How to Help Young Chess Players Bounce Back from a Tough Loss

Losing is part of the game of chess and an important part of a young chess player’s growth. As a chess coach or chess parent, one of our most important roles is helping a child deal with a difficult loss at a chess tournament.

Step 1

After every round, examine the chess game together in a meticulous manner regardless if your student/child won or lost. Doing this creates a habit of calm reflection which is especially important after a tough loss.

Step 2

Immediately after finishing the post game analysis of a loss, have your child/student explain to you which mistake(s) most directly led to their loss. If your child/student seems unclear when explaining their mistake, then it is worthwhile to spend some extra time helping them to understand the concept.

Step 3

Reaffirm that it is ok to lose at chess as long as you have learned something of value.

Step 4

Failure is an emotional time for a child. Do your best to make sure your chess student/child does not carry emotional baggage from one round to the next. Remind him/her that every round is a fresh opportunity to play great chess.

By following the steps above you will be teaching positive behaviors to your child/student, which will almost certainly lead to future successes. However, patience is the key as chess is a longterm commitment for a child and success is not defined by wins in a single weekend, month or even year but rather keeping the child passionate about chess for years to come.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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