It’s happened to all of us: we lose one game, play another, lose that one, play another, and lose that one once again. This keeps going on and on until we can’t even count the number of games we have just lost. It is important to know how to turn around a losing streak so that we don’t lose rating points, and more importantly, confidence.
Below are four tips on how to turn around a losing streak while playing chess online or even face-to-face.
1. Take a Break
This one is probably the most obvious of all of them. However, many times it is hard to do. This is because we get trapped in a cycle of losing and keep thinking that the next game is the one that will turn it all around.
If this ever happens to you, take a break from chess for a few hours to a few days, depending on how long your losing streak is. This will help you reset your brain and rest before you continue playing.
Exercise is very important to our body and to our minds. If you feel yourself start to get into a losing streak, stop playing and exercise as soon as possible. This will help you get a much-needed break and will also give you a chance to get rid of the stress accumulated while playing.
Once, at a tournament, I was close to getting a draw against a very high rated player, but
made a blunder in the last moment and lost. This really got to me and in the next round, I drew against someone several hundred points below me.
After that game, I went upstairs to the hotel’s gym and jogged on the treadmill for half an hour. I won my next round, which led to me regaining my confidence and winning the remaining rounds of the tournament as well.
As you can see, exercise really helps you end a streak of bad performance. So if some time you are in a losing streak, I highly encourage you to take a pause and exercise!
3. Study Chess Theoretically For a While
If the games are not going your way, take a pause and study chess “theoretically.” This means that you review opening lines, solve tactics, or read a chess book. That way, you don’t feel like you are wasting time and not playing chess, but you will not be losing any games (since you aren’t playing any).
This method has worked for me as well as others and I highly suggest you use it. However, if you are solving tactics, make sure that you don’t fall into a losing streak with those as well. If that ever happens, go straight to reading chess books or reviewing openings.
4. Try a Different Time Control
If you are playing online chess and start losing in one time control, try changing it to another one!
It is pretty well known that “Bullet” (1-2 minutes per side) games are not very good for you if you want to improve your chess. However, I have found that it helps clear my mind if I am in a losing streak in a Blitz or Rapid time control.
Overall, the best thing that (in my experience) helps stop a losing streak is taking a break. Whether it be taking a break for exercise or studying chess another way, taking a break from playing is often the best thing you can do to end a losing streak.