Many chess players have problem concentrating on a current position during the game. There are many distracting factors that negatively affect player’s ability to fully concentrate. There is no surprise that if a player cannot fully concentrate on the position he will most likely miscalculate, make a mistake and lose the game. Today we will learn about 3 simple, but very effective exercises that will help you to improve the concentration ability.
Exercise 1: Follow the Clock
Ability to fully concentrate on the position is something that all chess Grandmasters possess. Without this very important skill it is nearly impossible to calculate many moves ahead, and to come up with the best move in a complex position after hours of chess. Some chess players have inherent concentration ability, while most others need to work hard to develop this important skill.
Here is the first, and a very effective exercise that will help you to learn how to fully concentrate on the subject of interest. Follow the seconds hand on an analog clock with your eyes; don’t let any thought enter your mind. Think only about that seconds hand. The goal of the exercise is to be able to do keep concentration for 2-3 minutes. If any random thought enters your mind during that time, restart the timer. Repeat every day for at least one week.
Exercise 2: Tic-Tac-Toe
Have you ever wondered how this simple game can help your chess? In fact, it can greatly enhance some of the very vital skill needed for high level chess. For this exercise two chess players play blindfolded Tic-Tac-Toe visualizing the board. The third person acts as a referee, recording all moves on a piece of paper. Not only this exercise helps to build the concentration skills, but it also improves your general visualization, something that many chess players are severely lacking.
Tip: you can use something similar to algebraic notation to call the moves. After 3×3 board game becomes too simple, you can repeat with 4×4 and 5×5.
Exercise 3: Walk The King
This is another blindfold chess variant. The king is positioned in the center of the board. Two players need to visualize the position of the king and “walk” him switching turns. The king in this exercise can only move horizontally or vertically (left, right, up, down). Diagonal moves are illegal. The third person acts as a referee, recording the moves. The objective is to keep the king in the board boundaries. Player who drives the king from the board loses. This exercise also improved one’s concentration ability as well as works on visualization skills.
When that becomes too simple you can add few pawns on the board. The pawns cannot not be captures and the king cannot step on squares already occupied by the pawns.
Bonus Exercise: The Black Dot
This is a very old exercise that is suggested by many psychologists around the globe to help improving one’s concentration ability. First you need to draw a black dot on a piece of paper and position it on the same level as your eyes. You should be able to easily see the dot without straining your vision. You need to relax and look at the dot for few seconds. After some time you will “feel” the dot and it will seem like you are actually touching the dot with your eyes. That means full concentration is achieved. Repeat on daily basis for at least one week.
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Credits: All information is obtained from public domain and adapted for TheChessWorld.com