According to Wikipedia, chess strategy is concerned with the evaluation of chess positions and setting up goals and long-term plans for future play (Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia). Most chess players understand perfectly well that choosing the right strategy against a stronger or a similar level opponent may decide outcome of the game to their advantage. However, many chess players usually underestimate the importance of developing the right strategy against a weaker opponent. Only a computer program plays the same way against all the opponents. Humans, on other hand, have the advantage of employing different strategies based on opponent’s strengths and weaknesses to achieve the best possible results. Knowing what strategy to follow against opponents of different strengths is a key factor for success at chess.
All chess players would have to play against a much stronger opponent sometime in their chess career. The stronger opponent, more than three hundred points higher rated, would normally win about eighty percent of the games. Grandmaster Simon Webbs, in his book Chess for Tigers, suggests that a stronger player is not necessary a tremendous opening expert. Weaker player should play his “normal” opening lines and if an opponent deviates from book sooner, weaker side would obtain some sort of advantage. (Webbs, Chess for Tigers, 39).
A mistake, that many players make when playing against stronger opposition, is trying to keep the position very quiet and simple. In fact, they do not realize that the main difference between a novice player and a master is that second understands the nature of a position much deeper and knows how to convert a tiny advantage into a win. An aggressive exchange of pieces is a bad practice when playing against a stronger player. Strong players know very well how to win these endgames. Webbs suggests “even if the summit of your ambition is a draw, you are much more likely to achieve this by getting the advantage and then offering a draw, than by keeping a position equal” (Webbs, Chess for Tigers, 39).
Since strong players know very well how to win simple positions, it’s make a lot of sense for weaker side to complicate the position. If it is possible to play a line, where consequences are unclear, weaker player should definitely go on and play it. According to Webbs, in these unclear and random positions, a weaker player has a lot more chances to survive than in simple and straightforward ones (Webbs, Chess for Tigers, 38). Creating a really unclear position takes a lot of skill and effort. The hardest positions to judge, according to Chess for Tigers, are those, unbalanced ones, with unequal material: rook against two minor pieces or minor piece and a pawn against a rook (Webbs, Chess for Tigers, 40).