Playing Too Much

Most amateur players find it difficult to get enough games. After balancing the needs of work and family there can often seem to be little time for chess. To some extent the internet has been helpful, as long as the games played there are treated in a reasonably serious manner.

There is also the opposite problem, that of playing too much. When players play vast numbers of games they can start to play on autopilot. This will tend to reinforce bad habits which then become very difficult to overlay with good ones.

Internet blitz is especially damaging in this regard as a lot of bad moves will go unpunished. And if you go on the internet after hard day at work you’re almost sure to play in a light hearted way which in turn can start to appear in your real games?

What’s the solution? Essentially it’s good to have a target of a particular number of games per annum whether they’re in club chess, tournaments or on the internet. Players with little time for terrestrial chess probably need a few internet games to make up the numbers, but then limits should be imposed. Have a plan to play a particular number of games, probably at one of the slower time limits, and then stick to it.

How many games should that be? The recommended dose for tournament games used to be around 50-70 long play games per annum, but rapid play games should count as 1/3 of the value. So a combination of 30 long games and 60 rapid games would just about meet the quota.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.