How best to prepare for chess tournaments?

how best to prepare for chess tournamentsHow best to prepare for chess tournaments?

I would like to share some thoughts on this aspect of Chess. How best to prepare for chess tournaments.  I am sharing these techniques as I have seen the impact of these points personally.

If there is any suggestion or clarification in this regard, do let me know by email or Facebook or Google+.

The players I am referring to are in the Beginner to intermediate strength and for higher rated players the mileage may vary depending on a myriad of other factors in play.

Success does not come randomly in a day. It is merely a by-product of doing things correctly consistently.

Let us get on with the points in contention – how best to prepare for a chess tournament:

  • Eating Right, Sleeping right and Living Right: I would say in general keep a positive state of mind and nurture emotions and feelings of hopefulness, joy, and plenty of laughter (I recall watching loads of comedy films).
  • Creative Problem Solving: I would encourage you to keep your mind sharp and flexible by learning other games and puzzles outside of chess such as GO, Scrabble, Sudoku, Shogi, etc. Learning new skills and thinking about the connections to chess is a creative way to give your mind a break from chess while still staying, “in the zone”.
  • The Power of Visualization and Positive Thinking: Let us face it. We all have hopes and fears of the upcoming event; why not build yourself up to being a confident player who believes he is going to be fighting for the first prize in the final round and coming out on top. Try it while you are in the act of studying chess or playing casual games or training games; see yourself playing these same winning moves at the tournament. Try to imagine yourself putting all that work into action; playing strong chess and avoiding bad habits (playing too fast, getting up from the board, not getting tired, blunders…).Confidence and “game” are huge parts of the chess battle. In many games, I have observed it comes down to who has more confidence, will and energy than anything else.
My advice is: do not be afraid to dream and believe you are going to have a great result. Of course, this has to be backed by hard work before the event and during the games.
  • Sharpening Up: Calculation (and evaluation) and Tactical Strength are the base level ingredients of being on form and achieving desired results. We all know what happens if we are not able to spot double attacks, combinations or simply dropping pawns and pieces.  It is a well-known truth that the study of King and Pawn endgames is a practice in pure calculation, often times long variations, with a definite conclusion. Along with the study of K & P endings try the deliberate practice of solving tactical studies. The trick here is to choose a book (or software) that has just the right mix of problems that you can feel challenged yet still be able to solve many positions in a sitting.  For e.g.:  The excellent book 1,000 Checkmate Combinations by Victor Khenkin or 600+ Tactics by V. Subramanian  or Chess School 2 by Sergei Ivaschenko.
  • Going All Out: This idea ties into my thoughts on creative visualization, but I want to stress the importance of being psyched up to play great, uncompromising chess during the event. Be creative and cultivate your inner fire; become inspired at the actual tournament and believe that you have what it takes to take it all.
  • Relaxation with Family and Friends: Do not forget about making the most of the time you spend with your family, friends and loved ones. This is your support team and you need feel emotionally strong and loved in order to achieve maximal results.
  • Regular Exercise: Benefits of Exercise are well known and documented. However from a chess point of view I would suggest it primarily for one reason – the oxygen intake helps de-clutter your mind. If you would like more info I suggest this book as a must read: Exercise Every Day: 32 Tactics for Building the Exercise Habit by S.J Scott. It contains some of the best tips and would not pinch the pocket.

I do hope to see you playing the best chess of your life and more importantly – enjoy the process!!!  

The author Kish Kumar is a professional Chess trainer at Madipakkam, Nanganallur, Chennai. When free he writes articles related to Chess training. Connect with him at Facebook.


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