Moments after a great loss, the loss seems a lot scarier than it really is.
In some cases I have questioned my whole life after a great loss.
"Why am I wasting my time with this stupid game?" is a question that unfortunately also many chess fans know.
I've found that 99% of the time we don't have the right perspective to make these seemingly frightening failures seem normal and manageable.
Over time, most of the worries we have right after the loss turn out to be just imaginary. As Seneca said:
We suffer more in imagination than in reality.Seneca, stoic
So how can we get over a loss faster and without self-pity, frustration, and anger?
The key is only being able to change perspective when defeat comes. The further away we get, the more manageable defeat feels.
Just thinking about this game makes it seem like the end of the world.
Looking at the tournament as a whole, it's a little less bad (few more games to play!).
If you get further away from your full year of chess, that loss won't decide if the year was good or not.
When you finally get out of chess, true perspective begins to dawn. Your loved ones remain the same, you have food and shelter, and you can devote yourself to your hobby.
After all, it's not that bad, is it?
The problem is that shifting to this "walk away" mentality isn't easy right now. It takes a lot of skill and perseverance to get there.
The reminder of overcoming a loss
What helps you get over a loss is having someone by your side to remind you that it's not as bad as it seems. But this method has two problems:
- You don't always have someone by your side.
- It may seem like unsolicited advice and annoy you even more.
So what's the solution?
A letter to your future self.
If you can't control your self-talk right now, write down your favorite self-talk in advance. Then be sure to read it after a heavy loss.
No I'm not crazy and yes it really works.
When I was still an active chess player, I would take this letter to tournaments and quickly read it after a bad loss.
It's a personal reminder to gain perspective and see things as they really are without over-interpreting them.
This letter has helped me overcome many losses and quickly return to a positive and winning mindset.
I often write these letters to remind myself of my "best self". Written and signed by me, this has a much greater impact on me than any outside comment. This is how I want to act.
It also makes it easier for my loved ones to help me during this time. All they have to say is, “Read your letter. Think how you want to act."
I share this in the hope that you can compose a similar letter to yourself. This will help you get out of a bad mood faster next time.
Note that this is the chess-specific version, but it works for a lot of "bad things" that aren't as bad as they seem at the time.
Once you've written your letter, don't keep it in a Word file.
Print and sign.
This may sound strange, but for me, this document becomes "official" as soon as I sign it. And I do my best to follow my own advice.
Letter to myself to get over a loss
“Dear Noël, I know it sucks. It's okay to be upset. After all, you spend a lot of time and energy improving your chess. If losing didn't hurt, something would be wrong.
But self-pity won't change anything. The result remains and your job is to make the most of it. Before you can do that, let me help you change your perspective for a moment.
First, think of all the heavy losses you have overcome in your career. You could come back every time. Even a 6-game losing streak didn't end his career. So this one won't end either.
Now take a deep breath and feel alive. It's something you take for granted too often. You have enough food, shelter and people to love you.
Right now, millions of people are struggling to survive. Spending time on a hobby without having to worry about making a living is something they can only dream of.
You are very privileged.
Do you want to use this privilege by getting angry about losing a game of chess? Actually?
I wrote this letter in the past to remind future Noël to make the best of every situation. Now that you have the right perspective, follow these 3 simple steps:
- Write down one thing you learned from this game. Every lost game is a learning opportunity.
- Let the past be the past and look ahead. Now that you've learned something, mark that game and focus on the present and the future.
- Do something that makes you feel alive and energetic.Actions change your mood. Not the other way around. You probably don't feel like it, but exercise, do yoga, chat with your girlfriend or friend, play a board game, or listen to upbeat music.
When you're in a good mood, it's easy to make the right decisions.
Have fun, cherish every moment and enjoy this adventure called life. Don't waste it worrying about the outcome of a game. It's just not worth it.
Main conclusions of the letter
Brawling in this map won't help you get over the loss. It will only make you feel worse. So I begin this letter with a little self-pity.
After all, you want to read the letter to the end and not throw it away after the first few words...
Then I mention something I've overcome in the past. It inspires a little confidence that I'm able to change the way I think. Now I'm ready to go away.
