Have you ever played a game of chess and realized you were sweating and shaking from nervousness? If you answered yes, then you might be a victim of intimidation. Chess players oftentimes employ this technique of intimidation to get inside the head of their opponent and force them to not play to their potential. One of the most important aspects of chess is your attitude, and how you choose to play the game. If you let yourself get intimidated by your opponent’s actions, you will tend to get nervous and play passively. Passive chess is losing chess. In order to play aggressively, you must have an aggressive and intimidating attitude.
What is Intimidation? First off, it is possible to beat your opponent no matter whom he or she is, regardless of their skill or reputation. Once you realize that the winner of the chess game is always going to be the person that plays that particular game better, and not the person who has greater skill, it becomes easy to develop an aggressive mentality. Generally, when you play and make it look like you are sure of your moves regardless of how good or bad the move is, your opponent’s sub-conscience mind will interpret it as a sign that you are more prepared than he/she is, and have made a great move which cannot be refuted. This leads to the opponent’s conscious mind getting intimidated, which in turn leads to passive chess play. Now that you understand the basics of how intimidation works, and how important it is in chess play, let’s learn how to intimidate!
1. Head Nod
When calculating which move to make, an occasional nod with a slight smirk really helps in not only disrupting your opponent’s state of mind, but also adds to the intimidation they feel. A very good time for the head nod is right after your opponent makes their move. As soon as they take their hand off the piece they move, nod your head slightly. This makes it seem as though you were expecting that move from them. This greatly increases the intimidation because your opponent interprets it as a great deal of preparedness by you.
2. Piece Movement
How you move the chess pieces greatly influences your and your opponent’s psyche towards the game. The most important thing to remember is to move the piece as fast as possible. The slower you move the piece, the more uncertain it makes you seem, so move the piece quickly with authority and confidence. There are two main techniques when it comes to moving chess pieces. One is to slide the piece. Keep the bottom of the piece in contact with the chessboard as you slide the piece from the starting square to the destination square. This technique can be difficult to employ in a cluttered position. The other one is to pick the piece off the board from its starting square and slam it down really hard onto the destination square. When using this technique the main concept is to make a sound when the piece hits the destination square. Both of these techniques, when carried out quickly, can be very effective in intimidating your opponent.
3. Mentality Breaker
Sometimes intimidation can be quite subtle, and hard to detect. For example, in a tournament game where you are oftentimes required to take notation, there is a way to take notation so that it is intimidating to your opponent’s psyche. In order to do this, first determine what move you are going to make. After you have decided, quickly pick up the pencil with one hand, and use the other hand to slide the notation sheet close to the pencil. Write down your move, and put your pencil down on the paper. Confidently make your move, and tap the clock right away. This process from the moment you pick up the pencil to when you tap the clock should take no more than 5 – 7 seconds. Try to be as fast as possible. Regardless of how much time you spend on figuring out where you move, the faster you make that move after you figure it out, the more intimidating it is for your opponent.
When playing chess, always look poised and confident. Regardless of what is going on in the game, never give a hint of intimidation. The three techniques presented here have their own sub-categories of techniques, which further the intimidation felt by your opponent. After you realize how important intimidation really is in chess, you probably will develop your own techniques while playing chess. If you have no confidence in your abilities, then there is no way you can consistently win. Passive chess is a symptom of intimidation. Being the intimidator rather than the intimidated can be of great help when trying to play winning chess.