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jstevens1 191 ( +1 | -1 )
Slump - Anyone know how to get out of it? Dear all on this forum.

Although I still have one outstanding game in my profile, I am virtually taking a sabbatical from chess until a month from now (late October) before I take on any new challenges. The reason for this is that I played a lot of games over the first few weeks of September (including the GK38 which I am now knocked out of). If you look at my profile my rating has taken a huge dive since the start of this month. I have lost all my games against all players north of my rating - although a chess buddy (2000+ rating) has told me that I was competitive in all these games -all I have to show for them is a big round blob in my scoresheet (6 games on the bounce!) and have drawn four games south of my rating. As a result, my confidence has taken a huge dive. I have been making oversights which would have influenced the results heavily in my favour had I not made them. In three of the four drawn games (offers initiated by me) I had winning chances but did not spot them. My buddy has gone through some of the games (which I have accordingly annotated) and is about to go through some more when he has time to do this. In the meantime I have been looking at chess books such as Bruce Pandolfini's Chess Doctor and have just downloaded a Novice Nook Article about Candidate Moves, which I hope will help me play better chess when I start playing again. Hopefully my rating will then start to climb again.

Has anybody been through a similar slump? If anybody has, and if anybody has any other ideas on how to get out of a slump, then please let me know because I would like to feel I am not alone in going through this hell.

Good luck in all your games and I look forward to hearing from you.


jstevens1 (Joanne)
kewms 132 ( +1 | -1 )
If you are making technical oversights and missing winning chances, there's a good chance you are moving too quickly. Your average time per move of 1.8 hours points in that direction as well.

Above 1700 (GK rating) or so, the opposition also gets qualitatively stronger. Above that rating, people seem to be much more solid overall, which means they are both less likely to make mistakes themselves and more likely to punish your mistakes. You have to outplay them to win.

Remember that, by definition, you will lose half your games to players at your own rating. That also means that your rating isn't really accurate until you start playing people strong enough to beat you. Since your total number of games is still relatively low, it's entirely possible that this "slump" is simply a sign that your rating is getting close to your actual level.

I went through a stretch earlier this year where I lost 13 out of 15 games. I consoled myself by remembering that they were almost all rated nearly 200 points higher, but that doesn't mean it was fun. It is, however, a necessary part of improving.

Good luck!

schnarre 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Slumps Been there mate! In fact I'm probably in one right now.

I typically cut back on the number of games I play, for a while till I can get back into the routine again & it usually helps.
ccmcacollister 103 ( +1 | -1 )
hi! Well YES ... unfortunately, my slump has been going on for about 4 years now .... :)
so I am a fine one to make any suggestions. BUT .... perhaps you need to reacquire a fascination with the game.
For me that would usually mean STUDY. I have a balance of play vs study that I cant seem to break without consequences. So looking at GM games is the thing. Or picking a favorite GM and trying to make your game more like them. The style and all. Surely something very interesting will be found. Plus you get new ideas from what they do to carry to your games.
Another idea is to not be so serious for awhile. Play some unrated games even vs lower rated player if you want. Then use new openings. And play the wild stuff. KGA, Goring, Dragon etc. Maybe sac some pieces "just to see". Set out to LOSE if that what it takes, but with the idea, "but i will make it Interesting"!
just some thoughts ... }8-)
Hopefully someone has other ideas too. I want to watch this thread for my own slump! :))
ccmcacollister 34 ( +1 | -1 )
hmmm ... Another angle to take ... make it HARDER. Make it so hard it SCARES you to move and you will get you attention back! :) Maybe pick a few players over 2000 or whatever it takes to do that. Then set yourself a goal and a reward. Perhaps a night on the town if you get a draw or better in one. Or lasting longer than 30 or 40 in all. Whatever works :)
heinzkat 33 ( +1 | -1 )
I have to admit I am in a chess slump too! After nearly six months of no rated OTB losses, I suffered a defeat 11/2 weeks ago, and even worse... my chess has become somewhat sloppy. What to do about it? I always thought, just play a lot and it'll come back naturally, but ... that's not the way it works, apparently.

