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PHAT
30-07-2004, 05:40 PM
A Barry Cox's contribution elsewhere on this BB, spoke about the mind-set of a champion. doc, spoke of leasons in sport phychology.

Has anyone read "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins"? All about psychology in chess.

For what it's worth, from a 1200 player, nobody at our club can believe that my rating is actually 1258!! I say, "Dude, I just lose games." - which usually gets the the reply, "Yeah, I notice that you throw games away."

I have found that the difference between my 1250 and maybe 1550 is attitude. If I am feeling comfortable and relaxed and have a reason to win and/or a reason not to lose, I will perform at about 1550. Unfortunately, this combination is not a common place for my head to be.

To be in "the zone" more often, I would/will have to learn to enjoy driving a knife through the enemy king's heart. Unfortunately for me, I do not like looking at the person opposite after I win, I feel like a mongel. This "mongel" feeling usually starts to come on when I am in a winning position - hence my reputation as a player most likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In short, it is my sports psychology that is letting me down. Then again, do I realy want to train myself to have a bit of "the mongrel". Would it be a dangerous weapon that, once I have it, I might use it in my personal life :hmm:

Kevin Bonham
31-07-2004, 02:19 AM
There are a few opponents I really badly want to beat every single time I play them and if it comes by a swindle from a dead lost position in a game I've played terribly well that's all the sweeter. Not many are like that though. Most opponents I see as simply irrelevant, as if I was playing a computer (albeit one with a certain known style). If an opponent is a very good friend I'll apologise if I swindle them.

One of my big issues seems to be motivation. Although the opposition gets stronger the better you do, I think there'd be a (+)ve correlation between my score in the first two rounds or a weekender and my final result. A loss in round 3 I can handle, but I don't even like to draw in the first two.

Haven't read 7DS and from the reviews I've read I don't imagine I would like it. It sounds like what my partner calls "a self-help book for chessplayers".

PHAT
31-07-2004, 06:48 AM
Haven't read 7DS and from the reviews I've read I don't imagine I would like it. It sounds like what my partner calls "a self-help book for chessplayers".

I read it a while back. Yes, a reader could use it as a self-help book, but I found it to be a little more than that - more like an exploritory work of the chess players mind, when its not calculating.

Gringo
31-07-2004, 07:25 AM
" A Chess Players Mind " seems just a catchy phrase, considering the
multitudes of differing individuals that play the game.

ursogr8
31-07-2004, 11:02 AM
A Barry Cox's contribution elsewhere on this BB, spoke about the mind-set of a champion. doc, spoke of leasons in sport phychology.

Has anyone read "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins"? All about psychology in chess.

For what it's worth, from a 1200 player, nobody at our club can believe that my rating is actually 1258!! I say, "Dude, I just lose games." - which usually gets the the reply, "Yeah, I notice that you throw games away."

I have found that the difference between my 1250 and maybe 1550 is attitude. If I am feeling comfortable and relaxed and have a reason to win and/or a reason not to lose, I will perform at about 1550. Unfortunately, this combination is not a common place for my head to be.

To be in "the zone" more often, I would/will have to learn to enjoy driving a knife through the enemy king's heart. Unfortunately for me, I do not like looking at the person opposite after I win, I feel like a mongel. This "mongel" feeling usually starts to come on when I am in a winning position - hence my reputation as a player most likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In short, it is my sports psychology that is letting me down. Then again, do I realy want to train myself to have a bit of "the mongrel". Would it be a dangerous weapon that, once I have it, I might use it in my personal life :hmm:

Matt
Great post of yours. Shows openness to reveal yourself. Shows perception to see the consequence of adopting a different attitude. Shows generosity to share with us.
Thanks, and well done. :clap:

regards
starter

eclectic
31-07-2004, 04:14 PM
Matt
Great post of yours. Shows openness to reveal yourself. Shows perception to see the consequence of adopting a different attitude. Shows generosity to share with us.
Thanks, and well done. :clap:

regards
starter

matt,

i wonder what proportion of adult chess players there are who are of above average intelligence and think that this intelligence will simply transfer over to their chess but are rudely awakened when they find that over the board their psychological temperment rears its moody head to muddy desired chess clarity

eclectic

ps

starter,

i hope that as of tomorrow your avatar will read something like ...

