Outplaying a FIDE master is a rare achievement for amateur players like myself. Most of my victories against players ELO 2300+ came down to winning on time or hitting them with a tactic they weren’t expecting. But even up to that point, my position was usually worse, either being down a pawn or fending off a crushing attack.
So, beating a FIDE master (FM) can happen but what about outplaying a FIDE master? And by that I mean the computer evaluation shows the FM is consistently worse throughout the game. That is rare. This is a blitz game against an FM where I maintained a lasting initiative throughout all phases of the game. How did I do it? By creating constant threats and putting my pieces on active squares.
Outplaying a FIDE Master
Seizing weak squares. My opponent was slow to develop his pieces. Playing b6 created light square weaknesses on his queenside. This allowed me to open the center and maneuver my knight from c4 to d6, trading off his b7 bishop to gain the two bishops. Open positions often favor the player with the bishop pair. Why? Because they help to advance passed pawns, restrict your opponent’s piece movement and attack the enemy king.
Capture your opponent’s good pieces. Black’s b7 bishop played an important role in guarding the weak c6 square. Once I captured it, my g2 bishop exerted uncontested pressure on the long diagonal.
Make purposeful moves. Most chess games are decided by the opponent who makes the higher quality moves. I call them purposeful moves but the idea is that each move must have an idea behind it. Randomly moving a piece just for the sake of moving it doesn’t bring you closer to victory. This was a game where most of my moves created a threat my opponent had to deal with.
Outplaying a FIDE master is not something an amateur player does very often. But when it does, it is important to understand why. Wins give players a sense of accomplishment but chess wins have to be analyzed just as much as losses. The takeaway from this game is to always seek the initiative. When you do, you can catch your opponent off guard and dictate the pace of the game.
Additionally, analyze the imbalances. If you are not sure what to do, trade off your opponent’s active pieces. Leave his bad pieces alone. There is no reason to help your opponent by ridding him of pieces he would like to trade anyway.