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There are many chess players with ELO rating under 2000 around the world who would like to increase their chess capabilities. And reach the level of 2000 ELO points. Just like me.
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Psychology

07
Dec

Prejudice in favour of a bad idea

Prejudice in favour of a bad idea

Below is my last game from the club tournament. I lost the game after blundering in the middlegame. But I don’t post it here because of it. I would like to share with you a moment which is known probably to each chess player.

I call the moment “prejudice in favour of a bad idea“.

We played quite normal Ruy Lopez. It was quiet variant, white developed his pieces in classical way. But what happend to my mind when I was thinking about my 16th move? I calculated a bishop’s sacrifice on h6 for about 40 minutes!

Of course, I saw the simply refutation like 16…. gxh6 17.Nhf5 Qe6! And what is worse. I knew that the sacrifice can be hardly correct as black didn’t make any bad moves. But the idea of the sacriface was so sticky to my mind that I lost a lot of time there. Which was needed later and the lack of time resulted in my blunder in the 22nd move.

This game is a clear example what a chess player should avoid to. Thinking about lines which are clearly bad and hoping he will find there something positive. Next time, once I will find a refutation of the variant, I will leave the variant and start to calculate about another one. Hopefully better one ;)

14
Sep

How to play in oppontent’s time pressure

How to play in oppontent’s time pressure

Chess piecesTime pressure. Every chess player knows it, some of us even live with it. Having 2 minutes for 15 moves before time check is something like sign of such players. Everyone knows that preventing time pressures and better time management is good for the quality of one’s play. But sometimes we meet an opponent who falls into the time pressure. How to treat this situation?

There are a few general rules, let’s name some of them.

1. Don’t start to play as fast as your opponent has to!

This one is probably the most important one. Although during each tournament you can see many examples of the direct opposite. It is probably a natural tendency to play fast as many players think that playing their moves fast makes little time for their opponent to think about the situation on the board.

That’s true from the physical point of view. But chess is not only about physics. The psychology has much bigger influence, I would say. And from the psychological point of view the similar behaviour is a fault. The reason is that the opponent knows about his/her upcoming time pressure much earlier than it actually happens. So he/she has a lot of time to prepare for it and once his/her time pressure is here, his/her mind is ready to play fast and is focused on finding good moves quickly.

But your mind is not ready to change its “setting” at the moment of the opponent’s time pressure and to start playing blitz game instead of the game with classic timing. So you can become a bit nervous just because you created your own time pressure in your mind. You begin to look for good moves quickly and many many times it happens that in such situations players lose their games even if they have much better time on the clocks.

If your oppopent falls into time pressure and you have enough time, do not change your time policy. Think about your next moves properly and do not start playing a blitz game inside of the classic game!

2. Complicate the game as much as possible!

This is another golden rule for the situation with your opponent in time pressure. If the situation on the board allows it (unfortunatelly it is not possible sometimes), try to complicate the game – look for threats, small combinations, sharpening the position, increasing your pressure, sacrifice for initiative…

Each of these “techniques” creates new problems for your opponent and he/she has to deal with them. What is worse – he/she has to deal with them within a few seconds and it increases your changes to succeed. Sometimes even in the case when your threat is not correct. But is your opponent able to find it with his/her falling flag?



Of course, at the end of the day everything depends on the concrete situation of your board. So don’t lose focus on threats and nuances of your game having the above mentioned ideas in your mind. It would be a pity to play the game for a few hours and then lost it needlessly within a few seconds.

Photo’s author: frankblacknoir

07
Aug

How to set up your mind when playing with stronger opponent

How to set up your mind when playing with stronger opponent

Chess playerIt is highly probably your opponent is better player than you are. It happens and it is something which we have to take into account during our chess carriers. But how should we motivate ourselves to go to the playing hall without being beaten before the game itself?

What I am used to use is a setup of positive mind and combative mood. It sounds easy, but it really works!

If you begin to think about losing the upcoming game, then something – we may call it “The Universe”, if you would like – knows it and point things at that direction. One can try his best, but opponent “somehow” manages to get better position and win sequentially.

You may think, it could work similar but with another result when you think about grabbing half of point before the game with strongest player. No! It works absolutely the same as in the case when you think about losing the game! Weird, but it is really like this! And why? Your mind has been set up for fighting for a draw at maximum. So you are not looking for the best possible moves, which could brings complications on a board many times, but for the safest moves. Which is something completely different. Those moves are mostly passive in their essence. And passive moves front to passive position, which is hardly resistable playing with stronger player. So many times this attitude causes lost game again.

So what is the best way?

Be optimistic, in combative mood and ready to fight for a win! This is what works the best for me. When thinking positively about the direction of the game and trying to find the moves which brings the most problems to my opponents I am able to play with much stronger players. Not only play, but even to gain half or even the whole point.

Of course, it may happen (and it will happen for sure) that even if you have setup your mind to beat the stronger player, you will not beat him. Just because of his quality as a chess player. But even in this case the game gives you some positive conclusion. As you wanted to play an open game with your opponent, you forced him to play his best and in the opposite way – you also had to play your best. During the game and later during the analysis of the game you can learn how strong players fight and think. Which is something you could not learn in the case when you would be prepared just for quick execution of your own king.

What is your way how to prepare for a game against stronger player? Do you use similar technique or something completely else? Please, share it with the others in the discussion below the article.

Photo: EricMagnuson

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