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wizard_of_odd ♡ 47 ( +1 | -1 )
Nastiest way to Win or Lose (continued) Hey, I read (I think it was a book by Ron Curry, but can't remember for sure) that our young author went up against one fellow who was *eating* at a tournament game, a nice messy sandwich, and he made sure that he adjusted *all* the pieces, distracting the poor fellow to no end. He lost that game, and later realized he should have notified the TD. I guess he was deferring to the other players seniority or somehting. Now THAT'S what I call bad sportsmanship--talkabouta NASTY way to lose!

myway316 ♡ 15 ( +1 | -1 )
I've got a pretty good idea... ...who the "hungry" opponent was,but I won't mention any names. Needless to say,this player has quite a reputation in OTB circles for grossing out many of his opponents,including myself.
baseline ♡ 10 ( +1 | -1 )
caldazar My thinking was much the same as your response to spurtus's last remarks in the previous thread.
spurtus ♡ 73 ( +1 | -1 )
I feel like I'm getting sucked back into this discussion... urg.. have I not suffered enough...:)

Caldazar wrote : 'Do you seriously expect him to lose on purpose? '

Answer : I would!... DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE TO is my motto, I wouldnt stoop that low, honest.

BTW. You know when people on here wait till the very very last minute to play their move, in a similar sort of way this is not cheating, but again is this not something that annoys everybody here?

How should this be viewed when we talk about 'gamemanship', 'ethics' etc.?... it is happening to me at present for the first time... is this normal, what does a player hope to achieve out of this. Can I complain?


baseline ♡ 46 ( +1 | -1 )
I know a guy who always uses all of his time. I'm talking three days to make move one, move two etc. Do I allow him to annoy me. No! why should I? I have other games and indeed sometimes I take 3 days to answer a move. Is it right to label this guy as unethical? No! He makes his move within the the time limits. Do I like playing this guy. Not really but its a tournament game so I have no choice. But, I would be making a mistake if I hurry my moves to try and speed the game along.
peppe_l ♡ 421 ( +1 | -1 )
It seems tournament chess In my country is different from tournament chess in US (based on posts by Caldazar etc...I know spurtus is from UK :-) No, not because of clock, I am sure there are many players here who DO NOT point it out if their opponent forgets to press the clock (perhaps even majority?). Heck even I cannot "promise" to do that every time, and I certainly cant see any reason to complain if my opponent simply lets my time run out. It is my responsibility to press the clock after all.

Where is the difference then?

Well, look at all the talk about psychological "tricks" - there are even several discussions where people want to know how to do it! I am pretty sure some of you guys are exeggerating a bit, but it really seems compared to tournaments in my country USCF tournaments are full of people who concentrate on "annoying" their opponents. This all is new to me, my experience of tournament chess is very limited but so far I have not encountered any psychological "tricks" you guys are talking about, and neither have most of the other players I have been talking to.

Of course Caldazar and Baseline are correct - if your opponent obeys the rules and wins, there is no reason to complain whether he won by playing better moves or by time forfeit.

"Is it fair to try to deceive your opponent psychologically? Depends on the game you want to play, I suppose, but in tournament chess, I feel it is not only fair, it is essential. Tactical draw offers designed to confuse your opponent, scary looking sacrifices, looking confident when you're worried (and looking worried when you're confident), walking away from the board so your opponent can't get a read on you in critical situations, all these things are a part of tournament chess."

Fairness...well, as long as you are not breaking the rules (for example by disturbing your opponent etc), I guess it will always depend on priorities each player has. Is winning a game at amateur tournament more important than being fair and perhaps gaining new friends. To me winning a game of chess is not that important, but to each of his own.

Essential??? I assume you are joking, at least here psychological "tricks" are very rare, and certainly not essential. Plus IMO lots of players seriously overestimate the effectiveness of "strategies" you mentioned :-)

Here is how I see them,

"Tactical draw offers designed to confuse your opponent"

Luckily one has to offer a draw at his own time. If someone offers a draw in a position where it is pretty much clear I wont accept, I am very happy. Usually I naturally decline, but if I have reason to believe the draw offer is a pathetic attempt of psychology, I simply ignore it. It is up to my opponent to either focus on his next move or waste even more precious thinking time for wondering will I accept his draw offer or not.

"scary looking sacrifices"

Ok a typical beginner, throws a piece away in order to try few cheapos against my king. Thank you, I try to be careful and convert my material advantage to a win (in zeitnot I see unsound sacrifices as practical solutions, not psychological "tricks").

