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On chess: New year, new chess resolution

Eight Player Super Swiss Tournament at the St. Louis Chess Club
Austin Fuller
St. Louis Chess Club
Eight Player Super Swiss Tournament at the St. Louis Chess Club

Less than 8% of people actually stick to their New Year’s resolutions, according to some estimates, yet millions of Americans continue to set goals with high hopes of a better year ahead. No matter what you want to accomplish in chess for 2022, it's all about sticking to your goals. Before you set your own goals, it’s important to remember a few tips:

  • Keep it simple. Your chances of sticking with a resolution are much greater if the resolution is a simple one.
  • Make it measurable. "What is measured is managed." Don't set resolutions that are hard to track.
  • Be positive. Don't give up if you miss a day. Celebrate the progress you've made, press reset, and start over.

With that, here are a variety of resolutions to consider:

1. More time for chess: Let’s face it — life happens and often our hobbies are pushed to the background. As we head into a new year, dedicate time each day or week to chess. Block time on your calendar, get up early — whatever it takes to ensure you have time to play and study more.

2. Mix it up: Are you stuck in a rut with your current game plan? Start exploring new options and resolve to try a new opening or close in your next game or tournament. Follow some of your favorite chess players and study how they play — then work to adapt some of their moves into your next match.

3. Join a chess club: Local chess clubs are a great way to learn more about chess, improve your skills and create connections with other chess players. You can visit uschess.org and click on “Clubs & Tournaments” then “Chess Clubs” for an online directory of chess clubs affiliated with US Chess.

4. Get a chess coach: A good chess coach can help you identify your weaknesses and target your chess study to improve in those areas. You can look for either in-person coaching at your local chess club or access thousands of coaches online through a variety of chess organizations and forums.

5. Attend a championship tournament: One of the best ways to improve your own game is to study the games of others, so consider attending the Cairns Cup, the Sinquefield Cup, 2022 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, all hosted at the St. Louis Chess Club.

6. Play in a tournament: If you have been playing for a while but want to step up your game, consider competing in a local tournament. Many chess clubs will offer tournament play for different levels or players — or you can also join online tournaments and play against similarly skilled players nationwide. Visit the St. Louis Chess Club’s website to learn more about weekly online and in-person tournaments.

No matter your resolution, remember to focus on what matters, play when you can and never give up. Chess is a lifelong affair.

The St. Louis Chess Club (STLCC) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures. Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the St. Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs.