How to Reach the Top of Your Game

World Champion Chess Player Reveals Performance Secrets

I recently sat down with world champion chess player Sergei Lobatomov as he explained his five secrets for reaching the top of his game. Although he comes from the world of chess, Sergei’s insights can be applied to any endeavor.

Here is Sergei in his own words:

Set your goals appropriately

The top of your game is a subjective term. If you set your “top” to be 10 year olds who don’t play chess, you’ll reach your goals faster.

Fake it ‘till you make it

Identify the worst players near you and beat them over and over again. This will make you feel much better about yourself. You’ll feel like you’re at the top of your game even if you’re not.

Use leverage

Pay off opponents who are better than you. You could waste time by practicing but these days, who has the time? A few extra numbers in someone’s account makes for a stress free match. Pro tip: Use a low interest credit card to take out a personal cash advance. Don’t worry. Look at it as an investment in your future.

Always be improving

Learn what the queen can do. After 17 years of playing chess I finally asked someone and it has revolutionized the game for me. I was like, really? Any direction?

Think ahead

Learn to think several steps ahead of your opponent. For example, when I think my opponent is catching on that I’m cheating by moving his pawns when he’s not looking, I anticipate his anger and subsequent reaction of punching me in the face. This allows me to excuse myself to go to the bathroom where I slip out of the window and order an Uber.

Stay in shape

Even mental athletes need physical exercise. I went to the gym last month and won a game yesterday. Aside from my expert level skill in chess, I attribute the win to my superior physique. I’m not entirely sure why though.

Manage your time

Try playing speed chess. Speed chess is a unique version of the game where players have to make their move in a certain amount of time. Playing with a time limit gives you a built-in excuse for losing. You never want to admit you opponent is a better player than you. Doing so dilutes people’s perception of you being the best.

It’s better to blame it on the stress of an arbitrary time limit. Explain that your mind works best unfettered by such constraints. And if it weren’t for that constant ticking, you would have run away with the match.

Onlookers will be impressed by your insightful self-analysis. They will assume that everything you said is true (chess players are all brilliant) and will eagerly await a rematch where you can prove your true abilities. Of course you should never show up for rematches because the potential for humiliation is too high.

In conclusion

Before I end I want to leave you with this final question. Why do you want to play chess anyway? You have so much to live for. But who am I to judge? You do what you want. Just remember you must be motivated to achieve great heights in the game of chess.

Your motivation should come from a deep seated desire to be a top competitor. That, or the need to pay back your bookie with tournament winnings so he doesn’t break your legs.

Morning Walk Photos

Here are a few photos from this morning’s walk. It seems like there’s something new every time I look around. It’s amazing how much things change from day to day, month to month and year to year.

Sometimes the changes are slow so we acclimate to them and don’t really notice them. But if we take the time to slow down and be intentional about observing the world around us, amazing things become apparent.

These weedy bushes were overtaking a small corner of a field that’s being developed. I think I’ll visit these again and get some better pictures before they are inevitably removed by the construction crew.

 

Someone else must have been out for an early walk when this sidewalk was put down.

 

At first, this one didn’t make sense to me. Then I realized how much the apartment complex this dumpster serves will save never having to empty it. Brilliant!

Evil Breakfast

I felt a strange, villainous thrill this morning while making breakfast for my two kids. I was making them bowls of creamy buckwheat cereal. After it’s cooked I usually add raisins, banana, raspberries and cinnamon. It was the cutting of the banana that inspired my inner dark side on this otherwise bright Saturday morning.

To explain this, I have to tell you what I ate for breakfast. My typical breakfast (which this morning’s was) consisted of half of a jumbo avocado, a heap of ground golden flax seed, ground turkey, fresh lemon juice, rosemary, pepper salt and olive oil, all mixed together. When I cut the avocado in half, it inevitably leaves a thick smear of dark green on the blade.

This morning there was a good amount of avocado left on the knife. When I went to cut the banana, the avocado mash transferred to the white fruit, making a ghoulish design.

I knew that if either of my kids saw this or even heard about it, they would revolt and refuse its inclusion in their food. I’ll never know what made me cut the banana without first wiping the knife blade. But once the deed was done, I knew I would get away with it. With all of the colored ingredients I put together in the bowl that little bit of green would just blend right in.

So I mixed it up and gave it to them. I smiled a crooked smile as I watched them shovel in the very thing they would have rejected if they had been aware of it. I felt somehow empowered by my secret activity. And I knew, right then, that I would do it again.