I'm not very good at Chess, but I had a few interesting endings to games recently with some valuable lessons in them -
Opponent With Lead Acts Hastily, I Win
He's winning - he's ahead a pawn. But he's more focused on putting a beatdown on me than he is on making sure he doesn't lose.
Board looks like this:
He outplayed me that whole game. But at the end, he was thinking more of savaging me than making sure he didn't lose. Didn't check to see if I had mate on the back row with the rook.
Same Story, Except I Force a Draw
Opponent was way ahead on this one, but he ignored me getting both my rooks on his back rank, and then I got perpetual check - check, check, check, check, check - draw. I forced a draw even though he was ahead a lot... and he was a lot better than me. I was proud of this one (even though I only got to do it because he was sloppy).
I Get Super Sloppy, Lose
I'm about to promote my pawn, get a queen -
We're playing 20 minutes per side, and the game's breezed along quickly to this phase. But now, the (rather poor quality) opponent starts taking 3-6 minutes move putting me into check. I start doing other stuff online, bored of this game, and this debacle ensues -
Two lessons here - Finish strong... a weak opponent or easy situation that you don't pay attention to can easily turn out to be a loss. Also, don't get off your game because you're bored or things are going slowly.
And, sometimes there's not much you can do about it...
This game is a loss.
I'm white. It's my move. I have all kinds of options to savage him now, and I just have to check that the sequence of events is okay after he takes my E pawn.
But it's a loss. Why? The internet connection at the cafe I'm at died.
Well, that's life, eh? This was just a casual Chess game online, so who cares. But it says that (1) sometimes things happen outside your control, and (2) if something really important, make sure you have fallback plans and high stability.
The General Lesson
Don't get sloppy. Stop and evaluate. Don't just get seduced by the upside - also protect yourself from the downside. Even if things are going slowly or unfavorably, exercise patience and follow through appropriately.
Have you learned any general lessons from Chess, poker, or other games? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments.