Winning the Loss
It’s the last round of the tournament. I’m White. My opponent allows me to play the Scotch! I’ve had great success with the Scotch Game lately, so I’m hopeful, but then—I lose in fewer than 30 moves.
My philosophy towards losing has changed dramatically since I was a youngster. Chess is, after all, just a game. There is a beauty to its logic, like music, and it certainly does feel good to win. There is nothing like a victory to put a smile on your face, and everyone is happy with success. However, losing in chess is no great tragedy. Yes, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t win, but then I remember to look forward to winning the loss!
There is so much to enjoy about chess, and chess analysis is an aspect of chess that has become one of my favorite things about the game. I love working out why I lost a particular game. I try to pin it down clearly, accurately, and precisely so that I may take measures to improve. Is this simply a mistake on my part? Did I not understand something about the position? How was I calculating? What was my state of mind? What thinking deficiency did I display? Is this a known error or a new one? What is it that I’m not seeing or considering? Are there principles on display here to take note of? Finding the right answer to the right questions, then taking measures to adjust your play to correct for the deficiencies, should lead to more victories over time. That has certainly been true in my case. Every loss is a stepping stone and I see no reason to mourn because of them. I am also grateful to my opponents for beating me. Why wouldn’t I be? They are helping me to improve! I’ve just gotten a chess lesson (in this case, a rather brutal one) and I don’t want to waste it. I always strive to win the loss, and here’s my latest example.
I took several lessons from this game: 1) I wasn’t calculating well at the board. If I had, I may have made some better choices, and I think I would remember more variations. I don’t remember many at all. I must not have been looking very hard. 2) I was playing an unfamiliar line, but choosing moves based upon having the 2 bishops and open lines from successful games that I have recently played. There is a logical disconnect there. Each line is different and has its own merits. I allowed associations to have undue influence. 3) Poor board vision. This is a reoccurring problem. I think it stems from a certain amount of laziness. I’ve instituted some corrective measures. Time will tell if they work, or if I need to try something else.
A very instructive game for me and I hope for you too.