Why Do We Lose: The 3 Phases

Why Do We Lose: The 3 Phases

NM CraiggoryC
Aug 28, 2016, 9:58 PM |

Why does a person with the rating of 800 (a beginner) lose, what about a 1600 (intermediate player) what about a Master (2200 rating/advanced player) and above? We know they all lose, some less than others, but they do all lose. Do they lose the same way though? Is there something they should be looking out for?

These are all questions I started asking myself once I started teaching people. After looking at games of different levels of students for awhile, I was able to group them into 3 different phases.

The 3 Phases of Why We Lose

  1. Phase 1*: Missing Obvious Threats (Usual ratings 0-1400 Beginner-Advanced Beginner)- These players usually lose because at a certain point in the game they just completely overlook what their opponent is trying to do.
  2. Phase 2*: Paranoia, or Stopping Phantom Threats (Usual ratings 1200-2000 Advanced Beginner-Intermediate/Advanced Player)-From the years of being in Phase 1 and missing obvious threats of the opponent, these players become paranoid. They make up "phantom threats" that the opponent is supposedly setting and start hurting their own position to stop these so-called threats. After awhile the pain these players are causing to their own position (from stopping their opponent's faux threats) is too much to handle and they are awarded 0 points.
  3. Phase 3*: Underestimating Opponent's Threats (Usually rated 1800+ Intermediate/Advanced-Grandmasters)- These players are too good to (usually) miss obvious threats from the opponent. They also know the best way to meet an opponent's threat is to successfully ignore it. Sometimes though, you just have to bite the bullet and stop a threat your opponent is setting. Possibly burned by loses incurred while in Phase 2, the Phase 3 players tend to underestimate their opponent's chances. If you are in this phase, do not be too discouraged, the reason you are losing is the same as the strongest players in the world!

*These ratings are just approximations. Anyone, any rating can lose because of either of the above reasons; or other reasons entirely for that matter! This is just the usual reason for their losses. 

Future blogs will be on the subject of how to get out of each phase. The first way to getting out of a phase is to find out which one you are in! This way you can be forewarned about what the usual dangers are for you.

What phase are you in? Does this ring true to you, or do you have another reason for why you usually lose? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to show games that elucidate your point.