Here’s a frightening fact regarding chess players: You know much more than you think — yet you use far less than you know.
What if you could play a game of chess using EVERYTHING you’ve ever learned?
How many chess books have you read? Games played on a computer to develop your skill? Games played against other people? How many great chess games have you analyzed? How many chess problems have you pondered and solved.
If you’re serious about chess, you’ve read and done a lot.
Yet, have not you ever made a move that you knew right after was far less than your actual knowledge, ability and experience? Maybe a move that was downright stupid. You gave away your queen for no good reason.
Odds are good you made such a move in your last game. The games of world championship tournaments contain such moves — by the greatest names of chess from Bobby Fischer to Garry Kasparov. Who certainly know better.
What’s even more important, during a chess game you need to think about more than the board and the positions of the pieces. You have an opponent (I’m ignoring chess against computers here — who cares what computers think, anyway?)
A large part of winning chess is defeating your opponent. Yes, that involves chess moves. But it also involves understanding and playing against that particular person. Bobby Fischer was not kidding when he said the goal of chess was to crush your opponent’s ego.
What if you could not only play the best game of chess you’re capable of, but you can “read” your opponent’s state of mind. Important tournaments have been won and loss by one player understanding when their opponent could be manipulated into making a mistake.
They don’t tell you in words — but it’s in the muscles of their faces, the expressions in their eyes, in the slump of their body posture.
According to science, our conscious minds can detect up to 126 bits of information per second. However, our senses take in thousands more bits of information. The feel of your right buttock against your chair. The ambient room temperature. The honk of a horn two blocks away.
Your brain takes all this information in and processes it. Yes, consciously, you are thinking only about whether sacrificing your bishop will gain you an advantage 5 moves in the future. Your unconscious mind hears your opponent’s breathing. Registers the tenseness of their shoulder muscles. No matter how much deodorant they are wearing, your nose detects pheromones of fear or confidence.
How can you consciously take advantage of this overload of subconscious information? What does it all add up to and mean to the game of chess you’re playing?
Win Wenger, co-author of THE EINSTEIN FACTOR, invented a technique called imagestreaming.
When you practice imagestreaming, you learn to understand and access your databases of stored but subconscious information — about chess and about your opponent. You do this by reinforcing and describing
The basic technique is simple. Get a voice-activated recorder or a person who can listen to you without talking or reacting in any way (I prefer the voice-activated recorder). Close your eyes. Start talking. Describe what you see. Don’t judge or evaluate or rationalize. Just describe in concrete terms what you see. And hear. And taste. And smell. And feel.
This activity engages just about every section of your brain. It bridges not only the well-known “right brain, left brain” aspect of your brain, but the more specialized sensory cortex, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, Wernicke’s Area, auditory cortex, temporal lobe, olfactory lobe and Broca’s area.
Once you’re practiced imagestreaming on whatever images just happen to come into your mind, you can set an intention to imagestream to learn something specific. If you learn a new chess technique today, imagestreaming about it will help install it into your memory and your game.
Before a tournament, imagestream on what parts of your chess game you most need to review. Or on your opponent or opponents. During a break or at the end of the day, imagestream on an ongoing game or your opponent. You’ll be amazed at the insights that pop into your brain.
Maybe you’ll remember a chess technique you read in a book 5 years ago — and it’s just what you need to win. Maybe you’ll realize that your opponent is over-confident. They’re unprepared and if you attack you’ll throw them off balance.
Take Win Wenger’s challenge. Try imagestreaming for 10 minutes a day for 10 days — I guarantee that if you do this, you will notice changes in your ability to think, visualize and remember. It will improve your chess game and the rest of your life.