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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Careful Playing Underrated Opponents!

For those of you that hope to read a tip and get better at playing the game overnight...

Set your game searches to people within 100 points less and 300 points more than where you're at.

Playing underrated opponents is the best way to not only keep yourself from improving, but to actually devolve your level of play.

This is particularly important around the +1800 rated players. The reason this is true, is because if a 1500 sets the filter for <200 >200, then, out of 30 games, they'll likely play 10 people rated 1600 and 10 people rated 1400 and 10 people rated 1500.

However. If an 1800 player sets a filter for <200 and >200, they'll find that 80% of their opponents will be in the <200 range, and rarely will you see someone that's rated 1900 or 2000.

So ESPECIALLY for those that are +1800...it's important not to consistently be playing underrated players.

It doesn't take a genius to see what happens when you beat 8 underrated in a row, and then play someone that's playing at a 2000 level.

Have fun with your pieces!

THe OP's "theory" that makes complete sense to a single individual.
"Theories" are a dime a dozen.
One goes, only play lower rated opponents to gradually increase ratings. Another goes, only play higher rated opponents, losing less points.
What's the concern about? Oh..yeah... Your rating. How stupid of me.
Set the filter +/- 100 or 200 and play.

OP writes:
"It doesn't take a genius to see what happens when you beat 8 underrated in a row, and then play someone that's playing at a 2000 level."

The OP is so typical of players who's only objective is to increase their rating, rather than playing as a hobbyist seeking entertainment.

Play 8 players a little lower rated than yourself and gain quite a few points. Then play a player 200 points higher and lose. You lose very few ratings points. OP's "theory" is bogus. Net gain will be substantial.

Actually the OP doesn't say anything directly about trying to increase rating, he's talking about personal improvement, and of course it makes sense to play higher rated opponents if you want to improve - otherwise you are likely not challenging yourself as much as you could be. By pushing yourself and playing people better than you, you learn more and improve your game.

"Get better at playing over night"

This happens far slower than over night. It's only really realistic for a beginner to vastly improve in a short time frame.

Also ratings are not anywhere near accurate enough to prove who is actually better usually until in the GM range. I have come across 1500-1700 players that play like they are 2000+, and come across 2000+ players that play like an 1800.


If anything, the people at lower ratings are more apt to surprise you with odd move sets; rather than a memorized moveset that a player does every single game (like many 2K + people are)
Games are a lot more unique while playing people <1900. After about that point; they become par for the course; running the same opening and follow up and basically whoever jacks up first is the loser. Thats not the type of chess that teaches me anything.

I guess it depends on what your trying to get out of a chess game. Personally, I play chess to exercise my mind.

Although, the one thing I do agree on; is that by playing a player who you are 'mopping the floor' with over and over can lull you into a false sense of security for move sets which appear to work against this person, but would never work against someone who knew what they were doing. Leading you to believe your moves are better than they actually are.

It's easy to get distracted by ratings. Just learn from every loss despite the opponent's rating. Sure, a loss in rating because a -200 player got a win is going to be annoying to see, but ratings are dynamic. They fluctuate. Stronger players tend to play a lot of games and that resilience is reflected in a strong rating over time. Just don't be too upset if your rating takes a dip in the short term. Fight back!

once i played this 1500 dude and he was so awsome. lost 30 out of 30. who aws the dude.

There's a very interesting stats graph in Chess Insights. If you click on the 'Do I gain more points from weaker or stronger players?' section, it will give you a break down of the point/win/strength ratio.

That's a different question though. Back in the 90s, I played on excite.com and got to 2100 to 2200 playing 1 minute bullet against underrated...but when I dropped a game, it would take me an hour to get my points back...and I would NEVER be able to beat the actual 2200s.

So again, the question is not one of points, but one of the way that playing underrated dulls your senses. That's the only point that I was making.

It dulls your skills, without a shadow of the doubt.