For those with mentally demanding jobs, how do you manage to play/study chess after work? I am a software engineer and I'm deep thinking pretty much all day long at work. I feel mentally exhausted after work, but I would like to play chess. What are strategies I can adopt?

4 Answers 4


This is probably a personal take that won't apply to everyone but to me the effort required to write code feels like a totally different one from the effort I put into chess.

So if anything, for me it's relaxing to do something else when I'm done with work. Most of the time there's a gym session in between though. That definitely helps. I also get the most of my free days


I was in that situation. The only solution is to look for a better job. For example, you can work for the government. Maybe you will make less money, but you will have an increase in your quality of life.

If that possibility does not exist, instead of chess, I suggest swimming or yoga. It will help you to avoid a stroke or a heart attack. I had a heart attack, so it is not a joke :) :) :)

A chess activity that is very flexible is solving chess puzzles. You can have the chess puzzle on a chess board or on your computer permanently and see it when you have time. You can do it once a month, or one a week, or one a day, depending on your schedule.

Also, you can do it at the beginning of your day when you are fresh instead of the end of day when you are tired.

Besides solving chess puzzles, another option is correspondence chess on Lichess 1 move per day (Lichess does not allow the use of chess engines). You only need to do 1 move every 24 hours. However, play only one game. I do correspondence chess. It is fantastic for learning. I have the game open in my computer all the day. I see it when I have nothing to do.

Finally, I hate speed chess, but 99.99% of chess players love it. If you play an ultrabullet chess game per day, you will need only 60 seconds per day because every player has only 30 seconds for the entire game. You can change the formula, switching from ultrabullet to other slower rhythms like 1-minute, 3-minute, 5-minute, etc.

Something that I am missing is playing an active chess tournament per month. For example, our club organizes an on-site United States Chess Federation tournament the second Saturday of every month. Usually, active chess tournaments are 25+5 (25 minutes for the entire game and 5 seconds bonus per move). The tournament starts and ends the same day. If in your area you do not have this kind of activity Lichess has it for free online. So, this activity will require only around 4 hours per month (usually an evening, afternoon, or morning).

However, your priority must be sleeping well, swimming or yoga, and good nutrition. Best of luck in your chess journey!


I assume you have a busy day at work and come home late from the office. If that's the case, then you need to manage your time well in order to coordinate things.

How to take out time to play chess?

You can probably cut things down that aren't that important to you like watching TV, using social media, etc. There are many time controls available to play but playing speed chess or slow games can help save time.

Playing chess

If you are a speed chess fan then you can go for a bullet/blitz game(I have a friend who plays bullet to relax and chill. )

The best option would be to go for a Daily game where you get 1-7 days time to make a move. You can even miss a day or two and still enjoy the game. Many chess websites have the facility to take notes while playing which helps in remembering the lines you need to play. (I often play Daily when I'm super busy.)

Studying chess

There is a fantastic app called Chessable where you can learn openings using MoveTrainer. It has a feature of daily revision where you have to make the moves on the board so that you remember the lines forever. (I often revise the lines if I can't find time to play as it only takes a few minutes.)

Puzzles are really important to keep you tactically alert. You can solve 5-7 puzzles if don't want to feel like playing.


Don't stress about it. Try to take out 10-15 minutes for chess(either by playing or studying). Enjoy the game and you'll soon find yourself in a good mood!

  • 1
    Chess was initially not for brain exercise but to train the Prince/Princes about the WAR strategies in their teen ages. War and Economics comply by hand to hand. Unfortunately, modern chess has become dominated by GM and IM. People lose interest when they find good players mastered in the Openings and End-games. So, Chess has become heavily Computerized trainings nowadays.
    – ShadYantra
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 8:17

I switched to playing "postal" chess for multiple reasons. One was that my work was mentally demanding and unpredictable and often required weekend work so I had trouble setting aside time for chess.

Now I have health issues and am working part time. I have limited energy and postal chess allows me to play on days when I have more energy.

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