Chess Games That Make Us Cry

Chess Games That Make Us Cry

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I doubt that there is a chess player who never cried after losing a game. We all did it at some point.

Why do chess players cry? Usually it is not the loss itself that upsets us the most; it is the sense of injustice and failed expectations.

A good example is a story that I heard about 20 years ago from a coach whose student was very close to winning the National Elementary Championship. In the last round the kid had a completely winning position and the win would bring him the title. His coach was preparing to celebrate this great achievement, which looked like a sure thing considering the position. And then the kid, who played White made his move...

Who would blame this little boy for crying after such a horrendous blunder? Of course I can be totally wrong here, but I think that it wasn't even the lost national title that made the kid cry. I am pretty sure that he was thinking: I played a beautiful game, completely outplayed my opponent and everything is gone just because of this stupid en passant rule. How unfair! 

In one of my first tournaments I learned how it feels when your expectations are completely shattered. I vividly remember the beginning of the game where I played White:

I managed to not cry during the game, but when it was over I found a quiet place where no one could see me and cried like only eight-year-old kids do.

I still remember why I was crying. It wasn't the loss that upset me that much. After all, I had lost dozens of games before that day. Just like most beginners, I thought that I was a decent chess player and when I blundered my queen as early as move four, it occurred to me that I sucked at chess big time. That discovery hurt a lot!

Even the greatest players in chess history cried after some of their games:

Here is what Garry Kasparov's coach Alexander Nikitin wrote about this game:

"Garik manfully endured the blow of fate and, after signing the scoresheet, walked away in silence from the board. But his composure did not last long - only as far as the exit from the tournament hall. Here he went up to his mother, nestled up to her and quietly sobbed..."

Garry Kasparov 11 1974 Wikipedia
An 11-year-old Garry Kasparov, one year before the described game. | Photo: Wikipedia.

In his only encounter with the world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, Bobby Fischer managed to get a huge advantage. When the game was adjourned Fischer had no doubts that he was going to win.

However, he missed a very tricky defense found by Efim Geller, and therefore a draw was agreed soon after the game was resumed. Reportedly, people saw Fischer crying after the game.

Future champions are crying too. In the following famous video clip you can see Misha Osipov, who was three years and 10 months old at the time. He played a game vs. former world champion Anatoly Karpov on Russian TV.

It is customary in the games played between chess professionals and celebrities to agree to a draw after about five moves. Karpov offered a draw right after the opening, but the kid didn't know the unwritten diplomatic rules and rejected the offer.

When the boy's flag fell and Karpov told him that he should have agreed for a draw, Osipov did exactly the same what Kasparov and millions other kids did before him. 

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