Caïssa’s Wisdom: #5 – Winning and Losing at Chess

Rules and Etiquette for Chess Amateurs

Once more our patron goddess has visited with me in peaceful sleep and honoured I, her servant, by bidding me pass down her sage words for chess amateurs across the globe. On this occasion she demands that you adopt the correct attitudes. Listen well because there are two parts to this weeks lesson…

Bobby Fischer hated losing. So should you.

#5a: Winning really matters… 

Winning isn’t everything… but losing is nothing
– Edmar Mednis

However aesthetic and artful the game of chess can be, it is still, in essence, a fight. Winning is the aim and therefore winning matters. If you are one of those players who whines “I just enjoy playing really. I don’t mind whether I win or not”, then you are either lying or you’re a wimpy, pathetic loser. You clearly need to:

a.) “get some nuts!” and;
b.) learn from the attitude of one of the game’s most illustrious titans

Don’t even mention losing to me. I can’t stand to think of it
– Bobby Fischer

#5b: …but losing is an opportunity

Don’t be afraid of losing, be afraid of playing a game and not learning something
– Dan Heisman

You lose a game of chess because you’re weak – period. Accept it. Maybe you lost concentration or you miscalculated a variation. Perhaps the game was a bit dull for your taste, or you found it terrifyingly sharp. Maybe you were over ambitious, or too cautious. There are so many ways to lose a game of chess. Learning how to respond to defeat first requires that you accept your weakness, not make excuses and understand how and where you can improve for the next game. Losing is tolerable if it leads to improvement.

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