Aug 01 <= Melbourne: World's Most Livable City <= May 01

PHAT
31-07-2004, 05:03 PM
i wonder what proportion of adult chess players there are who are of above average intelligence and think that this intelligence will simply transfer over to their chess but are rudely awakened when they find that over the board their psychological temperment rears its moody head to muddy desired chess clarity


Rest assured, there is at least one on this BB who nearly fits that description :oops: However I my case, it is not so much a case of "the angry boxer loses" as "nice guys finish last". Not that I think I'm a nice guy - just not enough mongrel.

Garvinator
31-07-2004, 11:27 PM
I find the exact opposite to matt. when i first started playing competitions i would get some good won positions and blow them thinking i could just win at my pleasure and wanted to do it as easily as possible to not upset my opponent too much.

After playing a few more tournaments, i noticed that my opponents didnt get upset at me if i beat them. this was a new concept from my sports in the past.

I find playing blunders really difficult to take, even if doesnt result in an immediate loss, as i feel like i have destroyed the natural progress of the game. I have lost many games this way and i wish i could find a reliable way of avoiding blunders and at least making my opponent beat me.

I have tried all the tricks except writing my move down before i play it(i wont be doing that one :P ).

PHAT
01-08-2004, 06:42 AM
I find playing blunders really difficult to take, even if doesnt result in an immediate loss, as i feel like i have destroyed the natural progress of the game. I have lost many games this way and i wish i could find a reliable way of avoiding blunders and at least making my opponent beat me.


Oh yeeeeees! I know these feelings well.

Let me share this with you. I have reduced blunders by 50% . [No laughing from the audience :evil: ] Now any blunder comes after 30mins rather than before 30. Now I have to push that figure out to 60mins+. My System: Be on task. Don't be sloppy. Work hard OTB.

I problem is, I think, is that chess is unlike life. In life, all of us go through the day making decissions/choices that have a low risk of killing us, so we play the percentages. Chess is not like that at club level. It is all perfect calculation. The so called beauty/art of chess is only there for the 2000+ player. The majority of us have to fight like dogs.

eclectic
02-08-2004, 04:14 PM
the answer that bruce pandolfini gives to the first question in his latest (july 28 04)* installment of "the q & a way" at http://www.chesscafe.com would appear to cover territory which overlaps with the intention of this thread

the last paragraph seems especially pertinent

[nothing quoted here for copyright reasons]

*those finding this much later can go to the appropriate chesscafe archive

eclectic

arosar
02-08-2004, 04:30 PM
Forget about mongrel factor OTB. How about mongrel factor towards chess?

This morning, as I was in the cafe gettin' me toasted blueberry bagel with cream cheese, I was accosted by a now 'former' chess player - an investment banker, actually. Anyways, to cut our conversations short, he informs me that he's given up on chess cos he ain't ever gonna get any better. I was so upset by this! I was upset cos 1, we lose another member and 2, I don't get how people can get into chess for a bit and not fall in love completely?

We did exchange business cards, so I'm gonna have a bit of word with this bloke and put him straight. That's me volunteer bit for youse!

AR

PHAT
02-08-2004, 05:21 PM
I don't get how people can get into chess for a bit and not fall in love completely?


In love? :hmm: Maybe not quite. I play, for those games where I hit "the zone" and I beat someone way higher than me. When I play against someone of about the same rating, my heart isn't realy in it, and when they are way lower, I just feel like a dikhedded bastard and want the ground to open up and swallow me up. Anyway, I do love taking scalps. :D

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 05:27 PM
In love? :hmm: Maybe not quite. I play, for those games where I hit "the zone" and I beat someone way higher than me. When I play against someone of about the same rating, my heart isn't realy in it, and when they are way lower, I just feel like a dikhedded bastard and want the ground to open up and swallow me up. Anyway, I do love taking scalps. :D

You are aware of the irrationality of this position, aren't you?

If guys who were higher rated didn't beat lower rated players most of the time these scalps you treasure would not be so prized. It is your duty, therefore to play as best as you can against lower rated opposition so as to give them a sense of worth the odd time that they do beat you. Playing soft cheats them and you.

ursogr8
02-08-2004, 05:40 PM
You are aware of the irrationality of this position, aren't you?

If guys who were higher rated didn't beat lower rated players most of the time these scalps you treasure would not be so prized. It is your duty, therefore to play as best as you can against lower rated opposition so as to give them a sense of worth the odd time that they do beat you. Playing soft cheats them and you.

