Dealing With Crisis

Handling a crisis in business and over the chess board are quite different because of external factors, but there are also some unique similarities. Whether it is chess or business, we have to deal with three common elements. These are:

a) Threats
b) Element of surprise those are hidden counter threats
c) Short decision making time

In chess, these elements are sometimes favourable and sometimes not. How you deal with these elements is all about handling crisis. How to handle it? I will try to explain it with the following discussion:

You Must Be Cold Blooded!

By this I mean to say that you should handle the situation calmly in order to recognise all the available resources at your disposal and your opponent’s. If you mix-up emotions you will be nowhere. For example in the following position Nakamura is facing a critical situation as there are so many threats in the air. However he came out of it using the element of surprise, a move which wouldn’t occur to most people. A good annotation has been given on this position in Chessbase’s Megabase.

Changing the Position

Rather than suffering in a difficult position it makes sense to try and change something so as to set your opponent some problems. Creativity is a great asset in such situations.

For example, I once saw a game of Karpov’s where he was unable to save the isolated pawn, so he sacrificed it by playing it on d5 and in return gave his opponent an isolated pawn and saved the game. I tried to find that game but could not.

Keep Away From Mess

This mainly concerns time trouble, and it stands to reason we can avoid a crisis if we don’t complicate when in time trouble or get into time trouble in complex positions.

Ashvin Chauhan