How to Bounce Back from a Tough Loss

How to Bounce Back from a Tough Loss

FM Gertsog

Dear Chess Friends!

This is FM Viktor Neustroev.

You know, in chess, success is important for every player.
Many of us, including myself, are terrified of failure. But if you plan to be successful, you must learn to respond to failures accordingly, and restore your spirit.

An example: in 2018, a match for the title of world chess champion was held between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. The main part of the match ended in a draw. Therefore, a tiebreak was organized from 4 games in rapid, 3 games in blitz and Armageddon (if necessary). Fabiano lost the first game and got very upset: it stopped him from fighting further. He doubted himself and as a result, rapid lost 2 more games.

How to avoid this situation? If you want to learn how to bounce back from a tough loss, watch this video to the very end and I’ll provide you with several tips that helped me to recover my spirit and gain more points in the tournament after tough losses in the middle.

Each of us has some weaknesses, each is characterized by certain addictions. In chess, success is important for every player. But the path to success also includes dealing with failures, which greatly affects the spirit of players.

Magnus Carlsen - Fabiano Caruana (first rapid game of Championship Match)

How to avoid this situation?

1) Don't blame yourself.

NEVER blame yourself. The prosecution is acting very negatively. Mistakes don't destroy you, they help you overcome your fear of doing something. Mistakes allow us to go back and see what would have happened if we had played correctly. But they won't help us if we start blaming ourselves. 

2) Be open to discuss the game with other chess players.

As Socrates said, "in full-fledged dialogues, truth was born." And so your failure is already shared among several people. They are interested in it, but for you it is a great psychological support.

3) Relax

Do something that will distract your thoughts from losing, and bring you pleasure: read an interesting book, go to the gym, watch a movie! take a bath, listen to music, play your favorite outdoor game (soccer, Golf, etc.)

4) Reflect on your experience

"Only ruthless criticism leads to the goal"

(Wilhelm Steinitz).

Think about why you made mistakes. Under the influence of what factors? Maybe you don't understand something about this type of position? If this is the case, you should look at several games of grandmasters in similar positions and determine the typical plans for yourself.

If this is just a miscalculation, then you need to understand why: fatigue or a banal lack of counting skills.

5) Always believe in yourself

Play the next game from scratch and believe that it is in this game that you will be able to show your strengths. You also don't need to look back at the last game. You lost it, and nothing can change. So show what you can do in the current game.

"And remember-to win, you must first play."

(Albert Einstein).


If you have any other ideas of how to restore your spirit after a tough loss, please, share them into the comment section!

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I wish you all black and white harmony!

FM Viktor Neustroev.