Fall seven, rise eight
My kid are not playing well. I’m so bad at chess. How can we avoid losing.
These are the comments from parents and chess players alike when the chess journey gets tough with a bad tournament or game.
Parents often ask how can we deal with losing, especially when the younger players cry after games.
When I hear these questions, my response often will be: I hear you, and I can understand your pain for the short term.
However, chess journey is a long game and there are ups and downs for every player.
Let’s first get the painful truth out first.
Losing sucks! No doubt about that. Just ask Magnus about it, this is the best player of our time, and he’s still having trouble handle losing.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about why losing is an important part of the chess journey, and why often losing early can be more beneficial than winning without progress.
If you’re a 2000 rated player, and hypothetically let’s say you can play in the U1200 section. More likely than not, you’ll be able to win every single game.
Losing may not be part of the equation in this hypothetical scenario, but will you improve chess skills over 1-year?
Every game, you’re playing weaker players, basically you’re providing training opportunities to the new players.
For anyone to improve, it is necessary to play against stronger players. And each time we jump to a higher section, it is part of the process to struggle against stronger players, but then improve thru the learning experiences.
The Chess Journey is a marathon, and losing in chess sometimes feeling like struggling on the 3rd mile on your first practice run.
That’s why we all need to practice many trial runs before the final marathon run. The first practice will be far from perfect, the second will be a little better, but still long way to go.
However, each time, you’re building stronger muscles physically and mentally, and by the show-time, you’ll be more robust and less likely to be bothered by small aches in the run.
Chess tournaments works the same way, in the first tournament for a child, losing feels like the end of the world.
Then it becomes less annoy, and soon many kids wants to play again especially after a lost because there are more fire in them now.
It’s not easy seeing your child cry from their first loss, but remember many players have the same experiences, I cried twice from chess games when I was younger (details in a future post).
The more a chess player experiences the ups and downs, the better s/he will handle in the future.
Next time you or your child experience a painful lost, please keep below quote in your back pocket.
Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.