7 Chess Habits For Better Performance

7 Chess Habits For Better Performance The last few articles inspired me to share some more tips instead

7 Chess Habits For Better Performance

The last few articles inspired me to share some more tips instead of bombarding with chess positions. A distant chess friend wrote to me saying that she liked one of my articles and it helped her to some extent. Messages like these boost my confidence and encourage me to write more articles for 8cross8.

In this article, I will stick to chess habits and the advantages you could enjoy on installing them in your system.

1. Arrive Early

Yes, it is important to arrive early. But, take notice! I haven’t specified how early you should arrive.

In my personal experience, I have benefitted a lot by arriving on the board, just a few minutes before the start of the game. Arriving too early or too late – both may hamper your chess mood. If you are someone who loves to chat, stalk or take a tour of the venue – then you can consider arriving too early. For the rest of you, it is better to arrive just before the game as you will avoid a lot of unnecessary content for your mind before the game.  It usually takes three to four minutes for me to compose myself and be ready for the game. In those 3-4 minutes, I arrange chess pieces, complete the details on the score-sheet, close my eyes and recall the plan for the game.

If you are traveling to the venue from a very far place, you could consider using music or a book to keep yourself occupied. The basic point is to remain focused and not let your thoughts fluctuate with unnecessary things.


2. Note the clock time.

Ten years back, I used to see some weird numbers scribbled next to the moves while going through the bulletins in the Sangli Tournaments. In 2011, I got to know the importance of writing the clock time. Noting down the clock time can help you in your analysis.  When you take down the clock time after every move, you will get a clear graph that indicates the type of positions that you need to improve. It also acts as a tool for analyzing the motif and intention behind your moves. You can also note down the opponent’s time for a better picture. In addition to this, noting the clock time will also save you from possible battery failure in the DGT clocks.


3. Break the monotony.

Chess is a game of long hours! One needs to sit and think for several hours and maintain high level of focus to ensure smooth play. A break during the game can do wonders; After a heavy lunch, some of you might be feeling sleepy. Don’t fret, take a break. It could be getting up from your chair and counting things around. I try and see if I can have a cup of tea. You could consider checking out the games on the top boards too. This little distraction from the board will help you to come to the board with more freshness. There have been many instances in my life where I have considered my opponent’s move and my reply to the move. After this short break, I have managed to find a better move. So, a little break is for the better.


4. Have Chocolates, Dry fruits or Glucose.

I believe that having bites in regular intervals is far better than eating the whole pack at once. It keeps you charged and if you are in a bad position don’t worry! You have some chocolates to eat. 

5. Make use of your opponent’s time.

There are a lot of ways to make use of your opponent’s time. You could spend time on evaluating the position on the following basis:

  • Material
  • King’s Position
  • Quality of Pieces
  • Pawn Structures

You could consider the position without heavy pieces. and the following questions:

  • Will endgames favor you?
  • Which piece should you aim to exchange?
  • Which piece exchange you should be avoiding?


6. Seek closure

After the game is over, a lot of players keep thinking about the game and carry the baggage on to the next rounds. I have also been a victim of this pattern and have finally found a way to deal with the issue. If you get a chance to analyze the game with your opponent, go for it – irrespective of the result. Stay calm, shake hands and take what comes. Seeking closure means giving yourself thirty minutes to think about the result and then looking forward to the next game.  You can choose your own ways of seeking closure. I treat myself to a dessert or a chocolate and say

“Okay, This round is officially over. The next round is tomorrow and I am going to start my preparations now.”

This mental switch does wonders and is more likely to work when put into practice consistently.

7. Solve simple positions before the next game

I picked this from Swiss King Saravana Krishna who always solves a lot of combinations before the game. I liked the idea and have used it myself. It is a great way of making your chess conscious alert and refraining from rusting your mind with result oriented thoughts.

Happy Installing the Chess Habits!

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About Niranjan Navalgund

Niranjan Navalgund is a young chess professional who derives great pleasure in learning about life through the game of chess. He is a former National U-17 chess champion, Commonwealth U-18 Silver Medalist and the author of 'The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance'. Unusual stories excite him. He hopes to visit the Panda Zoo, someday.

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