Exam fear – Beat exam stress and score

Exam fear – Beat exam stress and score

Exam fear – Beat exam stress and score (last-minute mashup?)

Exam fear - Beat exam stress and scoreIt is natural to feel stressed and nervous.
Don’t worry it will pass.
Here are my suggestions to overcome these jitters and to fulfill some study schedules.

Action plan to get the demons out of your mind:

  1. Have a simple plan of study. Keep it simple. Simply list down all major headings and sub-headings of a particular lesson on a sheet of paper. I call this the stock-taking method. You will be ticking off whatever is completed.
  2. Tick for those topics that you studied reasonably well.
  3. Circle where you also practiced and are quite confident.
  4. Underline for those where you need revision and repetition.

Rules for the day’s schedule

  1. First thing in the morning, plan targets for the day. For this planning, spend 5 minutes maximum.
  2. Take a short target for next 30 minutes, one specific ‘heading’.
  3. Don’t think beyond 30 minutes at a time.

To gain maximum out of the above 3 pointers you have to follow some recommendations.

  1. Take small break every 45 minutes. Stretch lightly during the breaks.
  2. Maintain a regular sleep pattern. Leave study at least 45 minutes before sleep. During these 45 minutes, wash your face, settle down, breathe deeply, close your eyes, relax your mind, and allow yourself to drift to sleep.
  3. Unless really necessary, avoid tea and coffee. They may lengthen your waking time. But they can also disturb your sleep, reduce grasping capacity of brain, and make you feel tired when you wake up next day. Instead of tea or coffee, have lemon water or green tea with sugar.
  4. Avoid TV, films, chatting, long phone calls, social media unless absolutely necessary. These will tire your brain. Speak less with others. Allow your brain to spend time with yourself.
  5. Play music, or sing, or dance, or simply meditate during the short study breaks.

The best advice I can give to CBSE chess students is to keep the learning schedules consistent throughout the year. Prepare well when you have time, because no one knows how tomorrow is going to be.

It is better to start sharpening the sword during peace, rather than after a battle has begun, as an old story says.

Education will not give what you want. It is what you want that will give what you want.

Exam fear – Beat exam stress and score

Exam fear is a very common phenomenon among children, and it has a avalanche effect, there is no doubt about it. But, have the powers to be, ever tried to think about how to remove the fear & make exam a fun task rather than a jittery one? How to make them capable to overcome their fear of exams and especially on weak students to make them stronger?
Share your thoughts…

The author Kish Kumar is a trainer and Coach at Golden Chess Centre. He can be contacted on his Facebook page.

Using the Opponent’s force (a la Judo) in your chess games

Using the Opponent’s force (a la Judo) in your chess games

Using Opponent’s Force

My first memory on seeing this  is Judo. It does an amazing job of using your opponents force and weight (damage from the throw), then adding in your force to damage your opponent.  This is what happened in the game.

Judo (Japanese: 柔道, jūdō; “gentle way”) is a martial art and combat sport, which originated in Japan. Judo, now primarily a sport, is a system of unarmed combat. The objective is to throw, pin, or cause the opponent to yield by applying pressure to arm joints or the neck. Judo techniques are intended to turn an opponent’s force to one’s advantage, rather than confronting it directly. Rituals surrounding the practice of judo promote an attitude of calm readiness and confidence – Source

It is all about maximum results with least effort, and simple chess is all about it. The key is to react with quiet consciousness, not blind raging urges.

Please go over the game slowly and see where my moves appear strange to you.

These would be the points you have to understand.

So what exactly happened in this game?

I did not do anything but only used my opponent’s own urge to ‘do something’, against him. I am a fan of Petrosian and Karpov.I always think what they would do in such a position.

The reason I am showing this game is because I feel that beginners and intermediate players usually are never taught to play as per the needs of the position or how to change gears based on the opponent’s moves.

Here when I say ‘opponent’s moves’ and let me clarify that I refer to the beginners urge to try and dominate – usually obvious in the first 10-15 moves.

Coming to the topic of how to train this method of using your opponent’s force against him, I would suggest – always sitting with a stronger player and asking him to block your attacking attempts by playing ferociously, and then see how he can withstand your onslaught. Then go over that game and see where you rushed in. All these moments will be our learning notes.

In this experiment you will see where you are lacking, like lack of patience or lack of proper visualization + calculation in critical positions or both.

One more method would be to slowly go over games by players like Karpov, Capablanca or Petrosian and see how you are able to find their moves. Every time they make a move that appears difficult to understand, you need to pause and meditate.

That is all for now friends! Hope to hear from you soon – if you are in Facebook why not join me there and like my page ?


Golden Chess Centre conducts regular training sessions for dedicated and upcoming chess players in Nanganallur, Madipakkam, Adambakkam, Moovarasampet, Kilkattalai, Kovilambakkam, Puzhuthivakkam, Ullagaram and Pazhavanthangal – Chennai, as well as online sessions for those players who live out of Chennai.

