I'm a kid at heart, and sometimes I can get very silly when playing bughouse or blitz with the kids. When I'm hanging kings or flagging in a won position I get flak from my bughouse partner. The kibitzers will rag on me and tell me I suck. They're right. My reflexes aren't so hot, and sometimes I suffer from brain freeze. It's all in good fun, and I'm among friends even though they're 40 years younger then me.
In regular tournament play it's a whole different story. Leave the snarky comments and trash talk out of the tournament arena. One needs to show respect to opponents no matter what his or her age or rating is. Sometimes I've let certain kids slide when they've made snide comments making fun of my time pressure issues or my inability to beat certain players. I've also put up with another kid from Manhattan telling me I should stick to directing because I'm a better director then player. One kid once told me player X was over rated because he's beaten me so many times when I've been on my floor. That was not a nice thing to say about me or the other player.
At one tournament one of the kids was yapping to my first round opponent on how to beat me. "Get her into time pressure and you'll crush her." Albeit true about me, IMHO it's disrespectful to talk about one's competitors like that, especially when one of those competitors is one's parents' age. Then in between rounds he started ragging on me for drawing with a 1688. "1700s aren't supposed to draw with 1600s! It gives us 1700s a bad name." Give me a break it was opposite color bishops with even material. There's 12 points between me and the 1688. I'm glad he wasn't in the room when I lost my second round game to a 1632.
Maybe I was just having a bad night, but I decided I would say something to him about his comments. I've lost to lots of kids, and unless I limit myself to tournaments for players over the age of 21 I will lose to more kids. I didn't want it to sound like I couldn't deal with losing to kids, or that my feelings were hurt by his snarky remarks. Truth be told it does bother me when he needles me like that. But I'm more bothered by the general lack of respect that I see amongst many kids. I see it in chess, and in other places. It's not just kids saying crap to adults, but to other kids. About the only place I don't see it is at the do jang where I'm studying Taekwondo. I'm amazed at the respect shown by the students to the masters, and to each other. It's a very different world in there.
The short version is, I ended out telling him with his parents present that he needs to show a little more respect, and not be so cocky. It doesn't matter how good or bad one's opponent is, or what one's record is against that person, treat the person with respect. I tried not to be harsh, but he did get a little upset. I wasn't trying to be mean, but I just wanted him to know that sportsmanship and respect are very important. Chess Karma, a new blogger hit the nail on the head when he listed his 10 things to make chess more popular. Although the post is very funny, #10 on his list strikes a very serious note. "10. When top level players play one another have them treat their opponents with courtesy and respect. I know the previous suggestions are easily achievable but I have to admit this one is a bit of a stretch." Thanks Karma for such wise words, and welcome to the chess blogosphere.