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zhnkiu 75 ( +1 | -1 )
Playing a novice What is is the etiquette for playing against a novice? They know how to set up the board (even know which side the king and queen are on), but were you to play them, you can see they lack understanding. So, do you end their miseries as quickly as possible but ruining any self respect they might have or do you politely drag out the game with some deliberate mismoves but with the risk of blundering into a loss thus ruining your own self respect?

This question is in the case of informal OTB. On GK, I would of course try to win as quickly as possible since the game already extends itself. And in tournament, it would be insulting to 'toy' with your opponent. But in this case, when you know your opponent and want to show compassion...

dokesa 14 ( +1 | -1 )
I allow takebacks in informal games, even if they're better than I. For a novice, I would explain why a move would be good or not.
ccmcacollister 157 ( +1 | -1 )
This is my approach ... Do not overlook things to help them. But chose your opening carefully. Not something like a Goring Gambit or Kings Gambit or Dragon Sicilian that is very sharp and every move critical.
Instead chose an opening that is more closed and a slower build-up so they stand a good chance of at least reaching the middle game.
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Perhaps 1.b3 or a King's Indian Reversed. Then just go ahead and play your best. And follow a positional approach to keep improving your position but don't engage in sharp tactical tricks that you would think might (and very well would) snare them. But instead make yourself play as solidly as if they were a Master. Yet go ahead and capture any Free material they lose, at least if it does not interfere with your own plan. [As even beginners may know when someone is condescending
in playing them. Especially if their oversights are not punished.]
There is nothing illegitimate nor insulting about such an appoach either; not even to other participants in a tournament, if you simply chose to play like Petrosian rather than Tal or Bronstein.
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What do you think of this zhnkiu ?
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Regards, }8-)
PS// This is Not to say that Petrosian could not attack ... since he could be a very ferocious attacker when some deserved it ! But he would consider the positional aspects and solidness of his position first, if not provoked. That's all you need to do in this case, imo. :)
zhnkiu 84 ( +1 | -1 )
good ideas Yes, I would allow takebacks also. However, other than for obvious blunders, the novice does not always know when to decide that a takeback is needed. And it cannot be up to me to make that decision for them. And exactly when has a mistake been made? Was it this move, or the one previous?

Now, the idea of playing a lesser openning and using strong positional principles rather than tactical complexity is a good idea, I will try it. However, I don't easily know what the difference is...

Maybe to answer my own question, I was thinking of using piece odds. In elementary school, I was very happy in getting a stalemate with queen odds against my chess teacher, but I was very unhappy losing with queen odds against my dad.

So it is necessarily a cruel game, and so necessarily you should play cruel?





coyotefan 16 ( +1 | -1 )
I too allow takebacks But I also ask them first if they are sure if they want to make the move. If the mistake is subtle, I let them keep the mve, if it is blatant, then I explain.
wschmidt 88 ( +1 | -1 )
I think it depends on the novice. If it's someone who really wants to learn and doesn't have a fragile ego, strong play coupled with post-game explanations makes sense.

Adult fragile egos - suggestions in the messages above certainly apply.

If it's a child, there are all sorts of techniques to keep the game "even" without giving it away on the one hand or delivering a crushing blow on the other. Sometimes I'll say, "Let's turn the board around and see if you can beat me in this position!" Another approach: "I'm going to make a bad move here. See if you can figure out why it's bad."

If it's your boss the rule is clear: always make a move one half pawn weaker than the move the boss just made.

The toughest novice to play is someone you're trying to seduce. Win to show your intellectual prowess or lose so your opponent is happy at the end of the game? You're on your own there, pal. Nothing I ever do works.
thunker 103 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt You crack me up! Didn't you just get married? Seduction should be the last of your worries! haha

When I was a kid just learning the game, my teacher would often do as you suggest: turn the board & switch sides. Of course he'd then proceed to whip my butt with the weaker position! :-) To this day I've never beaten him, although I did play him to a draw in one single game.

He would never allow a take-back and was a stickler for all the rules (touch & move, etc) with the execption of one: He would often play me handicapped - say a missing bishop, knight or pawn.

He was always open to review the game *after* it was played and point out my errors - general teaching. But during the game he always felt it was best keep quiet and play me as if he were playing a grandmaster. Of course, he often would sit down with me (and his other students) and discuss all the general theory, strategy, openings, etc.

One of his favorite rules was: Learn one good opening as white, and two good defences as black - one for PQ4 (d4) and one for PK4 (e4).... Of course that was many moons ago....

wolstoncroft1 207 ( +1 | -1 )
i have heard from a couple of sources that when playing novices/children that you should play as well as possible at all times. If you purposely lay off of them they will learn how to compete against poor play and you are not helping them in the long run.

I play tennis, and over the winter I play in an indoor league against average to poor players. Over the summer i play outdoor against much better players than the indoor league. Because i play against the poor competition, i get used to winning easily without much effort, i dont have to move as fast, anticipate their hits, return hard serves and hits. In short i get used to doing what it takes to win against the poor competition.,

Then when the summer comes, I again start playing with better players, and i find that I am often out of position, i do not react fast enough, and have a harder time returning fast balls. It takes me a couple weeks, even months, every year to return to the form i had the previous summer, and to compete against strong players.

I believe this pertains to all sports and games. Playing against the strongest competition will make you better than playing weak players, no matter if you win or lose.

If you ease up on an opponent, you are doing them a disservice, Play the best you can every game, that will help the novice and yourself both.

If you are interested in helping your opponent, go over the game afterward and focus on the most basic areas tyhat your opponent is weak in. For example, most novices will be poor tacticians and strategists. but teaching them pins, discoveries and double attacks will help them more than teaching them how to deal with an isolated d pawn position. first the basics, keep it simple, chess takes a long time to learn, baby steps will ensure you go forward little by little.
ccmcacollister 135 ( +1 | -1 )
Good Point I think thunker & wolstoncroft had a good point there about going over it after the game. (Bear in mind tho, my comments here are based on the assumption of meeting a stranger or acquaintance that says "hey I play Chess too!" and a game insues; not toward someone you are giving lessons too. So this assumption applies to my past comments as well.)
First beat them. Then you have the so-called moral authority to offer them advice after proving you really are the better player. Some folks will resent getting tips before that {Refer to wschmidt re: Ego. Determine ego, Ego, or E-G-O! :) .ha} Thinking something like "you havent beat me yet!". Some will still not want your tips after the game. But by then you have seen how they approach things and how they react, so you should have a pretty good idea of it. And if they seem instead like an enthusiast your tips may be more welcome. Also then you know how involved to get in your advice. Someone who plays once a decade will probably not want a desertation on 9.h3 vs 9.d4 in the closed Lopez }8-))
ccmcacollister 26 ( +1 | -1 )
PS // Of course if you are a titled player, winner of the Region 7 Championship, or of your PrimarySchool knock-out tournament in 6th grade; then you may claim moral authority upon that point from the outset and tell people what to do . . .
But you Better Not LOSE !!! hahaha
zhnkiu 65 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes, play hard. But at this point maybe use basic strategic principles: Open with a standard - develope pieces - attack the center- castle - unite rooks - take open files -
infiltrate back rank - win a pawn - reduce material to pawn&king vs. king - promote pawn. Perhaps there are other methods, but this is the first way I remember winning before I understood basic tactics, so going over the game should be much more obvious.

Only when they get better at stopping you this way, you can play full power tactics.

Yeah, too bad you can't seduce a girl by just playing chess...