A lot of people get discouraged when it seems like their chess is not improving as quickly as they would like. It can feel very frustrating, especially if you have invested time into learning how to play chess and then nothing happens!
Fortunately, there are ways to get back in the game! Here we will discuss some easy steps that can help anyone return to the board. If you’re ready to pick up where you left off, these tips will be helpful.
We will also talk about why it is important to re-engage with the game after a break. Many things can contribute to this including life events (such as having children) or health issues (like recovering from an injury).
It is totally normal to lose your motivation for chess at times, but don’t give up! There are many strategies for returning to the game after a lull.
Accept your mistakes
Sometimes, as chess players we get so focused on not making the same mistake twice that we don’t accept our earlier errors.
We are too concerned about avoiding what we perceive to be “mistakes,” we lose sight of how much skill we already have. We also underestimate just how hard it is to avoid making the same misstep once.
It can feel like you’re walking down the street looking both ways before crossing, but every time you do, someone bumps into you or something flings up dust in your face, and you keep thinking, why did I walk here?
That’s what happens when you try to win by doing exactly what you were planning on doing anyway, only moreso. You become aware of how good other people are, and instead of being inspired, you are irritated. It de-motivates you.
You start to doubt yourself, which is never a good place to be as a leader or as a person.
Concentrate on your own skill development
This is probably one of the most important things you can do for chess. If your opponent makes a good move, take time to reflect on it before moving away.
A lot of people make the mistake of rushing into what they are going to do next while their mind is still trying to process the current state of play.
This is very bad practice because you lose track of the game at this stage! By doing so, you will not be thinking about how to fix the problem, you will be focusing on where your next attack should come from.
It is also difficult to concentrate when your opponent makes a clever move, so don’t give them that opportunity by acting too soon.
Take some time to consider whether their move was correct or not before responding to it. Don’t just rush through your plan like you would with any other opening — save those for times when you know what you are doing!
Instead spend time considering the options, brainstorming different ways to respond, and then picking out the best one. You won’t necessarily find the perfect solution immediately but taking your time will allow you to get back onto the right path.
If you are having trouble coming up with ideas don’t worry about it yet – simply write down as many possibilities as you can until something feels more natural. Then go with that option instead.
Play more often
A lot of people give up chess when it seems like there is no progress being made or they get discouraged because their opponent is way ahead. Don’t be that person!
If you are having trouble keeping up with your friends, then try playing online. There are many free sites where you can play anyone anywhere at any time. You will also have access to much higher quality software which can help you improve your game as well.
There are even smartphone apps that allow you to connect quickly and easily to new users. It doesn’t matter if someone else uses different tactics or ideas than you, use Google to learn from those strategies.
The best way to get back into chess after a long break is to simply start thinking about the game again. Once you get the hang of how the pieces work, putting the pieces together again for fun is easy.
Practice consistent openings
Consistently practicing opening variations is your best bet for getting back into chess. Once you have determined which openings are easy for you, you can move onto more difficult ones. The easiest way to start this process is by learning an opening that has very little diversity, like the Sicilian or the King’s Indian.
By studying these two openings, you will be able to pick up some of the basics of the game. These fundamentals include knowing what pawn structures are good versus bad, how to develop each piece, and how to check out of the opening.
Once you feel comfortable with those concepts, you can advance to the Semi-Openings (the Ruy Lopez and the Queens Gambit) and the Open Games (the French and Scandinavian).
Learn to deal with emotions in chess
Emotions can sometimes hinder your game. When you are playing chess, there will be times when your opponent makes a move that leaves you feeling very angry or frustrated.
You may even feel like giving up at this stage of the game. Or maybe you just lose focus and begin thinking about something else.
All of these things can prevent you from making the next good move or keep you from trying at all. It is important to learn how to control your emotional responses in order to play well.
There are several different strategies that can help. Some work better than others depending on what kind of player you are as well as the situation.
Become a better listener
Becoming a much better chess player means more than just knowing how to move your pieces, it is also about knowing what to do with them once you have moved them. It is about listening to your opponent and understanding his or her game so that you can figure out their next moves.
As we have discussed before, one of the biggest mistakes beginner players make is trying too hard to prove they are right. This usually backfires as their arrogance gets in the way of them accepting a loss gracefully.
If you find yourself getting upset by a mistake made by your opponent then the best thing to do would be to take a break and reset. You will need to come back later and re-evaluate the position from the beginning.
This is very important for advanced players because it teaches them when to accept a draw and also gives them practice avoiding overconfidence.
“Consistency is one of the most important things to be as a chess player,” says Bobby Fischer. “If you want to get good at something, then you have to practice it regularly.”
Becoming more familiar with the rules and concepts of chess will only take you so far. If you are not practicing your craft consistently, then this extra knowledge can sometimes distract you from what really matters – improving your game.
It takes lots of work to become a better chess player, but there is a way to make sure that your hard work does not go wasted. You must know when it’s time to put away your book or your device and start playing games.
When you do not feel like gaming, that is a great opportunity to pick up where you left off the night before.
Accept your mistakes
The way most people play chess is very conscious of their moves. When they make a mistake, they pause for a few seconds before deciding what next move they will make. This doesn’t work when you are under pressure because you have to make a decision quickly!
If you had a lot of time to think about it, you would probably reconsider your last move. But we don’t usually have this luxury in chess so if you were aware that there was just one piece left on the board and it could be yours or your opponent’s, then it makes sense to go into battle with haste.
But once you do make a bad move, stop yourself immediately! No matter how hard you try, you can’t take back the pieces already moved. You have to accept the situation as it is and figure out how to get rid of the material you lost.
This may mean giving up another pawn, conceding an exchange, or even letting your enemy win! Sometimes, the best thing to do is simply to resign (give up) and hope for the best later.