Suddenly, your opponent plays a line that he has never played before according to your preparation. What should you do?
First, take a break for a moment before playing your mainline home prep. I would recommend spending at least 5 minutes trying to understand what is happening. There are a few likely scenarios:
- Your competitor had deeply studied a new opening recently. Unfortunately, your game is the first to incorporate this new opening that will make the database.
- Previously, your performance in that opening was poor, or your opponent found a “hole” that could be exploited, so they aim to use that against you without deep study.
- Your opponent has seen a trendy idea that they want to employ as soon as possible before it becomes a piece of common knowledge.
The good news is that, most probably, your opponent is not well-aware of the subtle nuances of the position in all 3 cases. However, the first scenario is more dangerous compared to the other 2 cases.
On the other hand, not having classical games with that opening under the belt makes the opponent vulnerable as well. The position in an over-the-board competitive game feels totally different than in prep!
Hopefully, you can figure out which category your opponent falls into. If not, then a well-known path to limit risk could be handy in all 3 cases: Play a rare line that you’ve studied a bit and would likely be overlooked by your opponent.
This brings us to the Game of the Week II…
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Game of the Week II – Vidit vs. Shankland
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Please note that Game of the Week will cover games played from Saturday to Saturday of each week, and any games played on Sunday will go to the next week. See you next Sunday!
Edited by Della Almind