Monday, May 16, 2005


Playing Juniors

I haven’t played any over the board games in a few weeks so I don’t have too much new to discuss. However, I was thinking about play against juniors.

Playing children can be psychologically challenging to adults. Perhaps you are scheduled to play a 10 year old in your next round of your tournament. He can’t drive, vote, and hasn’t even learned algebra, yet he may be your rating equal at the chess board. It certainly can be intimating because you fear a serious loss of pride if you lose. Perhaps you have some friends with you that will amplify that loss as well. However, I think it’s time to turn the tables on them

My anti-kid strategy:

1. Play slow. Kids tend to play quickly. Don’t play at their speed. Use the time you have to work out combinations and strategy. Making them sit there and be bored will make them impatient.

2. Play old openings. Kids tend to play openings that are in fashion…which means Sicilian, Roy Lopez, etc. They know the opening moves by heart. They have several lines memorize, but they don’t necessarily understand the strategy behind them. I love the look of bewilderment on a kid’s face when I play the King’s Gambit. Often then, they go into a bad line. Since nearly all children play the Sicilian, a closed Sicilian of some type works well against them. They never see them when they play against their friends at school. It's all about quick attacks.

3. Closed positions: Kids are all about tactics, tactics, and tactics. They seem them and they can run through them quickly. What they don’t understand are slow buildups, queenside expansions, minority attacks, weak pawns, control of individual squares, or endgames.

4. Complicated positions: When there is a lot going on in a position, whether tactically or strategically, kids get frustrated having to sit there and think about all the complications. Typically they will trade to get out of it. Make sure any result trade gives you an advantage, like in pawn structure.

And then laugh at them when they lose!!!!

(Just kidding, of course)
I hate it to play against kids.
They are always underrated. Today I play a 12 year old with a rating of 1515 who kicked my 1751 butt.
He had a special weapon, he didn't wash himself for a month or so. After I made a move I had to stand up immediate to get some fresh air.
It should be forbidden.
temposchlucker - well kids play all the time, but they play few rated games so they stay underrated until they start playing more.

Some of them are WEIRD. They give chessplayers a bad reputation.
Great post. I had a run-in with Washington DC local chess prodigy (check out my blog). I agree with Chris... the kids can be very WEIRD. The one I saw (while truly incredible) was lifeless, emotionless, and cold... it was like a robot more than a little boy. I think the kid's mother (who was watching her son play) was equally freaked out. Kind of like "Is this normal?"
This is excellent advice and I came to the same conclusions as you have. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this aspect of tournament play.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?