Russell Sherwood Saturday, February 10, 2018
Over Christmas, I was watching one of my most-loved films – A Knight’s Tale. Within the (admittedly lightweight film) there is one very interesting concept – that of overcoming any natural disadvantages. This is shown in the film with two concepts – “Change the Stars” and “How a man like you, hope to beat a man like me?”
Now, what has this got to do with Correspondence Chess or Chess at all? The simple answer is psychology!
How do you approach each opponent – thinking you have no chance? Or that you will smash them? Both of these are faulty ways of thinking for a large number of reasons including:
- The nature of the Elo system is that you always have a chance, be it ever so slight of beating or losing to an opponent.
- All rating systems are flawed as a tool to predict an outcome, based on the simple premise that they are an indication of how the player has performed in the past, rather than how they will perform in their next game.
- Player’s ratings are on the move – so if two meet and their published ratings are 200 elo different but their newest rating will only be 50, which gap is correct?
- One player may be up for a certain game, whilst the other may not be.
The very valuable lesson to learn from this is to think that you could win every game you play (Could not will!!) and the only thing that matters is this game – not ratings, titles or past history. This may seem romantic If your opponent is 200 or 300 elo higher than you.
My riposte to this is that I have opponents who, a few years ago, I would have considered hard to beat, who now I look at the people I would target for a win in a tournament. Have my skills improved over that period, yes but more importantly so has my mindset – I now respect ALL opposition but fear none and this has shown in my upward curve of results and could do for you.
So in that time I have “Changed the Stars” and for any opponent who might consider “How could you hope to beat me?” I have the message – I know I can beat you, maybe not in this game but at some point!
This brings us full circle to the title of this article – “You have been weighed, you have been measured and you have absolutely been found wanting”. Is it not the time for you to consider how to unseat you next highly rated opponent? (Just as long as it's not me!)