7 Willpower tips to Maximize winning chances in chess – When Close enough is not Good enough

7 Willpower Tips to Maximize winning chances in chess


7 Willpower tips to Maximize winning chances in chessHere we are not talking about percentages where 99% is considered as almost too good, to be true. In Chess even 99% is a fail mark as chess results largely depend on either checkmating your opponent or getting checkmated yourself. So how to strengthen your win-switch to 100% result? It all depends on your inner store of willpower. Here are 7 Willpower tips to Maximize winning chances in chess – When Close enough is not Good enough

The other scenario is where you can draw the game either by reaching a draw position – or agreeing to a draw. But we are not talking about that here.

The APA defines willpower this way:

  • Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.
  • Willpower allows us to ignore unwanted thoughts, feelings or desires.

1. Commit to a goal at the outset.

Tightrope yourself with a shoestring so that you cannot have a free way with your temptations. Make sure that you are plugging all those temptation-pulls so that you are riding with your brakes released. In other words temptations and diversions are like a brake applied constantly while driving your car. Get the picture?

It won’t stop you completely, but it will make it harder to move away from your goals.

For example, buy a book instead of downloading it online. That way your conscience will not allow you to give it a pass. You will sit down to read it since you paid for it with your heard-earned cash.

Or carry only a fixed amount of cash with you when you’re on a tight rope budget, and leave your credit cards at home, thereby preventing you from making ‘that impulsive purchase’.

in my own experience as example, a relative of mine felt she was going to the movies too frequently. To counter that, I told her to calculate all the money spent on the tickets and popcorn and when she saw that they amounted to a lot she stopped going to the movies that frequently. By showing the total picture she saw the absurdity of her habits and now she is spending the saved money on useful books that are much needed to increase her expertise.

2. Meditate every day.

Preferably in the morning. It is one of the most difficult-to-start regimen, but once started it will help you so much that you begin to wonder – ‘what was I doing all these years without this essential habit’?

I know that it may seem like a waste of time which could have been spent reading the newspaper or going to sleep an extra 15 minutes but that is just your mind trying to avoid anything that tames it.

Read this tip from Headspace – an U.S. study found that people who meditated daily experienced improved willpower and focus. The researchers found that “those who practiced meditation on a daily basis persisted on tasks longer and made fewer task pullouts, as well as reducing negative feedback after task completion.”

So instead of reaching for your mobile phone or tablet, first thing in the morning and checking all your chats or messages, try spending 15 minutes meditating and reap the benefits of willpower training. 

Although it looks simple, sitting still in a yogic posture like Padmasana or Sukhasana, and watching your thoughts in motion is difficult. But the benefits of meditating extend beyond the 15 minutes of quiet every morning. Meditating keeps the mind calm and focused.

3. Exercise regularly.

7 Willpower Tips to Maximize winning chances in chess

Cesar Milan training with a dog

If you watched Ceaser Milan’s ‘Dog Whisperer‘ where he documents his dog-training techniques (if you haven’t watched yet shame on you 🙂 ) you must have seen that he first removes all the negative pent up energy in a ferocious dog by taking him/her to a brisk walk or a run.

I remember how he even used one particular dog as a skateboard puller) and the dogs seemed to like it every bit.

What happened after that was that the dogs became calm and obedient after the exercise.

Now what transpired in this effort was that all the energy overflow was tamed by that run and the dog became submissive and calm after that exercise.

Its the same with the human mind. In fact, a study in the Netherlands has revealed that a ‘quick’ workout correlated with better self control, among other important benefits.

Going to the gym not only strengthens your body muscles but also your willpower.

4. Get a good night’s sleep.

I use a fitness tracker that comes cheap at amazon. It is called Mi fit (or Mi Band in some countries). What it does is to measure your sleep pattern and tell you how much of deep sleep and light sleep you have had every night. This helps in determining what you are missing.

A deep sleep of more than 1 hour is recommended and if you are falling short try improving it.

A good night’s sleep* provides you with the much-needed mental and physical energy to make it through the upcoming day’s events. If you miss out on your regular dosage of sleep, you’ll feel lethargic and your willpower would become weak. In fact, a lack of sleep can result in impaired reflex action speed and an inability to think clearly.

One study found that this fatigue-impaired state is equivalent to being drunk. So imagine what it can do to your chess!

“Proper rest improves our self-control power and provides a good environment for the brain to function,”

Ryan Clements writes. “Rest reduces the body’s need for glucose, and it allows the body to make better use of what we have.”

If you’re struggling to fall asleep, I suggest moving away from laptop/PC/Mobile screens and reading a paperback book. I do something different – I listen to some heavy meta-physical lectures that make me go to sleep in no time 🙂 But before doing anything make sure you are in bed and almost ready to doze off!

The light from these screens disturbs our body’s circadian rhythm, making our sub-conscious think that it’s daytime when in reality it is time for the sleep.

*A good night’s rest normally means getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye for an adult.

And if this is not sufficient here is one additional benefit from Chess point of view – Good night’s sleep strengthens memory.

5. Eat a healthy nutritious meal

Low glucose levels = weaker willpower. A study revealed that participants who were not fed  or did not eat well prior to starting a project gave it up halfway, much earlier than their fully-fed compatriots.

“To keep (your willpower) high, eat regular meals that are full of protein and good carbohydrates, like a sandwich of lean meat and cheese packed between two slices of whole-wheat bread,” Stephanie Booth writes in Real Simple. “And never start a challenging task on an empty stomach.”

Starting each morning with a hearty meal gives your willpower a much needed boost. Small ideas help like the consumption of dry fruit snack such as almonds, walnuts and cashews, and yogurt to maintain high energy levels. Have them either one hour before or after your meals.

Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Florida State University, in Tallahassee, and the author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength ($28, amazon.com).

6. Anticipate bottlenecks

It is a given that in all pursuits there will be bottlenecks with your plans. We must assume that roadblocks and diversions will come up and that your motivation may go for a toss when they do. So if you’re having such experiences remember to keep your cool and prepare for them way ahead in advance. Having a fallback makes it more likely that you’ll accomplish your aims.

Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist based in Northern California and a coauthor of  Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows From Conception to College (~ $26, amazon.com).

7. Read books on the mind and its secrets – (especially for parents of chess playing children)

One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a radical perspective on children that tosses a library’s worth of conventional wisdom. Why are kids – even those from the best of homes – still undisciplined and aggressive? The answer is found in a rethinking of parental conflict, discipline, television’s unexpected influence, and social dominance.

The authors of Nurture Shock – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman‘s New York Magazine articles on the science of children won the magazine journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications. Their articles for Time Magazine won the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families. Bronson has authored five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do With My Life?

The author Anshu Jain is a chess coach at Golden Chess Centre, Nanganallur, Chennai. He is available for Chess training and is an expert in Digital Chess training techniques.  When he is not teaching Chess he likes to learn computer languages.

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