Alternative Chess Strategies

Alternative Chess Strategies

| 11 | Strategy

First, there was the opening. The over-analysed beginning of the game. Here innovations are researched by masters, studied by experts and puzzled over by the rank amateur.


The middlegame, the mystical ideal of complexity, the drama here is the goal of many a player. Stratagems have been formulated and tactics have been studied obsessively.


And the endgame, the enigmatic denouement, pure in its simplicity yet aggravating in its complexity. The last stronghold against the silicon invasion.


Every beginner is taught that these are the three parts of a game, which come together to form every game into a complex and epic struggle. But can this pinnacle of intellectual achievement be simplified so easily?




Of course there is the fourth element, the psychological element. Human fallibility and practical genius have an effect on every facet of the game, yet they are sadly un-discussed. Well I would like to shatter the silence.


Below I have some of the more common variations of this woefully unexplored branch of chess that all players should have a basic knowledge of. Because most are colour neutral the user is Player A and the opponent is player B.


The Portisch Defence: Named for Lajos Portisch, A completely ignores his opponents (If A ignores the handshake it becomes the Cheparinov Variation) and focuses entirely on the board, in the hopes of infuriating B. Many famous games have ended in player A's favour when their infuriated opponents toppled the board. Even more games have ended in a draw when B was detained for knocking A out. Sometimes incorrectly interpreted to mean that A employs no special psychological tactics (an absurd situation that never occurs at the highest level).


The Fischer Attack: PLain and simple, make a fuss, bully, issue ultimatums and make an overall ass of yourself (not that there's anything wrong with that). There are numerous variations and side-lines from complaining about the chair, the pieces, the lighting, the cameras or their wardrobe (White after Labour Day, Spassky? Really!?).


The Magic Man Defence: A Claims B has magical or hypnotic powers and need's special conditions to play. Excellent for shaking up your opponent. Also can be employed after losing, because how could you (Yes I'm talking to you) ever lose a game without a valid reason. Employed by many notable players who lost matches against even more notable players.


The Reversed Magic Man: A claims to have magic powers in order to frighten B. Rarely seen at the top level because of the Angry Peasent Mob variation.


The Kasparov Variation: One possible follow up to the Fischer Attack, in which A strikes out and forms his own club, group, organization and player B isn't invited. Sometimes player C joins him and they talk very loudly about how great their club is where player B can hear them. This makes B very mad.

(Note: This should not be confused with the Kasparov Stratagem which is based on being a genius over the board)


Last Minute Gambit: A daring gambit in which A sacrifices his prime seating at the board by grabbing the clock and running while his opponents last few seconds tick away. Very effective in the olden days, but became less so after the Sledgehammer Countergambit was discovered. Yes, the Sledgehammer Countergambit is exactly what you think it is.


The Sinister Smile Defence: Whenever you make a move, good or bad, leer at your opponent (WARNING: In the unlikely event of a female opponent, a drifting leer could have unwanted side effects). Make sure your leer is angry, evil and not drunken. The Tal sub-variation (Pictured Above) uses an intensely, hate-filled stare which will also do the trick.


Light Brigade Gambit- Send a full brigade of cavalry charging at your opponent. Known to be nearly irrefutably with correct play by both sides, but the set-up is difficult to achieve.


The Adultery Attack- While B waits for A to arrive at the board; A seduces the perpetually unsatisfied chess-widow of B. A then rushes back to the board to win the game against B who is distracted by a "Funny nervous feeling" (Fully justified) and divorce papers.


The Cold Shoulder- Sit at the board... And that's it, nothing else. Don't move, don't talk, don't blink. Don't breathe if you can possibly avoid it. Useful in a tight position, but some people think it's impractical. Some even say it's rude!


Blindfold Defence- Blindfold your opponent, tricky, but effective if you can pull it off. Not so effective if he can. 


Luzhin Defense- Go insane, it'll totally freak out your opponent.


The Reverse Luzhin- Drive your opponent insane, a bit more complicated a line to learn, but with fewer side effects (Like craziness).


Kramnik Defence- Spend way too much time in the bathroom. It doesn't really matter what you do. Fix your hair, do your make up, catch up on your reading (Consult Fritz?).


That's all for now, please leave comments. Maybe even suggest your own, who knows? You ,might get your very own variation named after you.

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