Learn from your mistakes
It’s hard to write about your losses. This is particularly true when the loss involves a single blunder that ruins the entire game. These kinds of blunders happen to all players at all levels but they are nevertheless, important to write about. Keeping focused in chess is what separates average players from strong ones. The ability to concentrate is important for success. One simple miscalculation can end the game very quickly.
I’ve featured my games with Fritz throughout this blog. He is an aggressive attacking player that usually gets himself in trouble with his uncompromising approach to the game. I was paired with him in round three and expected to at least give him a run for his money. That never happened.
Washington Senior Open, Round 3
Actions and consequences. Chess can be a microcosm of life in that you have to live with the decisions you make. My blunder in this game is a perfect example of that. A single bad move can sometimes (though not always) lead to disastrous outcome. There are a couple of lessons to be learned here.
The first is a reminder that a loss can come at any time. Failing to calculate your opponent’s replies can end a game before it really begins, even in the opening. Objectively, I probably got away with this kind of poor planning in blitz games but it never really hit home for me until it happened under tournament conditions. I am glad that it did. That doesn’t mean I will never make mistakes in a chess game again, but I will always remember this game and use it as a learning experience to avoid future mishaps.
Give credit where credit it due. Being down a couple of pawns isn’t always the end of the world. My opponent still had to work for the win – which is exactly what he did. Fritz never faltered; he kept up the pressure. Even when I won back a couple of pawns to equalize material, the game was still hopeless. This was not about material, it was about position. Two center connected passed-pawns on the sixth rank are worth more than a rook!
Don’t give up. Play out the position until you feel your opponent has played well enough to earn your resignation. Living with your decisions is as least as important in chess as it is in life.