Amiel

A wonderfully succinct post of yours right on the button. Well done. You and I are back on the same wavelength. (And good on you for the volunteer bit...love it).

starter

arosar
02-08-2004, 05:43 PM
Amiel

A wonderfully succinct post of yours right on the button. Well done. You and I are back on the same wavelength. (And good on you for the volunteer bit...love it).

starter

Wasn't me. Was Bazza.

AR

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 05:51 PM
Wasn't me. Was Bazza.

I think he was talking about your post but Quoted mine. My posts are invariably "wonderfully succinct" and therefore do not warrant a remark on that score. ;)

ursogr8
02-08-2004, 05:52 PM
Wasn't me. Was Bazza.

AR

Holy toledo..............you are right :eek: :oops:
Well, that explains everything.

Liked your volunteer bit though.

starter

PHAT
02-08-2004, 05:53 PM
You are aware of the irrationality of this position, aren't you?

By that you mean emotionality of this position.


If guys who were higher rated didn't beat lower rated players most of the time these scalps you treasure would not be so prized. It is your duty, therefore to play as best as you can against lower rated opposition so as to give them a sense of worth the odd time that they do beat you. Playing soft cheats them and you.

Deliberately playing "soft" is, as you say, cheating them and your self. But, what if going "soft" (or as I feel it, fast and lose) is a psychological "chess playing defect". That is not cheating anything other than the god of standard deviation.

You know, you can observe higher rated players change from relaxed and comfy to mongrel. I observe it when they realise this patzer has threats left right and centre. If I can avoid a blunder for another 30 moves, they are as dead as disco. :evil:

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 06:11 PM
A few comments on the mongrel factor as people seem to have differing philosophies on the meaning of this. I have no problems separating my feelings of competitiveness with my personal emotions for my opponent.

For example, I played in a friendly little allegro weekender organised by the local Macedonian community (as a part of their Ilinden celebrations). There was a field of 26 with around 8 players coming from the Wollongong Collegians pool of regular players. In one game I was playing against a similarly rated player from the club who I've known for many years and we were bothing getting down to around 5 minutes on the clock.

The position reached a forcing line of around 3 or 4 moves each which we both played very quickly and in the melee one pawn was knocked down and not put back up immediately. At this time there were several non-regular spectators as we were one of the last games to finish that round. There were some comments that indicated people thought we were becoming emotional or aggressive, but nothing could be further from the truth. We were simply minimising the time required to get through those few moves as we had already both worked it out in advance.

Perhaps this experiance will stop some of these spectators from thinking about playing more competetive chess. Which is a shame as the reality was quite different from the impression.

As an aside I was quite happy with this game (partly because I won it) but mostly because I think it was a really nice game and level of play for 30 minute chess. I was black aganist a Morra and I appear to give up my queen but I get two rooks for it and picked up another piece a shortly after thanks to a back-rank mate threat. However, I end up a couple of pawns behind. In the endgame I found a tactic when I appears to sac a rook but wins the queen and some pawns for the two rooks and I end up in a won B+2P v 3P endgame with a full 3 minutes on the clock.

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 06:29 PM
Deliberately playing "soft" is, as you say, cheating them and your self. But, what if going "soft" (or as I feel it, fast and lose) is a psychological "chess playing defect". That is not cheating anything other than the god of standard deviation.

I think your interpretation is too fatalistic. It is your defect and your's alone to correct. Don't blame the gods of mathematics! Especially not the over-worked gods of the exponential law of error. :D


You know, you can observe higher rated players change from relaxed and comfy to mongrel. I observe it when they realise this patzer has threats left right and centre. If I can avoid a blunder for another 30 moves, they are as dead as disco. :evil:

Yes, it is exactly this mongrel factor I was talking about. Higher rated players know from past experience that their opponent will make some mistakes which they will be able to take avantage of. When they don't, or worse still, their opponent takes advantage of some of their mistakes then they have to work. However, they also know that in general many lost games can be won back provided they work hard enough. These swindles are a part of the game for the high rated player and they should not be thought less of for them.

It is all part of the reason why you treasure the high rated players scalp. Because he does not let you beat him if he can at all help it.

PHAT
02-08-2004, 06:49 PM
I have no problems separating my feelings of competitiveness with my personal emotions for my opponent.

For example, ...