Thinking of millions of people who would like to be in my privileged position usually works for me.
Let's face it, in general, getting upset about losing a game of chess is a pretty silly and fancy problem.
The last step is to make me learn something and completely change my state of mind. Once that is accomplished, I no longer need the advice of my past. I am able to make the right decisions in the present.
Now it's up to you to prepare yourself for the inevitable loss of a chess game. Write a little personal reminder and you will see that it works wonders.
And then you come to the bonus: Knowing that you are good at dealing with losses gives you a lot more freedom to play.
No more fear of losing because you know it's not a disaster. Just read your letter and get on with your life.
I hope that thanks to this trick you will enjoy your games more and spend less time in a bad mood.
PS: If you want to know why it hurts so much to lose a game of chess, read onmy articlerelated to this topic.
How do you recover from losing in chess? ›
Last, but not least- if you have lost faith in yourself and your abilities- have a look at your best games. You will see that you can play better than in the game that you have lost, and that you are still a good player, despite the msitakes that you made, make and will make in the future.What is the 20 40 40 rule in chess? ›
Follow 20/40/40 Rule
That's where 20/40/40 rule comes handy. For an under 2000 rated player, it makes sense to spend 20% of the time on openings, 40% on Middlegame and 40% on Endgame. Besides that, you should play practice games, solve tactics and analyze.
The first is to play long time control games regularly. I try to play a 90 minute with 5 second delay game each day on-line. This will keep my mind active and prepare me for tournaments when I will have to play 2 or 3 long games in 1 day. The second is to regularly go through chess puzzles.How do you deal with failure in chess? ›
Rewind everything, and note down all your mistakes. This will help you to keep mistakes in your mind, so you never forget them while playing. Analyzing your mistakes will minimize the probability of repeating them in further games. Accept your failure.Why is losing in chess so painful? ›
Because your opponent can make many mistakes, you may only make 1, and you still lose the game. Similarly if you have been outplaying your opponent for 40 moves say and then make one blunder that loses the game. I would say it's because you only have yourself to blame if you lose.How do you get over game loss? ›
- Reflection time. Right after a defeat you probably feel a need to be alone for a while. ...
- Get rid of the negative feelings before analysis. ...
- Practice mindfulness applied to sport. ...
- Do not give up your sports practice. ...
- Everything is relative.
3-Check is a simple variant with one clear task in mind: Check the king as many times as you can! Normal rules apply, but you can also win (or lose!) a game by checking (or getting checked) 3 times in total. Games can still end in the traditional ways of checkmate, stalemate and time-out.What is the most effective chess opening? ›
- The Smith-Morra Gambit. This particular defence often leads to a very intriguing and captivating game. ...
- The Bird's Opening. This strategy has been ranked as one of the most popular openings. ...
- Vienna Opening. ...
- The Italian Game. ...
THE FIFTY-MOVE DRAW: The 50-move draw rule, which today states that a draw can be claimed if no capture is made and no pawn is moved for 50 consecutive moves, took centuries to reach its modern definition.What exercise will help a player of chess? ›
To increase his stamina for chess games, Caruana typically runs, plays basketball and swims, often all in one day. Exercise can also burn off stress before a competition. Caruana says taking the extra step to prepare physically helps him feel more confident going into a competition.
