How To Trick Your Opponent
You don't need magic to trick your opponent.

How To Trick Your Opponent

Gserper
GM Gserper
Feb 12, 2018, 12:00 AM |
49 | Other

People love magic tricks!

Yes, we know that the magicians trick us and they don't really saw women in half, and yet we cannot help but admire the miracle that happens right in front of our eyes.

Now tell me, when was the last time you saw chess magic tricks? Some of you might say "never." Well, let me assure you that we are all chess magicians to some extent, because in order to beat your opponent you need to trick him somehow.

So, how can you trick your opponent?


now you see me movie

In the movie Now You See Me, the protagonist shares his secret: "First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room." So, you really want to make your opponent believe that he is the smartest one, while it is you who has an ace up your sleeve!

Let's see how chess hustlers do it.

Some 50 years ago when chess was incredibly popular in the former Soviet Union, you would see people playing at the beach, on a bench, and pretty much everywhere! So a guy would come to such players and show them a chess position on his pocket set.

The stranger smiles and says, "You won't believe, guys, what's going to happen in this position."

The players are obviously annoyed that somebody distracts them from their game and yet they take a quick look at the position.

"It is the famous Saavedra position," says one of them.

"Yes, White wins" confirms the second player.

"Come on guys! You are kidding me," laughs the stranger. "Black has an extra rook; he cannot lose the game here!"

The dispute usually ends with a bet and the players start showing the stranger his ignorance. Here is how the game proceeds:

Here the players realize that something weird is going on and the famous Saavedra position somehow is not winning for White. While they are still trying to understand what's going on, their money is already in the stranger's pocket and he is looking for a new victim.

Now let me explain what's going on there. The Saavedra position is one of those proverbial "every Russian schoolboy must know" positions. This is how it looks:

As you can see, the position that the stranger showed the players closely resembled the Saavedra position, but white king and black rook switched sides and it changed the result of the game!

Do you think these kind of tricks work only with amateur players? Let's see. In the next game, the very experienced Ukrainian GM Malaniuk trapped a young Peter Svidler into a cute opening trap:

And this is the game played by the world number-two:

I hope you already know how to trick your opponent. The recipe is quite simple: Get a position that resembles a well-known trap, so your opponent is sure that he is "the smartest person in the room." Then prove him wrong!

Here is a good example. The so-called "Capablanca trap" in the Ruy Lopez is well-known:

Nevertheless, at least a dozen masters fell into it. Here is the most recent example:

Therefore, if you create an illusion that your opponent can trap your bishop following the footsteps of the great Cuban, you are almost guaranteed to succeed.

Here is how IM Mark Diesen did it:

The same protagonist from the Now You See Me movie says: "What is magic? Focused deception!"

I wish you many successful magic tricks in your games!

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