The Importance of Adhering to the Rules

Teaching my son to play has given me a great refresher course in many aspects of chess that I’d long since forgotten. Not least of these is the importance of adhering to the rules, and in particular the touch move rule.

The reason, besides cultivating the habits needed for competition, is that it fosters mental discipline and vision. When people try out various moves (by putting them on the intended squares without letting go), they are losing the opportunity to make themselves visualize the position a move ahead. Worse still they are also clouding the vital moment that separates cogitation from commitment.

To understand the importance of this one can try googling for ‘inability to commit’ and then drown in the flood of references. Frankly I doubt that much of the psychobabble you will find has much merit to it, it’s simply the fear of making a mistake. Yet without taking that leap of faith, and making a commitment, we end up doing nothing at all.

The following video has had a total of 12 (!) viewings at the time of writing, so little surprise that it appeals to me. And seen in this light a chess game might be seen as a series of commitments, a powerful exercise in combating a fear of failure.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in Southport 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.