One of the factors which affects chess players is cheating opponents. When opponents cheat we end up getting paranoid and agitated. Cheating makes us really upset. This actually gives them an edge over us. Knowing how to handle cheating opponents is very important.
Let’s first understand the reason that people engage in cheating behavior.
1. Desperate need to win – One of the reasons some chess players engage in cheating behavior is because they feel a pressure to win. They don’t want to lose and somehow want to win. This makes them engage in such behavior.
2. Fear of losing – On one side is this desperate need to win, on the other side could be the terrifying fear of losing.
3. Fallacy of fairness – They feel it is only fair for them to cheat to level the grounds there.
4. More focused on short-term results – Some chess players forget to focus on the long-term results and progress and focus on the short-term gains
5. Exhausted and burnt out – They may have perceived putting in a lot of effort and not getting results in a way they’d like to see it.
When an opponent cheats it does take a toll on us. Some of us get so upset that we end up not focusing on our game. It does mess with our thinking, especially in a game like chess that requires more thinking and focus. Some of us also end up focusing on ONE wrong move by the opponent and play probably 30% of our game. Hence it is crucial to know how to handle the opponents.
So how do we handle ourselves when an opponent cheats?
1. Remain as calm as possible – This helps you to think clearly about the next move or even what needs to be done. Sometimes you may need to complain, sometimes all you gotta do is to focus on the task at hand. But you would be able to make that decision only when you remain calm and composed.
2. Focus on the controllables – In a match, the move that the opponent decides on is definitely not in your control. So there is no point in worrying about it. So at that point, it is essential to look at what you can take charge instead. The things that you could take charge on could be the moves that you make, or deciding to complain to the authorities …
3. Don’t get engaged with the cheater – This means, your focus has got to be on the match and what you can do rather than focusing on the cheater and what he/she did. You end up giving up your power when you do so.
Here is a list of things that you can do when you go through a situation when your opponent cheats.
The moment that happens ….
1. Breathe deeply – Inhale deeply and exhale long. This helps you center yourself and allows you to get back to a calm state.
2. Take a second to process what has happened – it can just be an inner voice that reminds you that it has happened.
3. Ask yourself what you can do now – Look for options and just do it , whether it’s the move or complaining.
This would take only a few seconds, but these few seconds can make a huge difference to the way you handle the situation.