind of player profile be?
Every person works on different levels, but if I were to choose, once you have decided you want to exploit your talent, try and find correct help from a professional coach.
Don’t go at it alone.
It is not an isolated case to see talented players stuck on the same level or even at a lower level of skills after attending a chess club for a prolonged time. The reason why this happens is because they pick up bad habits that don’t allow them to make significant progress in their chess understanding.
In this article, you will find a short list of such habits and why they can damage your chess progress. Needless to say, this is a self-experience story and there are exceptions, naturally.
1. The endless blitz sessions against your pal in the club
Who didn’t have that one friend or a few of them who always want to play rounds and rounds of blitz games just for the pleasure of playing?
There is nothing wrong with having fun, but remember that in order to make progress you must also study and learn, not only play for laughs and jokes. The results of these games are deceiving and it is basically killing time. So our advice, cut it.
2. Getting used to or pursue playing against weak opposition
This is a strange quality among many club players. Many of them try to avoid facing a stronger player because “killing time” won’t be as fun if they lose by a large margin.
Never avoid strong opponents. In fact, try to play as many games as you can against stronger people. It will enrich your chess, it will be a valuable lesson and it will make you a better player in general.
3. Online blitz
Nowadays playing blitz online is a trend, or maybe a permanent habit, even for strong Grandmasters. However, for progressing players it may not be so productive.
It makes your thinking superficial and shuffling pieces with a mouse in a 2D board has little to do with over the board tournament chess.
Limit your online sessions to a minimum and invest your time in more productive activities.
4. Checking with the engine
Who doesn’t do this nowadays when following games online?
It’s one of the worst habits one can get these days. No matter your level, if you are following a game try not to check the engine at first. Force your mind to think, to understand why that player chose this move and not the other, why he spent so much time thinking in this position.
Try to engage; the engine will quickly tell you a move but not a sensation. You won’t have a clear feeling of what was happening in the game, therefore there is no understanding.
5. Not analyzing the games alone, or with the opponent
For some reason, the most productive training for a player is often the less considered at lower levels. It is very common to find players who don’t analyze their games in depth [game analysis Cheat Sheet enclosed], not to mention even a chat with the opponent after the game.
If the result is negative they just want to run and forget. We definitely don’t want to tell anybody what to do, but the chess game has this feature – you can analyze the game with the opponent and exchange views. That is also learning and it works very well if done systematically.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article directed to players who are seeking progress and parents looking for the best to their kids in chess.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Thanks for reading!