August 14, 2011

Chess Simuls

Inspired by yesterday's event: my husband's simul in Heemskerk, Holland, I decided to write about...simuls. For those with little chess knowledge, it seems incredible that only one person can play simultaneously with even more than 20 players! And quite successfully:) For the more experienced players though, it's not so uncommon that a GM can face up to 40 (or more) players at once. After all, besides playing in tournaments, lectures and simuls are on almost every GM's agenda, to allow others to enjoy their skill and knowledge.

Erwin during the simul from Heemskerk
Only one draw!

Erwin speaking with the chairman of the chess club,
who's wearing the icons of the Dutch culture:
wooden shoes, called clogs.

  • As stereotypically Dutch as windmills and tulips, the wooden clog is not just a modern-day tourist souvenir. It is still worn by thousands of farmers, factory workers or simply by the people who love and protect their traditions.
  • Wooden shoe wearers claim the shoes are warm in winter, cool in summer and provide support for good posture. Sounds good to me!

If we cannot beat, objectively speaking, a strong grandmaster during a normal game, in a simul the odds are changing. As the number of opponents increase and/or the quality of the opposition improves, simuls can become grueling mentally and physically.

The last game, which ended in a draw.
GM's might even lose now and then, so be
prepared to look out for your chance!

And, since I am in Holland at the moment, I will write down Donner's advice on this particular subject:

"If you are to stand a chance of scoring a half or a full point, there are a few things to bear in mind:

A. Be sure to take special care in the opening. Play something you know well and play carefully. The simul-giver will be very unpleasantly surprised to find that after some twenty moves he has achieved nothing at your board. He will usually propose a draw to be rid of such a troublemaker. Do not accept! Your boldness will greatly upset him.
B. Play aggressively. Ninety-five percent of all victims in simultaneous displays usually owe their defeat to their own passivity. The simul-giver lacks the time to work out variations but doing so is more important when defending than in an attack. On psychological grounds, too, aggressively approaching the simul-giver is a sound and very effective strategy.
C. Don't be afraid to exchange pieces. The simul-giver will play the endgame much better than you, of course, but it is — once again — very important at this stage of the game to calculate variations and that is precisely what he has no time for. Do not be afraid!"

I would also add a small suggestion: I have seen, quite often, players who are hanging on to their boards just to say later on: "I am good! I managed to hold on for 50 moves!" or something similar. If you are completely lost, the GM will most probably appreciate if you resign:)

Anyone out there who won against a famous grandmaster in a simul? How did it go?


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  4. As the number of opponents increase and/or the quality of the opposition improves, simuls can become grueling mentally and physically.

  5. Now a days chess game is popular indoor game. Thanks for share your enjoyment time.