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In the good old days, the world had brilliant chess players. They did not rely on the computer like modern day players. Yet, they were sophisticated in their moves, and could beat modern day chess players. So how did they practice?
Grandmaster of yore could not possibly get other grandmaster to play them for practice matches. And playing amateur players would do no good to increase the skills of grandmasters. There were not computer chess programs too. Yet, these guys were brilliant.
Chess is mental torture, as Gary Kasparov put it. It is a sport where the heart backs the mind, unlike other sport, where the mind backs the heart. There is everything in chess. Strategy, aggression, deceit, revenge, comebacks, victory, and defeat.
To start practicing chess, you need to at-least play two games a week. Play the longer version of the game, before attempting to play rapid chess. – which is the shorter version. Join a chess club. Play against members of the chess club in your free time.
Practice your moves against a good chess computer program. Do not depend on chess computer programs totally. They lack the power to deceive you, like humans do. Most chess programs make straightforward best moves, based on calculations that run into thousands of moves. But they cannot trick you, like how you can trick them into defeat.
Read a lot of chess books. Understand how great players thought and acted. Derive inspiration from these books. Do not think that reading about chess is an act of mediocrity. Even great players like Gary Kasparov, and Vishwanathan Anand are ardent students of the game.