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  1. #1
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    How to beat juniors

    Here are 3 games I have played against junior players in the last 15 months. I have removed the names to protect the innocent but two of the players were Australian junior reps and regular high finishers in the Aus Junior, while the third is a younger but quickly improving player. All games were played in Canberra and all players are ACT juniors.

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  2. #2
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    Lessons from these games

    Juniors might know some openings well, but they don't know all openings.
    1.Nc3 is always a good opening move against booked up players
    Juniors like to attack, and they like to counter-attack. But defending is often something they do less well. Therefore the trick is to get your attack rolling real early.
    Junior opponents are under just as much pressure as you are, if not more. That is because you are an adult and they are not. Almost every other situation in society has an adult in control of adult-child interactions. In a tense position the junior player will crack under pressure. Therefore just make sure you don't crack first.
    Another point is to beat them early and beat them often. If you can rack up a plus score before they get really good, this gives you an edge going into every subsequent game.
    And finally a general tip. In situations where difficult decisions have to be made, breathe slowly. I'll just repeat that. Breathe Slowly. The more excited you get, the faster you breathe. The faster you breathe, the more co2 in your system. The more co2, the less efficient your brain becomes. Seriously. 13 breathes a minute is what you should be aiming for.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    Lessons from these games

    Juniors might know some openings well, but they don't know all openings.
    1.Nc3 is always a good opening move against booked up players
    Juniors like to attack, and they like to counter-attack. But defending is often something they do less well. Therefore the trick is to get your attack rolling real early.
    Junior opponents are under just as much pressure as you are, if not more. That is because you are an adult and they are not. Almost every other situation in society has an adult in control of adult-child interactions. In a tense position the junior player will crack under pressure. Therefore just make sure you don't crack first.
    Another point is to beat them early and beat them often. If you can rack up a plus score before they get really good, this gives you an edge going into every subsequent game.
    And finally a general tip. In situations where difficult decisions have to be made, breathe slowly. I'll just repeat that. Breathe Slowly. The more excited you get, the faster you breathe. The faster you breathe, the more co2 in your system. The more co2, the less efficient your brain becomes. Seriously. 13 breathes a minute is what you should be aiming for.
    Im still trying to work out why adults reckon there has to be a 'special' plan or something of the like about playing juniors. I would have thought the right plan is to just play the best moves you can find, in accordance with what you feel is right. I dont see why there has to be a special plan for juniors. I am still seeing the same problems on here that exist in real life. this is the thinking i see alot in real life- this child is so small, how can i possibly lose to him/her, then when the junior wins, the adult looks for every excuse possible, instead of just accepting that they didnt play well enough.

  4. #4
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    And finally a general tip. In situations where difficult decisions have to be made, breathe slowly. I'll just repeat that. Breathe Slowly. The more excited you get, the faster you breathe. The faster you breathe, the more co2 in your system. The more co2, the less efficient your brain becomes. Seriously. 13 breathes a minute is what you should be aiming for.
    Also I find playing slowly to be useful against some juniors. They don't like it when you take ten minutes over a move.

    There are exceptions, if I've seen a sneaky combo and satisfied myself it's sound I'll often play it instantly. But I do that sort of thing against anyone really.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    And finally a general tip. In situations where difficult decisions have to be made, breathe slowly. I'll just repeat that. Breathe Slowly. The more excited you get, the faster you breathe. The faster you breathe, the more co2 in your system. The more co2, the less efficient your brain becomes. Seriously. 13 breathes a minute is what you should be aiming for.
    Hmm, I seem to remember from physiology that breathing faster under stress actually reduces the co2 in your blood. That is, because with every breath you exhale co2. What happens though, is that in the process of exhaling more co2 your blood becomes more alkaline (hco3- + h+ --> h2co3 --> h2o + co2) which in turn is bad for your brain efficiency. So breathing slowly (and deeply) is still a good advice. :-)

    Never mind, just being a smart-a*s
    Last edited by jay_vee; 25-04-2004 at 12:21 AM.

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Also I find playing slowly to be useful against some juniors. They don't like it when you take ten minutes over a move.
    I would say this is a good tactic if a person can play slowly and use the time productively.
    I remember a certain WIM saying to me late last year that she was surprised how many juniors liked playing her and looking at the clock afterwards and liking the idea that they had used about 10 mins to her 60 mins, ignoring the fact that they had been hammered from the start and ended up losing all their material

  7. #7
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    More than one sort of person.

    Quote Originally Posted by ggrayggray
    Im still trying to work out why adults reckon there has to be a 'special' plan or something of the like about playing juniors. I would have thought the right plan is to just play the best moves you can find, in accordance with what you feel is right. I dont see why there has to be a special plan for juniors.
    gg''
    A good question you ask.
    The answer might go to the personality type of the player.

    For example, BD, has repeatedly defended rapid chess because he likes the thrill of a snipers win against a higher rated player. In other words he uses the benefits of speed and inaccuracy to win, rather than what you are proposing...just the best moves in the position.

    Some players just value the win, however it is obtained legally. At the extreme of this subset are those who like to read about a trap in a GMs book and commit this opening to memory, later to spring it on an unsuspecting opponent who thought he/she had come to the Club to play chess against an equal.

    Stick with your plan gg''..play the best moves.
    Leave the 'how to play against a junior strategies' to those looking to take short cuts for the (unearned) win.



    starter
    Last edited by ursogr8; 25-04-2004 at 10:32 AM.

