Chess may be played both on and off the board. On the board, players must demonstrate their abilities, as well as their comprehension of various positions, pawn configurations, tactical themes, and more. But it isn’t the only conflict. Chess is also a psychological game; the mentality with which you start a game is critical and may impact the game’s outcome. Emotions play an important role in the game, and they might lead us to see dangers that aren’t actually present on the chessboard. The way you approach the game and the respect you have for your opponent (chess-wise, for example, if you believe he or she is a much superior player than you) will show in the game. So, how can you take use of chess’ psychological aspects to put additional pressure on your opponent?
It all starts, in my opinion, long before the game, when you learn your partner and begin preparing for the round. You should definitely check over several of your opponent’s games at this stage to identify what openings he or she uses and prepare for them. This gets me to the first point I’d want to make:
1.Familiarize yourself with your opponent
It’s not only about knowing someone’s opening repertoire when you look at their games. Going over their whole games and trying to understand their decisions will assist you a lot. Pay attention to their reactions (moves) to different scenarios; does he/she feel comfortable in messy positions?; does he/she tend to blunder in such situations?; does he/she favor calm positions? And so forth. If you look hard enough, you’ll be able to comprehend and even predict your opponents’ movements during the game and use chess openings in a new light.
2.Take the game to a location where they are most uncomfortable
This is why the first point is so important. If you know your opponent, you may manipulate the game to put him in a situation where he is uncomfortable. These are, of course, the positions in which your opponents will feel the most pressure and are most prone to make mistakes.
3.Select the appropriate entrance
One of the key reasons you should analyze your opponent’s games is to select an appropriate opening or look for “holes” in their preparation. If you can locate them, that’s fantastic and might provide you with a quick point. If everything appears to be in order, but you have the option, you might always go for the openings or lines that they score poorly against or seem uneasy about.
Enter the game with self-assurance and demonstrate it on the board. Don’t go into defensive mode until there’s a good cause for it, and don’t be scared to make aggressive advances, especially against higher-rated opponents. Take up as much space as possible and show your opponent that you have nothing to fear and are ready to fight.
5.Seek for methods to take the initiative
For your opponents, having to defend against dangers and continuously be on the lookout for trickery may be exhausting. The stakes are great; sometimes all that’s left is to find moves, which is a challenging assignment for a person.
This does not imply aiming for apparent threats in the hopes that your opponent will miss them, but rather providing him or her the opportunity to make a mistake. This talent is largely based on creativity and the ability to perceive hidden tactical concepts, but it is something that can be honed.
7.Always be calm and controlled and be on the lookout
Swindles occur often, and many players blame them on mistakes. Finally, an error must occur in order to lose a winning position, but you might “assist” in this regard. This type of “push” is generated through vigorous, imaginative activity.
8.Face of a poker player
It’s not simple, especially in situations when there’s a lot of material imbalance, but it’s critical. During a chess game, we experience a range of emotions, which is natural, but don’t reveal them. In a tough situation, a cool demeanor might make your opponent feel uneasy.
In many situations, doing nothing and moving around is the best option. I’m referring to situations in which you are in command and your opponent is unable to identify any active continuations. Humans find such positions extremely tough to play, and additional mistakes will likely follow, making your approach to a full point much easier.
10.Play for the sake of remuneration
In some situations, you may want to consider sacrificing material in exchange for long-term pressure. I’m not referring about questionable sacrifices, but rather ones that make the situation stressful and, in turn, provide you with a lot of activity.
Chess psychology is a sensitive subject, and regrettably, some players are unaware of how much they should employ it. If you wish to impose pressure on your opponent, make sure you do it on the chessboard and in your attitude toward the game while maintaining respect and fair play.