Below I will share some important things that will help you get the most out of the time you spend on training chess.
1. Avoid studying when you are too tired.
A fresh and positive mood can go a long way in helping you get the most from your study time. Studying when you are tired can be counter-productive in the sense that you develop lazy thinking habits. At the same time, the mistakes you make while training tired will frustrate you. Take a break when you find it hard to focus.
2. Take as much as possible from your study before moving on
Don’t be tempted to rush through any materials you are studying. Enjoy the time you spend on chess training. There can be a lot to learn in a seemingly simple position.
3. Don’t skip too many days
With the exception of taking a planned break from chess, consistent daily study for a shorter amount of time will be more effective than spending a multiple hours only occasionally.
4. Make notes of the things that made a big impression on you
Get yourself a notebook for chess. Writing a note on something that impressed you will help you remember it better. Make yourself comfortable with a cup of coffee and read through your notes to refresh your mind on important ideas.
5. Repeat exercises you have done before
Repetition is not a waste of time, a martial artist will repeat a kick a thousand times in order to perfect every aspect of the kick! It is essentially impossible to read the lessons quickly and understand the true meaning! Every time you repeat a lesson it will help you understand the lesson deeper and remember it better.
6. Remove possible distractions before studying
In our modern times distractions are everywhere – email, radio, television, pets, Facebook and your iPad (unless of course you’re studying the course from your iPad) are just a few examples of the things that can rob you from valuable study time. Take steps to eliminate these distractions as far as possible before you start training.
7. Play slow games often and avoid too many blitz games
Practice to apply your knowledge in real game situations. However, play at slower time controls (minimum 15 minutes per side). The point here is that slow games encourage you to think deeper – which in turn will help develop your chess thinking skills and concentration.
8. Take short breaks from your training
We tend to not notice how much our thought process is compromised when our mind is tired. If you are working on materials that require a high amount of concentration – take a short break every 15-30 minutes. It will allow you to concentrate for longer periods of time.
9. Analyze your own games
Analyzing your own games is one of the best ways to review your thinking methods and make improvements. If you don’t have access to someone you can ask – then a strong chess engine can be very helpful. Developing your skill to analyze games with the guidance of a chess engine will be very useful.
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