At what age do you stop improving at chess? ›
Many chess experts believe that most top chess players peak somewhere around age 35-40. For instance, this figure is given by GM and Doctor of Science in Psychology, Nikolai Krogius.Why I Cannot improve in chess? ›
First, slow down and play longer games. If you are losing in fast online games, try playing 3-day games that give you much more time to look over a position and try to understand it. Use the analysis board to try candadate moves and look for traps, hanging pieces, etc.Do chess players waste time? ›
"Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever when they are only wasting their time." Depends what you're trying to achieve really... if you enjoy it it's not a waste of time.Is there a solution to chess? ›
At this time, the game of chess has not been solved, but there is no reason why it is impossible, or intractable.What age do chess players decline? ›
Before a player's early 20s, performance on the chessboard appears to increase rapidly. Skill then appears to reach a plateau around 35 years of age, peak at age 40, and begin to steadily decline after age 45.Can playing too much chess make you worse? ›
If you play too much you will be tired in most of your games and of course you will play worse. playing much without analyzing the games afterwards will make you worse. because you get into a mode where you play auto move and repeat moves because you may be convinced it is the best moves.Is chess the hardest game to play? ›
One of the most famously difficult games in the world to master is chess. There's much debate about how old chess is and where it came from, but one thing's for sure: The objective is to checkmate the opposition king, while keeping your own monarch safe.What to do after a big loss? ›
After a tough loss, try to spend more time focusing on what you did right, opposed to what you did wrong. Always take the good from the bad. One way you can do this is by creating small achievable goals to go along with your big goals. Achieving even small goals is great for boosting your confidence levels.Why do I get so mad when I lose a game? ›
A common reaction to “losing” is anger. Why anger? Some theorists believe that anger, which allows a feeling of control and energy is a mask for a more uncomfortable, painful awareness. The more skewed an individual's belief system is toward“the win”, the more likely the eruption of anger.Can chess be won in 2 moves? ›
The two-move checkmate is the fastest way to complete a game of chess. Within just two chess moves, you can go from opening to endgame. While this gimmicky move might not fool a grandmaster or world champion, it's a useful strategy for beginners to keep in mind when playing against other novices.
What is a 3 move checkmate called? ›
The fool's mate received its name because it can occur only if White commits an extraordinary blunder. The analogous mate delivered by White is done in three moves, where the queen also delivers the mate. Even among rank beginners, this checkmate rarely occurs in practice.What is the shortest checkmate? ›
Fool's Mate is the fastest checkmate possible in chess, and it occurs after only two moves! Don't worry, you can't be forced into this checkmate unless you make two bad moves in a row. Fool's Mate is the fastest checkmate possible.What is the smartest first move in chess? ›
1. c4 is one of the best chess opening moves because it attacks the center (d5) and allows Nc3 to be played in the next few moves. Since the significant drawback of 1. Nc3 is it blocks in the c-pawn, playing c4 first is logical.What is the best 2nd move in chess? ›
The most popular second move for White is 2. Nf3 attacking Black's king pawn, preparing for a kingside castle, and anticipating the advance of the queen pawn to d4. Black's most common reply is 2... Nc6, which usually leads to the Ruy Lopez (3.What is the number one rule in chess? ›
Chess Rule #1: Touch move
Games are won and lost at a stroke with this rule. So here goes… the rule states that when a chess player intentionally touches one of his pieces, he or she must make a move with this piece (of course, if there is a legal move available).
There is no 16 move rule. There is also no rule related to one player having only a king. There is a 50 move rule, but it's reset every time there is a capture or a pawn move by either player.How many illegal moves are allowed in chess? ›
After the action taken under Article 7.4. a, for the first two illegal moves by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent in each instance; for a third illegal move by the same player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player.What part of the brain does chess exercise? ›
Chess stimulates the prefrontal cortex and spurs growth in immature ones, helping young players develop planning, reasoning, and perception skills earlier than kids who don't play chess.Is chess mentally demanding? ›
Playing chess can be stressful
Competitive chess players feel a great deal of anxiety about their performance during matches. Some have even described the game as mental torture.
Speaking to ESPN in September last year, American neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky said that a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament. “Grandmasters sustain elevated blood pressure for hours in the range found in competitive marathon runners,” he said.
