Mark Dvoretsky on American Scholastic Chess:

In the summer of 1991 I gave lessons to some young American players. To my surprise I observed that many of them, when playing important games or meeting more eminent opponents, did not want to play actively and thought only about a draw. Clearly, the result would often turn out directly the opposite-ultra-cautious, passive play usually leads to a worsening of the position.

Now I will express my version of events. In America parents begin closely following the competetive achievements of their children from their very first steps in chess. Too much emphasis, even in junior competitions, is given to ratings, prizes, isolated successes in games with strong opponents, and so on. Such an approach is of course passed on to the children, and they try to give their paents joy and boast to the contemporaries about any current successes. For the sake of momentary successes they become cautious. Alas, the result sometimes turns out just the opposite and, more important, it sharply slows the creative growth of the children.

An improvement process is only effective when the work is done with a future aim. This means that trainers should teach young players to sensibly combine fighting for successes in competitions and experimenting and taking creative risks. The fostering of a depressing pragmatism from early childhood cannot be good.

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