“It is your response to winning and losing that make you a winner or loser.” - Harry Sheehy
Winning is fun, and it feels great, but it can also lead to arrogance – not an appealing trait. It’s important to teach your child to be humble in their success, win with dignity, and show good sportsmanship. Good sportsmanship for kids starts with focusing on the golden rule – treating others the way you want to be treated. And kids with a solid foundation of being a good sport exhibit positive life skills both in and out of the game.
So how do we put these ideas and skills into practice? Doing these 4 things the next time you win a chess game is a great place to start.
Remember that your opponent just lost, so be polite, and if possible, offer them some encouragement. Give them a handshake, and appreciate your opponents’ efforts and skills by offering them a complement – something along the lines of “good game!” or “thanks for the game” or “you really played great, that __ move was really well played.”
Analyze the Game With or Without Your Opponent
If you have the time, sit down and analyze the game together. Talk through plays that went well, or moments when you weren’t quite sure what move to make - you both may learn a thing or two. If that isn’t possible, take time to analyze the game by yourself, and make a mental note of things that you did well, would not do again, or would love to try differently.
Take Pride in Winning but Don't Rub It In
Show good sportsmanship by respecting your opponents, and having self-control. Being a good winner means you don’t gloat or brag about your win. Your opponent already knows you won – there is no reason to point it out or rub it in.
Keep the Focus
Especially if you have more games to play - don’t overestimate yourself and lose your focus. Keep yourself calm and composed, and your concentration in the “now”. If you allow yourself to become either too nervous or too excited before your next game, the result will almost always be an increase in nervousness, sending your play right down the tubes. Chess is a difficult game, and anything is possible!