ADVERTISEMENT

In general, we have an ambivalent attitude to mistakes by others and ourselves.

There can be a substantial downside when we err. We often do not feel the freedom to “fess up,” even to ourselves.

Chess and other sports offer an unparalleled opportunity to freely experiment and learn from what went amiss.

An honest post-mortem after a chess game – when the players diagnose errors that were made and possible alternatives in play – can be an exciting and empowering learning experience.

Effective chess teachers encourage kids and adults to embrace and learn from what went wrong.

No less than the great Cuban virtuoso Jose Capablanca described how he learned more from the few games he lost than the many he brilliantly won.

The celebrated NFL Denver quarterback Peyton Manning would agree with Capablanca’s approach.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Oct. 15), when reviewing films of previous games with teammates, Manning tells them: “You go over the film. Everybody, I want you to say what you messed up on. Don’t be ashamed.”

If he is not satisfied with the response, he may roll back the tape and ask a player: “What did you do wrong?”

According to receiver Eric Decker: “It helps with communication and cameraderie … that goes a long way when you are out there on that field.”

Below is a win by David Navara against Mircea-Emilian Parligras from the Bundesliga team tournament in Baden Baden, Germany.

Bundesliga team tourney

David Navara vs. Mircea-Emilian Parligras in Baden Baden, Germany.