How to Prepare for a Game

Nov 26, 2008, 11:17 AM |

I'm still not playing at my strength. My rating is still nowhere near where it should be. I'm not upset. I'm learning and having fun. But I see players weaker than me OTB doing much better than me at

- A 1627CFC player with a 2050 rating.
- A player not far from me who as far as I know has never played an OTB game before with a 1900 rating.
- A Classs B player, 1600 - 1799, with a 2200 rating here.
- An 1100 USCF player with a 1700 rating on here.

I am an 1800 strength CFC player. I've proven that over the years. I generally dominate my opponents in endgames. Play through these games. You might even learn something about endings. My current rating here is UP TO 1783. Whooo!

I would hope this shows that I can outplay most players on here in endings, a least not make serious blunders.

Where am I losing points. There seems to be two types of positions. One is the very tactical middlegame position.

Chess blindness like this should not be happenning at all. There's no excuse for it. Clearly I'm not doing my work.

The other losses tend to happen in the middlegame where I wander around like a lost sheep.

I think my problem is clearly a lack of preparation for each move I make. I've always had this problem with chess games. Some tournaments I'd roll over everything in my path then in others, I'd stink it up like white-striped roadkill.

But I did largely overcome this tendancy. I realized I needed to mentally prepare for games better. In this format, I think, no I know, that I need to prepare for every move better. So here is what I plan to do to get into a proper frame of mind.

  • Play in a room with no other distractions - turn off the music, my browser, my other forums, etc.
  • Play through the entire game or at least the last releveant moves so I get a feel for what I was doing and why. There's no need to play through the openning if I'm in a known endgame.
  • Keep notes on my ideas and plans including risks and threats
  • Set up a real board and play through lines. I see things much better in 3D.
  • Find a mental trigger. I have a few:
    - I stare at the black queen and say to myself "Show no mercy!" Silly but it works.
    - Play Mozart's 40th
    - Play The Who's Baba O'Reilly
  • Read a snippet of a chess book. I have over 50 of them, so finding one to work through prior to playing should be easy. Say 5 minutes a day.
  • Spend a few minutes on the tactics trainer. Seems like a great way to get the brain cells all lubricated!

I think the most important thing to do is to do something. If you mentally set out to find your right frame of mind, it doesn't really matter what the trigger is. You have to do it though! At least I do.