While you’re here, let me ask for your help. I want to keep this blog and journey going in perpetuity, but it’s not free to me.
If you feel like helping me out and can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me continue this project.
Chess is war. However, there are some unwritten rules which are based on politeness. For instance, one should never offer a draw in a completely lost position. (As a side note, I don’t generally fault newer players or those with three-digit ratings, as they legitimately may not know that the position is lost.)
However, what about offering a higher-rated player a draw? Well, generally, the unwritten rule is that the higher-rated player should be the one to offer the draw. That’s a rule that I only believe in if the rating difference is extreme. For instance, I wouldn’t offer a draw against a GM since they’ll let me know when they think the position is drawn.
When it comes to offering draws against players who are within a few hundred points I have been known to use them as a strategy. Here’s an example from last Thursday.
Here I am Black, and I have been defending a worse position for some time. Here, however, I decide it’s level enough that I will offer a draw. I should point out that while Edgar and I are only about 70 points apart currently, historically he has outrated me by 200-300 points in most of our games.
My thought process is as follows:
- Edgar generally doesn’t like draws.
- Regardless of current rating, overall Edgar is the stronger player.
- Sometimes stronger players will overpress trying to prove that the position is not a draw.
Let’s go back a few moves.
As you can see, I was worse a bit earlier in the game.
After I play 19…Nxa5, Edgar recaptures with the pawn. Had he played 20.Rxa5 I think he has the better part of the game in perpetuity and I have to fight to hold essentially for the rest of the game.
However, after 20.bxa5 I can see a tiny ray of light ahead. This is what allows me to essentially equalize and offer the draw. Edgar had spent a lot of time to this point and continued to spend more. Eventually the overuse of time led him to blunder. The game continues for 15-20 moves past when we stop recording, but ends in a win on time for me in a completely winning position.
Here is the game. I still need to analyze it, but the idea of the strategic draw offer is a lesson in itself.
Til Next Time,