Have you ever wondered why there comes a season when you just can’t play good chess? A time when everything you try to do right leads to a loss or a poorly-deserved win? A time when you just feel like pulling the plug and quitting chess once for all out of compound frustration? Have you ever smashed your device or chessboard because of a minor in-game mistake? Well, you’re not alone! These times and feelings are experienced by every chess player on the globe—not just chess players alone. It happens to athletes in other sports! Football, basketball, tennis, golf!
There usually comes a time when you just can’t do it right anymore. Can’t find that easy mating sequence, can’t score that easy goal, can’t defend a basic attack, pieces hanging here, there, everywhere! Well, we have done some study on this delicate topic, and this piece of information is finally at your fingertips. To the best of our studies, we’re going to give the causes of bad form, the best ways to get rid of it quickly and how to prevent it from happening again!
Causes of bad chess form
As humans, there are different ways in which we respond to certain emotions. For some, they prefer to play chess when they’re angry as a means to get their minds relaxed, but the downside of this urge is that anger is one emotion that disrupts the fluidity of the mind. Meanwhile, chess is a game that deals with a high level of focus. While angry, a player can suddenly become more aggressive. For more conservative players, this could pose an even bigger problem! In the sense that they would focus excessively on attack and forget about defense. This could prove costly as there ought to be a balance in focus for both attack and defense strategies.
Furthermore, anger could cause a player to play quicker than normal, and this could be of a great disadvantage because, in a time control where time wouldn’t pose as much of a threat, an opponent could make a simple-looking but very threatening move, and a player who’s drowned in anger could hastily make a wrong move and ultimately lose the game. Losing a game while angry could even cause a surge in anger and hence more losses, more losses will lead to a dip in confidence.
A lot of chess players play purely for passion and will likely have something else doing that brings in more income and hence, carries more priority. So after a long day at work, exhausted and drained, some decide to play chess either physically or virtually and in several cases, they play below their strength.
Mental fatigue sends one’s brain into overdrive, hampering productivity and cognitive functions. This means that you might have a lot of trouble trying to recall or identify tactics that you usually make use of during a game and not making the best use of one’s opportunities could cost the game. Repeated losses can also lead to a decline in morale, and this could stretch for quite a while.
Activities, sometimes, increase by an extent as the days roll by and thus, could have some serious implications as a chess player. Our schedule might be so filled up that it would seem as though we no longer have time for chess. Like every other athlete in every other sport, being inconsistent will lead to rustiness and sometimes, consequences can be so severe that one might choose to give up. They return to chess after a very long while of abstinence and then embark on a heart-wrenching losing streak!
A knight on b3 and he/she thought it could move to d5 in one move. “This just isn’t my thing”, and they resign from the game, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue because there’s an easy fix.
Noise is an unpleasant sound that can hinder the productivity of the mind. Disarranged and loud sounds scramble the concentration and playing chess in such environments could yield bad performances. This is why chess arenas are usually library-level quiet. A lack of focus will lead to losses, and this could lead to a drop in confidence.
Hence, bad form kicks in. In a situation whereby the game is being played online and while a player is in an inconvenient environment, his opponent is in a convenient environment. This could prove a decisive factor in the game. A scenario where there is a huge rating difference between both players, an upset could be on the cards!
GETTING RID OF BAD FORM
Perhaps, this is one simple remedy that one might not have expected to see on this list, but it’s just as important as resting. Hunger hinders our ability to focus and study. Hunger can cause the IQ to be lowered, and this is against the purpose of chess. Eating—and not just eating, eating healthy foods would help the brain flow nicely. The brain is like an engine. If you don’t lubricate it, there’ll be a problem. If you fuel it wrongly, there’ll be a problem.
Foods like vegetables( such as spinach and broccoli), extra-virgin olive oil, and even coffee are good foods for the brain. They help with concentration, memory and prevent abnormalities like Dementia later. The more your brain is nourished, the more you win. The more you win, the more your confidence increases. The more your confidence increases, the better your form.
Take a break
Adequate rest is an underrated luxury that is very essential for a healthy lifestyle. Rest helps to regenerate the fatigued parts of our body and that includes the brain. After a good sleep, one would find that the brain would perform faster and better. This is why students are advised to get a good amount of sleep before an exam. The same thing applies to chess. A rested brain would yield good results.
Sometimes, we just keep losing even after seemingly doing everything right. Taking a break helps in many ways. It helps to replenish lost zeal and interest. Understanding yourself well enough to know how long your break should be is also very critical. While some can take breaks of mere hours, others might take weeks to replenish the zeal and return to decent form. Find what’s best for you and stick to it. During this break, do activities that help you relax.
Listen to relaxing music, go swimming, take walks and feel the air, play other games, sing, dance. As long they all help you relax, it will help your brain feel good and hence, raise confidence and hunger to return to competitive chess and succeed. Don’t take breaks and then stress yourself more. That will do no help. Study yourself, create a relaxing routine and stick to it.
While there might be a lot on a person’s plate, it’s essential to note that chess practice must not be neglected in the sense that it’s a form of a very-needed mental exercise that everyone has to undergo every day. Luckily for you, you’re already one blessed with passion and knowledge about the beautiful game and hence, you have to keep that fire burning through practice.
A lot may have a lot on their minds, lots of challenges. Practising chess frequently stimulates the brain to think better and you just might find the solution to your problem while solving a puzzle! You don’t have to play a game every day, but don’t stretch your abstinence from a chess battle for too long.
Again, we should know what works best for us as individuals. What we’re meant to do every day is to perform other alternatives like practising puzzles, material study, history study for motivation and even watch top games to experience how your newly acquired knowledge can effectively be implemented.
What do the librarian and the chess player have in common? Okay, there are a lot of similarities but one that sits above all is “quiet”! Stay away from environments where you can’t even hear your thoughts. Also, is the environment neat? Does it smell good? Research indicates that bad smells can unconsciously play a significant role in foul moods and can disrupt concentration. Take, for instance, you’re in the middle of a presentation and a pungent smell penetrates the air.
You might not halt your presentation, but your brain would send strong signals that a lot is not right in your surrounding. A neat and calm environment is one way to raise your confidence, and get back to chess-winning ways.
I hope I’ve been able to provide yang to your yin which is a sloppy chess form. Kindly do well to drop a comment below and if you found this helpful, kindly drop your testimonies!
Credits: Matthew Oji (Em_Oji)