  8. #8
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    One of the arguments for chess being a sport rather than a mechanical mental exercise is that players have individuals styles, and individual strengths and weaknesses, so it is sensible to adapt to particular opponents. I doubt that sportspeople like Lleyton Hewitt, Ricky Ponting, Wayne Bennett etc adopt the same strategy independent of the opponent.

    Playing the absolutely best move in the position is probably also a good strategy. But it doesn't help when there is a choice of equally good moves, and being able to identify the best move can also be a limitation.

  9. #9
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    There is a discussion to be had here on the purist approach of playing the best move in the position, vs the pragmatist who will choose the "best" move based on other factors as well. Picking the "best" between these two approaches (which one will win you the most games) is not obvious. Although at shorter time controls I suspect the pragmatic approach to show better results.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    Leave the 'how to play against a junior strategies' to those looking to take short cuts for the (unearned) win.

    starter
    I am at a complete loss at how this totally absurd statement was arrived at.
    If I was to post "how to play against Kasparov stategies" would you claim any subsequent victories be "unearned"?
    The advice I gave was a) just sensible suggestions that help make us all better players (I hope) and b) intended to demonstrate to the panic stricken "all juniors are under-rated" mob on this BB that this certainly isn't the case.

  11. #11
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggrayggray
    I would say this is a good tactic if a person can play slowly and use the time productively.
    Yes. If you play very slowly they may sense a chance to win the game on the clock. I don't have this problem though, since I've only lost four rated games on time ever, and tend to finish games with a good 20 mins or so left on average.

    I remember a certain WIM saying to me late last year that she was surprised how many juniors liked playing her and looking at the clock afterwards and liking the idea that they had used about 10 mins to her 60 mins, ignoring the fact that they had been hammered from the start and ended up losing all their material
    Yes I see things like that too. Junior A smashes Junior B and Junior B is really proud that he used only 7 minutes to Junior A's 11. Go figure. Too many video games is my guess.
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  12. #12
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    There is a discussion to be had here on the purist approach of playing the best move in the position, vs the pragmatist who will choose the "best" move based on other factors as well. Picking the "best" between these two approaches (which one will win you the most games) is not obvious.
    I think playing the man is quite effective so long as you don't overdo it. Putting yourself into an outright bad position to try to play to the opponent's weaknesses is not a good idea, but playing a move that is marginally weaker objectively but doesn't suit the opponent's known playing style seems to me to be justified.
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  13. #13
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    Doing what your opponent least wants you to do, within the limitations of knowing what that is and not damaging yourself more than your opponent, is a good approach in any sport.

    Anybody who genuinely believes it is unethical, rather than just saying silly things to promote discussion, really need to divest themself of that notion as soon as possible as they are severely handicapping themselves in terms both of their results and their enjoyment of the contest.

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster Alan Shore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    gg''
    A good question you ask.
    The answer might go to the personality type of the player.

    For example, BD, has repeatedly defended rapid chess because he likes the thrill of a snipers win against a higher rated player. In other words he uses the benefits of speed and inaccuracy to win, rather than what you are proposing...just the best moves in the position.
    Wrong Laddy, it is most certainly NOT to do with 'inaccuracy'. A blatant attempt by you to twist the truth. It is still 'just the best moves in the position', simply w.r.t time, as in any tournament game. However in rapidplay the clock is simply more critical.

    Furthermore, wtf do you mean by interpreting my enjoyment of rapid chess to meaning 'the thrill of a sniper's win against a higher rated player'? Do you want me to start making stupid inaccurate comments about why you do the things you do? I don't think you'd like it either.


    Stick with your plan gg''..play the best moves.
    Leave the 'how to play against a junior strategies' to those looking to take short cuts for the (unearned) win.
    I agree with Shaun, you haven't thought this one through at all. Like it or not, juniors DO play differently to adults in many cases. I don't like the little 'unearned' part either - every single victory in chess is earned, some are simply earned easier.
    Last edited by Alan Shore; 26-04-2004 at 05:06 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Is 'unearned' a dirty word?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    I am at a complete loss at how this totally absurd statement was arrived at.
    If I was to post "how to play against Kasparov stategies" would you claim any subsequent victories be "unearned"?
    Shaun,
    I did appreciate your post on how to play against juniors; it contained some good advice. Particularly the piece about breathing.

    It probably was not deliberate, but you truncated from my post the two paragraphs that led into my statement that gg’’ should not seek short-cuts and that he should just play the best moves. The two paragraphs contained examples of what I regard as ‘unearned’. First example was when a player relies on the speed of the game to cause a slower thinker to have a higher ‘inaccuracy’ rate. Second example was when a player memorizes a book trap and springs it on an opponent. Without these two paragraphs being included in the quote it left my conclusion sentence looking a bit undefended.
    If you posted "how to play against Kasparov strategies" I would not call them ‘unearned’ because they are not short-cuts by any-ones description.
    And ‘unearned’ does not mean ‘without value’, by the way. A Rhodes scholar PM labelled share-dividends and term-deposit-returns as ‘unearned income’. You can still buy food and the daily paper with ‘unearned income’, it is just that you don’t have to work for it; it is a short-cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaun

    The advice I gave was a) just sensible suggestions that help make us all better players (I hope) and b) intended to demonstrate to the panic stricken "all juniors are under-rated" mob on this BB that this certainly isn't the case.
    And thank you for that contribution; it is sensible, as another poster said, to choose moves that are unsettling for the opponent.


    starter

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