Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 11 Jul '12 13:53 / 2 edits
    Hi everyone, thanks for all the help you gave me in the "openings advice" thread below. I've used the advice to settle on two systems, with which I'm fairly happy as I still have plenty to learn with them. I'm practicing tactics every day on the chess tactics server < www.chess.emrald.net >. I've been using rhp as a source of over the board style chess as opposed to correspondence chess, no books, 5 mins max per move and so on. This has seen my rating on here climb, from my estimate of my OTB strength when I started (1000-1200) to a consistent 1500.

    I think If I want to improve further, one easy gain I should have is to improve my results against "weaker" players. I have been beating or drawing with players rated from 1600 - 1850 and yet players rated around the 900-1000 mark, I have struggled to see off. I am winning most of those games, but going into end games a pawn up and stuff, rather than crushing them as I would hope to do. If I'm to improve my rating, I don't want to be one blunder away from disasters against 900 rated players.

    I believe I give as much consideration to my moves against weaker players as against stronger ones, though some moves against all types of players have been very rushed and blundering due to me being an idiot and taking on too many games.

    I'll give here one example of me getting a result I'm very proud of against a "stronger" player (there are a few examples I could give) and then a lot of examples of where I've beaten or drawn with weaker players, yet not felt even as comfortable as I do against stronger players.

    I think it might be a combination of my opening choice and my style of play. My openings are not looking for sharp tactics, and i tend to exchange off and avoid complications. Maybe I just need to more consiously go looking for tactics and complications against weaker players? Or maybe I need to play a sharper opening against them? I'd be greatful for any opinions on what I am doing wrong against the weaker players, maybe it's a subconsious under estimation of them, and I try and do "just enough".

    Anyway - here are some examples.

    Strong opponent, play im proud of

    Game 9345562

    Weaker opponents, "just enough"

    WIN
    Game 9356639

    DRAW
    Game 9387340

    I'm not really asking for lines I should have taken and where my weak moves were etc. The question is why do you think there seems so little for me to do against weaker opponents.

    For info, my opening choices which I'll stick too vs stronger players are Kings Indian Attack and Centre Counter Game to e2-e4
  2. 11 Jul '12 16:18
    Originally posted by Dewi Jones
    one easy gain I should have is to improve my results against "weaker" players

    Maybe that’s part of the problem, expecting an easy gain. Ratings are just an average based on how someone played in the past. There’s a fair possibility they may play much better or worse in a current game. Your own performance in any single game will also vary from your rating. So try to put ratings to the back of your mind and instead focus on looking at positions objectively. I’ve had opponents play poorly in the opening - I got complacent as a result – and they then significantly improve their play in the middlegame and my complacency then costs me dearly. So don’t assume playing ability between moves let alone between games!

    I think it might be a combination of my opening choice and my style of play

    For “opening choice”, it’s more likely *how* you played rather than *what* you played. For example, I sometimes get poor positions while playing the Caro-Kann but when I look at the real reasons it’s often something like not playing actively enough; falling behind in development; missing a tactic; etc. Switching opening won’t fix these weaknesses – I need to improve my general chess ability.

    For “style of play”, focus on your moves that were objectively bad. i.e. those moves that no strong player would play regardless of their style. When you run of those kind of mistakes then….. no, wait, you won’t anytime soon and neither will I.
  3. 11 Jul '12 16:47
    "i tend to exchange off and avoid complications. Maybe I just need to more consiously go looking for tactics and complications against weaker players?"

    Nonono.You're doing it right!
    Although most people seem to think the opposite,simplification is actually to the advantage of the stronger player.
    If you're truly the stronger one then you have a deeper understanding of the position,that's where the real difference lies.
    If you steer for unclear,messy positions where anything can happen,well,then anything can happen.
    Of course,make sure not to simplify into a dead draw.Although even then you can still win it.

    Just wait,the mistakes will come
  4. Standard member hedonist
    peacedog's keeper
    11 Jul '12 18:55
    Wilf said it right. K.I.S.S. If you go for complications vs a weaker player you are increasing the chance that something unexpected will happen. You are adding an element of chance into the game. Play it safe and take the points.

    Leave the heroics for when you face a big fish. Then go at em all guns blazing.
  5. 11 Jul '12 19:17
    I was talking with an opponent I played a few months back. He was rated about 600 points below me and was doing everything he could to trade pieces off. I told him I was happy when lower rated opponents did that as I'd just agree to the exchanges and then when there were very few pieces left would just win.