How can you ignore that the shape opposite you is a person. You play them with the hope that that person will not see a pent-up explosion, or tricky forced line. You wonder what they are up to when they take 10 minutes on a move. It is quite personal. You feel them jigging their leg, see them breathing heavily, under stress.

I have a sly suspicion, that (our) Steve Ascic, doesn't feel 100% good for winning. "Oh, I wos lucky, you pla viry goot. Scha, you nilly haddit wen you poosh ze c pion. You give me art gam." Mind you, he is a gentleman, who does his best to make people feel comfortable.

Alan Shore
02-08-2004, 06:57 PM
The position reached a forcing line of around 3 or 4 moves each which we both played very quickly and in the melee one pawn was knocked down and not put back up immediately. At this time there were several non-regular spectators as we were one of the last games to finish that round. There were some comments that indicated people thought we were becoming emotional or aggressive, but nothing could be further from the truth. We were simply minimising the time required to get through those few moves as we had already both worked it out in advance.

Perhaps this experiance will stop some of these spectators from thinking about playing more competetive chess. Which is a shame as the reality was quite different from the impression.

I found this observation quite incredulous - there is no better spectacle in chess than a low time situation with the adrenalin pumping and the pieces flying.

PHAT
02-08-2004, 06:58 PM
Higher rated players know from past experience that their opponent will make some mistakes which they will be able to take avantage of. When they don't, or worse still, their opponent takes advantage of some of their mistakes then they have to work.


The concited bastards! I wanna make them pay in blood :evil: grrrrrrrr ......... I can see hair actually growing on the backs of my hands - and palms :eek:

Trizza
02-08-2004, 07:55 PM
Forget about mongrel factor OTB. How about mongrel factor towards chess?

This morning, as I was in the cafe gettin' me toasted blueberry bagel with cream cheese, I was accosted by a now 'former' chess player - an investment banker, actually. Anyways, to cut our conversations short, he informs me that he's given up on chess cos he ain't ever gonna get any better. I was so upset by this! I was upset cos 1, we lose another member and 2, I don't get how people can get into chess for a bit and not fall in love completely?

We did exchange business cards, so I'm gonna have a bit of word with this bloke and put him straight. That's me volunteer bit for youse!

AR

I notice you didn't drop his name.
Fair enough, but could you possibly say if he is formerly from WA?
Just wondering.
If you don't want to say, that's fine.

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 08:56 PM
How can you ignore that the shape opposite you is a person. You play them with the hope that that person will not see a pent-up explosion, or tricky forced line. You wonder what they are up to when they take 10 minutes on a move. It is quite personal. You feel them jigging their leg, see them breathing heavily, under stress.

You don't ignore that either of you are people. However, at the start of a game there will generally be shake hands. I believe a part of that is the players are entering into a agreement to play a fair and honest game of chess - also intellectually honest - trying their best to win.

When I play I try not to get distracted too much by the mannerisms of my opponent or spectators. Information which is useful to the chess process should be taken in (of course) but as chess has no hidden factors generally body language is of limited use.

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 09:00 PM
I found this observation quite incredulous - there is no better spectacle in chess than a low time situation with the adrenalin pumping and the pieces flying.

A bull-fight is also a great spectacle, but not everyone wants to become a matador.

The point was competitiveness in a pursuit like chess, does not equate to personal rivalry. People unaware of this distinction may have misread the situation.

Rincewind
02-08-2004, 09:03 PM
The concited bastards! I wanna make them pay in blood :evil: grrrrrrrr ......... I can see hair actually growing on the backs of my hands - and palms :eek:

Wow! How did you react when you found out about the tooth-fairy conspiracy? :hmm:

Kevin Bonham
02-08-2004, 09:45 PM
However, at the start of a game there will generally be shake hands. I believe a part of that is the players are entering into a agreement to play a fair and honest game of chess - also intellectually honest - trying their best to win.

I've never really thought about what the handshake signifies. Generally when one player refuses it that indicates some kind of hostility or unresolved grievance. I don't like that way of expressing it (eg Kasparov - Shirov for a while) but at least it's better than an outright refusal to play.


When I play I try not to get distracted too much by the mannerisms of my opponent or spectators.

Me neither. Can't remember ever paying an opponent's demeanour attention except in very light-hearted moments. However I am fairly animated at the board and a lot of opponents believe that they can "read" me. It is not quite as easy as they think.

