Something the chess books never mention is the importance of the right attitude to the game. And the most important quality I know of is the ability to respond to failure in a productive way.

The easiest way is to relegate the importance of the game so that a disappointment is deemed to have little value. This may avoid short term pain but it also avoids invaluable lessons that may be held therein. Someone who does this can be in danger of carrying their ‘pain avoidance’ over to other aspects of their lives, most commonly blaming others for everything bad that has ever happened to them.

A better way is to accept that things went wrong and then look for possible causes and ways to do better next time. This can demand a level of self honesty that is not required in normal life and it certainly isn’t easy. But therein lies the road to progress and self improvement.

This is why chess can be an invaluable tool in one’s personal development and why it is so good for kids to learn. But don’t make excuses, don’t withdraw from tournaments and never, ever give up.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.