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usethepawn 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Does stress affect the way you play? I have been a bit stressed out lately with family and friends and other issues and im not really playing all that well...

Can stress be a cause of this?
naamloos 44 ( +1 | -1 )
Absolutely I've noticed that nervs, stress and sleepiness can be devastating to your chess playing abilitys. My last club game was a good example of this. I was very sleepy and stressfull because of problems at school and it caused me losing the game in 15 moves, resigning when there already was a mate in 4 on the board. On the other hand, my best games where played when I did not have school that day and could sleep out.
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luckypawn 28 ( +1 | -1 )
me too... For the past month my playing has gone significantally downward....and I have been stressed out as well. Maybe it had to do with coming back to play after a 20 day vacation as well. I wonder if taking a break from chess for a while let you come back refreshened or rusty.
naamloos 3 ( +1 | -1 )
I would say I would say refreshened and rusty.
misato 217 ( +1 | -1 )
chess is a battle of minds So it is important to have a clear mind to play well. Any mental (stress or other problems) or physical (illness, sleepiness) disturbance out of real life should have bad influence.

For my personal play I found out that I can score far better in the morning than at the end of the day. So my team results are quite okay because the team competition takes place on Sunday morning. But when I play in our club against people who are "evening-people" (from their bio-rhythm) my results are inferior. It helps a bit to have a nap in the afternoon, but not too much.
The best is to have a look at some favourite opening lines, go to bed early on Saturday evening, get up on early Sunday morning (still knowing those lines), have a very little breakfast looking forward to sit at the board with a clear mind. (Of course, the thing with the opening lines is just to gain confidence - it's exceptional when they really appear on the board.)
Returning to the topic, with this sequence there are far less external problems in my mind as in any evening-game. Another problem is that I often feel hungry in the afternoon, and after the evening-meal I suspect my stomach doing better work than my brain - this is okay for digestion, but not for chess. Anyway, again bad external influence.

Two years ago my beloved Grandma died and the funeral was the day before a team match. My team captain asked me to play, but it was completely my decision what to do: I was allowed to resign or draw whenever I felt to - without asking him concerning the team score. So I decided that I didn't like two sad days in sequence, unsure if it would work. My only intention was to play an exciting game, no matter which result. I was feeling absolutely free, and it became one of my best games ever!

There is a lot of influence on a chess game, but in my eyes the personal attitude is the most important one. And you should work on it earlier as 1. e2-e4 (push away non-chess problems or stress, be awake, look forward to your game, ...). All those disturbing issues will still be unsolved after the game, but you will feel better after a good game.
ccmcacollister 243 ( +1 | -1 )
YES, I'd say so! Hence This Tale of Joy & Woe... I know at least one player with a built-in Excess-Stress-Indicator which limits how bad his play can get in an unkind way.
As stress increases, so does heart rate and blood pressure; metabolic changes occur in levels of cortisol, adrenalin and blood sugar levels. Which can serve to drop some persons below something commonly referred to as 'seizure threshhold'.
At his last tournament he won his first round vs a player paired down from a higher section, and his second opponent. But as the stress of the day (from excitement & exertion, besides a large degree of his typically distracting physical pain) wore on, no more wins were forthcoming.
Until in the final round he met a player who was exactly 1/2 of his rating. By then some small seizure activity had started, which was like small repeated blackouts (resembling a narcolepsy attack perhaps) that occurred throughout the game. He found it humorous that he would awaken, sitting at the board, having a memory lapse occur each time and have to reformulate his moves, analysis and even Plan, all over again repeatedly. Definately affecting play !
It was the first tournament he'd ever played in England, and his opponent certainly thought that he was simply falling asleep at the board :)
But rather than taking this as a slight, or some sad commentary upon the state of the game, the British gentleman would most nobly proceed to cough, blow his nose or thump the clock plunger to help "wake him" as unobtrusively as possible. And proceded to do a well made dissection of his higher-rated opponent's position and game. Which finally ended with the player allowing the gentleman, who so kindly sought to render him concious rather than run out the 30 minute clock, to play it to ultimate demise of checkmating him, since it is not everyday one gets to Mate a player of double their rating! And certainly did not tell such a sporting fellow as the winner, of the nature of the problem, instead deciding to face it with acceptance and mutual enjoyment of his opponent's cheer. Which went a long way to relieving the stress of the day, and moving on to better, or at least less stressful things. And let his opponent be able to say [unlike Bobby Fischer] that "at least once i beat a Healthy Man", "though a bit of a sleepy chap; still he was twice my rating". And I WAS really on my game that day".
{Indeed he was; and a most honorable sportsman too!}

tugger 42 ( +1 | -1 )
It depends on your personality, I think.

I've got a lot on my mind at the moment, and have done for a couple of weeks. But I see chess as an escape, it takes my mind off the stress of work and relationships. And the last month for me has seen some of the best chess I've played. I'm starting to drop off my peak now, but that's down to inflated confidence, the "I'm invincible" syndrome, which most of us get when we're on a win streak.

Tiredness affects my game in a negative way, though.
schnarre 20 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree Stress hinders my performance severely (not that my playing is that spectacular to begin with), & it shows even after the worst is behind me. If you feel the need for a breather then by all means do so!
alice02 69 ( +1 | -1 )
Yoga I dont know much about yoga at all but I happened to find a kundalini jim yoga site which has a tuning in meditation - not in English - of valuing the creative conscious and valuing the wisdom within. And because it used a media player you could play it and meditate just before your move with the gameknot site board open in front of you.

It gave instructions on breeathing - breathe in - now hold your breath.

The problem was that the download of the video stops and starts - but because I had the Gameknot site open I couldnt see that the video clip had stopped.

After running out of breath several times I stopped using it - but I think it did improve my moves:)

tugger 12 ( +1 | -1 )
I use inhaling and exhaling techniques, but my methods aren't exactly legal here in the UK. I envy you dutch players on here.....
lorddreamer 96 ( +1 | -1 )
hahaha Tugger!!! I dont do that during tourney play though...

Yeah, stress is a huge factor in chess. It affects your play so mch that a lot of the greatest players are also great yoga guys. Many do meditations before a game, I like to play ball, video games, what ever before a big game to relieve some of the stress. Also, a big breath once in a while during play is very god for keeping your mind clear. But if you already suffer from stress during play, you have to build up your confidence before play even begins. Play some games, win, and know that you can do it.
But basically, I'm just saying that stress does indeed affect your play. The more your mind wanders to other things, or you subcontiously worry, you will play worse, more defensively or agrssively than usual, probly.
mattdw 58 ( +1 | -1 )
I suppose it depends on the individual, but for the majority of people (me included) stress will have a detrimental effect on playing strength, how this is specifically manifested I don't know for sure. I would guess that it is some combination of a reduction in confidence and sustainable concentration. I think the less tangible aspects of chess are often over looked, things such as the aforementioned ability to cope with stress and how a given player may subconciously play to the rating of their opponent (e.g playing too defensively against higher rated and too carelessly against lower rated) etc..