    My theory about it is that when there are lots of pieces on the board there are usually lots of reasonable moves (for mortals that is - a GM would probably consider just about every move I play to be a huge blunder!), but when the position is simple there is really only 1 good move. So it is much easier to go wrong and thus the differences between playing levels gets exaggerated.

    Incidentally, a common mistake when someone is playing a lower rated player is to assume they are terrible and just try to blow them off the board. As GM Nigel Davies pointed out once, threats are the easiest moves to respond to, so by forcing things you actually make it easier for your opponent.
    It can also backfire, as lower rated doesn't mean "completely incompetent", it just means they haven't won as many games as you have
    Respect your opponent, no matter what arbitrary number they have been assigned and you'll be fine.
  6. 11 Jul '12 20:16
    Play your own game. Play what you play. Be you.

    The moment you trying chopping and changing to adopt a style you think
    is suitable for that type of opponent you are playing then you are in trouble.
    The coming positions will be more alien to you than your opponent.

    There are no such thing as 'weaker players' when you are playing them.
    If you sit at the board thinking this guy is a duffer, I'll keep it simple, no
    complications, he is bound to slip up.....you will panic when he does not and
    then have to complicate a sterile position.

    You should be basing your decisions on what you see at the board, not who you are playing.

    And as for playing so called stronger players. The amount of times I've heard after a game:

    "I've never played this before but as I was playing you I thought I'd try it."

    Words like this or something similiar were said after this game.
    Look at Black's 3rd move.

    I did not sit back waiting for more blunders or run to the ending.
    I played how I play. The moves I played against him I would have
    played against Karpov. I sought out and played for a complicated mate involving
    a Queen sac. My superior development dictated I look for it. Not because I thought
    my opponent would overlook something. My combination here is sound.

    Sometimes they are not, It's what I do, it's how I want to play.

    G. Chandler - G. Anderson, Edinburgh League v Civil Service, 1984

  7. 11 Jul '12 20:34
    Originally posted by greenpawn34





    G. Chandler - G. Anderson, Edinburgh League v Civil Service, 1984

    [pgn]
    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 b5 4.Bxb5 a6 5.Bc4 Na5 6.Bb3 Nxb3 7.axb3 Qf6 8.Nc3 Bb7 9.0-0 Bc5 10.d3 h6 11.Be3 Ba7 12.Bxa7 Rxa7 13.d4 exd4 14.Nb5 axb5 15.Rxa7 Bxe4 16.Re1 Qc6 17.Qxd4 Nf6 18.Ne5 Qd5 19.Rxe4 Qxd4 20.Nc6+ Qxe4 21.Ra8[/pgn][/b]
    Nice symmetry to that final position
  8. Standard member The Swine Down Hope
    The 3rd Coming
    11 Jul '12 23:13 / 1 edit
    Hi GP,

    The bishop exchange around m 12 here confuses me, your good bishop for his bad, i kind of expected him to be the keener one to exchange a move earlier. Can you explain this?

    To the topic here, often wonder about this angle too and come to a similar conclusion: playing like a player is weaker is about the same as reducing my own rating by 300 points. But i do wonder if this is true for 2000 plus players, often they seem to complicate an opening (when playing me!) and i suspect they are maximising their opportunities to get a winning position.

    Dave

    ps since winding down my game volume I'm becoming an avid follower of your posts, and really appreciate you doing everything to make the info digestible.
  9. 12 Jul '12 02:58
    Hi The Swine.

    I think you are asking about here, White to play.


    His Queen is where his Knight should be and I'm castled.
    It's an advantage in time I must cash in this advantage for a solid structural
    advantage. A time advantage will evaporate into nothing if I don't use it.

    His Bishop is his best looking piece. My c1 Bishop is doing nothing so 11.Be3
    it is developing with a threat. (Bxc5).


    Black trading on e3 opens up the f-file and will boost the coming d4. I was I
    suppose expecting 11...d6 or 11...Bb5 his 11....Ba7 was a baddie.
    I traded on a7 12.Bxa7 Rxa7.


    Because his Rook was now undefended and that meant Nb5 practically forced
    him to play axb5 and I win the exchange with a tempo kick on the b7 Bishop.

