I’ve been in a big time slump lately. I play a lot of chess on the chess.com platform. I am sure that you all know the platform. My question is this: How does someone get out of a slump? I am losing to players I shouldn't be losing to. Do I just need to get my mind right?

  • 1
    I think you need to get some time off, to be able to bounce back! It happens to all!
    – pbu
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 13:52
  • To be pedantic, is the problem really that you are not “winning consistently?” You are paired with players of similar rating to yours, so therefore nobody should expect to win consistently. By definition you should win about half the time. So maybe you mean that your rating has decreased?
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 4:45

3 Answers 3


How's it going? Any improvement yet? A slump could be as a result of a lack of concentration amongst other things. Maybe this post can help you out - http://www.chessfiles.com/chessfiles-blog/oh-man-am-i-in-a-slump-again

  • Thank You for asking. Yes I came out of the slump I was in. What I needed to do was Stop playing for a few weeks. Doing that eliminated the frustration I was building up from the losing streak and it helped me clear my mind. Since I started back up It hasn't happened again Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 2:36
  • oh man I took a look at the link you provided after I answered our question and that article was spot on! Exactly what i was experiencing. Kinda of figured out what I had to do on my own but I sure wish i would have seen that article during the slump. Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 2:45

I think you have hit the nail on the head with "Do I just need to get my mind Right?"

For many years I had very inconsistent form, I would try very hard and work on my game frequently, I saw gradual improvement but yet I would still find myself losing to players I really shouldn't...

Chess is a game which will never be played perfectly (not by any human), every game is riddled with mistakes from World Champion to absolute beginner, as players we tend to focus only on the bad things we do, "I just blundered a piece stupidly" or "I missed a simple tactic" rather than thinking about the deeper reasons for our mistake, oversights and tactical errors almost always occur when you don't understand the type of position you're playing or spending enough time to appreciate the finer points in the structure!

To play yourself into form, (or get out of bad form), you should spend a little more time getting to the bottom of why you've made the mistakes in the games you truly believe you should be winning!

Here is an article I wrote on my own improvement a year or so ago: If it looks interesting, play it!

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    +1 Awesome article and congratulations on your improvement! I do wonder though - you mention that you spent an entire year studying chess without much improvement. Is it possible that your later improvement somehow built on your this knowledge? Maybe it took a year or so and some additional experience for your brain to "bring it all together"?
    – firtydank
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 9:15
  • @firtydank Thank you! Yes, I certainly think my year out helped me tremendously, if only in realising afterwards that chess is just as much about confidence and determination as it is chess knowledge. Many fantastically talented players suffer with confidence! Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 9:32

Slumps such as this happen to me often. It's extremely frustrating isn't it?

It is very similar to tilting in say poker. When this happens to me in chess, I realise I have started playing for rating, akin to when you chase your losses in poker. Rating, not the enjoyment of chess, becomes my main and sole goal. When this happens, it is easy to start letting emotion affect your game. Then your rating goes down and down. Your game is no longer your best game. It is your C game or even your D game!

If this is happening to you, take a step back. Realise that you are playing chess because you enjoy it and not because of your rating. Paradoxically, this is how your rating will return to you. You will start playing your A game again and it will be but a matter of time before you get your rating back.

Good luck!

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