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  • GM Avetik Grigoryan GM Avetik Grigoryan

Don’t break your chess back

Don’t repeat the mistake every chess player makes. Don’t let your chess rating steal your love for chess.

Psychology and Mental Toughness | 3 min read
Don’t break your chess back

Yesterday I woke up at 7.00 AM.

Took my skis, the smile in my soul, and my great mood, and by 9 AM I was at the “Myler” ski resort.

At the Myler Ski Resort

A beautiful place. Beautiful weather. Beautiful people.

Everything was so cool, I didn’t even need earphones.
I was enjoying every second when skiing and the time on the ropeway with myself.
Me, my thoughts, the sound of silence, the peace and the moment of NOW.

I was happy. Very happy.

GM Avetik on the way to go skiing.

But then…

The stupid part of me raised the hand and said:
“Let’s download a speed tracker app and see the maximum speed when we ski down?”
Idiot.

7 minutes later I was on the top of the mountain with the app turned on.

And then that happened…

When I was at my top speed (that stupid app showed 70km/h), a novice skier decided to ski right into me.

As there is the blood of a hero in my veins and as a man who has watched many movies about self-sacrificing, I couldn’t kill her. So I turned to the right and…

If there were someone making a video from the ropeway, surely I would get an award. In all categories.
The most beautiful jump into the air.
The most beautiful landing.
And the longest distance a man has gone by doing a forward roll.

The sad part was that my beautiful landing was on my back.
I lost consciousness from the pain.

I looked something like this 😅
I looked something like this 😅

Skipping all the drama (people around me asking if I’m alive, how I refused to go to the emergency room and asked them to put me in my car, how I drove to the hospital myself and the rest) — right into the doctor’s words.

“You’ve injured your back so badly, you’ll have problems walking for at least a month.”

That news didn’t make me angry.

This was not the 1st time I injured myself.

Even the news that I’ll not ski again this year didn’t bother me.

I got angry at myself. At the stupid part of me who wanted to download the app and track numbers.

I was mad at the inside worm, who wanted to ski as fast as possible, so that in the end, he sees high numbers on the app.

I was blaming my rational mind, for letting the numbers kill my beautiful day, my fun, and my back.

GM Avetik with a broken back, lying on the sofa
Me lying on my sofa. Not able to move. The 3rd hour 😁

Oh, these numbers…

The same thing is happening with most chess players.
They learn to play chess, fall in love with it, have fun, and catch every moment to play chess.

And then they’re introduced to this rating system. Numbers!
The fun killer.

Now instead of having fun, they’re focused on numbers.

Did they raise their rating?
Did they lose?

Instead of trying to play a good game, and enjoy their hobby, they are focused on winning rating points.

It doesn’t matter if they played well, or if they enjoy the game.
All that matters is if in the end they raised their rating or lost.

The good part is that in chess, by focusing on numbers, you can’t break your back.

The sad part is you’ll break things you’ll not notice.

You’ll lose the fun part, your enthusiasm for the game, your excitement and love.

An X-ray will not show it. Online platforms will not either.

And when you lose your hobby and your love for the game, it’ll be too late.
I don’t mind improving. I’m for it!
But I’m for improving and having fun at the same time.

Don’t lose your love.
Don’t let numbers screw you.

Don’t break your chess back.

GM Avetik

P. S. I’m good. Everything is fine. I’m recovering day by day.
If you have any other questions, you can ask them here.

Originally published Mar 06, 2023

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