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!