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Openings for Tactical Players: How to beat a Grandmaster

  • GM Gserper
  • | 6 feb. 2010
  • | 33899 x bekeken
  • | 54 reacties

Say you are just a club player and going to play a GM in the next round of a Swiss tournament, or maybe just in a simul.  What would be your strategy?  Yes, you can try to play defensive chess, trade pieces and hope to make a draw.  This is a very popular strategy amongst low rated players playing GMs.  Let me tell you that this strategy almost never works.  Besides, there is nothing more pleasant for a GM than to torture his opponent without any risk to lose. As the result of such a passive strategy you are going to lose for sure but the worst of all, you are not going to enjoy the game.  I would suggest you to employ a completely opposite strategy. From the very first moves try to go for a kill. Attack, sacrifice and don't even think about a draw.  Yes, chances are that you will go down in flames, but at least you have an opportunity to deliver a mighty blow that would defeat your formidable opponent. Besides, regardless of the result, you are going to enjoy such a battle more than if you passively waited him to display his superior technique.   Of course to maximize your chances you want to surprise your opponent and hopefully ambush him in an unfamiliar situation.  Say, your opponent plays the Sicilian Defense (by far the most popular GM response against 1.e4).  You can play the Najdorf, Sveshnikov or some other main variation, but do you really want to test his knowledge in the line he analyzes on a daily basis (remember, you are playing a top professional who probably devotes most of his studies to openings!)? 

As a possible solution of this problem you can employ the Wing Gambit (1.e4 c5 2. b4!?).  Even though this opening was first played by Greco in 1620, it is still the least developed line in the Sicilian Defense and therefore here you have the best chance to surprise your opponent. Besides, a variation which was played by Capablanca, Alekhine,  Marshall, Spielmann, Bronstein and other famous chessplayers cannot be bad, can it?

All the games we are going to analyze today have one thing in common.  White was a lower rated, unknown player, meanwhile Black was a GM and in one case even the ex-World Champion.

As I mentioned above, one of the advantages of the Wing Gambit is that it is not unexplored as well as any other line of the Sicilian.  You can show your creativity very early in the game.  In fact, the first choice you have to make is what to play after Black accepts your sac (2... cxb4).  You have at least three promising continuations and we'll look at all of them one by one.

The most straightforward approach is 3.d4.  In the next game ex-World Champion Max Euwe missed a wicked shot and was forced to resign as early as move 19!


Another possible third move is 3.Bb2. White just develops his Bishop on a very good diagonal and waits for Black to commit himself. 
Lev Aronin was one of the strongest chess players who has never been awarded the Grandmaster title, which he almost certainly deserved, according David Bronstein.  Yet, in the next game he also resigned on move 19! 
Finally, 3.a3 is probably the most popular White's choice on the move three.  In the next game Russian GM Malakhov (who is a 2700+ today and well known for his positional style and excellent endgame technique) was literary blown off the board.
It is a popular choice amongst strong chessplayers to decline a sacrifice in order to avoid unclear and potentially dangerous situations.  But even in this case you can get an attacking position if you play aggressively.  Just watch how a lady rated just 2115 managed  to beat a very strong GM!
Of course this variation is a very dangerous weapon against the Sicilian Defense, so you can play it against any opponent.  This line is also an excellent opportunity to improve your tactical skills and should benefit your general chess improvement.  And remember, just like practically with any gambit, win or loss, you will enjoy the game.
Good luck!


  • 18 maanden geleden


    how about Morra Gambit ?

  • 4 jaar geleden



    try this line

  • 4 jaar geleden


    That is interesting.  That is a cool way to play against a grandmaster.  I might try that sometimes.

  • 5 jaar geleden



  • 5 jaar geleden



  • 5 jaar geleden


    Thanks for the article.  i now have another weapon in my arsenal!

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Ah yes the "excellent" striving for the draw technique :P

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Loved it!

  • 5 jaar geleden



  • 5 jaar geleden


    i'll try this line!!!!!

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Nice article and the Wing Gambit is very interesting...Cool

  • 5 jaar geleden


    good article.

  • 5 jaar geleden


  • 5 jaar geleden


    2.b4!? may very well be my answer to the sicilian once I give it a little study.  I feel most times my sicilian opponents know more about the opening than I do anyway, since I've never devoted serious study to it.  With b4 the experience level immediately equalizes a bit, as I'm sure most of my opponents will not see this gambit often...


    Thanks for the article, keep 'em comin'!!


    -Zak Smith

  • 5 jaar geleden


    I think this is actually a pretty controversial topic.

    Now first of all we can talk about anti gm strategies all we want, but it won't make that much of a difference because no matter what strategy you do you will have a lot of losses.

    If you're trying to beat a GM then yes play the sharp stuff and figure you have nothing to lose, but you have a very, very high chance to be the first to blunder in the complications, and at the same time even if you get a nice position out of the tactics it may be too hard to convert anyway.

    I've actually drawn some pretty high players using the defensive strategy, though with a slight twist: I play safe chess and pick a safe opening, but otherwise I will not play too defensively, at least with a plan in mind. I just want to avoid complications and keep my position relatively solid, but mindlessly trading and moving back and forth with no plan won't do the job. Funnily enough I actually beat a 1900 with the rubinstein french, although I'm sure that wouldn't give a GM too many problems.

    I think the key (if there is one) is to play your normal game, to not be afraid to, and take an opportunity when you get it just like you would a regular opponent.

    I wouldn't want to play super sharp stuff against a GM if that stuff was unsound, because I think they're the kind of player that could take advantage of it, but I understand that in a simul you may have a better chance of "getting lucky".

    And why does being positionally outplayed have to be a bad time? I'm sure I would learn a lot because I think I'm good at positional play yet the GM's will probably teach me tons of stuff about it just by me playing them.

    Anyways, it's nearly impossible for most amateurs to beat a grandmaster in a regular game let alone a simul. I don't think any anti gm strategy is that bad, they'll probably all be about equally unsuccessfull.

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Never Give Up!  Never Surrender!

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Very good article, thanks. I'll definitely try the wing gambit :-)

    And about playing attacking rather than defensive chess against stronger opponents - couldn't agree more!!

  • 5 jaar geleden



  • 5 jaar geleden


    nice title, 'how to beat a grandma' lol=)

  • 5 jaar geleden


    Openings for Tactical Players: How to beat a Grandma


    Im mixed up.....is this how to beat any grandma or your own grandma??? Cause if its your own grandama im in..

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