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The joy of losing

by Avathanshu Bhat - 02/02/2017

When you play the game of chess, you would like to win. Isn't it the reason why we indulge in the sport? But, after a while, the result becomes so important that we tend to forget about the enjoyment of simply playing chess. In this article, the author presents a fun and refreshing viewpoint on the positive side of losing in chess! "Losing is fun when you have lovely people around and a free mind to accept the challenge", says the 11-year-old Avathanshu Bhat. 

The joy of losing

Come on, who wants to lose? After all, the purpose of a game is to win. It really is terrible to walk out of the tournament hall while watching out of the corner of your eye your opponent telling all his friends about the victory. Those fake handshakes, and fake smiles on your face. No one enjoys losing!

Come on! No one likes to lose! 

But here's what I feel: while winning will get you more achievements (or maybe even fame) losing makes you wiser. It also helps you in remembering your flaws more precisely. Many people can recollect the losses more easily than the wins. For example, I remember those mini heart attacks more vividly than those winning shots!


Losing gracefully is the first step towards joy. I was in Taiwan for Asian Schools and I was in a forced mate position (my opponent could mate me on the next move). I still had plenty of time left on my clock. I decided to wait there because I didn’t want to come out as an early loser. Also, they were distributing chocolates at the other end and I would miss it if the game ended.


And just when I thought my plan was going to work, the arbiter came and said, “If there is nothing you can do, you have to make a move now.” My face turned red and I had to make my move leading to my loss. Later on, I went to the arbiter and sheepishly admitted that I was waiting until my time ran out. I called my opponent, asking if he wanted to analyze. Voila!! What I got in return for sitting together with my opponent after the game was beautiful analysis, pat on my back, a good friend, and a handful of chocolates! This is when I tasted the joy of losing for the first time. And it means a lot to me even now.

A zero on the scoresheet can sometimes earn you a friend for a lifetime!

Losses make you stronger and wiser. But I also believe that losing has its own charm. It can make you understand and reflect on your mistakes occurred in the past. After all, losing isn’t as bad as most people think. It is soothing to hear, “It's okay, boy! We can still try next time!” It gives you an opportunity to buck up. Sometimes it is painful, but there is nothing better than analyzing with your coach who is always on your side.


So just enjoy the way it goes. How boring life would be if there were only wins. No wonder chess has black and white colours, both equally important. Let us celebrate both. Is there anything more precious than your mama’s hug at the end of a lost game? Is there anything more pacifying than your papa’s calm voice miles away? Is there anything more soothing than having someone else to share your misery with? Is there anything more heavenly than that extra cheese pizza, or that day out at the movies after a loss?

Losing is fun when you have lovely people around and a free mind to accept the challenge.

About the Author

Avathanshu Bhat is a 11-year-old chess player from Mumbai. Apart from being a chess fanatic, he is a voracious reader and his favourite books include Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the complete adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray. He loves Daniel King and enjoys his Power Play DVDs very much. He maintains his own blog.