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Drawing Mindset: Chesscampeona on the Move

posted January 29th, 2015

Written by guest author WCM Claudia Munoz

Today, I am focusing on an area of chess that is extremely important not only for chess players but for chess coaches. In the last couple of months, as I played numerous tournaments throughout Texas, New York, New Hampshire, and Florida, I have noticed many young chess players making a habit of drawing prematurely.

In chess, while drawing is sometimes inevitable, it can quickly turn into a bad habit and mindset when it is not a drawing position.

Young chess players may prefer to draw because they feel if they lose a game they will disappoint their coach or parents. When I was a child, on several occasions, I was not excited to leave the playing hall because of a bad performance.

I knew I was "going to hear it." I am sure my coach might have popped a few veins several times!

Therefore, sit down with your student and have a conversation after a tough game. The most important thing for a coach to do is to remain calm. It's important to remember that usually students are already giving themselves a hard time. I can tell you it is not worth losing your temper.

Just like a parent or a teacher, the student looks for direction in his or her coach. The way you respond as a coach affects the way the student responds. It is important to understand that, as a coach, you are conditioning students to give their best.

Help your students understand they should be more concerned about not disappointing themselves rather than their coach. In a coach-student relationship, communication is extremely important.

Young chess players are afraid to lose rating points. To solve this problem we all have to take the rating system off a pedestal.

Ratings are numbers that help us evaluate our strength. Explain to your student that just like in life you are not defined by a number or a grade but by your knowledge, skills, abilities, and values.

Be concerned about perfecting your own style of chess. This does not mean that rating is not important, because it does reflect your performance. Therefore, if you play your best, the rating will come.

Overall, it is important to inspire your student to win!

Each year, before my first tournament, my coach and I watch an inspiring video.

In 2011, my coach showed me "Four Days in October," a famous video of how the Boston Red Sox won the 2004 American League Championship Series after losing three games in a row. This video inspired me so much that I continually ask myself the same question the Boston Red Sox asked themselves after a three game losing streak: "Why not us?"

Remember, your role as a coach is extremely important in your student's life. Therefore, help your student by communicating with them and inspiring them.

I hope you learn from my experiences and use them in your life.

 

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Bullet Chess - Adrenaline & Addiction

posted January 26th, 2015

Written by guest author Jason Repa for Wholesale Chess

Of all forms of chess, this is the fastest and most nerve wracking. It is not for the weak or faint of heart. Entire games are played with only 1 or 2 minutes being allotted to each player. Blunders and mouse-slips are commonplace. Time forfeitures in won positions may be frequent as well. The depth of calculation is compromised and there is rarely an opportunity to double-check your plans. So why do we play it? The answer, as any bullet chess player can tell you, lies in the rush one gets from crushing an opponent under such draconian conditions. It also provides an opportunity to play a large number of games in a short period of time. This makes it ideal for busy people with only a few minutes to spare, but also for addicts who want to get the maximum number of games in per session.

There has been much debate as to whether or not playing bullet chess can be harmful to your slow and serious game. Chess coaches have been known to advise students to avoid it in favour of playing only active or regular tournament time control games. The argument is that the student will carry their ‘bullet-thinking’ over to their tournament games and make more mistakes. My personal opinion is that it could scarcely cause harm to play fast games of chess. After all, you are getting exercise and practice in many of the areas that are applicable in slow chess. There is no question that the faster the game, the more demanding it is of intuition and knowledge, in contrast to calculation and planning, but bullet chess also forcefully teaches you how to prioritize and manage your time in a way that slow chess cannot possibly do. There are also times when a player in a slow tournament game might get into time trouble and find themselves in a predicament where the conditions are similar to a bullet game. They might have only a few minutes to make a series of moves. In this case their bullet experience is directly beneficial and those without it are at a marked disadvantage.

Aside from the conceivable practical benefits playing bullet chess may offer, in terms of developing your ability as a chess player in general, it is just plain fun. It seems like the ideal graduation from real-time video games, where hand-eye-coordination, quick decision making, and mental agility are just as important. But in the case of chess, you are immersed into a limitless labyrinth of theory and complexity, with a global following and universal rule set. Also, with video games a bright and avid player soon achieves mastery and must move on to a new conquest. But in the world of chess, mastery is only a relative thing, and even the best players in the world are continuously learning and improving. It is highly doubtful that a human mind will even completely conquer chess.

When someone first asked me if I played it, back in 2002, I thought they were crazy. My idea of speed chess was 5 minutes per side and anything less was tantamount to a ‘mouse-race’. Now, many thousands of games later, the roles have been reversed and I find myself in the position of defending bullet chess from the criticism of others. I’ve often wagered to take 1 or 2 minutes while giving my opponent 20 or 30, just to prove my point. I have not lost such a wager yet, although, to be fair, my opponents in this type of contest, thus far, ranged from casual players to moderately above-average tournament players. Admittedly, I would not be able to make such a concession to an opponent of equal level to myself.

Jason Repa is a CFC rated national chess expert and part-time chess coach from Winnipeg, Canada. He has been a tournament chess player since 1995 and has been teaching chess since 2002.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Wholesale Chess. We welcome open discussion on all aspects of chess on the Wholesale Chess Blog. If you would like to be a guest author on our blog, please contact us at marketing@wholesalechess.com.

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