Game#54 – How to help your opponent win at chess

Losing a won chess game

We all want to win at chess – and the earlier the better. Playing too aggressively in the opening can lead to problems though. This is a problem I have had since I started playing chess. It is something that has gotten better over the years but every once in awhile it rears its ugly head. In this game I opened the g-file for my opponent and a few moves later, I was in deep trouble.

How to help your opponent win at chess

help your opponent win in chess

Post-game analysis

Open files. Playing h4 was more than just overanxious. It comes with my opponent opening the g-file which is what led to my defeat. Chess isn’t always exciting. Sometimes you have to re-deploy your pieces or grab space on the other side of the board. To that end, moves like Nd2 or a4 makes more sense.

Make meaningful moves. Do not move a piece simply for the sake of moving it. My random Qf1 was played recklessly and Black replied almost instantly with Nd4. And why not? It’s a great outpost for the knight and threatens Nc2. These kinds of moves don’t require a lot of thought and the reason they don’t is because I was not calculating my opponent’s threats.

Be your opponent. I don’t spend enough times thinking of my opponents moves. It’s all about me and what I can do. Even after decades of play, I have trouble balancing my analysis between my ideas and my opponent’s. For most amateurs, I would suggest the latter – be your opponent, think of what he can play and the ideas behind his moves.

Conclusion

Don’t make life easy for your opponent. If you’re not sure what to do, grab space or improve a piece. The opening of files requires deep analysis followed by a business case as to why it should happen. During the game, I’m not sure I realized the problem with the g-file until it was too late.

My analysis using Chessbase showed that my 19. Nd1 was the just awful. Black played well by doubling on the g-file and later forced me to give up material.

Game#54 - How to help your opponent win at chess
After 19…Rdg8 White is lost.

Live in your opponents ideas, not just your own. To win at chess, you need to plan for both offense and defense. It doesn’t matter if one is more attractive than the other. Strong players take on the laborious task of analyzing their opponents ideas before they become credible threats. Once I start doing this regularly, I know my playing strength will increase dramatically.