Inside the Mind of a Chess Fighter

Hi there, as you know I’m always interested in analysing chess games from all standards and rating levels. I’ve decided to pull together a short series of 10 games to show how not to play against opponents rated higher than yourself and also to look in to the mindset of how the higher rated player operates on the board i.e. how they achieve a better advantage, what is their strategy, what tactics they are using etc.

For me personally it’s great to be able to at least try and understand some of the major characteristics of the differences in playing levels, The project outline was to join an online chess site and actually play like a beginner/intermediate level rating with the explicit objective that ‘I wasn’t allowed to win the match’ but had to put up a good enough fight to show how it is that lower rated players come off worse when playing higher rated players

I thought it would be a great idea to surprise a chess friend of mine ‘Calcina’ who by the way has some serious high level mad skills on the chess board. He plays ‘New School’ chess not ‘Old school’. What’s the difference? An abundance of imagination and a menacing Endgame Opening that’s the difference 🙂

To keep the games as real as possible, I didn’t tell Calcina what I was doing with the project, so the matches that I have recorded are his genuine responses to my wacky play.

So a quick recap on the projects objectives;

  • Show how not to play against opponents rated higher than yourself
  • Look in to the mindset of how the higher rated player operates on the board i.e. how they achieve a better advantage, what is their strategy, what tactics are they using etc.
  • Understand some of the major characteristics of the differences in chess playing levels

The key learning points from each of the games are detailed under each of the videos

1. Seriously, where are you putting that piece?

Key Points:

Working pieces together, understanding move order, appropriate targeting, giving better positions to opponent instead of negative ones, mindful of where you put pieces

2. Develop your opponents pieces at your peril

Key Points:

Developing opponents pieces rather than own, be offensively defensive

3. Protect Your King

Key Points:

Protect king and squares around King, Be first, position pieces correctly where they will be most effective,

4. Your moves have to have a purpose

Key Points:

Make sure your checks on the opponents king has follow on continuations of checks and attacks, keep the pressure on, being too fancy will lose you pieces and position, your moves have to mean something and lead on to greater things, your pieces should have a function a purpose, look at the move order/tempo count intently or suffer the case of the missing pieces,

5. Gobbling up pieces can lose you tempo

Key Points:

Greedy munch will make your pieces sluggish and ill placed, look wholistically at the game not just a small part of it, check the chain reaction from your potential moves, look at what the opponent can do to you

6. An advanced pawn is a menace

Key Points:

A highly developed pawn is a monster, its deadly beyond deadly, it acts as a platform for other pieces such as knights, bishops etc stop them, block them don’t ignore them

7. Move your King

Key Points:

See a bishop on a diagonal to your king, move your king.  If you try and be fancy with discovered threat attacks, check what the opponent can do as well or else it will all be for nothing – Be first

8. Exchange pieces on equal terms not on worse terms

Key Points:

When thinking of exchanging make sure that no other pieces can spoil your chain reaction

9. What kind of starting opening move is that?

Key Points:

Check out your opening, make sure your King is not left over exposed. Be first when thinking of attacking, when thinking of moving a main piece sit back and think, can it be taken. Don’t give the opponent the advantage.

10. Expect the Unexpected

Key Points:

Calculate potential endgame moves, expect the unexpected, watch and protect your blindspots, use pieces in combination with each other.


That’s all folks 🙂

So sadly, that’s the end of this series. I know I found it useful taking part in this project. I did tell Calcina about the project at the end, to which he admitted he did have his suspicions that something wasn’t right, but, he took it in great spirit and loved whooping me big style 🙂 I must thank Calcina for being such a good sport and providing some great entertaining games to watch and reference.


Bye for now

If you fancy reading a little more about chess and stuff





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