Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Joined
    03 Jul '13
    Moves
    73280
    15 Jan '21 23:57
    @duchess64 said
    I played a training game with a student (rated about 1800).
    He played, as White, something very solid like the Slav Exchange variation.
    We soon reached a equal position where it seemed almost impossible to create complications.
    I decided (for instructional purposes) to take a big risk and try something objectively
    bad just to create some complications and make my studen ...[text shortened]... tively winning, my student lost because he did
    not understand that endgame nearly as well as I did.
    Hi Duchess64,
    So in the example you give, in an equal position, as the stronger player you chose to create complications and although this initially put you at a disadvantage, you, as the stronger player, found the best continuation, and your student did not.
    So this is what I was thinking - that going for complicated positions is more effective against weaker players than simplifying.
    Am I understanding this correctly? Would I be better off playing, for example, the King’s Gambit, an opening that always seems to lead to complicated positions, against stronger or weaker players?
  2. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    16 Jan '21 00:11
    @tommovich said
    Hi Duchess64,
    So in the example you give, in an equal position, as the stronger player you chose to create complications and although this initially put you at a disadvantage, you, as the stronger player, found the best continuation, and your student did not.
    So this is what I was thinking - that going for complicated positions is more effective against weaker players tha ...[text shortened]... , an opening that always seems to lead to complicated positions, against stronger or weaker players?
    Here's what I teach:
    There are four types of chess positions:
    1) What you understand well and your opponent does not.
    2) What both you and your opponent understand well.
    3) What neither you nor your opponent understand well.
    4) What your opponent understands well and you do not.

    Always aim for Type 1 and avoid Type 4.
    Which is better, Type 2 or Type 3?
    Type 2 is better if you are playing for or are satisfied with a draw.
    Type 3 offers more winning and more losing chances.

    Against much weaker players, I don't mind at all going into rather simple technical
    positions where I know exactly what to do and they don't. I routinely win such games.
  3. Joined
    03 Jul '13
    Moves
    73280
    16 Jan '21 06:05
    @duchess64 said
    Here's what I teach:
    There are four types of chess positions:
    1) What you understand well and your opponent does not.
    2) What both you and your opponent understand well.
    3) What neither you nor your opponent understand well.
    4) What your opponent understands well and you do not.

    Always aim for Type 1 and avoid Type 4.
    Which is better, Type 2 or Type 3?
    Type 2 is b ...[text shortened]... le technical
    positions where I know exactly what to do and they don't. I routinely win such games.
    Thank you for your reply.
    What you say makes complete sense.
    But whether my opponent does or doesn’t understands a chess position well is an unknown variable to me. The only thing I know about them is their rating, and if their rating is significantly higher than mine, then it’s reasonable to assume they will understand the position better than I, whether it’s a simple position or a complex one.
    But I would still have thought that I would be more likely to get something out of a game against a better player if I could avoid complex positions, which I could be sure they would understand better than I, and instead try and go for simple positions, which I might have a chance of understanding as well as they do.
    Hence my belief that I would prefer to play the Exchange Variation of the Slav against a stronger player, as I think this is less likely to lead to complex positions.
    Maybe I’m wrong; I can’t say I’ve ever done any research to back this up. But this has been my thinking till now.
  4. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    16 Jan '21 06:38
    @tommovich said
    Thank you for your reply.
    What you say makes complete sense.
    But whether my opponent does or doesn’t understands a chess position well is an unknown variable to me. The only thing I know about them is their rating, and if their rating is significantly higher than mine, then it’s reasonable to assume they will understand the position better than I, whether it’s a simple p ...[text shortened]... ng; I can’t say I’ve ever done any research to back this up. But this has been my thinking till now.
    Your question is about aiming for Type 2 or Type 3 positions against a much stronger opponent.

    If you can get into a Type 2 position and are happy (I assume) with a draw, then go for it.
    Yet be aware that many positions are deceptively simple. A much stronger player
    can keep testing you and making you prove that you do understand all the nuances.
    Magnus Carlsen can routinely outplay strong GMs in 'simple' positions.

    Against a much stronger opponent, you may decide that will lose if you play 'normally'.
    So you may aim for a Type 3 position, going for wild complications that no human
    can possibly calculate to a certain conclusion. You probably will lose because your
    opponent is better at calculation, but you have a chance of landing a lucky punch.

    A much higher rated player may be overconfident and intentionally play dubious
    moves to get you 'out of book'. A GM (once ranked in the top 15 in the world)
    had White against me and acted like he was going to wipe me out effortlessly.
    He did not disguise his attentions of making an early direct attack upon my king.
    He sacrificed one pawn, which I accepted (I had analyzed it before) and then offered
    a second pawn. I was 'out of book' by then and thought it was too risky to accept.
    For his pawn, he developed a moderately strong attack that compelled me to play
    accurate defense for about ten moves, but I felt that I never was on a knife's edge.
    After his attack petered out, he was a pawn down with no compensation in an endgame.
    His only practical compensation was that I had used a lot of time and energy in defense.
    With a look of disgust, he offered a draw. I knew that he knew that he was losing.
    But I was pretty tired (and had started my day with a slight cold), so I accepted.

