How do you bluff in chess

robbie_1969

Yesterday I was following the Karjakin Caruana game on another unmentionable chess site and one of the chat comments was that Caruana was bluffing.  It was then I remembered Capablanca saying the same thing about Alekhine that he bluffs.  This got me really wondering and I still cannot understand how you bluff in chess.  Is it like a feigned attack or a feigned retreat where you hope to dupe the enemy?  If anyone can explain the phenomena with illustration I would be most thankful.

fuzzbug

The idea of bluff is unclear to me also, so I took a book out of my library which is aimed at this subject :

http://www.amazon.com/Risk-Bluff-Chess-Taking-Calculated/dp/9056915959

I haven't read it yet.

If you "Look Inside" this book on Amazon, you can see in the introduction an example of bluff by Caruana, trying against Magnus Carlsen. While not definitive enough to be included in the book, it is close enough I expect, as you are a strong enough player to "get it".

By the way, I have watched many of your videos on youtube, and they are among my favorites! As the production values are outstanding, I suspect you work in video production in some way?

Keep up the good work robbie, and good luck in chess!

robbie_1969

Ok many thanks for ther reference it seems to be playing in full consciousness that ones moves may be dubious but taking the risk anyway in the hope that ones opponent cannot find the correct moves. For example the Caruana/Carlsen game, which black should have won if he found the correct moves but could not.  Caruana simply felt that he had compensation for the exchange which as the author points out is not really a full fledged bluff but a calculated risk.

Thank you for your encouragement I have no training in video although I did study art and design as a student in Glasgow, some moons ago  :D

qplo

You could call, in a subtle way, someone's bluff in the opening. For example, Nf3 in queen pawn opening in order to avoid Nimzo you could play Nc3 and invite the Nimzo. Daring them to play it if they invited it.

HGMuller

Bluffing is probably easier OTB than on-line. OTB I have done it quite succesfully. E.g. to bring the opponent in time trouble. I was once playing against an opponent that totally outplayed me, but needed to think twice as long as me to do that. We were playing 2hr/40 moves, and he had only 15 min left for the last 15 moves before the time control. Unfortunately at that point he was already an exchange ahead, and was attacking a pawn that I could only keep by retracting my queen deep into my own camp, abandoning all hope to attack. There wouldn't be anything left for him to think about, so 1min/move would not be a problem...

So unconventional methods were needed. I decided to abandon the pawn, moving my queen to a very active location, so that the opponent had to worry about perpetuals. (He had some open file next to his King.) After a few minutes of analysis I could see that it would come to nothing, it was a pure bluff. But I just spend 30 minutes feigning utterly deep thought, with my head in my hands, just on that single move... Of course the opponent knew he was in time trouble, and tried to ponder as much as he could in my time. And he did not know in advance that this would be 30 min, so he iterated and iterated through all moves. Always immediately rejecting the one I intended to play as a non-sensical blundering away of a pawn.

After 30 min, I did the move he had not expected, delivering a severe blow to his confidence, as by that time he was 100% convinced that whatever I moved, he would be able to play the next 3 moves instantly. While I did lean back in my chair with a smile of utter confidence. I had thought so long about the move that he could not imagine there it was as poor as it looked. So he wanted to refute that move by taking the pawn, but only after he discovered what the hidden threat was that he was supposed to fall for. Naturally that took him quite some time, as there was nothing to discover. After 6 min, he came to that conclusion, and took the Pawn.

Now he was exchange + pawn ahead, but had to play 14 moves in 9 min. And my queen was still active. And he thought that I was an idiot, giving away a pawn for nothing. So he became a little over-confident, and put his rook on an unprotected square. Check, check, check, rook... Before the 40th move he was minor vs pawn behind! He just made the time control, and resigned quite angrily after that.

That is how it is done. Laughing

Chicken_Monster

You wear sunglasses and a baseball cap, and intentionally hang your Queen.

