Building Good Habits

With summer coming to an end, I have been thinking a lot lately about what I can do to facilitate chess improvement during the inevitably busy school year that lies ahead. As my daily schedule will be packed with course work and other activities, it will be quite difficult to find time for chess or even just find the motivation to put serious effort into studying the game.

When time is lacking and motivation is low, I find good habits to be a fantastic way to keep hopes of attaining a certain goal afloat. When it comes to chess, I have been working diligently on integrating a few positive habits into my daily routine that I can rely on to sustain my improvement during the upcoming school year. While I will no longer be able to study chess for large chunks of time every day like I was during the summer, smaller chess training habits will allow me to keep improving even during the busiest of times.

Training Habit #1: 30 minutes of tactics

The title explains it all: half an hour every morning of focused tactical training on an online tactics trainer. Daily tactics training is extremely beneficial because it reinforces tactical patterns that crop up perpetually in games and keeps one’s tactical eye very sharp. Since reintroducing tactical training into my daily chess routine, I have been blundering much less often and calculating more efficiently during games.

Training Habit #2: Book review

Every day after completing my tactical training, I spend about thirty minutes reviewing a lesson from the Yusupov book that I am currently studying. I strongly believe that reviewing old or previously studied material is just as important as reading new chess material because it ensures that more information is retained.

Training Habit #3: Read one chess article

Taking as little as five minutes every day to read a chess article about a recent GM tournament, a strategic principle, or a neat endgame can go a long way to maintain interest in the game. Personally, I have not only thoroughly enjoyed following but also learned a lot from articles covering recent top level events.

Over the course of the next month, I plan to stick to these three habits every day so that by the time school comes around, the three activities above will be second nature. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below!


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