    Later, my occasional (informal) coach said that I had showed a lack of 'killer instinct'.
    He believed that I should have kept playing and really made the GM (whom he disliked) sweat.
  5. Joined
    03 Jul '13
    Moves
    73280
    16 Jan '21 09:46
    @duchess64 said
    Your question is about aiming for Type 2 or Type 3 positions against a much stronger opponent.

    If you can get into a Type 2 position and are happy (I assume) with a draw, then go for it.
    Yet be aware that many positions are deceptively simple. A much stronger player
    can keep testing you and making you prove that you do understand all the nuances.
    Magnus Carlsen can r ...[text shortened]... inct'.
    He believed that I should have kept playing and really made the GM (whom he disliked) sweat.
    Interesting stuff, and I take your point that many positions are deceptively simple.
    We’re all familiar with games where we’ve achieved what appears to be an equal, maybe drawn position against a much stronger opponent, and they’ve then made us work extremely hard to maintain that equality and get the draw.
    There’s a nice sense of satisfaction when we achieve this (and an equal sense of annoyance when we screw up somewhere and end up losing.)
    That's a good point you make about Magnus Carlsen.
    As for the ‘being offered a draw’ by a top Grandmaster, that is something us mere mortals can only dream of! It might have been nice to push on and try and convert the win, but a super-GM will punish the smallest inaccuracy, and I can only imagine the frustration if it all went wrong somewhere, resulting in a loss.
    At my level, that would of course have been the most likely scenario, so were I ever to find myself in that unlikely position, I wouldn’t have had to think long before accepting the draw!
  6. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    16 Jan '21 14:063 edits
    @tommovich said
    Interesting stuff, and I take your point that many positions are deceptively simple.
    We’re all familiar with games where we’ve achieved what appears to be an equal, maybe drawn position against a much stronger opponent, and they’ve then made us work extremely hard to maintain that equality and get the draw.
    There’s a nice sense of satisfaction when we achieve this (and an ...[text shortened]... find myself in that unlikely position, I wouldn’t have had to think long before accepting the draw!
    My opponent was not a 'super GM'. His peak FIDE rating was only about 2600.
    A chess metrics website stated that he was once ranked in the top 15 in the world,
    but, now that I checked, it seems that's by their calculations, not FIDE's.
    Still, as I recall, he was once rated in the top 20 on one FIDE list, but he did not stay there.

    By the way, Bobby Fischer wrote that he was losing and about one move away
    from resigning against an obscure Swiss master (later FM), but his opponent
    kept overlooking ways to win.

    https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008381

    John Nunn lost a game in 21 moves to a 12 year old Vietnamese girl, Hoang Thanh Trang.
    She's a GM in Hungary and has won the European women's championship.

    https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1103864
  7. Standard memberDeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    Quarantined World
    Joined
    27 Oct '04
    Moves
    87007
    16 Jan '21 14:07
    @tommovich said
    Hi Deep Thought,
    I was interested to read your views on how to play against stronger and weaker opponents - to look for simple positions against weaker players, and complicated positions against stronger players.
    I think all these years I have been viewing it differently - I’ve thought that if I’m playing a weaker player they are more likely to be able to find the correct ...[text shortened]... play the opening well, I tend to find my way through the complications better than my opponents do.
    Bear in mind it matters how much stronger they are. A rating difference of 200 corresponds with an expected score of 75% to the stronger player, in other words a win and a draw. So it is enough for the weaker player to go for a draw with the white pieces. I find holding equal positions hard, I'm much more comfortable with something definite to do, so I'd tend to play for a win anyway. If you're comfortable playing an exchange Slav against someone rated 200 to 400 points stronger then that probably overrides my complexity point. Against someone rated 400 or more points higher I only expect a 10% score anyway so I feel I may as well try for a position where they are liable to blunder too. They'll cope with the complications better than I, but they'll play a simple position effectively perfectly, so I might as well go for the position where they've got as high a chance of going wrong as possible.