No helpful tips from my side here. :)
rt4sm 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting... Heinzkat in a chess slump? No way, from what i've seen Heinzkat's virtually invincible! Anyway, most of my time on GK has produced solid improvement in my game, the only real slump i've had was early on, where i lost about 250 points in a week. That coincided with me becoming a paying member, so perhaps you slumpers have allowed your gameload to go too high. I found a good way to get out of it was to look back at what you've done right in previous games, remind yourself that you haven't lost that ability overnight, then simply try and recapture that ability in your games.
Katherine makes some accurate points, apart from the one about losing half your games against people your own rating. Some people like me always struggle against people they're own rating, wheras others can easily beat people above them, it seems to vary from person to person...
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muppyman 65 ( +1 | -1 )
universal mallaise I think it happens to most, if not all of us. It certainly happens to me with alarming frequency, but after the smoke clears, its still just a game, the most magnificent game ever given to us by the gods, but a game nevertheless. I sometimes think the hardest thing about chess is to stop loving it, so I dont try. On one day I will play the most appalling rubbish, and the next day I find myself seeing simply beautiful combinative lines, and I guess the most consistent aspect of my chess currently is inconsistency. Be assured of one thing, if you continue playing chess, your ability will reaffirm its own level. Good luck and good chess. :)
chessnovice 19 ( +1 | -1 )
... I was in a horrible slump in 2005, and didn't know how to get out of it. I think I escaped it by not playing chess for a few months. Not that I advocate abandoning the game, but sometimes a mental vacation can really do you well.
ionadowman 103 ( +1 | -1 )
chessnovice ... ... that tends to me my approach. But then, Chess is not my major hobby, having discovered, back in the '70s, the wonders of miniatures wargaming (I have at least 20 [historical] armies in plastic and lead figures and models, in varying stages of completion ...). So chess kind of occupies the gaps in my time, rather, and I very easily get "chessed out" (which is why I haven't played competitive chess for 20 years or more). I know of players far stronger than I am who also seemed to drop out of chess altogether (one I knew, a young guy, I think top 10 in New Zealand in his day, took up Go instead, which, though nowhere near as strong, he seemed to enjoy more).
So my approach isn't for everyone. A break can be good, to recover the appetite for chess, but here's a thing. Someone once told me that slumps can happen when one is going through some kind of subconscious learning process. Perhaps the subject has no idea what is being learned, but, working through it, comes out of the slump much the stronger. Could there be something in this?
ccmcacollister 74 ( +1 | -1 )
jstevens1 ... I know you saw this, so this is for those who have not ....

I was personally Very Happy to see that the current NOVICE NOOK (#60) from WSCHMIDT is addressing this very topic~! [And let's not forget that his Chess Coaching Club is still here at GK to help us out, too .]

The Novice Nook article linked to here in Chess Forum is all about Slumps, Ruts and Plateaus this time. A definite must to help us all figure just what our real Chess malady Is About!? :) Below is the link to the GK thread, that links to the Nook.



jstevens1 183 ( +1 | -1 )
Thank you all Thank you all for your kind feedback. It is very much appreciated. I have taken on board your suggestion, ccmcacollister (Craig) for me to play unrated games until I feel more confident. I have sent two unrated challenges to two buddies and am waiting to hear from them. I have also updated my profile with my wish to play unrated games only until further notice.

I acknowledge the fact that I have been hard on myself - I fully acknowledge the fact that I have played against strong opposition and am very pleased that I did give all of them (particularly the 2000+ players) some run for their money. It's a pity I have nothing to show for it - just a big round blob on my scoresheet and Lost, Lost, Lost in my profile. As a result I felt so sad and frustrated and was full of if onlys and wishing I could have done more.

I have now gone through these games with my trainer and have busily annotated them and will refer back to them when I feel I need to. I have also been running through some of the lessons/quizzes on the Kids Chess Training Programme that has been mentioned on another thread. I know it is a load of elementary stuff, but having to answer questions sure makes me think before I make that move.

I just hope that people will be willing to take me on unrated - after all most people may be just wanting to up their rating and not want to stand still. But it will be so lovely if I can get some unrated games so I can keep playing and at the same time try and chill out and enjoy my chess again.

Again, thanking you all for your support in what has been a difficult time for me.

All the best.

jstevens1 (Joanne)
wrecktangle 71 ( +1 | -1 )
...sorry I'm late... ...I've just discovered this forum and have started reading.

Anyway, what I did when I was playing OTB (I basically played semi-pro for 10 years) was I got totally away from the game for at least a week, sometimes two (I'd go on vacation from Postal for 2-3 weeks), especially after a bad tourney. Usually, I came around after this amount of time.

And when I came back if I did not feel up to tearing apart my games to analyze the mistakes, I'd spend several days going over endgames, half time on rook & pawn & the rest on various other types. This usually worked as it was different enough from working over opening books and game analysis.
ccmcacollister 121 ( +1 | -1 )
Addendum: don't forget to ... TAKE advantage of your "slump"!

The other thing I wanted to add now is ... We need not Enjoy our losses, but DO Value them. For they have real value if we let them. IMO, especially if one does not have a trainer, a player MUST take losses to ever become good/better. That is where you get a lot of ideas to do things you haven't seen before or known how to do. GM games may bypass a lot of such ideas simply due to knowing the other GM would know how to handle them easily. But we may not.
I firmly believe losses did apply greatly to my own development in correspondence play.

My thought about losses. Realize they are opportunities and capitalize on them! (1) They tell you something that you are not doing well, to watch out for in the future. And (2) you can TAKE the ideas used to beat you and turn them around and do them to YOUR opponents~! Either they win for You too... or if they do not, it will be because you opponent has played well against that idea; so then YOU will know how to handle it too, if someone does try it against you again. A real Win/Win situation! Sound good? :)
Remember, whatever you find out from a loss is something you have PAid for in advance; so turnabout is more than fair! :)
Regards, Craig A.C.