Game of the Week: Giveaway Game
Though as chess players (and really in all areas of life) we hope to bring our best game to the table every single time, sometimes we can fall drastically short of that dream. Perfection is a goal that most players will never achieve, and yet, at every level of play, it still stings to discover that you have blundered. One wrong move and you have undermined your entire game.
I don't know what hurts worse: a blunder that you see immediately after playing it, or a blunder that you thought was totally valid until your opponent makes his move. In this week's game, my blunders were the latter. One minute I'm settling down, feeling comfortable with my winning advantage, and the next I'm reeling in horror to see that I made a mistake. "That was a mistake??? How could I have made such a stupid mistake???" went the voice in my head...
When I blunder in a game--and especially make a series of blunders--I often feel that the game is already over. Depending on how bad the mistake was (like hanging my queen or something), I will sometimes resign, but I have trained myself to treat resigning as a last resort. So most of the time I will play on. In this particular game, that paid off! I may have given the game away to my opponent, but he gave it back!
Of course, I did not have the normal feeling of victory when the game ended; instead, I felt relieved that the game was over. Why? I could not enjoy that I was winning near the end of the game, because I was afraid I'd make another mistake! This reveals the psychological nature of blundering: when you make a mistake, you may get rattled--nervous and losing all concentration. The fear that you will make a mistake can overwhelm your mind, distracting you and actually causing you to make more mistakes! This is why our teachers tell us to roll with the punches: one blunder doesn't necessarily lose the game, but if you lose your concentration, well then the game might as well be over. Much easier said than done, I might add.
On the flipside, don't get too comfortable when in a winning position. That can also make you lose concentration and cause blunders. I know that's what I did here in this game, and I'd be willing to bet (if I were a gambling man) that my opponent did the same.
So despite being chock full of mistakes--some rather glaring--I think this game is a good illustration of chess beyond the chess board. Half of the game takes place in the players' minds, and the psychological element should not be underestimated. As hard as it may be, train yourself to not get comfortable when winning or beat yourself up when losing. Take every game one move at a time and don't take anything for granted.
Let this game be an example of what not to do in a game of chess :
I hope you enjoyed this week's post. Please feel free to comment below!