A game of chess is full of emotions. We give our best over the chess board and try to play well and win, but it doesn’t always go according to the plan. Especially after having played a good game for many hours a loss can feel painful and disappointing. It is perfectly normal and there’s probably no chess player who hasn’t felt that way at least once. The important thing is to get back on your feet before the next game and continue the fight.
So, what should we do after we lose a chess game? Here are a few things you could try.
1. Be a good sportsman
No matter what the outcome of the game is, don’t forget to respect your opponent and be fair-play. Shake hands, smile, share your thoughts about the game and congratulate him/her for a good game.
2. Analyze the game with your opponent
Whether you have played against a stronger opponent or not, analyzing the game together has many benefits. You can show the variations you were both looking at during the game and share thoughts about the position you had. You can learn many new things simply by getting a different point of view on the same game.
3. Insert the game into your games database
No matter if you win or lose this should be the first thing you do once you get back to your room. It is important to keep your database updated and not miss any game. You’ll see how useful this will prove when you’ll need to replay through the game after a while. To learn more how and what to train refer to our Ultimate Chess Training Guide.
4. Annotate your game
The best thing to do when you are inserting the game into your database is to annotate the lines you were calculated during the game and write down what you were thinking – if you had any difficult moments, what plans you were thinking about, how you were feeling about the position, what determined you take a certain decision and so on. It is important to do this while the game is still fresh and you remember all the details.
5. Check the opening phase
If middlegame or endgame mistakes are more difficult to fix during a tournament, things are somewhat easier with the opening. You mustn’t start learning a great amount of theory right away, but find a temporary solution until the end of the tournament. If your opponent has played a line that’s new to you, you could look at a few games so you get an idea of the typical plans. Once you get home, you can give it more time and add it properly to your repertoire.
If your opponent has played a line that’s new to you, you could look at a few games so you get an idea of the typical plans. Once you get home, you can give it more time and add it properly to your repertoire. If you want to learn 7 little-known opening preparation secrets read this.
6. Leave the “real” game analysis for when you get home
During a tournament and especially after a loss you don’t need to turn the engine on and discover just how bad you have been playing. There is nothing you can do about it anymore, so don’t get yourself into an even worse mood. Here is an in-depth tutorial for how exactly you should analyze your game.
7. Disconnect from the game
If it was a painful loss, you could try to relax a little and engage in activities that help you disconnect from the game. For example, you could take a walk or have a nice dinner with your friends so you can start fresh the next day.
8. Psychological recovery
Psychological recovery is very important after a lost game. You have to remember that the tournament isn’t over and that you need to be in good shape for each one of them. Don’t cry over what you could have played; clear your head and concentrate on the rest of the games.
9. Move on
Losing is part of the game and you have to learn to push yourself to beat a “losing mood”. Don’t lose your confidence; remember that chess is just a game after all and you just need to enjoy it.
10. Enjoy the game
Sometimes we are set to win and it can get very frustrating when we don’t achieve it. Stop playing for the result and just play chess and enjoy it; you’ll see how your game results will miraculously improve as well.