The psychology factor | 7 tips for better Chess psychology
Updated: Jul 13
Hello, I am again here with some things I wanted to share with all of you since this topic - in my personal view is quite neglected. The discussion started on this subject once one of my students was unable to maintain his peak and fell down his rating, he had the skills but just could not convert the games or win the games. The Psychology Factor in chess is the subject we'll be discussing today, and I would love to hear out your opinions on this in the comment below. These are very basics things and some of these (most!) are even obvious - but once I say it aloud, hopefully, people take this seriously.
Disclaimer: This is my personal view, and is something I advise my students and adhere to myself. Please discuss with your own coach if needed, I do not guarantee any results!
One of the first things I'd like to begin with is that you should Forget About Rating. I know, that it is easy to say this but Rating shouldn't decide your moves. Did you lose some rating? That is fine, it is important to know how to bounce back. More importantly, you should keep on grinding and you will see results.
OTB Rating Does Matter, obviously. But It does mostly for the title-seekers. If you are close to the title and worry about it - It is absolutely normal. Instead of banging your heads on the fact that you lost rating, look and analyze your games for lower-rated players. SEE WHY YOU LOST! Rating especially online fluctuates a lot, you must understand that it is absolutely normal. Keep calm and just practice.
2) Right Mood = Right Moves. This is a quote by GM and Chess Coach Avetik Grigoryan for his website Chessmood. I abide by it and respect this quote. Sometimes we play chess when we should not, maybe you just got rickrolled and your head pains - just take a break and play chess where you are feeling normal, have emotions under control, and concentrate.
3) Unable to convert? Can't fight back? - Start taking a short break every time you think you are winning or losing, maybe you just blundered rn. Go drink some water and instead of getting pent up about what happened - See how you can achieve the best results from here.
4) It is important to mix tactical training and positional chess training - I have seen in many cases that my students just pick a tactics book and solve it while they forget about Positional Chess and vice-versa. The training should be adequately mixed or else if you focus too much on training something, You will be focusing on that mainly in your games. For e.g, If you solve Tactics a lot and do not look at Strategies, Chances are - you will be looking for and will be trying to create tactics everywhere even in positions that do not exist.
5) One-move blunders happen mostly due to concentration issue. Additionally, sometimes we get too involved in something (maybe a move or a plan) and just forget that there is a lot else going on in the game. I read somewhere this: When you play Chess, you are not playing just 1 game. You are playing 2 games simultaneously, 1 against your opponent and 1 against yourself.
6) Excessive training or training something which is way too high for your level is not a good thing to do. Renowned Coach and Grandmaster Jacob Aagard in his book "Calculation" wrote the following:
The best training material has a difficulty level of 110-120% - Keep that in mind. Discuss this with your coach if required also.
7) You need to win the game the easiest and most practical way. Do not think about Checkmating/Flashy Moves always! I see a lot of my students in training, instead of capturing pawns and having a better game sometimes get too stressed about making their attack work just because they have the initiative. The goal is to win the game, winning faster won't give you any additional points.
There are a lot of things I have missed, I will keep on editing and adding more points once the people here tell me what else am I missing. I have stated the obvious, of course - but sometimes the obvious needs to be said!
Cheers, Coach Eddy from chesswitheddy.com signing off :))