"looking confident when you're worried"

It is better to concentrate on board, not your opponent. Only position on board is important - if you look at it and see you are better, there is no reason to care if your opponent looks confident. Maybe he has misevaluated his position? Maybe he is trying psychological tricks? Who cares, you know you are better and if you play good moves, you will win.

"and looking worried when you're confident"

If you are confident, most likely you have better position, so why not concentrate 100% on converting your advantage to a win? Why waste energy for acting? Ironically, if you look worried your opponent might find new motivation to salvage a position he saw as lost :-)

"walking away from the board so your opponent can't get a read on you in critical situations"

Why on earth leave the board to play Pillsbury (famous blindfold player) during the critical moments of the game??? If your opponent concentrates on "getting a read on you" instead of finding good moves, stay at the board, I say! LET him concentrate on you instead on position on board, compromising the quality of his play. Concentrate on your moves and win the game!

To conclude, I know this quote is overused, but I like it nevertheless...

"I dont believe in psychology, I believe in good moves" - Bobby Fischer
spurtus ♡ 133 ( +1 | -1 )
I hear yee all. dont have to agree though, although there really is no strict right or wrong.


On the matter of people who take the full time right up to the last minute to make their move her on GK... the annoying thing that has happened to me is the player played the first 3 moves quickly, THEN went into slug mode... isnt much fun knowing that the game will probably take months to complete, and regardless of potential outcome my win, my loss or my draw, all outcomes if the game is played so slowly are painfully slow!... if your winning and you know your won, you just want your opponent to give up, if its obviously a draw you dont want to have to wait a month to play out all the moves, and if your losing and your just hoping for a minute gamble on a combination, you just want to be beaten sooner rather than later.

You might say well spurty, dont create a game so long, but I create a 3 day game so working people who use work computers to attend to their games can geta break over the weekend ( I think thats why 3 days is the default?)...

But again, although strictly not breaking any rules, its not the sort of tactic or player I can ever respect.


PS. I'm not a whinger, I'm just opening this area up to see how long this thread can go.
baseline ♡ 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Hey spurty! To quote a famous baseball player
"it aint over ...till its over!"


here's one Fischer liked and used in his book M60FG's

On the chessboard lies and hypocrisy do not survive long. The Creative combination lays bare the presumption of a lie; the merciless fact, culminating in a checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite.
caldazar ♡ 561 ( +1 | -1 )
"Caldazar wrote : 'Do you seriously expect him to lose on purpose? '

Answer : I would!... DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE TO is my motto, I wouldn’t stoop that low, honest."

Well, then I suppose we have nothing more to discuss, since we are indeed playing different games with different goals. In the game I play, winning is not low, winning is one of the primary goals of the game (not the ONLY goal, but certainly one of the most important ones). In the game I play, board position does not necessarily determine outcome, and there is no "stooping that low" involved. Again, I don't believe the game I play is superior or inferior to the game you play, merely different, although I do find it unsettling that you seem to feel that your method of play is superior. ("stooping that low" does carry serious negative connotations, after all). You are applying your own personal rules to the game (that chess should have some positional "fairness" to it) and expecting others to abide by them. In the game I play, tournament chess is a test, a chance to demonstrate to my satisfaction that I've learned something about chess since the last time I played a serious game, that I now possess more resources and understanding than I did before. The two criteria by which I judge my performance are the quality of my overall play and the result, with the former having more weight than the latter (you can't always control the outcome of the game, even if you play well). All the same, I'm not going to intentionally lose under any circumstances.


Tactical draw offers are not what you describe. In a tactical draw offer, you are attempting to exploit the uncertainty of a position to gain an advantage. Offering draws in clearly superior or inferior positions is just insulting, and repeated offers of that type are illegal. As an example of a tactical draw offer, say I make a mistake and am forced into defending an inferior position. After defending for awhile, my opponent makes a mistake that renders the position rather unclear, but I am not obviously better. Further, I analyze as far as I can, and while I can't evaluate the position conclusively, I feel that the chances are good that in the ensuing play, I will likely make a serious error (due to the complexity of the position) or that in the long run, my opponent has a good chance of coming out slightly better. So I make my move and offer a draw. Now my opponent has a potential problem. In addition to having to analyze a complicated position, he has to consider whether to accept my offer and take the sure 1/2 a point or play on in an unclear position and risk losing. This can potentially be a difficult decision because my opponent was of the mindset that he was calling the shots before his mistake (the momentum of the game was favorable to him) and now he must take more risk if he wishes to continue. In the end, my opponent may decline my draw offer, but the offer has served its purpose; it has given my opponent something extra to think about, costing him extra time on his clock, forcing him to contemplate his uncertainty, etc... Of course, this tactic fails if my opponent doesn't care about the result in the first place, but I've lost nothing by offering the draw.

