Deception in Chess

A common fallacy is that chess, by virtue of having all the pieces in view, does not contain deception. But this fails to consider the fact that each and every position from a chess game is interpreted by two human minds, each with their own idiosyncrasies. So when you play against someone you often get a sense of their beliefs and preferences, which may or may not be objective.

This is where the possibility for deception arises, by preying on the beliefs of your opponent and presenting them with the opportunity to deceive themselves. Some players who have been very good at this, including the legendary World Champion, Emanuel Lasker.

In the following game he is quite happy to let Janowsky obtain the bishop pair (a preference of his) knowing that his opponent would then be optimistic about his chances. Too optimistic in fact, and Black’s position gradually deteriorated:

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in Southport in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.