Game Spotlight: Being an Intermediate Player

Being an intermediate chess player can be frustrating.

We’re used to building from beginner stages to mastery through schooling.  But in school, courses are designed so you’re never exposed to anything that would require advanced knowledge before you learn it.  Chess works very differently.  We may learn some skills before ever playing a game, but as soon as we start playing any control over what you experience disappears.  To cope, we figure out and build our own habits, many of which are wrong.

This means that for intermediate players, games contain wild swings in terms of quality play.  Some points in the game align with things they’re good at, and those are played well.  Other points feed into bad habits, and are played poorly.  While this definitely points towards how to improve (it involves unlearning poor habits as well as learning good skills to replace them), for the purposes of this article, let’s look at the inconsistency problem in practice:

All this is highly individual, and most improvement involving unlearning habits takes serious work.  (Though not all — if one of your issues is forgetting to hit the clock and/or forgetting to record the game’s moves, those can be fixed by forcing yourself to repeat the correct practice for move after move.)  But an honest assessment of bad habits is the first step forward.

Our next tournament is still in signups, and there are still spots available.  Head over to our club there and sign up if you want to participate.  It’s absolutely free.

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