Is better to watch your kids playing in a tournament?

Abe played at Chicago Open last weekend. He scored one win, two draws and four losses. Yesterday, after looking at computer analysis showing he made mistakes here and there in his games, he told me he did poorly at the tournament. I think it’s a good learning experience for him. Since the slow time control, many of his games went into endgame, which he could seldom reach in previously tournaments. It looked to me his errors most arose at the transition from middle game to end game.

The chess playing hall is huge, chess players and chess parents are free to walk around to look other player’s games as long as they do not interfere with the players.

One thing funny is I could not watch longer than 5 minutes on Abe’s play in a stretch before I move ahead, mostly to GM’s tables. It is easy to criticize Abe’s lack of concentration after the game. But during the game, when Abe concentrated and tried hard to figure out his next good move, it is so hard for me to watch. It is so tense, I do not know much about chess, but I can count number of pieces and pawns of each side on board. Many times I worried if Abe is down  in material “Hope he can hold the game”; I also worried if Abe is up in material “Maybe the opponent set up a trap, sacrificed some material to go to the checkmate,  Abe will be in trouble soon”.  I do not know if Abe can see me, my presence might boost his spirit to fight on, or distract him. So I said to myself “Abe, try your best.” then I move on.

Many parents have the strong nerves to watching kids playing in tournaments (some tournaments allow spectators), I don’t.  I even don’t know it is good for the kids. Consider most chess parents are much worse than their kids in terms of chess playing strength. No matter you are a chess parent or a chess player, I’d like to hear your opinion on the question: “Is better for chess parents to watch kids playing in a tournament”?

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