A few years ago, I read Seth Godin’s wonderful little book “The Dip“
Seth explains that if you want to be “the best” at something, you must prepare for a difficult journey. If it was easy, then anyone could be the best.
Initially, your success may come relatively easily, and your performance improves rapidly. But then comes the difficult part – the dip – where your feel that you can’t make any progress, and doubt sneaks in — is that all I can be?
This is where most people quit. Only those few who keep going and make it to the “other side of the dip” become true masters. And that’s why they are so rare.
This weekend Daniel played at the US National G30/G60 in California.
He did ok in the G60 (winning 2/4 games). When he lost his first game of G30 — he was quite upset; so much so that I was wondering if he might quit the tournament altogether at that point.
So I drew the dip diagram for him, and explained the theory behind it. “You are now in the dip”, I said. “If you truly want to make it to the other side, you have to make an effort and get there. It’s not easy”. This had a big, positive impact on him. He went on to win all 4 subsequent games, and ended up tied for 3rd place overall. I was very proud of him.
By the way, I also played in both tournament, and had lots of fun. Here’s one of my games, where I blundered (opponent took my rook), but then recovered with a queen trap:
[Event "US G/60"] [Site "Santa Clara, USA"] [Date "2011.10.01"] [Round "4"] [White "Ofer, "] [Black ""] [CBBWhiteId "ofermend"] [CBBBlackId "*"] [Result "1-0"] [JsCom "startply 20"] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.f3 Nxe4 6.Nxe4 dxe4 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.fxe4 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qxe4+ 10.Qe2 Qxh1 11.Nf3 b6 12.O-O-O Ba6 13.Qf2 Bxf1 14.Rxf1 Qxf1+ 15.Qxf1 Nc6 16.c3 Rd8 17.Qb5 Rd6 18.Ne5 a6 19.Qf1 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Rd5 21.Qxa6 O-O 22.Qb7 Rd7 23.h4 f6 24.Qc6 Re7 25.Qe4 Rd7 26.Qc6 Rfd8 27.Qxe6+ Kf8 28.Kc2 Re7 29.Qf5 g6 30.Qxf6+ Ke8 31.e6 1-0