It became apparent this evening that my son is every bit as bad a winner as his father! I’ve always found it difficult to suppress a certain triumphalism after a win though I think I’ve got better at it over the years. Of course a real test would be if I were to win against a member of the 2700 club, would I really be able to stop myself punching the air?
I’ve had rather more success at losing gracefully, perhaps because of extensive experience! I now see it as little more than an occupational hazard and know to try and dust myself off and have another go in the next game.
On the other hand I know some GMs who’ve struggled horribly with this and can collapse after a defeat. I once did a study of how World Champions performed after a loss and seem to recall that Emanuel Lasker did the best whilst Bobby Fischer seemed very brittle.
There’s probably much to be learned from this and I wonder if Boris Gelfand and Vishwanathan Anand have studied these aspects of one another. It’s well worth doing as if you see your opponent is particularly vulnerable after a loss you know to try and capitalize on a win by trying to press him in the next game too.
Here’s a Youtube clip of a milk advert in which Victor Korchnoi pretends to lose badly against a cow. And the cow showed considerable grace in victory: