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:


Author: 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. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: