Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pre-game Rituals and Routines for Chess

In my Game 37 post, I made a comment about my goal to be consistent.  Later on, a light bulb went on in my head ... I need a warm-up; a pre-game routine or ritual, that I would do every single time I play a long game.

I also had some other ideas come to me, which I'll talk about in a later post.  Those ideas are to the effect of making a set of KPIs for myself with regard to the quality of my play.  I would commit to doing several things (every time I play a game) and then I would grade myself post-game.

But for now, I just need a simple routine.

A couple of google hits spurred some ideas.  This one from tanc and this one from Joshua Specht at  I like Joshua's approach a bit more ... meaning warming up from a chessboard perspective and not so much from a bowl movement perspective :-).  Also, one thing Joshua said stood out: "I've played in many tournaments where I've woken up within minutes of the start of the round. The usual result is that I groggily stumble into the playing room, having lost valuable time on the clock. Worse yet, it takes me another 20-30 minutes before I'm calculating clearly."  The 20-30 minutes before calculating correctly ... that has happened to me so many times ... I start a game (spur of the moment on-line, or even a 45 45 game and I just sputter along and my mind goes blank.  It takes time to get that brain to churn sometimes.

So here goes a 'draft' version of my pre-game routine:

Immediately Before the Game (30-60 minutes before)

1) Drink some OJ.

2) Solve at least 20 tactics at ChessTempo.  First 10 will be from my "missed list" and the other 10 will be from blitz mode.

3) Play a few 5 3 blitz games.

4) Do some physical activity - brisk walking, push-ups and sit-ups, etc - about 10 minutes before game.

5) Review my commitments/KPIs and thought process (to be discussed in a later post).

Day Before / Day of Game Prep

* Get at least 8 hours sleep the night (or few nights) before
* None to very little carb-laden or starch-laden foods
* Eat lightly from 4 hours before game
* Manage the caffeine intake
* Take vitamin D a bit later in the morning or mid-day if game is in afternoon or night (produces wakefulness for me)
* Bobby Fisher is said to eat a big steak for his pre-meal.  I think steak is good a few hours before the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment