Know Your Opponent!
Today, I'll speak about a very important chess skill. As I have said before, chess is partly psychological game. So the moment of surprise sometimes proves useful, as well as an unexpected move or a move which seems to be in favor of your opponent, but in fact it is not. The key how to decide which move to play lies in two considerations: firstly, objectively analyze current position, and then, try to find a move, which could pain the most!
It seems to be difficult, but it is not so. There are two possible situations in which we can find ourselves while playing:
- we know our opponent (f.e. someone we train with, or we have played many times)
- an unknown person
In the first case, the way of thinking is a bit easier. It just depends on our power of observation - how we were paying attention.
An example: our partner is an attacker, who likes to sacrifice a piece for a violent attack; solution: why not prepare him a surprise? In some positions, one may think that a certain spot on the chessboard is almost created to sacrifice. In the mind of an attacker, the hunting sense covers the objective consideration and he asks himself: "What if...?" so he takes the piece. But what if the sacrifice is incorrect? Well and that was your target! The key was to prepare a trap, a certain kind of position, where our opponent makes a sacrifice which leads to a massive disadvantage, instead of a powerful attack.
Similarly, if our opponent is someone who likes to grab material, why not trap him into a gambit opening? Or if he likes open positions, hold the position closed as long as possible!
I hope you imagine now, how to play against a known opponent.
The more difficult type of game is a game against an unknown opponent. Then, I recommend to watch your opponent carefully. There are many chances to find out, what nature your opponent is.
Let's see. This is the Alekhine's defense and its variations: