What am i doing wrong?

How do i improve the efficientcy of my chess study? How do i get more out the hours i am busy with chess? That were the questions i asked myself when deliberating my chess study. What did i come up with?

First of all let me remind you of my study regime. I am studying tactics, covered with a sauce of tactics, and as dessert a big portion of tactics. With other words my study is (so far) only at one subject of chess , no diversity.

Since i wasn’t progressing the way i liked i decided to analyse my regime and came up with the follow points.

1. Study has a negative ring to me.

Study has a negative ring to me. It sounds to much as if i am back in school. Back in the benches to wear_away my pants. So i decided to rename study to training which in my opinion covers the load much better. I am not cramming my head full of knowlegde that i have to recite at any moment when asked. No, i am training my brain to come up with a good plan during a chess game.

2. I seem to be one of those persons that needs structure

I seem to be one of those persons that needs structure before they can start upload new knowlegde in my brain. Which means that i have to schedule my chess training. No more random training when it pleasses me at nine or eleven o’clock at night but at a set hour namely nine o’clock at evening.

3. Concentration

Concentration on what i am doing isn’t always optimum. I am distracted by television, radio, or even other thoughts that wander into my brain. So sometimes i make mistakes when i am solving tactical puzzles since i am not with my head entirly by the task at hand.

So off go television or/and radio. No more sitting in my comfy couch, laptop on my knees, while trying to solve the exersises of the TASC CD. No more sitting in my comfy couch with a chess book trying to grasp what is written. From now on all my training will be done at my desk without any distraction other then chess.

4. Duration

Duration, which is tightly connected with concentration, per day spend at training will be one hour (atleast for monday to thursday since friday to sunday are still reserved for OTB chess). Better to learn something new in small packages and let it ripe into the brain then smashing the brain with a big load of new knowledge, in a four hour session, that it never can process.

5. Setting goals.

Setting goals. These ‘small deathlines’ will also help me concentrate on my training. 

Before i start with a one hour trainingsession i will set me a certain amount i shall (will) learn. At first i will have troubles with how much that amount of new knowlegde or how much exercises must, may, be. But after awhile i will know how fast i can absorp new knowlegde and will become good in setting my goals per day.


On another note i would like to bring your attention to a wonderfull chess website namely chessedelic . It really is a pearl, a gem, of a website for beginning- and intermediate chess players. Check it out and be amazed what a good job Waldemar Moes, a dutch chess trainer, is doing.


14 Comments on “What am i doing wrong?”

  1. Hiddenleaf says:

    I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, your mind is just protesting against the discipline.

    I do think it’s a good thing not to wait to long with starting your session and that you create a good study environment by not sitting in the couch.

    For me it’s sometimes easier to concentrate with some sound in the background, it seems to prevent me from concentrating too hard. I am perfectly able to listen to an episode of HOUSE on the telly and do a session on CTS (break on failure and succes, as I always do). However, I shouldn’t do these kind of things!

    But it’s a bit simular with running, I like running mainly because it quiets the mind.

    Good luck with your training!

  2. Polly says:

    You need to give it time. I think knowing your weaknesses in terms of routine and structure is an important part of coming up with a plan that works for you.

    In terms of set stuff to learn and how much, I think it’s hard to pinpoint that. For example if you’re studying a particular opening you might tell yourself “in my one hour I’m going to learn the main line out to move 15 and cover these two variations that start at move 10.” You may discover around move 11 one one those two variations taht you’re getting hung up on a certain response. You may have to work out how to deal with that one thing, and not get as far you had planned.

  3. chessx says:

    Don’t get to rapped up with what i must learn,and lose why you play chess the enjoyment.
    I had a similer thing as a runner i got so hung up on improving my times, i lost sight of why i ran in the first place the enjoyment.

  4. chesstiger says:

    @ Hiddenleaf
    Yep, starting to late with a session is inviting yourself to make mistakes when making the exercises because your brain is already thinking about the rest the sleep will bring.

    Thanks for the link. I will check it out if TASC CD2 still has those mistakes. Afterall it’s two years ago kingofthespill wrote that.

    @ Polly

    Oh, i see what you mean. I already have decided if such thing happens it will happens. I will just stop at that point then and not force my brain to do a longer session since then i will probably forget moves out one of those opening lines i learned.

    @ chessx

    It’s just a goal i will set. If i dont make it then it’s no biggie.

  5. Hiddenleaf says:


    What I also ment was: “Van uitstel, komt afstel*”, I’m very good at procrastination. A recent tip that is helping me to work on that a little is to just do what I have to do (for instance studying chess), before other things that are fun or you just do not to do what you really want to do/or know you should do (for instance reading chessblogs.

    And obviously, as you stated, doing them later at night doesn’t improve the quality neither of the studying, nor of the sleeping, nor of the getting up in the morning.

    *For all you English speaking folks out there, these are some words in Dutch.

  6. chesstiger says:

    @ Hiddenleaf

    Thanks for the good tip! Doing first the things that you like less before you go party with the things you like.
    That i didn’t think of that! *wacks his head*

  7. Hiddenleaf says:

    Let me explain it a bit further.

    The idea is that you start doing something you’re bound to postpone (say studying chess for an hour) for just half an hour and then you can do somtething fun (watch the telly, read my blog).

    Or so you just tell yourself, because once you got started you’re more likely to just finish the whole hour instead of stopping (and you won’t watch the telly or read my blog… )

    I got it from a book on procrastination, for me it’s really something that works, can be used instantly and can be used on all things (cleaning, studying and chess, to name a few).

    On the errata sheet:
    My version of TCT is a Millenium proof version 2.01 from 1999 (Help -> about), so I think the info, for me at least, would still be accurate. Please note that I didn’t buy this one second hand.

  8. Dennis says:

    It doesn’t sound like you are doing anything wrong. I have made a bunch of grand plans for chess study myself. Within a week the plan was out the window. When I am at work, I wish I was home looking over chess tactics, then when I get home all I do is play a few blitz games online because I don’t feel like studying. Eventually I am hoping I get tired of sucking so badly and then it will force me to study more!

  9. chesstiger says:

    @ Dennis

    We all have such days and it’s indeed a problem after a day at work to do some chess tactics.

    But you dont have to do alot of chess tactics. Limit yourself to 3-5 problems a day. It’s better to stretch your study over a few days then do it all on one day a week. So try to start small with 3-5 problems a day and once you get the hang of it you can, if you feel like it, do more tactical problems a day.

  10. I think it wouldn’t hurt if you will have some random element, mostly regarding content of your training.
    If I find some interesting opening/endgame, or game, or combination I can spend pretty big amount of time looking at it. The thing is, because it is interesting to me, I tend to remember it longer than if I just study something. It also gives you fun, like when you are playing. We are not professionals, they make a work out of it.

  11. chesstiger says:

    @ Rolling Pawns

    Oh, but i do study random, not planned, things. The entry is just a handhold, i may deviate from it if i find it necessary.

    And yes, you are right. As long as we have fun all is good.

  12. Vic says:

    Chess Tiger,

    On a completely unrelated note – do you know what
    has happened to ‘The Chess Journey’ blog ? It was
    very interesting and I had recommended it to others
    who were equally interested and then, 2 days later, it’s
    completely gone. If you have any knowledge, could you
    please share.



  13. chesstiger says:

    @ Vic

    I am clueless. All i can think of is that they decided not to blog anymore, to keep the training more in secret.
    It was indeed an intresting blog. I am sad to see it’s gone.

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