Dealing With Trauma

The news that Vassily Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed at gunpoint in Sao Paulo is a reminder of how important it is for a chess player to have good nerves. A lot of the battle in chess is with ourselves, the ups and downs of intense competition plus travel related trauma affecting all but the calmest of players.

Early on in my chess career I suffered horribly from nerves, especially at critical moments of the game. The realization that this was an issue led me search for means with which I might acquire greater equanimity, leading me from self hypnosis to autogenics, various meditation techniques and then Chi Kung. And over the years I’ve become more relaxed, not just during my games but life in general.

Could such methods help Ivanchuk? Well not at such short notice, it takes years to bring about real change in the mind and nervous system. But this is why I tend to recommend that anyone who aspires to improve their chess take up some kind of meditative art.

Here’s Chucky’s game from round 3 in which he beats Vishwanathan Anand with the Schliemann. I guess he must have got hold of a copy of my Gambiteer 2 book.