    Note that this won't work so well on this site as people's ratings aren't necessarily reflective of their playing strength. I've got an opponent with a 1,300 rating who was over 2,100 a decade ago. Dammit 😛.
  8. Joined
    03 Jul '13
    Moves
    73280
    16 Jan '21 23:131 edit
    @deepthought said
    Bear in mind it matters how much stronger they are. A rating difference of 200 corresponds with an expected score of 75% to the stronger player, in other words a win and a draw. So it is enough for the weaker player to go for a draw with the white pieces. I find holding equal positions hard, I'm much more comfortable with something definite to do, so I'd tend to play f ...[text shortened]... ing strength. I've got an opponent with a 1,300 rating who was over 2,100 a decade ago. Dammit 😛.
    That's a good point you make that it matters how much stronger they are.
    if someone is 400+ points higher I can completely see the validity of going for the complications hoping they might slip up.
    As you say, we'd be expecting to lose anyway, so why not try and mix it up?
    But against players who are stronger, but not that much stronger, maybe by 200 points or so, I think I'd still be inclined to try and simplify given the chance, rather than complicate matters.
    I am here, adopting the attitude that I'm going to be happy getting a draw against a player 200 rating points higher than me. I appreciate that for players who always play for the win, regardless of the opposition, this doesn't apply.
    Whether this is best, I really don't know, and as Duchess64 says, some positions can be deceptively simple anyway.
    In fact, considering the vastness of chess, rather than describing a position as 'simple', in most cases the term 'less complicated' might be more appropriately used!
  9. Standard membercongruent
    Chess Player
    Cyberspace
    Joined
    19 Aug '12
    Moves
    3832
    17 Jan '21 22:131 edit
    Interesting what Jeremy Silman had to say on the subject of how to choose your own openings:-

    "There is no such thing as a 'best opening.' Each player should choose an opening that attracts him. Some players are looking for a gambit as White, others for Black gambits. Many players that are starting out (or have bad memories) want to avoid mainstream systems, others want dynamic openings, and others want calm positional pathways. It’s all about personal taste and personal need.
    For example, if you feel you’re poor at tactics you can choose a quiet positional opening (trying to hide from your weakness and just play chess), or seek more dynamic openings that engender lots of tactics and sacrifices (this might lead to more losses but, over time, will improve your tactical skills and make you stronger)."
  10. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    18 Jan '21 08:06
    @congruent said
    Interesting what Jeremy Silman had to say on the subject of how to choose your own openings:-

    "There is no such thing as a 'best opening.' Each player should choose an opening that attracts him. Some players are looking for a gambit as White, others for Black gambits. Many players that are starting out (or have bad memories) want to avoid mainstream systems, other ...[text shortened]... might lead to more losses but, over time, will improve your tactical skills and make you stronger)."
    Given that players vary in their strengths and weaknesses, there's not a single ideal opening for everyone.

    For players rated under 2000 (at least), an opening's theoretical correctness is not very important.
    What's more important is that a player be familiar and comfortable with the opening.

    That said, I notice many weak players obstinately clinging to well-known quite
    inferior (if not quite refuted) openings when they should be investing their time
    in learning about the structures of main openings.
  11. Joined
    18 Jan '07
    Moves
    9031
    18 Jan '21 17:12
    @duchess64 said
    Given that players vary in their strengths and weaknesses, there's not a single ideal opening for everyone.

    For players rated under 2000 (at least), an opening's theoretical correctness is not very important.
    What's more important is that a player be familiar and comfortable with the opening.

    That said, I notice many weak players obstinately clinging to well-known qu ...[text shortened]... openings when they should be investing their timein learning about the structures of main openings.
    You're quite right, but I think your last point is only true if the player still wants to, and believes himself able to, advance as a player. At the club level, there are a lot of players who know who and what they are, are settled and content in their position on the board, and play chess just as an amusement. I certainly see that at my club, at various levels.

    And if that level is "about as bad as Shallow Blue's", well... against my usual opponents it pays to have a system you know well and your opponent doesn't, even if it's not the best. Too many of them play boring, stodgy openings which my superiors will smash through with no problem but which I struggle to get a handle on. On the flip side, they never walk right over me, either. It's always "who makes the first blunder in the boring middle game".

    I myself can't be bothered with that. I try to play proper book openings. I have no delusions that I might grow into a good player - too old for that by a few decades - but at least it gives me a chance to make interesting notes. I can't be doing with a closed four knights'. Frankly, I prefer losing to our club champion in what is at least guaranteed (we both know this!) to be a proper, open Sicilian.

    Mind, they're not always boring. Some of them know their niche, as well, but it's an agressive one. One of these guys always plays the Bird. He has great success with it, too, because he at least loves attacking the kingside, is genuinely good at that, and his opponents have no idea how to handle it. Until I booked up just a little and served him a From... that was fun.

    But no, in general, at the level these guys are playing at (i.e., mine), and with the attitude they play with (not mine!), time invested in learning pawn structures would be wasted. None of it would stick, that's not the level their mind works at. They're woodpushers, as am I, and unlike me, they have no delusions of being a frustrated IM.
  12. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    18 Jan '21 22:13
    @shallow-blue said
    You're quite right, but I think your last point is only true if the player still wants to, and believes himself able to, advance as a player. At the club level, there are a lot of players who know who and what they are, are settled and content in their position on the board, and play chess just as an amusement. I certainly see that at my club, at various levels.

    And i ...[text shortened]... ks at. They're woodpushers, as am I, and unlike me, they have no delusions of being a frustrated IM.
    Of course, if a player's happy about not attempting to improve, then one need not make any changes.

    One can play a very unsound opening, usually in a blitz game, and sometimes
    get away with it because the opponent's completely unfamiliar with it.
    But the surprise effect wears off. A player does not improve simply because an
    unprepared opponent stumbles into an opening trap.
Back to Top