Alan Shore
02-08-2004, 11:18 PM
A bull-fight is also a great spectacle, but not everyone wants to become a matador.

The point was competitiveness in a pursuit like chess, does not equate to personal rivalry. People unaware of this distinction may have misread the situation.

I would rather liken it to competitors in a hard and tough footy game than a bull fight (which is much more hazardous to one's health). Consider Michael and Brett Voss playing on each other (not to mention a vast number of good mates at opposing clubs). There will be no leniency nor any concessions made during the match and it should be and nearly always is fiercely competetive at the time. No one doubts those players' true sentiments off the field despite watching them appear quite aggressive on the field, in some cases involved in tussles. Therefore upon completion of your game all is required is a friendly handshake and I assure you no one would be dwelling on the interactions between you and your opponent in game's duration.

Rincewind
03-08-2004, 08:10 AM
I would rather liken it to competitors in a hard and tough footy game than a bull fight (which is much more hazardous to one's health).

Not sure which one would be more hazardous, to be honest. A footy game everyone has a fairly even chance of injury, whereas in a bull-fight the odds are stacked in favour of the matador.

But the competitiveness you speak of is exactly what I mean. And when the Brisbane Lions, say, are playing a bunch of no-hopers like the Swans I'm sure they don't play soft and give them an easy game.

Cat
05-08-2004, 07:29 PM
I've actually found I've been playing better when I've been unemotional about my games. Emotions often seem to cloud my decisions on the chess board and I'm more likely to err. Impatience is my biggest vice.

Studies on performance (sporting & academic) have found that outcomes indeed depend on the degree of adrenaline release. Too much adrenaline and performance is impaired, too little also leads to decline in performance. Some adrenline is good, but not too much.

Fatigue and illness are major factor on performance, as is alcohol and drug intake. Caffiene, though a stimulant, does not generally enhance performance and in higher doses impairs performance. Spiders given high doses of stimulants weave tangled, erratic webs.

My advice to those withing to improve their chess performance would be to get fitter and eat healthy. Physical activity leads to better mental functioning. In fact, fitness correlates well with perservation of mental function with age.

Poor diet affects brain function. A lipid-laiden circulation is sluggish and more viscous, and this is thought to account for lowering of arousal levels after fatty meals.

We often play soccer between chess games on the Gold Coast and its noticable the 2 Queensland IM's are ready participants.

So Matt, Barry et al throw away your chess books & play footie - it's better for you and your chess!

Kevin Bonham
06-08-2004, 02:31 AM
Fatigue and illness are major factor on performance, as is alcohol and drug intake.

There are lots of anecdotal cases of players who play better when moderately drunk, although too much alcohol seems to make most players play much worse. David, are there ways you know of that alcohol could make some specific players (<10%) play better, or is it more likely that these have just been statistically lucky.


Caffiene, though a stimulant, does not generally enhance performance and in higher doses impairs performance.

I read something about this with specific relevance to chess once. The claim was something like that caffeine might be a short-term benefit in some positions but on the whole was dodgy, partly because it made you rash and irritable if on the back foot in the game. I have had the odd game where I drank way too much coffee between rounds, started well, then collapsed when the opponent staged any kind of counter-attack. Now I don't drink caffeine during weekenders until all my games are over for the day.

Alan Shore
06-08-2004, 04:15 PM
There are lots of anecdotal cases of players who play better when moderately drunk, although too much alcohol seems to make most players play much worse. David, are there ways you know of that alcohol could make some specific players (<10%) play better, or is it more likely that these have just been statistically lucky.

I can attest to that - my play improves with drinking, a few standard drinks (3-5) is a good number. It releases inhibitions and gives me a wonderful attacking flair and tactical insight (talking of rapid/blitz, of course).

Garvinator
06-08-2004, 05:14 PM
I can attest to that - my play improves with drinking, a few standard drinks (3-5) is a good number. It releases inhibitions and gives me a wonderful attacking flair and tactical insight (talking of rapid/blitz, of course).
let me guess, when you have to play a 90/30 you drink too much and get drunk ;) .

this is why the gc juniors are under rated, no alcohol at gardiner chess centre :owned: :whistle:

Alan Shore
06-08-2004, 06:04 PM
let me guess, when you have to play a 90/30 you drink too much and get drunk ;) .

this is why the gc juniors are under rated, no alcohol at gardiner chess centre :owned: :whistle:

Actually on Gardiner Chess Centre's opening night I had a few beers there!