Get in touch here.

Separating the wood from the trees!

Separating the wood from the trees!

Chess is a fun game, till you enter your first tournament!

Separating wood from trees

After which all hell breaks loose and two things may happen. Either you will be consumed by passion – or – stand as a bystander in frustration or awe. My intention is not to scare you out of the sport called chess but to help you prepare for it with a proper mindset without any fear or phobia. Separating the wood from the trees …

Chess is both science and art – and chess improvement will come when you consider this fact in your training.

Separating the wood from the trees – Key points to keep in mind.

If you practice only tactics, you will miss out on the connecting-big-picture while playing, and if you only play with strategic understanding with a weak tactical acumen you will be running a race with just one leg.

What is the best way to stand calm amidst the chaos regarding your Chess improvement?

Lets take some important points and talk about it in case you decide to take up the challenge of a real tournament Chess game!

  • Absolute passion or interest in Chess. Why? Its simple. Just as coal or water is needed to fuel a Steam Engine train – in the same way the fuel of excellence is interest or passion in whatever we do. Without this basic foundation, the building will collapse for sure. Ask yourself – are you passionate about your chess improvement and if so how much? Your chess improvement is directly proportional to your innate passion.
  • Time management. What do we mean by Time management? Its just a way of squeezing time whenever we are able to – for the sake of our training regimen. Plan for a day/week/month and keep looking for more. Do not allow lethargy or laziness come in the way. Diligent training will fetch rewards. Not just getting up one fine day and solving 50 positions and not looking at them for the next few days completely! Do you eat your food in the same way? I mean stuffing 3 meals at one time and then going without food the whole day?
  • Weeding out the negatives. What is meant by negatives? It can be anything. Eating too much or too little. Watching too much TV or having a late night sleeping time every day. It can also be anger or frustration or even lack of confidence. Just avoid these to the best you can.
  • Getting motivated in real life. I get motivated whenever I see the achievers and the dedication in almost all chess players who have been playing for more than a decade. (Not just in Chess but in other sports too). Our focus in chess gets a boost when we see the energy levels of the legends. Their achievements seem like a miracle but their efforts and sweat are hidden. Imagine and appreciate that hidden aspect and sit down for the training with a thought to achieving that height of dedication.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or doubts by way of comments. Share if you feel it will help others.

Wishing you all the best!

Have you ever wanted something really bad and after some time, not so much?

Golden Chess Centre conducts regular training sessions for upcoming chess players in Nanganallur, Madipakkam, Adambakkam, Moovarasampet, Kilkattalai, Kovilambakkam, Puzhuthivakkam, Ullagaram and Pazhavanthangal – Chennai, as well as online sessions for those players who live out of Chennai.

Get in touch here.



How best to prepare for chess tournaments?

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.


Thumb-rules for the opening stage

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

Thumb-rules for the opening stage –

(also called – 90% rule-)

Thumb-rules for the opening stageMany chess beginners want to simplify chess principles in a way that can be easily understood and retained in memory. Having seen the puzzled looks on some of the older kids when they lose to someone much younger than them, I felt it was a gross injustice to the elder newbies who were lost in the intricacies of chess principles. I believe Chess must be first taught in chunks and only then can the full picture be slowly understood. So here are my Thumb-rules for the opening stage.

Memorize them and see your game improve or atleast achieve some decent amount of coherence.

But before memorizing them, remember that they are also called as 90% rules. That is because they are applicable only for 90% of the times and depend on the position.

So take these rules with a pinch of salt and follow them with discretion.

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

  • The simplest way to start the game is to occupy the centre of the board with a pawn.
  • Develop your Knights and Bishops as quickly as possible (usually Knights before Bishops).
  • Castle early, usually on the King side, to make your King safe.
  • Don t move pieces twice in the opening except to make or evade a capture.
  • Don’t bring the Queen out too soon, unless you can win something (or get checkmate) by doing so.
  • The Rooks are the last pieces to be developed, usually only moving to occupy files vacated by pawns.
  • Don t develop pieces by blocking your other pieces, instead try for a harmonious development of all your pieces.
  • Don t make too many pawn moves at the start of the game. Move your two central pawns, and sometimes also your c-pawn to fight for the centre.
  • Don t move your f-, g- and h-pawns in the opening – you will need those to remain unmoved to defend your King when you castle.
  • Be careful about grabbing pawns in the opening, when you are yet to develop pieces, fully.

I cannot stress how important it is to adhere to these Thumb-rules for the opening stage atleast till you have a decent rating of say 1500. Till then these thumb-rules will serve as guideposts and will help you navigate you through the black and white jungle. After that you are free to do what you deem fit 🙂

Suggested reading:

The Tao Of Chess: 200 Principles to Transform Your Game and Your Life

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

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