Sunday, 21 August 2016

How a chess player can benefit from the Olympics

Hey everyone!!

Have you ever watched the Olympic games? It is the fight between the best of the best, fastest to fastest, finest to finest and the ultimate sports event the world can ever witness. It may be swimming, athletics, badminton, hockey, football, archery or more. We may usually consider watching it for our own entertainment. But have you considered the Games, or the players, as inspiration to players interested in games not included?

 If you are a non sport person you may not even enjoy watching it. Let us take Chess as an example. It isn't included in the Olympics as it is considered as an indoor sports or may be a mental game or whatever reason would it be. But there is a lot to learn for each and every chess player. We all know the toppers such as Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic. We consider all these legends as 'fine, fantastic or phenomenal" but here in Olympics they are "inspiration" to next generation!(Many people must have taken out their badminton racket lying unused in the corner of the house after seeing Sindhu!) Imagine how much hard work must have gone in for that perfection. It is not  about their wins or loses, but the effort gone into it just be there in that big battle.There were upsets, shocks, surprises and drama  in Olympics. I loved the passion,aggression, loss, win, determination focus  all here.The best was beaten by the better and the best became even better.

What I felt after watching Rio 2016 Olympics is that  there  no reason to think of what is going to happen when you are competing with someone better than you. There shouldn't be a single doubt about your capability when you are fighting it out for that big win. For all those of you watching the Rio 2016, remember the  swimming event between Joseph Schooling and Michael Phelps? Schooling was just a young boy, great fan of Micheal Phelps, who was a world champion at that time when he took a picture with him.Who would have thought that this  21- year old Singaporean would actually beat the person he admired the most? Not me for one. In the end it was he who won the gold, leaving Phelps in silver. 

Also remember how tight the match was with P V Sindhu and Carolina Marin in the badminton final? Although she lost in the end, recall how Sindhu had won the first set?  This is not only an example of "when you gain an edge you must have a tight hook on it", but also of "The game is not yet over until it is all over and there is no reason to back out. The tables can yet be turned"(here I remember Sakshi Mallik clinching that bronze in the last five seconds!). The best thing to learn from them is the humility they show. How grounded they are even after their historic victories.

All these must be utilized in other games like chess. Anyone can be up there at the top as long as you are your own mentor. Perfection does not just leap onto your lap, but has to be earned through loads of hard work and dedication. A chess player, or in that matter any player, should never be under prepared or under estimate the opponent (here I remember the game between P V Sindhu, world number 9, and Nozomi Okuhara, world number 3). It can be very dangerous and can lose you an otherwise winning match. Also, if you do win something, you must be consistent with that win. Lastly enjoy the battle just like Deepa Karmakar who finished it with that million dollar smile after coming so close to medal. It is not easy to take the defeat after reaching so close yet so far. Nevertheless, she won billions of hearts for her love for the game.

So, the next time you face an opponent stronger than you, remember to be like Schooling, Phelps, Bolt, Sakshi, Deepa and Sindhu and never back out. If you do, then you will lose the battle even before it starts. 
Here I remember a poem that I love and read over and over even in my lows by John Greenleaf Whittier:
Don't Quit
"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will;
when the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
when the funds are low and the depths are high;
and you want to smile but you have to sigh.

When all is pressing you down a bit-
rest if you must, but don't you quit.
success is failure turned inside out;
the silver tint on the clouds of doubt;
and you can never tell how close you are;
it may be near when it seems far.

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
it's when things go wrong that you must not quit"

Keep Playing!!