Proud of something? (And a chess pet peeve or two)

May 6, 2010, 5:21 AM |

What in chess motivates us, what makes us want to play more, what makes us proud?

For me, each game of chess is a chance to create.  Sometimes, what I create is a Monet or a Da Vinci and sometimes it looks like the work of a two year old with a first set of finger paints.  The games I loose that were works of magnificence are still treasured because I was privileged to be part of them.  The games I win that are loose, sloppy and filled with errors I don't really want to admit to.  When I beat someone I want it to be because I played the best chess I could and just outplayed my opponent, not because they made mistakes or failed to take advantage of my poor play. 

Last night I beat a person with a rating over 500 points above mine.  This was my first victory over such a margin and the moment of victory was very sweet, yet, looking back through the game again and again, I find places where I could have played better.  Not just a little better, but moves that prove to me that hindsight really is 20/20.  I find myself less proud of my accomplishment and more disappointed.  I was desperately trying to survive; to find the right candidate moves; to make my opponent see the wrong things.  Now his errors frustrate me, and I wish to play the game again, cleaner, better, and with style.


On the related topic of chess maturity, I find that it is unusual to battle an opponent that looses gracefully.  The higher the ratings of the players I challenge the fewer the replies to gl or have fun or even hi.  It's getting even rarer to find people that are willing to return a good game.   It seems strange that the better they are the less sportsmanship they show.  Perplexing.... Even stranger to me are the people who hang a piece and then want to argue with you when you take it.  "That wasn't fair," I've been told, as though the computer will let me make a move that is against the rules.  Pay more attention to detail and learn to admit you made a mistake.  Resolve to do better next time and learn from it.  If you can't then you had better be very, very good or find another hobby.  Whatever you choose to do, I don't recommend sitting there while the last fifteen minutes of your clock run out telling your opponent what a poor sport he is.  People are just going to laugh at you and feel sorry for your poor social skills.

Another pet peeve......   If it bothers you that some people play for points, then don't play those people.... just play unrated games and save your passionate diatribe  for your respective religious holy day.  It would also seem wise to not accuse someone of being soulless and having no passion for chess if their game log indicates that they play 4-5 hours a day. 


Anyone else have a chess pet peeve or an amusing anecdote about poor sportsmanship?