How To Draw Titled Players

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People ask me how I am able to maintain a master rating without ever beating any good players. Well, these days I rely on my rating floor, but for most of the last 20 years I had no such insurance policy. In spite of the fact that I had an 18 year gap without beating a higher rated player (1996–2014), I was often rated above 2200 during this period. The secret - I frequently drew higher rated players.


One of the seven habits of highly successful people is to begin with the end in mind.  Stalemates are draws. Let's see how I was able to ruthlessly drive two games against titled players toward stalemate.

The stalemate, as promised. Some of you might suspect that this does not demonstrate a repeatable technique for drawing titled players. It was just an example of a weak master getting lucky. But what if I were able to demonstrate the technique against another titled player - would you believe me then?


Living in Minnesota, I don't get the opportunity to play titled players very often. And on the rare occasion I do, it generally doesn't result in a draw. I have no recent examples of draws against Andrew Tang, Sean Nagle, or John Bartholomew. But there is another titled player in town - WFM Nastassja Matus. We had previously played three hard-fought draws. I had no reason to expect anything other than another struggle.

What are the chances of this occurring within a 6 month period?

And though I tried to convince you otherwise, these were both examples of a weak master getting lucky against a titled player happy.png