Attack and You May Lose, Defend and You May Win… for Now

In the video below is an amazing chess game where black is on a seemingly reckless path of strategic destruction. The technical brilliance of this game reminded me that, for me, the sweetest victories do not come as a consequence of strategic defensiveness but from absolute non-stop offense. The popular-to-the-level-of-cliche speech from Braveheart speech is appropriate here:

Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least awhile. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!

Coaches have often told me that at the end of the day competition is about winning. That never sounded right to me. I have never been happy with winning just because I won. For me, what I did on the way to winning has always been important. If there is ever a moment in the match where I stall on a lead because I’m tired or nervous or scared of taking a risk, winning sucks almost as much as losing.

Just to be clear, all losing, no matter what, SUCKS. It’s just that not all winning is great. I walk off the mat proud and happy only when I win and I didn’t quit at any moment in the match.

Anyway next time you see me win a match 2-0 or by an advantage, please walk up to me and smack me in the face saying something like: “You disappoint me”.

0 thoughts on “Attack and You May Lose, Defend and You May Win… for Now

  1. Daniel

    Chess analogies are the best. I got into chess around the same time as BJJ and I can never separate them totally in my mind. Match breakdowns work super-well as a learning tool for both. More of these posts is not something I’d complain about 🙂

    1. Lex Post author

      Absolutely, and I’m really glad that Marcelo Garcia connected with Josh Waitzkin to create MgInAction in the spirit of a program that a chess student would use.


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