To me, intimidating-looking sacrifices also carry a psychological element and are much more than merely a practical solution. In practice, it's desirable to possess the initiative because besides the usual positional benefits associated with holding the initiative, psychologically it's much more difficult to play when you don't feel you have control of the game (defensive play is often more difficult to execute well than attacking play). Of course, unsound sacrifices that have a clear, simply refutation are just pointless, but it's one thing to say "Oh, that's unsound", and quite another to have to actually spend half an hour calculating without mistakes to refute it.

"Only position on board is important"

Lasker would have disagreed with you, and I do as well. You are not just playing a position, you are playing a person who has hopes, fears, wants, etc...

"If your opponent concentrates on "getting a read on you" instead of finding good moves, stay at the board, I say! LET him concentrate on you instead on position on board, compromising the quality of his play."

That's the thing, allowing your opponent to read you can actually enhance the quality of his play. In a tournament game once, I was defending an inferior position and on one particular move, I spent a long time contemplating my move, and my opponent admitted after the game that, at first, he couldn't understand why I was thinking for so long (the necessary reply seemed rather obvious). He told me that it finally dawned on him during the game that the reason why I was thinking so long was that I must have some tactical resource I was calculating. The resource didn't immediately work, but I was calculating it anyway for the future, looking for ways to set it up. He saw what I was looking at (both our kingsides) and so calculated the tactical resource too. A move or two later, he played a preventative move that cut the idea out altogether, and he defeated me easily. Would he have eventually seen my potential idea anyway? Probably, he was a much better player than I was, but in that situation I didn't have an option; I had to sit there an calculate the idea as it was my only potential saving option, so I had to allow my opponent to read me. But the point is you can learn a lot about what your opponent is thinking, and hence what additional features of the position might be worth looking at.

I believe in good moves first (there's nothing more intimidating than facing a strong move!), but with psychology to supplement the good moves.
spurtus ♡ 88 ( +1 | -1 )
Here I am again getting hoovered into an argument.... Its like the world of chess against spurtus...something I am very used to! . dont worry, I'm pretty thick skinned...... :( but I suppose I started it though!

Well caldazar, I'm impressed you have the guts to say something along the lines that we are different beasts.... I think we would not get on if we ever met though, but a game of chess would be lovely, just for the competition I feel between us.

On a general note to answer all queries, I simply wish to play 'fair' chess, and hopefully at the end of the day create more friends than enemies.
Although it should be said, my play style has been known to annoy people, but you have to try to find out!

Onwards with the thread!, if you can truly understand the right and wrong, good and bad and the black and white, then you will understand that this is the game.

riga ♡ 454 ( +1 | -1 )
Manhattan Chess Club Approx. 2 Years Ago...

2 Grandmasters face off at the secong round at a sub-par open tournament with a verry low entry fee and an almost unworthy first place prize (especially for a GM). They are not playing for first place (although it would obviously be nice) and they really don't care about the debute they will play, or the nature of the game. They are not playing the board, they are playing each other. I believe i was 12 at the time. Of course i didn't see it this way at that time. They were not seated at the "first" table and thus had few specktaters and no one really stayed for for than a few seconds at a time. (they had their own games) After about a dozen moves, one GM gets a cramp in his leg and it spasums, cuasing it to hit a leg of the table knocking down most of the pieces on the board. The pieces are placed back to their normal positions and play continues. White (the GM that had the cramp) wins the game. At around the beginning of the 4th round, the GM that played as white is seated at a board playing a game when the other GM comes up and sucker punches him in the face. The reason? when the pieces were put back on the board, one of white's pawns was moved one square out of its previous position. Did this GM (white) deserve to win? Of course not, but he did. I was there to observe the beginning of the game, but did not witness the assualt. This is a true story, make of it what you will.

