You’re in the middle of a chess match and the opponents rook just took out your queen. You immediately fear for the king because he is now in check and the game is in the balance.
First, you have to keep in mind that there are going to be more games. Sure you want to win this one. You want to perform at your best. But even if you lose because of a bonehead mistake you didn’t think through, there will be more games. There will always be more games. If you beat yourself up about it or spend too much time focusing on one single game, you’ll lose sight of the importance of building your skill and learning how to be a better player.
Okay, so you have to move your king when you are in check. That or you can sacrifice something else by putting it in the path of the king so the rook can’t get what it wants. Realize that there is more than one way to save your king and there are many workarounds until then. You don’t have to give up and throw the board across the table, screaming in frustration. There are more options. Yes, you miss your queen and you’ll definitely need to be more diligent when you start the next game because it’s a loss you might not be happy with if the queen is a big part of your strategy. But it’s gone for now and play on you must.
Where do you go from here? A pawn is nearby but you see them as one of the more useless pieces in the chess match. It’s not that they are actually useless, especially if they can make it to the other end of the board in time to become your queen and help save the day, but at the moment they are far from that position and your king has to get out of his situation first. There is also a bishop nearby but that’s a pretty good piece and you don’t want to sacrifice your bishop for your king right now. You can always move your king out of the way but your options are limited and the rook will likely pursue. Attacking isn’t an option because the rook is outside your attack range and that’s what your opponent is expecting – there’s a trap somewhere in this.
A deep breath might help. I’ve been in a game like this and I’m in one right now. Frustration peaks and you want to kick yourself in the ass for the minor mistake you made. Somewhere deep down you feel like the king is already dying and somehow its death will affect all future games. Every game you lose makes you feel like you’re further away from better competition and your next match is expected to be more difficult. You have to step back and look at the board in a larger light. What’s done is done.
You can take a mental picture or you can make some notes. Either way your next move has to be thought out and without the use of your queen. Rarely are miracles like pawns becoming queens a reality, no matter how many resources you might put toward it. Don’t rush into another mistake. When things start moving too fast, the game quickly falls apart. Working around your queen has been done by great chess players since the game began.
Where will you go from here? The choice is yours. I’m going to move the king out of the way and focus on other pieces of the game before launching another assault. Only time will tell how the game turns out.