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I'm a 1600 USCF player, but lately I'm barely playing at a 1200 level. My rut has been going on for about three weeks now and it has made my favorite game nothing but frustrating. For some reason I can't get my pieces to work together anymore, and I am making amateur blunders, such as dropping my queen or rook for no reason.
I have tried tactics puzzles, endgame puzzles, watching professional games, taking a few days break, playing dozens of games, but I just can't play good. I'll make a blunder and realize how stupid it is the second I take my hand off the piece.
I normally play 10 minute blitz games, but during this rut I'm even doing it in untimed games. Any advice to get back my game will be greatly appreciated.
Practise Chess.com Tactis traner worked for me
Take a break. Stop playing for one, even two weeks. If you try to play through a slump, it'll only get worse with each game.
I've noticed the slump phenomenon as a regular and frustrating occurrence in my own game and wondered if it was just me or a normal thing that effects most players. Any thoughts?
take a break....
Play low rated players.
The Slump affects everyone, even GMs.
Good to know; misery has company. I feel better already
I hit a major slump in December, 2013, diving all the way from about 2120 to 2041, over the board. Since the start of 2014, I've done nothing but go up, and have won over 60% of my 20+ games thus far in 2014 with an even split of draws and losses otherwise, scoring roughly 70% all told for 2014. Where am I now? 2096 with 2 more wins to factor in for a tournament that's 2-rounds in out of 5 where you play 1 round a week, so in essence, back over 2100.
What did I do?
Answer is simple - You need to play multiple openings. If all you do is play the same opening over and over and over again, your mind will get in a rut, and you'll play moves out of habit instead of thought. Not a good thing. Keep 3 repertoires handy, and when you see yourself slumping, change to the next in line. Then the third. Then back to the first.
What it will do is force you to focus, and expand your knowledge by playing thru different middlegame patterns. It's not about finding the 17th move novelty of some Sicilian line. It's about understanding different positions.
I myself have 3 different repertoires:
Agressive: White 1.e4, Black Modern Defense
Positional: White 1.d4 (Catalan, Slav, Trompowsky), Black Stonewall Dutch and Caro-Kann
Safe: White 1.Nf3 (Catalan, Slav, Fianchetto KID, Fianchetto Grunfeld, English, Anti-Benoni), Black QGD (Tartakower and Tarrasch) and Berlin
I cycle through these. It can be mixed and matched too. In December, I was playing 1.Nf3, QGD, and Caro-Kann. Made the change in January to alter my train of thought, and am currently playing 1.e4 and the Modern Defense. Give it another year, I may be back to 1.d4 along with the Stonewall Dutch and Double-Kingpawn openings.
Think of it like recharging a battery that has lost it's power!
If you are just blundering pieces and make stupid mistakes it might be problems of concentration
Make predictions on who will win the World Cup on my forum on it
You're just out of form. When you are in form, anticipation, muscle memory, heightened senses ... all work in tandem. But these go out of sync when you are out of form. Seriously ... take a bat and hit some baseballs in an open field. Or hit golf balls on a driving range.
Take a break. Playing more chess will only make you more frustrated.
Great advice from ThrillerFan.
1600 uscf doesn't necessarily translate to 1600 blitz rating, why do you have the idea that you are playing at a 1200 level?
Also bad form and good form comes in cycles, if you really are uscf and you haven't changed you will eventually be back there, just play (and enjoy) the game
Avoid playing blitz at the moment,and work on your thinking process. Make sure to always look at the whole board when you are playing.
Play 30 minute standard and correspondance
Thank you all for the great advice. I think I will take a week break and then take your advice ThrillerFan. I have been in the habit of only playing Italian (white) and Caro-Kann (black). I hope it works.
I wanted to track your results on the USCF webpage but could not find you. I guess you either forgot to renew or decided to let your membership lapse for some reason. Or it could be their error to not have you on their list. Being that I`m a Life Member, this not a problem for me. Regardless of the above, I, too, am (or was, since I am 99.9% retired from OTB Chess) in the same boat as you. Years ago (I am 66 and have been in organized Chess since my early 20`s both as a player, president of two clubs, president of a Chess league, a Certified Local Level Tournament Director and Certified Chess Coach) I got my rating up to 1764 but over the years saw my rating slip down to the 1600`s of which I maintained for about 8 years. Then I slipped into the 1500`s and now I`ve been on my "floor" of 1500 for about three and a half years. When I dropped below 1600, I decided to try correspondence Chess and my results have been fairly good. My rating in that is 2055. I contend that age is a factor; my observations over the years, including, albeit informal, interviews with many older active Chess players seem to bear out the fact that starting at about age 45 the ratings for OTB starts dropping--some swiftly, some rapidly. Of course, one can site annecdotal exceptions to my observations. The point that I am making to you is viewed by many as pessimistic--I`d rather think that I`m a realist about Chess success. Unless you don`t mind losing a lot of games (assuming that you are now on a permanent downslide, which I hope is not true) and still enjoy the social aspect of competing, working your mind, etc., then keep on doing what you are doing. I compete in correspondence these days and I suggest that maybe you might do the same to at least get better results. I also got into teaching young kids and adults who are new to the game and coaching those who are more ambitious on a private level. Being that I`m retired, I have plenty of time for this. There is nothing wrong with an amateur retiring from competitive Chess; you can still keep a hand in the game on some level.
I´m in the middle of one of this slumps. Going from 1630 to 1480 in blitz here.
I liked your suggestion of trying different openings, but maybe is not ok for blitz, just for longer games:
I have always (ALWAYS) played 1.d4, so I don´t know the lines
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