Chess is a game that requires both physical and mental endurance. While physical fitness is important for sustained concentration, mental fitness is critical for staying calm and focused during a game.

The pressure of making the right move, coupled with the fear of making a mistake, can make even the most experienced chess players feel stressed and anxious.

In this article, we will discuss six tips that can help you stay calm and focused during a game of chess.

6 Tips to Play Chess Without Stress:

1. Prepare for Your Matches

If you prepare your games in advance by studying opening strategies, analyzing the middle game puzzles, and researching the past games of your opponents, you will have a better chance of avoiding time pressure during the game.

Adequate preparation will help you manage your time better and reduce the likelihood of making mistakes and blunders. This will ultimately help you stay calm during the game.

By preparing beforehand, you can save valuable thinking time on the board.

2. Manage Your Breathing

Breathing is a powerful tool to regulate emotions, especially during a game of chess.

Slow, deep breathing can help you relax and stay calm, while rapid, shallow breathing can increase your heart rate and cause anxiety.

During a game of chess, focus on taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly to calm your mind and body.

Try to maintain a steady breathing rhythm throughout the game.

3. Visualize Your Success

Visualization is a powerful technique that can help you stay calm and focused during a game of chess.

Before the game, imagine yourself making the right moves and winning the game.

Visualize the board and the pieces in your mind, and see yourself making each move with confidence and precision.

This mental preparation can boost your confidence and help you feel more relaxed during the actual game.

4. Hydrate Yourself

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining mental clarity and focus during a game of chess.

Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and decreased cognitive function, which can contribute to stress and anxiety.

Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during the game to keep your body and mind hydrated.

If you prefer an alternative to water, you can also consume tea or coffee during the game like Nepo does.

Ian Nepomniachtchi drinking tea during a game of chess to stay calm and focused

5. Take Short Breaks

Sustaining focus and concentration throughout a game of chess is crucial.

However, taking short breaks can help you relax and recharge.

If you feel stressed or anxious during the game, take a few deep breaths and then a short break. Stand up, stretch your legs, and take a few minutes to clear your mind.

This can help you feel more refreshed and better prepared to continue the game.

6. Stay Positive

Finally, it is important to stay positive and maintain a good attitude during the game.

Focusing on negative thoughts and outcomes can increase stress and anxiety, while a positive attitude can help you stay calm and focused.

Remember that mistakes are natural in the game, and even the best players make them.

Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, focus on your strengths and your ability to make good moves.


Staying calm and focused during a game of chess is essential for success.

By preparing well for games, controlling your breathing, visualizing success, staying hydrated, taking breaks, and staying positive, you can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your chances of winning the game.

Remember to practice these tips regularly to develop a strong mental game, and enjoy the thrill of playing chess without stress!

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Bilal Ahmad

Hi, my name is Bilal, i'm playing chess since i was 5 and over the years played it just for fun. I took the game seriously for the 1st time when i participated in Uni tournament and finished no where in top rank. Ever since it's a matter of RESPECT ! Football on the other hand is love of my life. I'm a huge fan of Real Madrid but you will mostly see my football content on Fantasy Premier League, a game I'm playing since 2012/13 season of the Premier League.


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