Diakonia

There is a story that Korchnoi tells.  After he beat Henrique Mecking in a candidate match, he was at a college (i believe).  He was lecturing on the match and pointed out that he made a less than desirable move in a game.  Korchnoi said that he sat quietly, and motionless.  Korchnoi feels this caused Mecking to think that Korcnois move was better than he thought, and did not make the best move.  Korchni won the game, and credits his "quiet" with winning the game.

X_PLAYER_J_X

In Poker Bluffing is a way of doing a bet to cause pressure on the opponent in order to get them to fold the winning hand. Where upon if they do fold you win the pot while having the worse hand.


 

In Chess Bluffing would be doing a sacrifice or move which really is a bad move. However, the complications of the move might cause pressure on your opponent.

To put it simply.

Your move might make them scared. Or make them doubt there own ability of calcuation.

The fear that they missed something and you have a crushing response is what makes the bluff effective.

Usually this type of tactic is done by stronger players. Stronger players will do this sort of thing against weaker players. The weaker player will than feel as if he is missing something. The weaker player will start to question his ability of calcuation. Or feel intimidated by the stronger opponent. After which it might cause them to not play the best move.


 

Players who did such bluffing techniques include Garry Kasparov, Mikhail Tal, Frank Marshall.

Usually it is a technique done by attacking players most of the time.

Here is a nice game example:

In this game your black against Mikhail Tal

You have just played the move 18...b5 forking the knight and white queen.

Tal responses with 19.exf6

Tal has the bishop on h4 under attack, the knight on c4 under attack, the queen on a4 under attack.

He has all those pieces under attack. He doesn't move none of them he takes your knight on f6 with 19.exf6.

How are you going to respond?

No engines!

No help!

What do you do?

What if I was to tell you that the engine believes this position is equal.

Does that make you feel better?

Maybe than you will have an idea of what a bluff is.

It was a nice game.

 
robbie_1969

I agree with X_player_XJ, this is what I now understand as bluffing in chess.  Its consciously entering a dubious sequence of events with the hope that ones opponent gets caught up in the complications. Here is an excellent example in which white attempts to 'bluff' the young Capablanca, due to the latters lack of 'book knowledge', and inexperience.



Chicken_Monster

X_PLAYER_J_X

In Poker Bluffing is a way of doing a bet to cause pressure on the opponent in order to get them to fold the winning hand. Where upon if they do fold you win the pot while having the worse hand.

Or to get them to go all-in with a losing hand...etc...

X_PLAYER_J_X
robbie_1969 wrote:

I agree with X_player_XJ, this is what I now understand as bluffing in chess.  Its consciously entering a dubious sequence of events with the hope that ones opponent gets caught up in the complications. Here is an excellent example in which white attempts to 'bluff' the young Capablanca, due to the latters lack of 'book knowledge', and inexperience.

Thank you robbie for sharing the wonderful example game!!!

Yes, I think that is exactly how bluffing in chess would be.

I think that example shows it wonderfully.

robbie_1969

If someone expresses sincere sentiments then why should they be chided for doing so? its a rather rare occurrence in a forum where sensibilities are incensed so readily with people having their finger welded to the cyber rocket button, like some mad scientist with a death ray hidden far in the hills! It would be a rather dull existence if we all agreed on everything and perhaps we could all do with being a little less dogmatic.  Either way X_Player_JX made a valid point as far as I can discern and we would do better to address the point rather than attempt to appeal to personal considerations :D 

0110001101101000

There are also bluffs where you telegraph a plan. For example you can prep a pawn break (that you believe to be dubious). You never intend to actually play it, you just mean to make your opponent think about it.

You can also do this with attacks where you have various sacrifices available. You keep building up and repositioning so they have to calculate it on every move, but you never intend to actually execute the idea.

robbie_1969
jengaias wrote:

Yes Robbie I agree , X_Player_X indeed made a valid point.

