WPP #3: Overheating
Photo courtesy of standard.net.

WPP #3: Overheating


    Warning! This post is rated PG-13 for frequent coarse language and frightening scenes. At least it would be if a video of me during what these next two paragraphs describe was in here. nervous.png I'll admit it: I have broken something and yelled (quite explicitly) out loud after losing particularly painful games, as this personality test asks. To some degree, that's why this post is particularly fun to write. I can release emotions, contribute to the chess community and give you some hilarious, graphic food for thought all at the same time.

    With that in mind, I would like you to meet two little creatures who live in my closet. You probably already know them by name, and have met them many times. They can be a real pain in the rear, or they can be natural and completely necessary human feelings. Their names are Stress and Anger, and I'll leave it up to you to decide what they look like, because right now I can't get two pictures in here at once. grin.png


Well, we do have an amazing visual for Anger, but Stress is much more difficult.

     Stress is universal. It's what happens when we have something, anything to lose. It's what happens during a test or a job interview, but it's also what happens when the game is tied in the last minute of play. It's what happens when you're faced with a position which is beyond your abilities to play, or when you botch the opening and are forced to sort out the mess in front of you.

    Anger is also universal. It's what happens when in the moment you hate yourself for botching the opening or missing a tactic, or when in that same moment you hate your opponent for getting an undeserved win without really being the better player. Maybe in that moment you hate the worst of Chess.com, those that call anyone rated lower than them a patzer or make ignorant general statements about lower-rated players, and maybe you feel you have something to prove to them.

    Or maybe I'm just an everyday Vassily Ivanchuk and you're all sensible, chill people. nervous.png

    At any rate, Stress and Anger are helpful in real life (who here hasn't ever rightly chewed someone out?), but they inhibit calm, logical thought - the main ingredient of any good chess game. Look over this game, and you'll see why the expression "can't handle the heat" is used so often in games where one opponent is younger or lower-rated. You'll also see the havoc our two little friends can wreak upon unsuspecting chessplayers.


    Yep, this game represents overheating at its worst. By my fateful 27th move I was hardly playing chess anymore. I lost my ability to calculate variations, my thoughts became muddled, and to some degree I stopped caring about the position in front of me.
    What makes it worse is that there's no proven cure for stress. Even World Champions suffer from some of the things mentioned here (though it mostly happens to them after the game). Still, this must be stressed: It is natural and healthy to hate losing.
    What doesn't work is hating bad positions. I'm not sure how, but I've managed to separate the two. My recent 90/30 game against @onurbruno is an example.
    And that's the thing. There are no easy answers here, because all bad habits and problems in chess are intertwined.
     The only easy solution is also the hardest one.
     After all, how exactly are you supposed to just "git gud"?