Many chess players are struggling to improve. They spend countless hours researching different “effective” ways to study, finding coaches, reading books, courses, etc. etc. Chess improvement is a straightforward process, especially for those rated under 2200 FIDE. Nevertheless, majority of players struggle to achieve any improvement and if it happens it is a very slow and unpredictable process. What’s going on here? Why is it the case? In this article, I will share a simple 3-step approach that you can use to improve your game.
Step 1: Putting your running shoes on
The thing about exercising or doing anything consistently is a matter of habit. If you decide to do jogging, hit the gym or start playing piano, the hardest part is to actually start. If you want to get in shape and jog every morning the most difficult thing to do is putting those running shoes on. You will come up with zillions of different excuses. Your body will start fighting against something you’re not used to doing. That’s normal, it is a defense mechanism. You will think “maybe not today”, “I’m so busy”, “I’m very tired”, “I have to do other things”, and the list goes on and on. However, once you say “I can do it” and put those running shoes on, the hardest part is behind.
You may be thinking, what that has to do with my chess, and the fact that my rating isn’t growing?
Well, let me tell you. The chances are you are not working on your game. In fact, I’m pretty certain you’re not. Many chess players want to start, but find many different types of excuses which prevent them from working on chess. They wait for the next Monday, next week or next year, to start. They wait for that perfect time to work on their game.
Let me tell you the bad news. There won’t be a better time to start. You will always have other things. You should start right now (or rather after reading this article). Once you start, you are already ahead of many others who keep finding excuses. And that alone should make you excited.
So, the step 1 in your improvement journey is to simply start right away. It is as simple as that but already counts for 50% of success.
Step 2: Being consistent
Any training will fail without consistency. You don’t go to the gym and expect immediate results. The truth is there won’t be any weight loss or muscles built after just 3 days of training. However, after few weeks you can already notice some results.
Chess is no different. Training with Garry Kasparov himself for few hours or days won’t make you an overnight champion. And that’s the main reason those who start chess training dump it in a matter of days. They are not used to doing it, they are lacking consistency and expect immediate results. When they don’t see it, they give up. If only they stick to their training a little longer, they could’ve been at least National Masters few years down the road. Magnus Carlsen wouldn’t have achieved anything, if it wasn’t for hard day-by-day work and tremendous dedication.
The step 2 simply has to do with sticking to your training for a few weeks, and working on the game on daily basis. Even if you spend as little as 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week on chess- the results will come.
Step 3: Being persistent and motivated
Motivation is where 95% of those who start chess training fail. Vast majority of players cannot keep up with their routines due to lack persistency and absence motivation. If you ask me, what is a single most important thing that guarantees success – I will tell you with 100% certainty its persistency.
Indeed, you may not be working in the most efficient way and learning the most important things, but if you are doing it, you will succeed sooner or later. Ironically, most players give up just a few steps until success. Persistency can be trained. Staying motivated by your goals and inspired with your chess heroes you can build habits of a chess champion.
Step 3 is not to give up when you don’t see the results and keep pushing. Be persistent and you will achieve your goals.
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