Do You Want To Know Your Opponent’s Rating During a Match?
If you know your opponent’s rating before a tournament match, you most likely know roughly what his level is. If he’s rated lower, that means he probably has some weaknesses (relative to your level) that you can exploit – all you have to do is find them. If he’s rated higher, then you know you may have to try to raise your level.
On the other hand, what if his rating is inaccurate, and you blow the match before you realize this? Or play down to someone because he’s rated lower, and end up losing? Or try to hard to raise your own level against someone who’s rated higher, and end up losing on unforced errors where you might have won otherwise?
On still the other hand, what if you don’t know the opponent’s rating, and find out afterwards he was rated a lot lower, with major weaknesses – but you inadvertently played into his strengths, thought he was a strong player, and never looked for or found these major weaknesses, and so lost?
So there are advantages and disadvantages to knowing your opponent’s rating when you play. If you are the type who can adjust quickly to an opponent’s play, if you play a tactical game looking for opponent’s weaknesses, and if you aren’t susceptible to under- or over-playing, then you want to know your opponent’s rating in advance. If you tend to play a more forceful game, forcing your game on others, or tend to over- or under-play against if you know your opponent’s level, then you probably don’t want to know the opponent’s rating.
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