    (The tempo kick on the Bishop is more important than the exchange. The exchange
    is a bonus, against undeveloped positions tempo kicks can lead to bigger things.)

    A good move Nb5 but I played 13.d4 first so the tempo kick on the Bishop
    gave him the e-pawn which opens the e-file for my f1 Rook (which happened)
    also I was most likely thinking if after 13.Nb5 axb5 14. Rxa7 he can play 14...Qb6.


    White is still winning but I have to move or defend the Rook (I'm losing time)
    he can play d6, Qc6,Ne7/f6, 0-0....my time plus has gone all I have is the exchange.

    (never over estimate the exchange when you have a time plus. Often when
    you win it the time has gone. )

    I wanted more. I wanted the exchange and the time.

    Greed has it's place chess.
    Not material greed that is one of the deadly sins.
    Positional greed. You can never have enough positional advantages and
    time is a positonal/tactical plus don't fritter it away.

    So I threw in 13.d4 exd4 first because if after 14.Nb5 axb5 15.Rxa7 Qb6
    I can play 16.Qxd4.


    And White is winning that much more easily than the last diagram and
    after 16...Qxd4 (16...c5 17 Rxb7!) 17.Nxd4


    I still have the tempo kick on the Bishop and no matter where it goes I'm
    winning material.
    I'm keeping my time and development plus. Always want more.
  10. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    12 Jul '12 05:58
    Originally posted by Varenka
    [b]one easy gain I should have is to improve my results against "weaker" players

    Maybe that’s part of the problem, expecting an easy gain. Ratings are just an average based on how someone played in the past. There’s a fair possibility they may play much better or worse in a current game. Your own performance in any single game will also vary from y ...[text shortened]... run of those kind of mistakes then….. no, wait, you won’t anytime soon and neither will I. [/b]
    Very well said.
  11. 12 Jul '12 18:20
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi The Swine.

    I think you are asking about here, White to play.

    [fen]r3k1nr/1bpp1pp1/p4q1p/2b1p3/4P3/1PNP1N2/1PP2PPP/R1BQ1RK1 w kq - 0 11[/fen]
    His Queen is where his Knight should be and I'm castled.
    It's an advantage in time I must cash in this advantage for a solid structural
    advantage. A time advantage will evaporate into nothing if I don't ...[text shortened]... goes I'm
    winning material.
    I'm keeping my time and development plus. Always want more.
    Hi GP,

    This was a very informative post. I knew what time/tempi was before this but it was Mona Lisa secondhand now I'm at the Louvre looking at her up close.
  12. Standard member The Swine Down Hope
    The 3rd Coming
    12 Jul '12 22:00
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi The Swine.

    I think you are asking about here, White to play.
    Yes exactly that and beautifully answered.

    A lot for me to think about, I'm clearly a material greed player (but with a good end game - IMHO). This could be the next level of play I want - I wonder if it could be?.........

    Many thanks.
  13. 12 Jul '12 22:17
    Originally posted by The Swine Down Hope
    Yes exactly that and beautifully answered.

    A lot for me to think about, I'm clearly a material greed player (but with a good end game - IMHO). This could be the next level of play I want - I wonder if it could be?.........

    Many thanks.
    It could be, I believe; as long as you don't get discouraged by set backs. When you change the way you play (going from material greed to positional greed) you'll be unfamiliar with new concepts at first which will cause a rating drop until you get more practised at it.
  14. 13 Jul '12 07:15 / 1 edit
    Golden rule for trades.Pay no attention at what comes off the board,look at what's left on it.

    Take the position at white's 11th move,I wouldn't consider white's bishop better than black's.
    On the contrary!Plus,white has to develop it somehow and there's only d2 & e3 available.

    Doesn't 11.Be3 seem quite logical now?
  15. 13 Jul '12 15:41
    Originally posted by Wilfriedva
    Doesn't 11.Be3 seem quite logical now?
    Yes, and I guess it's common to see this idea in open games (e.g. Guccio Piano).

    For entertainment, I looked at the computer's idea of Ra5. So rather than contest the diagonal with Be3, White attacks the well placed bishop.

    - Ra5, d6 allows a tactic, Nxe5, Qxe5, b4
    - Ra5, Qb6, Ra4 with the idea of Rc4 & Na4 giving the bishop more hassle

    My guess would be on Be3 being a GM's choice.