Friday, May 23, 2008

How should you react when you blunder?

How should you react when you blunder?

"If you've made a mistake, or committed an inaccuracy, there is no need to become annoyed and to think that everything is lost. You have to re-orientate yourself quickly and find a new plan in the new situation"

Many of my games have collapsed like a house of cards following a blunder - throwing a great position away after hours of hard work.

Paul Keres also stated that you should let it go, collect yourself, and take a new cold objective look at your current position making new plans.

Jeremy Sillman, Mr. Imbalance, says you should take inventory of the imbalances due to the error.

All of this is easier said than done. How should one act after making a blunder?

I think most people immediately get up and walk away from the board after making a mistake. This has happened so often to me that when my opponent suddenly gets up and walks away I take an extra long look. Myself, I try and keep a poker face, although I admit I have emotionally reacted right after making a mistake especially when I know I just threw the game away.

c.1340, from
O.N. blundra "shut one's eyes" (the oldest Eng. sense was "to stumble around
blindly"), from PIE base *bhlendh- (see
blind). Meaning "make
a stupid mistake" is first recorded 1711.

I love the word blunder - it's a perfect way to describe a major mistake. A lot better than error, or fumble. Bill Buckner's 1986 World Series error was a super blunder (although Sox Nation now forgives him as time heals all wounds.)

Another interesting category are the occasions when your opponent has not taken advantage of a winning situation they have. I remember a battle with the late George O'Rourke, whereabouts the 5th hour I was staring at a very subtle mate in 7 and it was obvious my opponent was focused on queenside activity thus missing it and me sitting: poker face, poker face. I won that game around an hour later, around 1am in the morning.

Similarly against my nemesis Mikhail Derazhne, had to sit with a poker face staring at mate, later going on to win.

Another interesting category of this type is when you make a losing blunder, which your opponent misses, and this creates such an unbalanced situation in the position that you actually obtain a forcing winning advantage due to not being punished.

The most demonstrative response I ever remember was when Jack Martin; having dropped a pawn scrambling in a critical situation against me; slowly got up, slowly stepped away from the table, took off has ball cap, threw it on the floor and drop kicked it down the isle al la Earl Weaver.

How do you react to blunders? Do you have any interesting stories about blundering? Do you have a better term for blunder than blunder?

Please Comment. Mike Griffin 05/21/2008

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