Is there a place for mind games in Chess?

VladimirHerceg91

"Ahhh... shoot", I gently muttered under my breath as I moved my rook.  The irony was, I had played the best move in the position.  But in Kasparovian fashion, I engaged in mind games to bury my opponent further in the hole that he was already in. 

 

On the opposite side of it, when I play the worst move, I usually smirk silently, to give my opponent the impression that I had played something brilliant and that he might be missing something.  Then I watch the show, watching him helplessly try to solve the puzzle I had presented before him. 

 

It begs the question, how important are mind games in Chess?  I can say from my own experience that against similar rated players I do much better in over the board chess versus online Chess.  This is because I am able to use psychology to my advantage. 


Does anybody else have examples of how psychological warfare has helped them over the board? 

 

 

ArgoNavis

They are vital in every phase of the game, but somehow I feel that it's in the endgame when mind games shine the brightest. I simply cannot emphasize its importance enough, how many times I have won a difficult ending thanks to them. Mind games are the key to win those intricate endings without pawns (like R+K vs Q+K or B+N+K vs K). Just put an evil smile in your face and watch how the opponent fails to defend his position, even if theoretically he could still hold a draw.

varelse1

Once during a game, I went to the restroom. As I was returning to the board I passed my opponent, and his buddy. My opponent said Hurry up and beat me." 

I got back to the board, and it appeared my opponent had made a blunder, stepping into a combination. But when my opponent made that comment, his buddy had a little smirk, that made me suspicious. 

Looking deeper, I realized the combination I was considering actually would have backfired.

I gained a little respect from my opponent for not falling for his mind game.

Esir_1

At a subconscious level there is also, as in any other situation, a lot of interaction which has an effect on thoughts and emotions at a conscious level and therefore on one's moves, blunders, etc. (on conscious mind games too).

At that level there surely is some rock-paper-scissors dynamic between psychological profiles, resulting in Elo points of advantage or disadvantage.

oregonpatzer

Not so much online; I don't have time to chat during the five minute blitz games I play, and you can't see me so I can't bring out props like my bong, my taxidermied raccoon or a firearm.  OTB is another story.  Back in high school interscholastic competition, one desperate opponent got his girlfriend to stand behind him in a low-cut top and bend waaay out over the board to look at the position.  Oh honey, that's not gonna work, I'm still gonna beat him.   

varelse1

This story happened to my niece last winter.

She is a librarian. She was at work, playing chess with an 8 year old girl. The girl moves her rook, diagonally. My nieces she cannot do that. The girl replies "Yes I can! I was watching the news last night, and they told me those can move like that now! It's a new rule!"

VladimirHerceg91
varelse1 wrote:

This story happened to my niece last winter.

She is a librarian. She was at work, playing chess with an 8 year old girl. The girl moves her rook, diagonally. My nieces she cannot do that. The girl replies "Yes I can! I was watching the news last night, and they told me those can move like that now! It's a new rule!"

Those aren't mind games, the little girl is just a cheater, simple and plain. 

scott88688
Regarding mind games, the worst sort are the ones you play on yourself, like seeing your opponent's rating and then thinking you'll never beat him. Keeping calm and cool is your best policy. If my opponent is saying something, I would automatically wonder if it's a deception during serious play.
varelse1
VladimirHerceg91 wrote:
varelse1 wrote:

This story happened to my niece last winter.

She is a librarian. She was at work, playing chess with an 8 year old girl. The girl moves her rook, diagonally. My nieces she cannot do that. The girl replies "Yes I can! I was watching the news last night, and they told me those can move like that now! It's a new rule!"

Those aren't mind games, the little girl is just a cheater, simple and plain. 

yes. But i found it funny.

varelse1
varelse1 wrote:
VladimirHerceg91 wrote:
varelse1 wrote:

This story happened to my niece last winter.

She is a librarian. She was at work, playing chess with an 8 year old girl. The girl moves her rook, diagonally. My nieces she cannot do that. The girl replies "Yes I can! I was watching the news last night, and they told me those can move like that now! It's a new rule!"

Those aren't mind games, the little girl is just a cheater, simple and plain. 

yes. But i found it funny.

Would be a head game, to a 8 year old.

macer75

Come on... really? Why would someone use their mind to play chess?

sadkid2008

Actually, it is quite possible to use mind games in online chess, for players with exceptional typing speed(I personally am ~100 wpm, and that is when I type with proper punctuation and capitalization). It takes only a few seconds to disclose some new information to the opponent, sending them into a state of confusion. The only problem is the possibility of disabling chat. Then you will have to use very long range attacks, many of which are illegal.

Godsoriginalfool

Very redundant thread, not surprised at the lack of interest. Chess IS a mind game. 

IAMBBW

Yes there is a secret place in the gutters to play mind chess

brink2017

I think a stronger way to play mind games is to choose to play the moves on the board in a way that most club players dislike facing. 

Generally speaking, club players cannot defend well and we know we can't. In the mind games frame, one could use an aggressive opening repertoire (should have some quality to it). For example, Black can seek to sack a pawn early using the Attack With Black book's opening repertoire and Smerdon's Scandinavian book perhaps. As white possibly the book A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire . 

However, if playing aggressive chess is against your natural instinct (if it is you might attack worse than they defend) another approach is to become a good endgame player and then head towards endgames at every feasible opportunity. Most club players have neglected endgame study and are quite uneasy when that stage of the game arrives. Your endgame knowledge along with their uneasiness should be worth a lot of rating points. 

Taskinen

Do people actually talk or mutter stuff during OTB games? I have never played one, but I thought it's sort of against the etiquette?

brink2017

Here is a book that might be of interest to someone reading in this mind games thread. It's titled Chess For Tigers by Simon Webb.

It was written in 1978 and extra chapters added in 1990. The book is a bit dated in that it examines postal chess in the last chapter. The Kindle edition was updated in 2005 to a Correspondence Chess chapter instead of a Postal Chess chapter. Its not your typical chess book. It's about playing the game according to who you are, who your opponent is, mixed in with what is on the board. 

From the back cover of the book:

Are you a one hundred per cent chess-player? Do your results do full justice to your ability? Or, are you wasting some of your natural talent? Chess for Tigers tells you how to make the most of your playing strength, how to play on your opponent's weaknesses, how to steer the game into a position which suits you and not your opponent, how to get results against strong opposition, how to avoid silly mistakes. The Tiger is a vicious beast. he doesn't care about the aesthetic side of chess. He doesn't even care about making the 'best' moves. All he cares about is winning. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PPHG1XI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

varelse1
brink2017 wrote:

I think a stronger way to play mind games is to choose to play the moves on the board in a way that most club players dislike facing. 

Generally speaking, club players cannot defend well and we know we can't. In the mind games frame, one could use an aggressive opening repertoire (should have some quality to it). For example, Black can seek to sack a pawn early using the Attack With Black book's opening repertoire and Smerdon's Scandinavian book perhaps. As white possibly the book A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire . 

However, if playing aggressive chess is against your natural instinct (if it is you might attack worse than they defend) another approach is to become a good endgame player and then head towards endgames at every feasible opportunity. Most club players have neglected endgame study and are quite uneasy when that stage of the game arrives. Your endgame knowledge along with their uneasiness should be worth a lot of rating points. 

I usually take the second one.