The Comeback Trail, Part 9

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.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens 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.