Richard Taylor: <Nicocobas: <Richard Taylor> Did he write about psychoanalysis and chess?>
I don't know. I think that the psychological aspects of chess are, however, of vital importance. Nimzovich wrote about this after he won one major international tournament and the way he (if he could) guide his opponents into positions they didn't like. Also he talked of the need to control nerves.
Many writers on chess have talked about this (I missed picking up a book about why players blunder and thus how to minimise this). In this respect Soltis is very good with his books - if I had more time to study chess.
I once used psychology, luck and some good play to win a tournament (or more than one): the first was when I used to play on WCN when I got a bit obsessed with playing ONLY 1 minute games. I entered the daily "Marathon" (there were a lot of players every day) and someone said: "Players players over 2000 or at least 1800 will win this. I forget my rating, but I typed, I will win this. By typing that it put me in a fighting mood and I proceeded to win every game even against 2000+ players. I didn't repeat it as physical fitness (alertness) also comes into chess and I think I was always a bit tired after a few games.
But when I won a B Grade tournament in 2006 (I won two, as well as some Rapid tournaments, and for those my real problem was getting enough sleep before the tournaments, as in those I didn't, I lost games badly)* I said to myself that I would do well, but not to be concerned about losses, and I had a few opening ideas. Then I proceeded to play each game as it came up and I didn't pay any attention to the score table. I kind of put the games from my mind as if I WASNT in a tournament. In the last game I played a young fellow who, three quarters of the game through: stopped me for a chat about taking a draw, weighing up the pros and cons. I took this in my stride. But up till then I had geared myself to play in what I thought was a strategical manner, so I then found ways to attack. Meanwhile I rejected the offer (suddenly, at that stage, I "realised" I could win or might win). I won an exciting game.
In another aspect, one I find hard, psychology is essential: and that is when fortunes turn in the game. I have a book by Yermolinsky who talks about this.
To improve there are the usual study methods but also getting prepared for such reverses of fortune in a game or in a long tournament: so I recall winning a piece with a tactic against a friend of mine, and then when he regained it after an error by me, I was so disconsolate I collapsed and resigned - in what I later found was a drawn or drawable position!
There are also errors made that one undoes. I watched a video of one of the Kasp-Karpov matches and I was impressed with this by Karpov when he moved a piece back from where he had wronly placed it to where he should have, and thus managed to draw:
"And at move x, you played your piece back here to square z: is this possible that the great Karpov can do this even?"
Karpov: "Of course, otherwise you get a-crush." !
Now I recalled that and used it in a game by relocating a piece to a defensive place.
So psychology and the mental state of the player is hugely important as you can see in the latest WC challenge with strange play at times by Kramnik, Svidler, and Aronian. Although added to all this is the problem of fatigue (hence physical fitness and well-being), time management, and a positive psychological outlook. Then there is luck, we all need luck!
*Hence good sleep is needed, so no late night prep. unless it is a certainty!