Bad Day at the Office for Kasparov
Worse Tournament Result Ever?
I don’t usually write about blitz chess here on this blog, but when I saw a tweet claiming that Kasparov had lost one game in just 7 moves, I just knew that I had to make an exception.
Sure enough, it was true. And worse than that: Kasparov was having the the most nightmarish day of competition in his life.
Yesterday at the Croatia Grand Tour Blitz the former World Champion lost all of his games (except one, where he got a draw) and found himself isolated in the cellar.
Take a look at this car wreck against Ian Nepo’ in the final round:
gm Kasparov,G – gm Nepomniachtchi,I
What went wrong with Kasparov?
How can such a great player like Kasparov lose game after game like an idiot? Of course, his opponents are much younger and (probably) stronger than him today, but that is not a reason to score only one half point in 9 games!
No, the answer lies elsewhere: psychology. In particular, the psychology of losing. When a player (or an athlete – because it happens in all sports) starts to lose, his confidence in himself and in his ability is eroded.
He struggles to rationalize it, but if he continues to lose then at some point he might even begin to EXPECT to lose. Depending on how severe the situation is, it might even appear that the player is actually helping his opponent to win!
At this point, it is best for the player to withdraw from the competition, and begin to reset his focus and mindset.