Dining For Dinosaurs

After seeing some remarks on Facebook to the effect that titled chess players in their 50s are ‘dinosaurs’, I thought it worth offering some thoughts as to how we might exploit this. If people underestimate you in any way it’s usually possible to use it against them.

So OK, let’s get to the game. If your opponent seems like the kind of person that thinks you are over the hill it might be worth offering them some further encouragement. By asking things like the round number, pretending you’re hard of hearing and then forgetting to press the clock for a minute or two you can give the impression of being further over the hill than might really be the case.

A further enhancement would be to play some old opening variations, and don’t worry if they’re way before even your era. Youngsters can have very little sense of history with anything that was before they were born. So if you play a Steinitz Variation of the Ruy Lopez they’ll probably assume it was popular in your ‘youth’, not realizing that you actually have to go back a hundred years or so.

A good model for the aspiring dinosaur (besides myself) is the Argentinian Grandmaster Daniel Campora. Throughout his career Campora seems to have insisted on playing unfashionable openings, apparently unaware that they are poorly thought of. But the reality is that a good chess brain is far more valuable than the kind of bulletin board opinion that reflects current fashion, and in this lesser known territory it’s easy to be an expert.

Here’s a Campora game from 2008 in which he revives an old favourite of Bent Larsen and David Bronstein, the 5…gxf6 Caro: