Monday, March 10, 2014
Strong chess and the need to introspect.
I wonder if we realise just how much the ability to introspect is related to our progress in chess. Let us look at some of our common scenarios first. We like to put the blame on others. Since coming to chess all I see are the fingers pointing all around but none pointing to themselves. So lets think a little about this today. Is it all their fault that we are not doing well today? Blame MCF, blame this and blame that.
But what about us? Do we not have a role at all? Do we not need to train, do we not need to be responsible in our posts? Do we not need to say something when we see something wrong going on?
That is what introspection does. It helps us to see the proportion of our own role within the drama/game. But this is the difficult part. For when we introspect we will come face to face with our own fears. So much so that even a simple question can start our minds screaming. That is the price we pay for self delusion, for trying to live in a bubble devoid of reality. And so we want to shut out any questions that causes the screaming in our minds. It does not matter if the question is asked softly or even gently. We hear it as a loud scream.
Can you see that? If you can then let us proceed to the chess part.
In chess we look for weapons that will trip you emotionally. To make your mind scream till you cannot see the board. This is what our opponents do when they compete with us. That is why we are not world class but can only be jaguh kampungs. Too much fear.
That is what all openings and variations simply are and do. We look at the technical aspects but we do not know which weapon to use for which opponent to trigger that fear in them. That part only comes from competitor analysis. And we use competitor analysis only when we dare to compete.
Otherwise what we do is to carefully prepare our tournaments with the right arbiters to manipulate pairings etc. We select only certain tournaments to hide our lack of skill. We arrange for the back doors because actually our players cannot play. We learn the art of manufacturing numbers to cast the illusion we are strong etc etc etc.
But the fact remains that we cannot compete on the world stage. Why? Because we do not dare to introspect. We do not dare to look at what we need to improve. It is much much easier to blame somebody else. So we try to change the whole world so we do not need to hear the screams in our minds, so we do not have to look at our fears.
My question to you today is if that is a sensible way of doing things. Do we change the whole world first before we change ourselves? Is that even possible? Why don't you just learn to introspect, face your fears and then when your opponent does try to trip your mind, they will find that you can still think for you would have conquered your own demons and cannot be deflected, distracted, manipulated, intimidated etc.
I believe that is the only doable way to improve and progress. Try it. I think it may even be easier than trying to make the whole world into your own image.
Note: Looking at it this way also helps us realise that competition is not so much about taking down the other but also about raising our game. This can also be called healthy competition. The competition with ourselves to improve ourselves. And the "opponent" is just someone we benchmark our progress against.
Have a look at this and see what you think. Here.