Success with CARS

CARS is an acronym:

C – Control (your Attitude)

A – Adapt (to changes)

R – Refine (your strength)

S – Seek (information and knowledge)

Control your Attitude

An urge to approach the game of chess (or basically anything) with the right attitude. What do I want to achieve with my time investment today? Do I want to play bullet (empty chess calories but “fun”) or improve in something (e.g., endgames) by focusing a study? Do I go through the pain of previous losses and analyze (without engine!) what went wrong? Do I play (only) to win, or am I trying to learn as much as possible from a game?

How do I handle worse positions? Will I try to fight to the very end and give up easily if a pawn down?

Adapt to changes

As you improve your chess and your rating goes up, the average players rating you play against also goes up. This changes the flow of the games. Up to the expert level, many chess players have quite a tendency to self-destruct. A stronger player can usually wait for these mistakes to occur and then try to exploit them. With higher rating your opponents will make less and different types of mistakes, so you need to learn and find new ways of exploiting those. As a result, your game flow might change as well and your approach to how to win that next game.

Refine your strength

What to do: Strengthening strengths or mending weaknesses? In chess, the answer is easy. If you want to reach expert or master level, you will not get around the basics. You might enjoy certain positions and aspects more than others, but with major weaknesses you will always underperform. A good idea might be to redefine your strength.

For example: If you noticed that you started some rook endings with one or two more pawns, but it just always turns out to be a draw or you even lose, then it is time to study some rook endings. From now on, be the person who saves a lost rook endgame because your opponent is playing imprecisely! Be the dreaded rook endgame opponent, whom you better outplay in the middlegame because it will be difficult afterwards!

The same goes for other areas: openings, tactics, finding plans …

Seek information and knowledge

Chess has been played for a very long time. Each new generation has learned from the games of the players before you. If something in your own game did not go as planned, it is helpful to be better prepared the next time by finding out what strong players have tried in the specific situation (e.g., pawn structure). There are also great books, courses, or videos available.

If you don’t know how to start and what to work on it helps to choose a trainer or coach and work with him.

Remember: CARS are moving forward!