Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
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Improving your tournaments’ chess results

Playing chess tournaments is a beautiful and challenging moment for us chess-lovers. The chess tournament player needs to have certain habits to get their chess results better.

To have good chess results in competitions we need a certain level of preparation. This preparation is following practices intended to train different points, like opening repertoire.

This may be important but is not essential, there are some techniques to train many points in a chess player. Some could be intended to sharpen the tactical vision, for example, others may be to reinforce our motivation or mindset to face the tournament.

If you want to improve your chess results in tournaments you need to implement different practices to your pre-competition special training. When you join a tournament your previous knowledge is all you have to defend yourself and come out on top.

I’m going to share with you some tricks to be in excellent form to get the best chess results for your score. I will explain how to train before a tournament, the mindset you need to have, and some practical advice.

Getting the correct mindset

chess results motivation

The best preparation for a chess tournament would be to start the week before the competition starts. I’m not going to talk deeply about eating well, exercising, or forgetting about training for a little while.

These parts of the preparation must be over-understood by the player. You need to make yourself comfortable and happy, if you feel good is highly probable you get good chess results.

Implementing habits to feel comfortable and better will make you easy and more relaxed. You want to avoid any negative states of mind like anxiety, sadness, or rage.

These could interfere with your emotional status. I already wrote an article in which I refer to the importance of confidence and motivation for obtaining better chess results.

Also, make sure to visualize yourself achieving the victory in a tournament, this will give you more confidence.

Now, talking about the purely chess oriented preparation for tournaments, there is one myth about training:

“You must study more and more intensely to get the chess results you hope to get”

FALSE!!!

You want to train or study normally as always but spending a little bit less time on that. Say you train 3 hours a day, well, you will have to study just 1.

You may be thinking: “But, if I want to get the best results, am I not supposed to give everything I have?

Yes, but not before the tournament starts! Your brain is a muscle you have to train, but if you know you will strain its potential in a future tournament you have to let it rest for the moments.

Chess training for the best chess result!

chess results tournament

Now before the tournament, you want to train actively and intensely but avoiding pushing yourself so hard. You can do this with what fits you the most, solving tactical puzzles or playing some games.

I don’t recommend to read books or watch videos because these are passive study method, this is also a great way to learn, but not quite good to improve tournament chess results.

Always train:

  • Your openings so you feel extra secure with your favorite one
  • Tactical vision (obviously is always important)
  • Your positional understanding and strategic concepts

Remember not to push yourself so hard part! If you don’t feel like solving puzzles try something different, if you don’t want to study now it’s ok! Don’t do it!

Just take chess out of your mind for a while (which for some may be hard to do) but pay attention to your mind. If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it then or you’ll make it worse.

Enjoy the tournament

chess results pieces

Most chess players got so focused on their final chess result in the competition that they forget the whole point of the game of chess.

The most important thing is that chess is a GAME! It’s supposed to be fun, enjoy it! Getting upset for a mistake or dropping a game is very common at amateur levels.

If they lost the first round they tend to get angry or sad, this causes a lack of motivation in them, until they lose every game.

All of us have committed mistakes, it’s not the end of the world, there will be more opportunities, seize them! Dropping the whole tournament just because you slipped a win has happened to me, it is (at least for me) very painful.

However, it’s not like I will not play chess ever again, it’s not like everything is lost. We need to understand that mistaking is a natural part of the process of succeeding and remember:

There are no “errors” in life, just lessons that you need to learn

Be flexible with your chess results

chess results checkmate

I think it’s important to talk about the final chess results in the tournament. Whether we had good chess results or not, the importance of the tournament is to always learn something new.

This may sound “cliché” but we can see the calm explicit in many super GMs at the very top. Funny enough the fact that a lot of amateur players roast themselves after realizing their performance in a tournament.

The chess’ elite like Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Anand, Caruana, Hikaru, don’t stress too much about it. Because if you freak out you will just mess it up much more.

For example, this is one of the most famous quotes from the World’s champion:

I love the game, and I love to compete, but I am not obsessed with the struggle                                                                     –Magnus Carlsen

What Magnus means is to compete, train, and make the best effort you can, but always remember to play and have fun.

And this is one important key to success, you don’t need to try so hard, just take it easy and be patient, it’s a game after all.

You may also like:

The Truth about 2700 Chess. They are not invincible

Chess bishop maneuvering to beat your Rivals

Bogo-Indian Defense

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SHIV SHOME India
Alberto is giving me step by step guidance on how to progress in chess. Because of his strong repertoire and game analysis support I was able to get an initial rating of 2148. My sincere thanks to my mentor Alberto who constantly supports me in my game analysis and helps me strengthen my game before going to the next rounds. He has a huge database of knowledge that caters to the beginner up to the master level. Thank you, Alberto, for being there throughout my chess journey.
ARVIND VIDYARTHI USA
Vyom and Omya have been learning from Coach Alberto since they were USCF rated ~1500 & ~1000 respectively. Coach Alberto played a critical role in understanding Vyom’s weaknesses and helped him overcome them. He has been an exceptional chess coach with a lot of patience with my kids. He played an instrumental role in teaching them different openings for both black and white. He is always available to help/guide them. He helps to analyze the games and suggest good moves. Our kids are very comfortable with the teaching style of Coach Alberto. He being an active player also helps as he shares what he learns from his games and experience as well.

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