My Chess Sucks, Here are Options for Improvement
Charles LÉANDRE (French, 1862 – 1934) Le Joueur d’échecs (portrait présumé d’Arsène Alexandre) 1900

My Chess Sucks, Here are Options for Improvement

RoaringPawn
RoaringPawn
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19

STUCK, UNABLE TO IMPROVE IN CHESS NO MATTER HOW MUCH TIME AND HARD WORK YOU INVEST?

Anybody been down in the dumps over trying to improve at chess? tried everything possible to attain betterment in it, but all in vain, or with less than satisfactory results?

How long have you been studying and practicing hours a day without seeing much progress? You study and study, you try very hard, and you really don't see any improvement in your games, or you are making progress that is painstakingly slow at best. It's really discouraging and you end up with frustration.

Like me. I tell you, my chess sucks. I have been playing it for fifty years and I have tried all sort of things to improve my game over time: tactics, tactics and tactics, analyzing my games, reviewing master games, studying endgame, middlegame, strategy, openings, everything. I have been putting in a lot of work and therefore I expected to see some rewards. Alas, nothing. Seems I hit the invisible wall at some point, reached a plateau impossible to improve on.

Here is how my daily chess infusion, week after week, month after month, year after year has looked like.

Jovan Prokopljevic cartoon

cartoon Jovan Prokopljevic

I really don't know what else I should do to improve my game. In order to break this vicious cycle of frustration, I am now in the process of considering all the following options you can find below that I wanted to share with you today and ask for advice what might be best for me (and possibly for you too if you are on the same boat).

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To begin with, both ## 1-2 are really not an option for me. Never give up, "for even rivers someday wash dams away."

#1 Carlo Bolmida, Ossessione scacchistica (Obsession with chess, Carlo is a dentist and chess fan from Turin, Italy)

REMOVED BY CHESS COM'S ADMINISTRATOR AS SHOWING A DESPERATE CHESS PLAYER POINTING A KIDS PLASTIC TOY MAKEUP GUN AT HIS HEAD

cartoon by Leonov from 64

#2 cartoon by Leonov, Mag 64, No19 1988

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But what I should really do and what kind of seed to sow in the barren chess soil?

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chess cartoon

#3 cartoon from 64, No15 1989

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For starters, I may need to make some adjustments in my overall lifestyle to enact healthy change in my chess. Perhaps, I need to give up sports, wine, and spending time with fair sex (the latter two somehow seem almost impossible though).

Frank Stiefel, Der Großmeister denkt

#4 cartoon by Frank Stiefel

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Or perhaps I need to change my sleeping habits?

cartoon by Leonov

#5 cartoon by Leonov, 64, No19 1988

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I would hardly be able go for a radical change in my hairstyle (with little hair leftsad.png, I'm in the seventh decade of my life).

cartoon Zhilkin

#6 cartoon by Mikhail Zhilkin, 64, No6 1990

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Maybe I should drastically change my overall diet and shift my thinking to make exciting new choices for my meals?

Need to change my diet. Flear's book cover

#7 Cover of the Glenn Flear's book in French

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With a new healthy chess diet I may gain some weight and build my chess muscles in unexpected ways. For example, now I could create more asymmetric positions to get my opposition out of balance, thus gaining advantage. The more weight gain, the more points gain!   cartoon by Tamaev

#8 cartoon by Viktor Tamaev, 64, No9 1982

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Besides a new diet, how about changing my mental chess health by getting a coach? Unfortunately, cannot afford it.

Claus Grupen cartoon

#9 cartoon by Claus Grupen

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Checking my chess vision is an affordable option though. Need to find a chess eye specialist to examine my poor board vision that I most likely contracted very early at Chess Square One.

cartoon by Chelmodeev

#10 cartoon by Igor Chelmodeev, 64, No15 1989

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The eye doctor will prescribe a pair of chess glasses for me; it should be bifocals having lenses each with two parts with different focal lengths, one for good overall board vision and one for my pawn play as it is critical for conducting effective strategy.

cartoon by Rezanko

#11 cartoon bu Aleksandr Rezanko, 64, No19 1987

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Then, I might pay more attention to my calculation skills. I could either try an old, and shall I say a primitive approach with an archaic tool, like #12 (something I used in math class back in 60s), or something modern, 21-st century, digital, as #13.

chess cartoon

#12 cartoon by George Liymu, 64, No15 1985

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Digital mind

#13 Digital mind

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Next, martial arts may sharpen my fighting skills and stimulate mental development, like ##14-15, while practicing #16 on a bed of pawns can induce a state of deep relaxation of body and mind and dissolve tension before important tournament games.

cartoon by Chelmodeev

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#14 cartoon by Igor Chelmodeev, 64, No2 1989

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Eugeny Osipov cartoon

#15 cartoon Evgeny Osipov

Chess yoga

#16 Chess yoga, cartoon by Leonov

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I have also considered spending a certain amount of time in voluntary seclusion, where I would be able to fully dedicate myself to studying chess in a total isolation from the world, undisturbed. Remember how Akiba Rubinstein, after losing many games disappeared for a few months, returning to the scene enormously strong.

Lahur Sessa by Thiago Cruz

#17 Lahur Sessa by Thiago Cruz

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Juggling chess pieces during day, to and from work for example, and in any other situation permitting, is another option; it can make me smarter and improve memory very quickly, producing also significant changes to the structure of the chess brain.

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cartoon by Kononenko

#18 Anatoly Kononenko, 64, No15 1991

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The following two options are opposite in their effect. The first, #19, will energize my pieces using a spring mechanism and potentially cause full surprise for my opponents, while #20 has quite a reverse effect. Fixing and making pieces immobile for me and my opponent would guarantee a draw quick even when I play much stronger players (including GMs) as nobody would be able to make a move from the starting position.

cartoon by Novikov

#19 Igor Novikov, 64, No7 1981

cartoon by Aravkin

#20 Sergey Arkavin, Magazine 64, No15 1982

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Okay, those have pretty much been my options. I would like to hear back from you guys to see what your thoughts may be.

And please tell me which options you think sound the most sound for a much-awaited (and long delayed) plan to improve my chess!

What number you think would work best?