The second part of my weekend's action. Some thoughts on how opponent rating affects mindset.
Blog Post 406
An interesting quote you have here:
Why is it so difficult for me, and for many of us, to play lower-rated opponents? I, at least, often feel that I play down to the level of my opponent despite my attempts to use my usual game, and I think it has to do with the idea that there’s somehow a safety net, if that makes sense. I think it’s the knowledge that even normally catastrophic, stupid mistakes have the possibility to be compensated for, and handed back in turn. I’m nervous, sure, but that’s because it’s a chess game; I don’t feel the same sense of danger. And that’s how, playing down, I win a blunder-ridden game, and, playing up, I lose a better position through a sophisticated trick. My theory, anyway.
JMHO - I used to run into this myself in both OTB and CC Chess, and while this never completely goes away, here are 2 things that help. 1. Realize some of these lower rated players are simply stronger than their ratings would suggest, so despite rating, you're really not playing weaker players at all. 2. Think long term. If you set up and follow a well thought out program of study and tournament play, you WILL improve, and though you may suffer defeats against lower rated players from time to time, you will become a stronger player, and your rating and won-loss record will reflect this. Fortune favors the persistent!