Beating Weaker Opponents

An interesting question is in how one should go about beating weaker opponents. It’s actually a very difficult one with many players getting it wrong. I’ve seen a lot of upsets happen when the higher rated player took too many liberties in the expectation that his opponent would make a mistake.

I think that the best way is to play your usual sort of game and then proceed with a kind of quiet determination to set ongoing problems. Don’t expect your opponent to blunder in the face of a bit of saber rattling as if he doesn’t you could find yourself in a bad position. And it’s a lot easier to win equal positions than it is to win poor ones.

In the following game Nigel Short uses the Schliemann Gambit against tennis star Boris Becker, something he probably wouldn’t have done had Becker’s chess prowess matched that of his tennis. In the event Becker made a serious mistake when he took on f5 so Short’s approach appeared to be ‘justified’.