On Winning, Losing, and Ratings

Dec 1, 2009, 10:35 AM |

It is very easy to get caught up in your rating.  Most people dislike losing, and just about anyone who plays chess has drempt at one point or another of being a world class chess player.

It is disheartening when you are among the best players of the group of people you tend to associate with, then discover that among the wide world of chess players you are relatively low ranking.  Or even just plain bad in comparison.

But your relative ranking isn't the end purpose of chess or even of the rating system.  Unless you are a professional chess player, chess is a game, a distraction, an amusing alternative to drooling in front of the television.  Which means that you should have fun with it.  Your rating helps pair you with people about your own skill level, so you can play that really close game after really close game.

There is even more freedom in online chess.  You can experiment with those crazy moves and tactics that you have always wanted to try, but would be embarassed to in front of a live person for fear they might think you were stupid.  You could play a game or two as a rampaging piece trader, who always takes the equal trade if available, or play a few games as the ultra-conservative-every-piece-is-protected-8-ways player.

So, ignore your rating and just play the game.  It's fun.