Overconfidence kills

Dec 14, 2014, 11:39 PM |

Josh Waitzkin, the subject of the movie searching for Bobby Fischer, tells his story in his book on the Art of Learning of how overconfidence basically killed his early chess career.  You can also buy chessmaster software and look at the physchology of competition module he offers in the program where he describes the game in detail and explains what was going on through his mind and how he lost the champianship to a basic opening trap.  In the game he tells us that when he was down material he had this inner ego, that, "I'm still doing fine," and that mentality made a bad posision into a worse position, thus proving that sometimes the psychology of competition can have a negative effect if you let it or have the wrong mindset, or feel too puffed up and untouchable like he did back then.  I'm not talking smack about the guy he basically says that about himself in his book :D.  

Anyway, after playing a few games over the board I have found that I lose a lot of chess games because I sometimes get too puffed up and let the psychology of game have a negative impact on the game, as well as, I move too fast!  In my earlier blogs I stated that I first started playing speed chess very slow, and needed an additional 8 minutes to my best friends 2 minutes to give him a pathetic game that he would always win either with checkmate, or surprisingly with time.  I've come a long way, but now I realize a big part of why my chess rating hasn't improved much over the years is because I take losing too lightly and often reckon the loss to bad luck or something dumb like that.  I lost, because I didn't see his tactics.  I didn't see his tactics, because in part I was moving too fast and wasn't looking, and that I chalk up a lot of my losses to just "oh he just got lucky," nah, chess is about precise calculations, he just simply made a better one, and I it has come to the point where I need to now take my time and slow down a little to look for those moves.  So now I know what needs to be done is I need to take my opponents moves seriously, and learn to think more about moves when the situation calls for it in the speed games that I play because I am fast enough now to make up for lost time after I find the continuation.

There is also the issue of me not wanting to play too many 5 minute games when I should so I can get a nice chance to slow things down by a lot to help clarity of thought set in for awhile and then move back to 3 minute chess.  However, I am so used to the 3 minute game now that I actually think 5 minutes is too long!  and now it seems my attention get's lost in online games lately as I have a hard time getting back into the game after a 1 or 2 day break and just moving the pieces with little thinking as I usually would in speed chess, but it's been 2 days since I was at the board so I forgot the basic continuations of that setup!  

Sometimes it's not about chess pieces, but about the psychology of the game, and time management.  Especially in speed chess, where time is king.  Things I can also improve on is learning to create traps of my own instead of most of the time just waiting for my opponent to try and attack.  Not really waiting because the people I play against always attack so I really don't have to wait it comes to me really fast!