Beginner Chess Psychology: Don't Get So Emotional!

Legendary Chess Trainer IM Mark Dvoretsky - Beginner Chess Psychology
Legendary Chess Trainer IM Mark Dvoretsky
It is very natural that the more energy you put into a chess game, the more you become emotionally invested. This can cloud your judgment and lead to second-best decisions, which is exactly why you should be fully aware of the dangers of emotional thinking in chess. It is absolutely critical to play your best chess in every single game that you play, and to do that you will need to be thinking like a computer, calculating and strategizing with pure objectivity. The more cognizant you are of the negative impacts of emotional and subsequently irrational thinking in chess, the easier it will be to avoid this maladaptive behavior. I’ve noticed that beginners are especially afflicted by this problem in the opening stages of the game, playing their most excited (and usually worst) chess shortly after sitting down at the board and shaking hands to begin.

Emotional instability can be one of the factors giving rise to a failure by chess players in important duels. Under the influence of surging emotions (and not necessarily negative ones) we sometimes lose concentration and stop objectively evaluating the events that are taking place on the board” – Mark Dvoretsky

Control Your Emotions From The 1st Move

The opening is a very essential part of chess, as the structure and pressure you are able to achieve will form the framework for the rest of the game. The amateur chess player is very prone to moving too fast in the opening and downright gambling, hoping that a rapidly achieved time advantage in the opening will carry over into enduring time pressure in the middlegame and endgame. While time pressure is a very real and dangerous element in chess, it should certainly not be over-estimated. Gambling with your emotions by impulsively moving too fast with the intention of putting pressure on your opponent via the clock is a very long-shot bet, and the percentages are definitely not in your favor. So the next time you feel yourself becoming too emotionally attached in a game and your judgment becomes more subjective – take some time to slow down, walk away, and clear your head to make sure you are making moves from a completely objective perspective.

 

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