Tournament Downfalls

NM Dare-Dare
Jun 23, 2013, 7:29 PM |

What would happen to you if you were leading a tournament with a great score, then lost, leaving you tied for or behind first place? This has happened to me a lot, once where $2000 was on the line, and also recently happened to Super-GM Hikaru Nakamura (2774) at the Tal Memorial.

I'll start with Nakamura's experience first. Despite losing the first round, he struck back with four wins interrupted by only a draw. He was then leading by a half point with 4.5/6. Then he lost to second placed GM Gelfand and was now second by a half point. You would think that a Super-GM could forget and move on, but that was not to be. He lost the final two rounds to Carlsen and Morezvich, who was tied for last throughout the tournament. It was an unfortunate way for him to end the tournament, when he was well on his way to having his best victory since Wik An Zee 2011, where he won ahead of Carlsen, Kramnik, Aronian, and World Champion Anand, plus many others. Recovering from a tough loss is extremely hard, and even Super-GMs can fail to come back.

Fortunately, my experience was much better. I had a perfect 5/5 in the U1800 section of the 2012 American Open. I then lost the next round to Bryan Shapiro, and now he was tied for the lead alongside myself. Did I break down like Nakamura? Thankfully not. I won the next two games, and so did Shapiro, so we tied for first in the U1800 section, each earning $1500.

Bouncing back from a bad loss can be hard, and these are some of my tricks:

1. Give yourself a treat like Ice Cream or a Smoothie to calm yourself down.

2. Try to sleep and you have a good chance of forgetting about the previous loss. If you can't sleep, then try to play sports or read a book to take your mind off chess.

So, basically, you want to take your mind off chess after a tough loss. Thanks for reading!