Controlling your emotions

One of the most effective ways to improve in chess is to analyze your own games. Especially the ones you lose, so you can learn and improve.

A few weeks ago, when we were preparing for an important tournament, I tried something new: analyzing games of other kids that I know will participate. It’s not always easy to do, since most of these kids don’t have any published game. But Daniel and I chose one potential opponent (let’s call him John) for whom we could find 5-6 games.

After analyzing the games (some wins and some losses) it was clear to me that John, like any other kid his age, is biased to make more mistakes when his opponent has a significant advantage.  I pointed this out to Daniel and we spoke about how emotionally intensive it must be for John at those moments.

I was pleasantly surprised when Daniel then said:

“Dad, after learning openings, middle-game tactics, end-game, planning, and all that, do you know what’s the most important thing in chess?”

“What is that?” I said

Daniel: “Controlling your emotions.”

That’s all I needed to hear. Mission Accomplished!