Having previously examined the role of opening preparation, and how one should go about it, today I thought I’d look at the topic of preparing for specific opponents. It can certainly be useful to understand how a prospective opponent is likely to play, for example which openings might crop up and what sort of middle game decisions might be made.
Usually such preparations are made before a game and once the pairings are known. But you can also keen an eye on opponents you are likely to meet in your chess area, provided it isn’t too large of course.
The way to go about this is to make a list of the stronger players who you are likely to face. The size of this list depends largely on how much preparation you’re willing to do and how thoroughly you want to do it. After that you create a database for each one, perhaps using Chess DB as your reference source. Updates can be done periodically and you can have your favourite engine annotate the games. If certain opening lines crop up quite frequently, make a note of them and see if there’s a good antidote.
This kind of preparation has tremendous practical value but who actually does it? Of course your opponent’s games will need to have been published for this to be doable.