Champion Psychology from the Martial Arts

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Chess players feel nervous before and/or during a game. This has a serious influence on your results.

In the previous lesson, I’ve published a message from a student who used the power of a proper psychological attitude: LINK

We know that in critical situations, some people demonstrate extraordinary performance, while others become feeble. How can YOU adopt the right approach?

Let’s see how masters of martial arts overcome fear and nervousness. They take a serious risk while participating in sporting competitions. Thus they need really powerful techniques.

By the way, chess is a model of war, so we may make this comparison.

I’ll place a quote/idea from the martial arts in bold font, and then will place a note on how you can adopt it in chess.


–> The real goal is not a champion cup in your hands, but the acquired value and qualities of yourself.

“We will look up towards wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires”.
If you treat chess as a TOOL for training yourself, you’ll be focused on the QUALITY of your games. Good results will come naturally.

–> Your opponent is an assistant who helps you overcome your weaknesses and reach your goals.
You would not be able to play without an opponent. A weak opponent can’t compete with you really. Only a strong opponent can help you to learn something new and to grow. Facing stronger opponents more often can speed up your progress a lot.

–> You don’t compete with others, but with yourself.
Your goal is to play a better game than you played yesterday.

–> You should strive for the highest achievements because they favour your advancement on your path of self-improvement.

You should reach your goal; if you can’t do it at the first attempt, do it at the thousandth go. The only thing that’s important is not to give up. 

Always play for a win (either in a particular game or in the whole tournament). This develops your champion psychology. Once you acquire it, you’ll definitely earn a champion title very soon.


Find the ideas that resonate with you. After you adopt them, you’ll enjoy chess even more and will improve your performance for sure.

Finally, let’s now test your skills in a few positions from recent tournaments.

Shulman – Sevian

Black’s turn

White is a pawn up, while Black’s king is exposed. Is it really hopeless for Black?


Radjabov – Leko

White’s turn

Black just played Qg5 offering an exchange. How should White react?

After you find a solution, please observe the games below and check your answer for yourself:


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