How to play chess by yourself
It seems contradictory to want to play a game that is supposed to be played by two people, but playing chess by yourself is a very good practice that will help us to scan our way of playing chess, we will realize with more simplicity where our weak points are and in what kind of positions we feel more comfortable.
Playing chess alone is a practice similar to meditation (one could say that it is a type of chess meditation) where we discover ourselves. Magnus Carlsen himself gave as advice to play chess with yourself.
What is needed to play chess by yourself
First let's look at what we will need to enjoy and get the most out of it.
We need a physical chessboard so that we can play more comfortably and so that there are no distractions that can interrupt us, such as messages or notifications, as could be the case if we occupy our electronic devices.
A place to practice
We need a place where there are as few distractions as possible, forcing us to interrupt our training.
It can be somewhere in our home like our office or workplace, but avoiding the places where we usually relax like the couches or our bed because our body and brain will start to relax too much. We do not have to be neither in a place where we are too stressed or relaxed, but one where we are attentive so we can be in maximum concentration playing chess by yourself.
To play chess by yourself, it is necessary to set aside some time in our day, we do not want to simply move the pieces with the first ideas that come to our mind but to think carefully about each move, taking notes of the ideas that come to our mind and then check if what we thought was a correct idea.
Something to write down our ideas
We are going to need something to write down the ideas that come to our mind while we play chess by yourself.
Write down everything that is useful for our improvement, such as an idea in the opening, a position where we have several options to continue and we hesitate between which is the best move (we write down all the options to review them later), possible plans, tactical or strategic mistakes, etc.
How to play chess by yourself
Well, once we have everything ready and prepared to start with our training we have to see how we are going to play chess by yourself, which is going to be the methodology to complete our training.
Playing the same openings
We have to play the openings that we always play, the openings that are in our repertoire, we don't have to try things or invent. Let's remember that one of the objectives of this training is to look for weaknesses in what we play regularly.
Take your time to play
As we said before, what we want in this training is to take calm decisions, we do not want to play blitz against ourselves (that would not make sense), at least take 5 to 8 minutes of reflection between moves.
It is not necessary to finish the whole game the same day, the more time we spend reflecting on our game the better it will be.
Taking note of the ideas that can be useful to us and things that we can improve.
Practice our thinking algorithm
Above all, we have to practice our thinking algorithm in chess. The algorithm is the order and how we make decisions, for example the standard way is to first evaluate the position, see what the opponent's threats are, then look for our candidate moves and finally calculate each of them to finally make a decision on which one to play.
Over time, everyone creates and refines his or her own thinking algorithm that also accommodates his or her own style of play.
Books for playing chess by yourself
There are different resources that propose this training in different very didactic ways, here are some books that I recommend to use.
Slow but hard work
Finally, as a final recommendation remember that it is much better to train slow, but well done, than fast and lightly. If we have done it right the results will come sooner or later.
This training is recommended to be done every few months, so we can realize how we are improving when we train other things of our chess and what we can continue to improve.
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