What age do most chess players peak? ›
Many chess experts believe that most top chess players peak somewhere around age 35-40. For instance, this figure is given by GM and Doctor of Science in Psychology, Nikolai Krogius.Is it better to play white or black in chess? ›
In chess, there is a general consensus among players and theorists that the player who makes the first move (White) has an inherent advantage. Since 1851, compiled statistics support this view; White consistently wins slightly more often than Black, usually scoring between 52 and 56 percent.What age are the best chess players? ›
Top chess players play at their best between ages 35 and 45, according to a scientific paper published on Monday that discusses performance data based on games of chess world champions and their opponents. Playing strength increases rapidly until elite players are 20 and shows slower growth around their 35th birthday.Does having a high IQ make you better at chess? ›
The study found that intelligence was linked to chess skill for the overall sample, but particularly among young chess players and those at lower levels of skill. This may be because the upper-level players represent a winnowed distribution of cognitive ability -- in other words, they all tend to be fairly bright.Why is it hard for adults to improve at chess? ›
Lack of Motivation. Surprisingly, lack of motivation, is the biggest progress stopper at chess and life alike. Many adult players are simply not motivated enough to get better at chess. They want to improve their game, but they don't want it bad enough that they are willing to give up something valuable for it.How often should you play chess to improve? ›
I know NM Dan Heisman, who is a renowned chess coach for class level players, recommends playing with a time control of at least an hour, roughly 100 games per year, for serious improvement. Play slower games, and make sure to actually use your time to think and calculate.How long do you have to play chess to be good? ›
If you put in a couple of hours per day and try to balance having fun vs improving, you can probably reach 1000 rating in 3-6 months and 1500 rating in 12-18 months. If you only play a couple of hours per week and never study the game, you can probably reach 1000 rating in 2 years, and you'll probably never reach 1500.Is chess becoming less popular? ›
As people are stepping away from their screens, interest in chess shows no signs of slowing down.How many hours a day should I play chess? ›
Yes I think 30 minutes per day is a good start, if you are consistent. You can definitely make it to 1700 in this way, but don't expect to improve too fast. Improving in Chess takes a lot of time. And 30 minutes studying alone wouldn't get you to 1700 without tournament practise.What is chess paradox? ›
The chessboard paradox or paradox of Loyd and Schlömilch is a falsidical paradox based on an optical illusion. A chessboard or a square with a side length of 8 units is cut into four pieces. Those four pieces are used to form a rectangle with side lengths of 13 and 5 units.
What is the secret to winning chess? ›
To win at chess, you need to be constantly thinking a few moves in advance, setting up longer, more complicated attacks to outfox your opponent. Your first move is about setting up the rest of the game, leading to your first attack or controlling certain sections of the board.Is it normal to lose in chess? ›
It is normal to lose games in the beginning while you are not that strong. Mistake is a mistake, a blunder is a really big mistake.How do you bounce back from losing a game? ›
There is a simple but effective way to deal with ALL losses, errors, mistakes, etc: extract the lesson, commit the lesson to memory, forgive yourself, and move forward with confidence. It is important that you do not repeat your mistakes, so you should note your shortcomings and downfalls.Does losing in chess make you better? ›
You do learn from losing as long as you go back and analyse your games to find out why you lost. It does appear that you did make quite a few simple errors in that game. Your final mistake which cost you could have easily been averted.Is losing in chess good? ›
You've Likely Lost to a Better Player
Losing games to these better players has a big upside: you can learn more from them than you can from playing weaker opposition. If you want to improve as a chess player, you should seek out games against stronger competition.
You generally start performing poorly when you're constantly playing the game, and not taking extensive breaks. Besides, 900 rated players can give 1300's a good match, yes 1300's are better but if you're not paying attention, you can easily get outplayed by a 900-1000.Why do I get so angry when I lose at chess? ›
Chess will always evoke anger because in one major sense, it's a very unjust game. You can build up a positional advantage over 40 moves, make a blunder on move 41, and resign. This kind of loss makes players extremely angry and depressed.How do you regain motivation for a game? ›
- We all struggle with motivation from time to time, it's inevitable. ...
- Set the goal and just start! ...
- Set small goals. ...
- Put your money where your mouth is and have a wager with a friend. ...
- Turn up every day no matter what. ...
- Get around likeminded people who won't let you quit – be vulnerable and open, it actually really helps!
Playing daily helps to manage anxiety and other turbulent emotions. Enhanced Critical Thinking Skills. Chess improves the ability to think critically. Players are required to think fast and solve problems as they play.Do chess players get bored of chess? ›
It's possible to get bored of anything. Chess is no exception. I often find I have no real interest in my daily games sometimes. Any activity can become fun as long as there is improvement at thh he at activity.
How many games of chess does it take to get good? ›
I will say that for long term improvement, you should be playing slower games than just half an hour. I know NM Dan Heisman, who is a renowned chess coach for class level players, recommends playing with a time control of at least an hour, roughly 100 games per year, for serious improvement.