Learning Through Losing

A few weeks ago, Đạo started his chess lesson once a week after school. He has been excited to play with me at home. The first time we played, he did well for a beginner. He lost, but commanded all the moves. The second time we played, he lost again, but got better. My wife told me that I should let him win. The third time we played, he lost again, but flipped out because he could not get any victory. I calmly explained to him that he would learn much more through losing. I told him my experience of how I learned to play Chinese chess.

When I started learning Chinese chess, I was around his age or a couple years older. My father was hardly around; therefore, I played mostly with kids in the neighborhood. I preferred to play with kids who could beat me. They motivated me to get better at my game. I learned to defend first before attack. Although I have not played Chinese chess for a long time, the concept and strategy stayed with me. Transferring those skills to chess was easy.

I am not that great at chess and I am sure Đạo will beat me in the near future. We played the forth time and he showed improvements. He watched my moves to defend his pieces. Although he lost, but his awareness is sharper. I hope that losing would make him stronger and wanted to play better. I don’t see the point of letting him win. He needs to earn his victory. Once he gets there, he will feel great. I don’t think I am being to hard on him.