USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Fitness helps your Chess!
Many people ask me what's the best way to improve at chess and how to prepare for chess tournaments. What should their training day look like, how much time spent on openings, middle game, etc.
I cannot stress enough how important physical preparation is before chess tournaments. Chess competition is tough, requires many hours spent at the chess board, with maximum concentration. You need all your strength and nerves to be in top form. Nothing will prepare you better than being in best physical form. All you need for that is to do some kind of sport regularly, and keep in mind that watching sports on TV, even the Olympics does not count! ;-)
I try to start every day with a 5K run. Above you can see me at the Valentine 5K run from last week, where I ran in 22:38 minutes (my record is just over 21 minutes a couple years ago).
As for chess training, I recommend solving a lot of chess middle game puzzles, to bring up to speed your tactical skills. Remember chess is a game where "pattern recognition" is key, so solving many puzzles really helps, especially to be sharp right before competition. Don't concentrate too much on the openings, as in my opinion the only goal of the opening is to enter a "playable" middle game, and all you need for that is to follow simple chess opening principles. It's in the middle game where you can show you superiority over your opponent, by outplaying him or her, by putting your pieces on better squares, by managing a nice King-side attack for example. Studying the end game is also very important, so that you will know when you can exchange pieces to reach a winning endgame, and if you reach one such "winning" endgame, to win it with certainty.
So good luck in your chess preparation, but remember to go out and do some sports, it will help your chess, I guarantee it!
Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion