How to Improve at Chess: Tip #14: Be on the side of the poor, the downtrodden, and the meek
When I go through games of the GrandMasters or the Greats, I usually focus on the winner. What did he do right, how did he exploit the weaknesses in the opponent's position? This helps me to see what kind of positions and "things" to look for in my own games. Not too long ago, I started looking at the losing side in order to learn what kind of things I should not do. I can say that more that 90% of the time, I focus on the winning side.
I was thinking about the "poor". In most religious texts, they are blessed and given hope... the people who help them are promised reward (in this life and in the next). Without being very religious here, I wondered how this can be applied to one's Chess life. Chess being a sport, we cannot/should not help anybody during the game! However, for my benefit, I can choose to help after the fact. My way of doing that is to play on the side of the losing side! In every game that does not end in a draw, I can play the side of the loser, the "poor".
How do you benefit? First, by playing on the losing side and trying to see how the loser could have equalized or won, you are sure that if faced with a similar position yourself, you will be able to handle it. Second, if there is a (winner) player you really like, and he is alive, and you play his games and you are always on his side... how are you going to "change" and be "against" him if you need to play him? Just knowing what he does is not good enough. You have to know how to neutralize what he does, or how to handle his best shots... in advance!
Of course, the downside is that you will get better, and people will study your games, and figure out ways to beat you. Well, that's Chess.