But the word "wonderful" ("wonderful example game" , "example that shows it wonderfully") used twice in 3 lines  is a bit too much , don't you think?

Not really, having come across the game only this week I must have played through it at least six times, for a twelve year old it is indeed, rather wonderful :D

robbie_1969
0110001101101000 wrote:

There are also bluffs where you telegraph a plan. For example you can prep a pawn break (that you believe to be dubious). You never intend to actually play it, you just mean to make your opponent think about it.

You can also do this with attacks where you have various sacrifices available. You keep building up and repositioning so they have to calculate it on every move, but you never intend to actually execute the idea.

I would really like to see some concrete examples of those.

AIM-AceMove

You can't hide anything from your opponent; However is possible, for example, empty board only king and pawn vs king: 'You go down diagonally with your king, but then suddenly you go up with same exact number of moves it will take you, if you wanted to get there straight, but your opponent gets confused and makes a blunder.. And there are tactic motives called Double attacks where you attack something, your opponent sees it and defend it, but then you capture other piece or move the piece to much more dangerous spot and checkmates him. So technically you bluffed him.

0110001101101000
robbie_1969 wrote:
0110001101101000 wrote:

There are also bluffs where you telegraph a plan. For example you can prep a pawn break (that you believe to be dubious). You never intend to actually play it, you just mean to make your opponent think about it.

You can also do this with attacks where you have various sacrifices available. You keep building up and repositioning so they have to calculate it on every move, but you never intend to actually execute the idea.

I would really like to see some concrete examples of those.

Sorry, I don't have any in memory I can quickly pull out for you.

It's possible any time there is a standard pawn break or attacking idea though.

Of course the moves should be multi purpose... the moves don't burn any bridges (like pawn moves or putting a piece way off sides on the edge of the board).

robbie_1969
jengaias wrote:
robbie_1969 wrote:
jengaias wrote:

Yes Robbie I agree , X_Player_X indeed made a valid point.

But the word "wonderful" ("wonderful example game" , "example that shows it wonderfully") used twice in 3 lines  is a bit too much , don't you think?

Not really, having come across the game only this week I must have played through it at least six times, for a twelve year old it is indeed, rather wonderful :D

Ok then, I apologise for not considering wonderfully wonderful the specific example.

No need to apologise, its just different perspectives.  

0110001101101000

Emotional stuff doesn't work on me in OTB as I completely ignore my opponent... I can hardly recognize their face after playing lol. I never look up.

As for moving pieces fast or slow, hitting the clock with force or softly, etc, I choose not to read into it. Some players have habits, and some habits are altered not only because of the evaluation, but also if they're nervous or upset (even about something other than the game). So I just ignore it.

I do think it's kind of cute how little kids will look up at your eyes every now and then though haha :)

Stolen_Authenticity

'Imho'; 99 pt. 8 tenths % of the 'bluffing' that goes on in chess, are played in the 'blitz' & or 'bullet' {1 min.} games; Where you either {in extreme cases}; Are 'behind-in-material' ..{but ahead 'on-the-clock'}; And play, a 'Muhummed-Ali' type, 'rope-a-dope' {stalling} type-of-game; Provided, it's Not imminent 'mate'; Or, once again, you're, appreciably ahead, on 'time'; And, play moves, that proably aren't the 'fastest' and-or 'most recommended' ways-to-proceed.

Then, there's this 'gem' of an implied 'bluff'/"Mikhail Tal" quote: "I asked 'Bobby' {Fischer}; Why he didn't play a certain move, in the course of our game"{?} ..His reply: "Because, when I wrote it down; You laughed"! ..{True}

When I asked Fischer why he had not played a certain move in our game, he replied: 'Well, you laughed when I wrote it down!'
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/author/31477-Mikhail_Tal
When I asked Fischer why he had not played a certain move in our game, he replied: 'Well, you laughed when I wrote it down!'
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/author/31477-Mikhail_Tal