One of the benefits of a classical chess education is that you don’t learn to do things the wrong way. Unfortunately very few Western club players have had this luxury and when their self taught methods are practiced sufficiently they become bad habits.
It can be a difficult job change them, the best approach being to become aware of them and then then superimpose correct habits on top. With enough of this mindful practice the old habits will start to lose control over our thinking. But it can be a difficult and thorny process.
The following game shows that I’ve struggled with this myself. After more than a decade of playing the Modern Defence my tolerance of cramped positions became greatly enhanced! And when I started playing classical openings this ‘tolerance’ came back to haunt me, as in the following game:
Did things get better? Fortunately yes. After a few more years my ‘Modern’ days were thoroughly behind me and now I couldn’t imagine playing a game on just three ranks.
Would it have been better if I’d never played this way in the first place? Probably it would, but then it seemed like a good idea at the time.