That’s what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one – Bobby Fischer
Today I want to talk about the idea of having rivals in chess.
In today’s politically correct world, we often hear about things like “participation ribbons”, and the idea that “everyone is a winner”.
In this bizzarro world, there are no winners and losers, everyone is equally good, and the most important thing is that no one’s feelings are hurt, and their self esteem is boosted at every opportunity, reminding them that they are a special snowflake.
For a lot of people from the “old school” these ideas make them sick to their stomach.
I think having rivals is good.
I think clearly winning and losing is good.
If you want to build your self esteem, listen to some Tony Robbins tapes.
The sports world has lots of famous rivalries. There is even a Wikipedia page that lists them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sports_rivalries.
There have been studies that show having a rival can boost performance. Kasparov has said that his rivalry with Karpov made him a much stronger player than he would have been without this rivalry.
My friend Paul Anderson keeps a “list of enemies”, which is a tip he learned from Richard Nixon.
I have had rivals over the years in the chess world, and they have motivated me to play my best, and were often some of my closest friends off the board.
So don’t be afraid of having rivals. They can help take your game to the next level.