White to play
Here we are back at the Golders Green Open. You may recall that I had a bit of a stinker in the morning rounds. Three games and three defeats with two of those zeros coming from the White side of the position you see above. Not that my pre-lunch failure to trouble the scorers is particularly relevant for this post. It's more how I lost that interests us today.
In the first round I was up against Peter Poobalasingham. With an ECF 213 and FIDE 2270, he is by some distance the strongest opponent I've ever faced in rapid chess and comfortably inside the top ten of highest-rated opponents that I've ever played in any form of chess.
Round three was rather different. There I was paired with Chris Andrescu who doesn't have a FIDE rapidplay rating and his ECF grade is getting on for 90 points lower than Poobalasingham's.
In both games I played 6 dxc3. Two games with the same moves and the same plan: head directly for a queenless middlegame without passing Go.
I'm reminded of some recent comments made, albeit in a different context, by our regular visitor RdC:-
So the opening choice was a deliberate attempt to treat the grade as misleading as to strength and exploit the inexperience ...
Whether you regard a draw as a acceptable result, can affect the choice of opening moves ....
Roger, if you don't know him, is a strong player. Presumably he faces this kind of situation more frequently than the average bear simply by virtue of having more people below him on the rating list and as an experienced competitor I suspect he has a broader opening repertoire than most. So maybe Roger both gets to choose more often and has a wider range of openings available to him from which he can make that choice
What about the rest of us, though? What's the best strategy when facing opponents of very different strengths?
Play your normal game
Take your opponent's grade into account when choosing your opening