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Attention Exercises

Concentration in chess is no less important than in boxing – loss of concentration is fraught with rapid defeat. Here’s what it says about concentration on Wikipedia:

Concentration of attention is the retention of information about an object in short-term memory. This retention involves the allocation of the “object” as a concept from the general idea of ​​the world.

Concentration of attention is one of the properties of attention. Other properties of attention: stability, volume and switchability. Violation of the ability to concentrate is called “distracted attention.”

Attention Exercises

A person who trains his attention, with each training approach that his capabilities will expand. This applies not only to chess, but also to other areas of activity.

Two minute concentration on the second hand
This exercise is described in many sources. Judging by Tom Wudgeck’s book Mind Training, the author is the American philosopher and psychologist William James (1842-1910).

Put a watch with a second hand in front of you.
Relax for a few moments, concentrate your attention, and when you are ready, begin to monitor the movement of the second hand.
Within two minutes, focus all your thoughts on the movement of the second hand, as if nothing else exists in the world.
If you have scattered attention, thinking about something else, or just disconnected – stop, concentrate your attention and start again.
Try to maintain this focus for two minutes.
Attention is your most important muscle.

A significant achievement is, of one’s own desire, to set a difficult goal and hold it firmly in one’s consciousness.

A two-minute attention span is one of the best exercises for training your mind. An interesting detail: when you start regular training, you may well find that doing this exercise becomes more and more difficult for you. This is because gradually you become more and more picky about the “quality” of your attention. You now clearly understand when your consciousness is clouded and when it is clear. Your self-criticism develops, and you begin to demand maximum clarity of thinking from yourself. After a couple of weeks of regular classes – at least 5-10 minutes a day – you will feel that your attention has noticeably increased. You will learn to focus consciousness on a specific subject for longer periods of time. Your thinking will become clearer and more flexible and it will take you much less time to focus the full potential of mental energy on a particular subject.

Minute to go
Quote from Sergei Lysenko’s book “Conversations with a Chess Psychologist”:

In my youth I was a useless concentrator of attention. This greatly limited me both in the chess game and in my professional activity. Looking at the chess position, I did not plunge into hypnosis, because constantly distracted by neighboring parties, any noise or movement in the tournament hall attracted my attention. With such “drawing” one cannot become a strong chess player: my games were full of mistakes, I could not see the strategy, and often yawns occurred. In the end, I decided to take control of the situation, and that’s what I managed. A couple of months I did not participate in tournaments. At home, I studied concentration. My friend, a strong first-rate player, acted as a sparring partner.

In the first game, each of us received one minute for one move. We had two chess hours. After a minute, the flag fell, and this was a signal that within five seconds I had to make a move, after which the opponent was thinking for a minute. The main condition is that during the time allotted for us to think, we should not be distracted, all our thoughts were only about the position. You have no idea how organizing the game is this simple exercise! When we learned to concentrate for one minute, we switched to 2, then 3 minutes, and thus up to 10 minutes.

Now it’s even easier to do such exercises, because chess computers appeared. You sit down to play with the computer, put the chess clock “with one minute” next to you, and, without taking your eyes off the position, think carefully. After that, you will gradually increase the time to think about a certain move. Time will pass, and you will learn to immerse yourself in “chess hypnosis”, ie to focus your attention purposefully. In a couple of months you will be able to solve a difficult task or study in a strictly allotted time. Put a position on the chessboard, “charge” the clock for 30 minutes and, without distracting anything, think. You can come up with a lot of such exercises: the main thing is that they have a time factor and your complete immersion in the intricacies of the figures.

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