It bites to be on the lower end of the food chain.
There are days when I'm playing chess where I feel like the poor frog I encountered on a hike a few weeks ago. I feel as though I'm fish food for every fish in the pond regardless of rating. I'll have one of those games where I just get demolished so quickly it's almost like I'm a total beginner and have no business playing. Last week at the Marshall that's how I felt after the first round of the Thursday cracktion tournament.
I have to admit that at times I can be a little snobby about playing much lower rated players. I have won some games so quickly I feel like it's a total waste of my time. In my mind I might think I can give a much higher rated player a worth while challenge. There are times where I do give a 2300 a run for his money. Then there are those butt ass ugly games where I get totally demolished, and wonder why I even bother showing up. I then have to ask myself, "Does my opponent think I'm a total patzer who has no business playing in the same tournament as him?"
My first round opponent had not played since last July. If he expected to have a challenging first round game as a warm up for the second round, he was sadly mistaken. I don't know what I was thinking about during this miserably short game.
The game took slightly less then 10 minutes. It's rather embarrassing to walk out of the playing room after such a short amount of time. That gave me about an hour until the second round. He did go over the game with me, but how long can you analyze a game that took less then 15 moves to complete?
With a lot of time until the next round would be easy to let my mind do a number on me. Despite a few losses in my club championship, overall I was feeling better about my game and mindset. I had a couple of good tournaments in a row, and thought perhaps I was finally coming out of my funk. Since writing about my biggest enemy being myself I've been trying to be more mindful of what goes through my head as I'm playing. I've been working on focusing on actual moves instead of these broad generalizations such as "My position sucks. I'm going to lose." Focusing on the board and looking for specific ideas and moves is far more constructive then the proverbial "declaring defeat, and going home" mentality I'm prone to at times.
The best thing to do with game like that is get over it quickly. Laugh about it, and move on. In my case I laugh about it, and then let my readers laugh with (at?) me. Sometimes a game like that has the makings of being part of a future lesson plan. I'm not sure what the lesson is, but I can always take the position right before the mate and see if my students can find it.
PS. This story does have a somewhat happy ending. I bounced back and won in round 2. I ended out 1.5 - 2.5 having gotten paired up all four rounds. Only in a tournament like this can I have minus score and still pick up rating points.