Friday, February 20, 2009

If You Think Others Have It in for Your Child ...

... You're wasting a thought, most of the time. Recently, a master strength player - suspected of commonly dumping his rating points once he's out of the money - was losing a late round game to a rising junior. Already you should picture the despair, the drama, the carefree attitude of an expert who is losing and leaving the board during a G/30 perhaps even to take a smoke break during the game. This master (who now plays Under 2200 sections) upon returning to the board might even exchange a few words in another language with a peer.
During the game at the heart of our story, several of these things, if not all, occurred. The master's clock runs under a minute - while the junior dwindles down from more than 5 minutes ... the master attacks a minor piece, and the junior fails to defend it. The whole room is watching as the junior collapses.
Shortly after the game the parent of the junior, questions the collaboration of others in her child's game. Of course, for the critical final part of the game the stronger player never left the board. The parent alludes to possible cheating again - as though it is common for strong players to scramble for help when playing younger, weaker players...
My personal favorite is when a parent assumes that entire lessons are devoted to preparing for their children.
This is just a game, a competitive game where one's development in the early stages is far more important than worrying about others.
If you're concerned that others are preparing for your child, they are doing it as a part of normal preparation to become better players; they are not concerned with the specifics of beating a particular player who plays popular openings... :-)