What Every Chess Player Must Know About Training

By Ian King

While I’ve written before on the importance of holistic training, this article shall share other tit-bits on training as a whole. Some of you may be familiar with what follows as they have been collectively called the 15 Laws of Chess Training in circulars doing rounds on the internet and social media. Out of respect for the author and the integrity of his wisdom, I shall only minimally paraphrase.

1. There’s no perfect chess training regimen.

You need to learn a lot and experiment; see what works for you and what doesn’t.

2. The effectiveness of any chess training is directly proportional to the amount of effort put into it.

If a training program isn’t yielding desired results, maybe you aren’t putting enough work into it. “Success depends on effort” – Sophocles

3. Learning how to study chess is great, but don’t forget to put in the work.
It’s good to research different training possibilities, but don’t make an indefinite effort of it. Practice viable and effective ones, and be careful not to work purely on things you’re comfortable with. Focus on something that really needs improvement and the results will come.

4. Any form of chess training will make you tired.

Only the right training will make you a better chess player.

5. In order to become a strong chess player, you do not need to hire expensive coaches, possess
special chess talent, or have an IQ of 165.
(Read this Law again and again if you must so its message sinks in). All you need to do is train hard and play well.

6. Some of the favorite things you work on at chess are your favorite because they are easy.
If they are easy, it means you are already proficient at it and do not need to spend your time on it. It is better to focus on something that is hard and unpleasant. For most chess players, this is typically endgames, positional chess and hard tactics.

7. When you lose, you should not get upset.
That is just a signal for you to work harder, study better, and come back for a win next time around.

8. Play stronger players; don’t be afraid of losing.
Existence of stronger players is the best catalyst for self-improvement.

9. You don’t need to give up everything else and work on chess 8 hours a day, day after day to
become a strong player.

If you do, you’ll probably burn out sooner or later. Instead, work on your chess for shorter periods of time consistently. The time will add up and you will make progress.

10. Training logs are important aspects of training.
They will not only help you stay focused and motivated, but will also tell you what works and what doesn’t.

11. Self-improvement at chess never begins with complaints and excuses.
You need to accept responsibility for your defeats. If you lose, don’t blame it on any one scapegoat or another, or simply say you blundered. Find the real cause. Take action. Get your work done. Start winning.

12. If you have to be pushed to train, you’re probably not dedicated.

A truly dedicated chess player doesn’t need constant motivation to play and improve his or her game. It comes from within.

13. Don’t analyze the way average players do.

When an average chess player loses a game, he or she goes home and starts reviewing the openings. Don’t be like them. Work on endgames and positional chess.

14. Take it easy before an important tournament
Sometimes a rest day will yield much better results.

15. Don’t wear a T-shirt or hat that tells others how much you love chess.
Show your love by dedicating yourself to the game and performing strongly in it.

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