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Winning against stronger opponents

  • IM TigerLilov
  • | Oct 19, 2013
  • | 11122 views
  • | 29 comments

Many of us know how hard it is to pull up a game against a solid opponent. But today, what I would like to show you is how to actually withstand the sharp attacks and precise maneuvers of a stronger player and be exactly that kind of nuisance all masters bow before and respect!

Playing solid is not easy and incorporating that critical ability in your style of play usually requires deep understanding of positional chess. Nevertheless, I have a nice shortcut for you to get a glimpse of what it is to be a solid player and how you can achieve it by following a few simple rules that most players seem to ignore completely. 

For this purpose, below I have annotated two of my best games against stronger opponents from when I was younger and these games illustrate how solid play can literary deprive your master opponent from all his weapons and eventually put him in a position he has never imagined he could get into.

How was that possible? Well, these games clearly show how little moves and gradual improvement can bring you a more stable position and good harmony between your pieces. They also illustrate how the rule of improving the worst posted piece works at every stage of the game when one is confused about how to proceed. Gradual improvement and avoiding permanent weaknesses in your position are the two key elements of solid play. They don’t bring much all of a sudden, but they also don’t let you down! Eventually, your opponent must feel the pressure, must deal with the situation that what he thought would be an easy game has now turned into a full-blown battle of time, skill, and patience.


As you can see, these games have many clear examples of what should and what shouldn’t be done against stronger opponents. Furthermore, the ability to apply extra prophylaxis like getting away from motifs and eliminating potential dangers reduces the possibility for making mistakes.


All in all, solid play brings about more harmonious positions and well coordinated pieces, and gives us the ability to withstand a stronger opponent in a head-to-head battle to the last second on the clock, keeping a good position and having the draw as an easy option after every move!

Comments


  • 14 months ago

    3FFA

    Very well written. This helps me a lot too. May your play be as strong if not stronger than this article's influence on its readers. :)

  • 14 months ago

    RRM888

    Acwman, 22. Bxc5 is probably better for black:

  • 14 months ago

    acwman

    Wait a minute!

    On the Lilov vs. Ivelinov game, what happens if 22.Bxc5? Somehow this seems like a strong move since the black queen cannot take on c5 because of Bxd6+.

  • 14 months ago

    marshaltc

    tnx alot

  • 14 months ago

    Ironman111

  • 14 months ago

    RRM888

    I don't see the need for solid play against a stronger opponent. I just recently played a successful attacking game against a national master rated 500 points higher than me. However, I do appreciate the article and it is helpful in understanding how to play solidly when one really needs to. 

  • 14 months ago

    juliandp

    Great article!! It's going to be very helpful to me for my next tourney! Laughing

  • 14 months ago

    JAZZIE1701

    Interesting, considering the fact I don't understand any of this.Undecided

  • 14 months ago

    tomwalker55

    I also see this from the other side. I sometimes deliberately make a 'weak' move against a much weaker opponent (trying to 'lure' them into a mistake). But sometimes they ignore the 'lure' and play 'boring solid chess', and then I simply have made a bad move.  I got away with it, but almost gave a player 600 points lower the tournament upset prize that way recently! (Very close call!) This article is good solid real-world advice.  Very good article and thank you!

  • 14 months ago

    CID64

    How it's Borislav Ivanov this days ?

  • 14 months ago

    NM HowToTameADragon

    @MiamiUnivChess - Kg6 was intending the trap Nf4 

  • 14 months ago

    MiamiUnivChess

    In game one, though, 35. ...Nxb2 looks better than the move you played. I am wondering what prompted you to prefer 35. ...Kg6 instead.

  • 14 months ago

    willguy101

    this literature almost made me cry because it was amazing

  • 14 months ago

    Zwit

    since i'm most often the weakest player, this is sound advice and well illustrated. thx!

  • 14 months ago

    Andre_Harding

    Great, and very helpful stuff, Valeri!

  • 14 months ago

    andresruffle

    Fantastico. Es la primera vez que entro para ver estas publlicaciones, ya veo de las joyas que me estuve perdiendo. EXITOS A TODOS

  • 14 months ago

    SirYvain

    beutiful

  • 14 months ago

    mishutka13

    thanks

  • 14 months ago

    leo5

    Excellent article!

  • 14 months ago

    HristoProtos

    Thank you IM Lilov - piece activity and profilaxis - the right trade-off wins ;)

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