But yes, nice theory.. maybe Dave Richards can incorporate it into his maturation factor. :D

Garvinator
06-08-2004, 06:34 PM
But yes, nice theory.. maybe Dave Richards can incorporate it into his maturation factor. :D next dave will ask for the rating figures for the next ten years on the difference between players who have played games at venues which have a licence and ones that dont
:P

Cat
06-08-2004, 06:45 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]There are lots of anecdotal cases of players who play better when moderately drunk, although too much alcohol seems to make most players play much worse. David, are there ways you know of that alcohol could make some specific players (<10%) play better, or is it more likely that these have just been statistically lucky.

As you say, they're antecdotal and I don't think there's any real evidence to support alcohol convincingly improving performance. However, if adrenaline levels are too high, this can also impair performance and maybe in the occasional individual the alcohol acts to control anxiety.



I read something about this with specific relevance to chess once. The claim was something like that caffeine might be a short-term benefit in some positions but on the whole was dodgy, partly because it made you rash and irritable if on the back foot in the game. I have had the odd game where I drank way too much coffee between rounds, started well, then collapsed when the opponent staged any kind of counter-attack. Now I don't drink caffeine during weekenders until all my games are over for the day.

Yes, caffiene in low doses may work to overcome fatigue. However, in higher doses it can lead to chaotic thought processing and impaired reasoning. Caffeine was widely used by medical students in my day to overcome fatigue when cramming - I tried it once, it was a disaster.

rob
12-08-2004, 08:59 AM
Forget about mongrel factor OTB. How about mongrel factor towards chess?

This morning, as I was in the cafe gettin' me toasted blueberry bagel with cream cheese, I was accosted by a now 'former' chess player - an investment banker, actually. Anyways, to cut our conversations short, he informs me that he's given up on chess cos he ain't ever gonna get any better. I was so upset by this! I was upset cos 1, we lose another member and 2, I don't get how people can get into chess for a bit and not fall in love completely?

We did exchange business cards, so I'm gonna have a bit of word with this bloke and put him straight. That's me volunteer bit for youse!

AR

If it is the former WA player that Tristan indicated in a subsequent post, then I suspect that the reason you have been given is a very small contributing factor. The main reasons I suspect are: he described the Sydney chess scene as 'a bit of a freak show', he started spending a lot of time using his brain at work so needs to rest it afterwards, plus he found love - he can't believe that such a good looking girl cares about him (ah, how sweet). Many guys make a choice (often subconsciously) rather than a compromise between a partner and chess - not all of them chose wisely :)

Rincewind
12-08-2004, 09:27 AM
Many guys make a choice (often subconsciously) rather than a compromise between a partner and chess - not all of them chose wisely :)

The same could be said of the partners. ;)

Kerry Stead
12-08-2004, 03:28 PM
If it is the former WA player that Tristan indicated in a subsequent post, then I suspect that the reason you have been given is a very small contributing factor. The main reasons I suspect are: he described the Sydney chess scene as 'a bit of a freak show', he started spending a lot of time using his brain at work so needs to rest it afterwards, plus he found love - he can't believe that such a good looking girl cares about him (ah, how sweet). Many guys make a choice (often subconsciously) rather than a compromise between a partner and chess - not all of them chose wisely :)

But it seems as thought you found a bit of both Rob ...
Perhaps it was simply the increased numbers in Sydney, but I have a feeling most chess events could be described as 'a bit of a freak show' ... there's just more over this side of the country!

Kerry Stead
12-08-2004, 03:53 PM
To get back to Matt's original question about the 'mongrel factor', from my own experience I tend to do the 'play the board not the man (woman/boy/girl delete as appropriate)' approach. Yes, often I'll know something about my opponent's style of play, so this will tend to make me want to head in a particular direction (eg: avoiding tactics against people like Raymond Song, although it obviously doesn't always go to plan), but I am ultimately playing chess - I find the challenge is as much with myself as with my opponent. If I get frustrated from a game, its usually because of my own mistakes rather than anything my opponent has done, even if I have won the game I am sometimes annoyed at myself for missing something.

Also motivation generally has a lot to do with how you perform. Of late I haven't been as motivated as I have been in the past (I think it has as much to do with my job as anything else), and although the results haven't really shown up yet, I can notice the change myself - general laziness at the board being the main sign - too often I switch into 'autopilot' when I shouldn't.
I must admit to rating or knowledge of a player having some effect on how I play the game ... I will go into the game thinking 'I should win this' or 'I should at least draw this'. I never really write myself off, but I will sometimes push too hard when I shouldn't be, and lose a game as a result.

