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SLOW Down to Make the BEST Moves

SLOW Down to Make the BEST Moves

Mar 2, 2008, 5:26 PM 9

My youngest son ran track a couple of seasons during high school. He often ran longer distances, like the mile and half mile. I remember one early mile race when for some reason he decided to sprint to the front of the pack near the beginning of the race. It seemed to spook the pack a little, but most just allowed him to expend his energy without changing their pace. He led for about two laps. Then he was passed continuously during the final two laps by every runner but one. He finished next to last. The final lap he had almost nothing left and could not kick it in to finish strong.

Chess tournaments can be a bit like running in that way. In my first OTB chess tournament, when I finished my first game I still had 22 minutes and my opponent had 5 minutes remaining. He beat me. I rushed too much. I had been so nervous during the game that I had to wipe my palms regularly on my pants. I called my wife and told her that while I had lost, I felt good about my game. But I had realized I rushed. I determined to slow down.

I won the next game. I won the third game. And I had a draw against a very good opponent in my final game. As a result, I placed second in my age group for beginners. In every tournament since then, I have remembered the lesson learned from my first game. I take it slow. After the opening moves, I take time to study my opponent's moves and guess his/her plans. I work not to make good moves but the BEST moves. I cannot tell you how many times my first instinct to move was wrong, but by slowing down I have chosen winning moves. Learn my lesson before you enter your first OTB tournament.

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