Spurtus: Once again, you have a condessending view on people that do not share your views. They are not lower than you because they value winning over the a few kind words with strangers that they may never see again. I get the impression that generally your a nice guy and there is nothing wrong with nice guys, you have to have someone to take advantage of. Did you ever consider that you lost because you were too invoved in the position to take a look around at your physical surroundings? Jesus! Not even a 11 year old is going to consider which mate he likes better for 2 minutes (especially if he was in check).

caldazar: "looking confident when you're worried and looking worried when you're confident".
I find it better to Reek of confidence. Any sign of doubt may give your opponent hope, and sometimes that's a very strong attribute. Also i have never offered a draw unless i expected it to be accepted except this one time. World Open, 2003 (which is really just the US open #2 on the other side of the counrty (East) but they needed a different name). Round 8, I play a messed up version of The KID as black. For almost 25 moves i am trying to play against a crushing advantage and i am very satisfied with my performance thus far. I don't believe there was anything better to play (objectively). Eventually, around move 38-42, the position calms down and becomes purely tactical. however, my opponent is tires and dissapointed that he could not convert his position materially. he is especially upest that i don't even have an issolated d6 pawn (which was very likely and spent about 45 minutes extra trying to find variations to avoid it) since in the KID, with a semi-open d file, it is pretty much a death sentence. My opponent did not have a material of positional advantage. But he had a tactical one. It was overwhelming, but being a d4 player, he was not able to change the nature of his play. He had more sapce and more agility. I could see at least 3 different plans that led to an eventual win. All these involved pawn pushes, 2 from his king. His face showed a look of disapointment. Had he been confident, i would have resigned because it was late, and i wanted to go out. All i was doing was moving my queen back and forth between F8-G7. I offered a draw 2 times both being rejected. On about move 48- he offered me a draw and i accepted. I truely believed that if he saw me show disapointment in my position, he would have found a win. The repeated draw offers led him to belive i believed it was a draw.

peepe: all the things you listed are actually simply defences against these phychological tactics. Be happy, you're immune. It does work on people though. Not everyone, but it works, and it is infered that it is secondary to skill, Except for Spurtus who can't hear his clock ticking. And i wouldn't take teh combat skills of the British too seriously. You guys still marching in lines?

And finally, as long as we are quoting famous chess players...

"Vodka make me strong like BUll." -mumbled excerp from Alexander Alekhine. (-note: this might not be what he actually said.)
caldazar ♡ 78 ( +1 | -1 )
riga What you say is true; confidence (even unwarranted confidence) can be a very powerful weapon, making people play more strongly than they normally would. Trying to instill confidence in your opponent is a risky strategy that could potentially backfire. I find it is most useful in situations where I am trying to provoke my opponent into executing a risky attack so that his attack will leave serious exploitable weaknesses in his position; to borrow from poker parlance, I'm trapping him. Naturally, the whole thing can blow up in my face, but I am willing to take that risk sometimes, usually in "must-win" type of situations. In general, though, you are correct, it's better to show confidence no matter what you're truly feeling.
divine_sun_cat ♡ 7 ( +1 | -1 )
Riga Does your story of the two GM's have a point? If so please elaborate.
peppe_l ♡ 205 ( +1 | -1 )
Caldazar Thanks for your reply.

"Lasker would have disagreed with you, and I do as well. You are not just playing a position, you are playing a person who has hopes, fears, wants, etc..."

I guess I have to clarify my comment a bit...

What I meant was if your position is winning, psychology does not matter (unless you let it affect you of course :-) because by finding the best moves you will win the game, end of story.

Please let me point out my comment you quoted ("only the position on board is important") was taken from very specific context...

Originally posted by me:

"It is better to concentrate on board, not your opponent. Only position on board is important - if you look at it and see you are better, there is no reason to care if your opponent looks confident. Maybe he has misevaluated his position? Maybe he is trying psychological tricks? Who cares, you know you are better and if you play good moves, you will win."

Of course if your position is not winning or clearly better, psychology becomes (relatively speaking) more important. Yes Lasker used "psychology" to create positions that were not to his opponents tastes etc - but my point is such decisions were based on position on board! Is it really psychology or simply practical play taking advantage of strengths and weaknesses of familiar opponent? Or perhaps it is both?

Do I use similar tactics? Sometimes. If I can "sense" what my opponent wants to do (attack, go for tactical melee, simplify...) that can affect my decisions. The funny thing is I have found out to me there is surprisingly small difference between OTB and internet play! It is amazing how much the moves of your opponent tell about his style and taste, and even though I may not be a master of reading body languade, I am not so bad at reading my opponent via chessboard :-) Of course I too have strengths and weaknesses. Even if you know your opponent dislikes endgames, what is the point of exchanging queens if you dislike endgames yourself? To me transposing to a position _I_ like is more important because I can rarely be 100% sure what my opponent really dislikes, but I can ALWAYS be 100% sure of what _I_ like :-)