I suppose as well there's also the question of what drives you to play in a tournament. Often for me it is the chance to get out of Sydney for a weekend, or the dream of playing one of those games, you know, the ones that you can show to a group of people and they will just think 'wow, that was impressive!' ... regardless of whether you actually do the 'show and tell' or not.

ursogr8
12-08-2004, 03:56 PM
A Barry Cox's contribution elsewhere on this BB, spoke about the mind-set of a champion. doc, spoke of leasons in sport phychology.

Has anyone read "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins"? All about psychology in chess.

For what it's worth, from a 1200 player, nobody at our club can believe that my rating is actually 1258!! I say, "Dude, I just lose games." - which usually gets the the reply, "Yeah, I notice that you throw games away."

I have found that the difference between my 1250 and maybe 1550 is attitude. If I am feeling comfortable and relaxed and have a reason to win and/or a reason not to lose, I will perform at about 1550. Unfortunately, this combination is not a common place for my head to be.

To be in "the zone" more often, I would/will have to learn to enjoy driving a knife through the enemy king's heart. Unfortunately for me, I do not like looking at the person opposite after I win, I feel like a mongel. This "mongel" feeling usually starts to come on when I am in a winning position - hence my reputation as a player most likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In short, it is my sports psychology that is letting me down. Then again, do I realy want to train myself to have a bit of "the mongrel". Would it be a dangerous weapon that, once I have it, I might use it in my personal life :hmm:

Drawing on readings and experiences in other sports.
Show jumping
Many riders believe that the second last fence is the most dangerous as the rider's mind wanders forward to the concept of a clear round.
Golf
Quite a few books warn about the thought that enters the mind late in the golf round "What am I going to say as a winners speech, because I am doing so well today".

Both instances are what is called 'getting out of the current time-frame', and feature heavily in sports psychology books.

In th old days we use to call it 'getting ahead of yourself'.

Any of this ring a bell Matt?


starter

JGB
23-08-2004, 09:12 PM
In the late 1890s the chess master Pillsbury would put away a couple of glasses of cognac before playing against Lasker in the championship, they said it was to calm his nerves (probably the nerves that flared up if the alcoholic didn't get a drink). He performed exeptionally well under the influence.

(health warning: Pillsbury died at 34 years of age after a period of temporary insanity :doh: )

Gringo
24-08-2004, 01:07 PM
The Great Pillsbury ended up with Syphilis, which was not mentioned in your
Alcohol related health warning. Maybe the Claustrophobia after operating
the chess automaton the "Turk" affected him. Lucky he didn't stay long in Parr's shop.... and hear comments regarding Billy Blabbermouth.

JGB
24-08-2004, 08:04 PM
The Great Pillsbury ended up with Syphilis, which was not mentioned in your Alcohol related health warning. Maybe the Claustrophobia after operating the chess automation the "Turk" affected him. ....

Well don't they say its better to burn out than fade away?! (or was that just some grunge rocker who blew himself away) :confused:

JGB
24-08-2004, 11:29 PM
bit of a funny story, you meet all sorts of chess players...
Few weeks ago I played some guy named Flor in a local league game and in a tense rook end game, he was so hyped up about winning a pawn on the queens wing he missed my mating net. He picked of my pawn, I slapped a rook down on f7 with check and he started to shake and get real nervous. Man i almost got scared, I almost felt sorry for the big guy, he was pretty damn ugly too. He could not handle it, he stood up all nervous like and the 10 or so other guys in the room were also cautious. He left the room and came back about 5 minutes later (perhaps pocket fritz had told him, that he had blow his chance, anyway who cares). He put his hand out, customary after giving up, but no here was something different; he said to me in his strong german accent 'Arm drück'... the guy was in for an arm wrestle! What a classic! Being an Aussies (pretty keen arm wrestler by the way) I said 'lets rock and roll champ' (in german of course ;) ) we pushed the board to the side and ... what can I say, he should not have come back after his 5 minute walk earlier. I could see he was heartbroken, Im just a short guy and he must have though, Ill show him... anyway he lost before I really got started.
I felt the real Mongrel ! ...come on Aussie...