Are you a chess player, but just don’t have the time to get to a club and show off your prowess? Maybe you are just in a location that doesn’t allow much over the board action, and therefore you play mostly online. Whatever the case, you deserve the best game you can get! Following are a few hints and ideas that might just pick your win rate up a bit.
First and foremost, try and make your surroundings as quiet as possible. Mark my words, you will never find a tournament hall that sounds like a rock concert. This means that when playing chess on the Internet, turn the TV off, turn the radio off, and close the windows up if the neighbors have loud music or tools. Very few of us can think three or four moves deep with so much noise in the room, so make it as quiet as you can.
Try to shut off your instant messengers and email notifications for the duration of your play. Having friends BEEP and BOP at us while we are trying to keep from losing a knight in a coy trap is surely annoying. Typing to someone over the IM window is just as distracting as having a voice conversation, which is why conversations are not allowed in chess tournaments. If I had a nickel for every time I dropped a piece or lost a game due to some dingbat in the IM window, I’d be able to retire.
Sometimes I feel the need to incessantly check my emails, as well. This is an extremely bad habit to get into when it comes to chess on the Internet. One has to switch windows to check what emails are there, and by the time you’ve read and responded to a couple of them, you have to get your mind back into the game at hand, increasing your chances of missing vital aspects. If you don’t think you will be able to play the whole game uninterrupted, consider playing at another time.
Also, try to play longer games. Yes, bullet chess and blitz chess are fun mouse races, but when it comes to real chess, try and slow down a bit. If you are playing a sixty minute game as opposed to a five minute game, maybe some distractions won’t hurt you as bad, because there is more time to get back into the zone and think. Ever wonder why standard (long chess) ratings are generally higher online than blitz or bullet ratings?
Now sign on to your favorite chess site and win a few!