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I love this game! It's beautiful! I love watching it on twitch, youtube, etc. I love reading about openings, learning tactics, and solving puzzles.

However, I get so tense and anxious when I play. It prevents me from playing at my best and makes me overthink. Hence, I'm constantly afraid to play games cause I have the fear of losing Elo and rating points. I am better than a beginner but not yet an Intermediate (500ish blitz, 900ish Rapid).

How do I overcome this and get out of my own head? Do I play at a different game length or completely change playlists. How do you overcome anxiety and play multiple games in a row? I want to get better and I know playing more is the best way to do that.

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  • May I ask you which time control you play and how many games you already played in total? For me it's pretty similar up to the level that I hardly play any game and rather stare at the starting page forever. What helped me temporarily though was to make a short break of the game for 1-2 weeks. After this for a while I could play rather freely but it's going back to it's old state again. Now I just have to force myself everyday to play the first game. For every following game it's much easier. What I also believe might help, is increasing the time control The clock can be a huge pressure also.
    – Christian
    Sep 3, 2021 at 6:01
  • Fear of losing rating points is more of a symptom. It appears you don't want to step out of your comfort zone and this can cause an anxiety plateau (for any sport, game or even professional trade!). You can't expect an ROI from this game without the stumbling and falling. Face your fears head-on with a deliberate "do, review, then follow-through" feedback loop where each loss is a lesson, not a pot of despair you stew in. Coaches, stronger friends, books and software can help with this loop. You are only as good as the mistakes you keep making. Commit yourself to a routine.
    – shivsky
    Sep 3, 2021 at 20:00

2 Answers 2

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Understand that playing is for practice, so you shouldn't be afraid of losing elo points. One trick you could try is making a separate account and calling it a practice account, which I suppose psychologically would help you from the fear of losing elo points.

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    Just a note: multiple accounts are against ToS of both chess.com and lichess, but I am not sure about how much they truly care unless you try to ban evade
    – Minot
    Sep 4, 2021 at 7:39
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    You can make an account on lichess and chess.com. So you have 2 accounts, I suppose. Sep 4, 2021 at 10:08
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I find that postal / daily games work best for me. If I feel anxious then I just set the game aside and come back to it later.

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