When Should We Accept Draws?

Hey!  I wasn’t feeling all too well and so I thought I’ll blog and share an interesting psychological situation with you guys.  A big dilemma that comes across a player is whether in a game s/he should accept a Draw or not.  While playing lower-rated players our ego tends to get in the way and we decline Draw offers from  lower-rated (lower FIDE rating) players.  However, when a higher-rated (higher FIDE rating) player offers a Draw we feel a temptation to accept it.  I think it’s because lingering somewhere in our subconscious mind, we  feel that the higher-rated player is better than us and a Draw is a good outcome.  Both these mentalities must be changed as it can affect the final result of the match.  


Here are two examples where these situations occurred with me.  The first example took place last month when I was playing an opponent with lower rating.  Material (pieces on board) was “even.”  However I felt that I had a Win.  In time pressure I lost that Win and desperate not to Draw since the opponent was lower-rated I blundered and lost. 


The “lower-rated psychology” changed the result dramatically and it ruined my momentum in the tournament.  The other example was when I was playing a higher rated.  He was about a year older then me and higher rated by about 200 points.  Possessing more knowledge about this particular board position then my opponent, I easily outplayed him.  He was completely bogged down and so he offered me a Draw.  I must have had that “higher-rated psychology” going through my head for I gladly accepted a Draw despite a superior position.  


I learnt my lessons from those games and now ask myself some questions to determine whether I should take a Draw or not.  If it’s a lower rated –  Question 1) Is he really gonna blunder now in an elementary Drawn position after defending well  for so long?  Question 2)  Do I have any risk of losing?  I then study the position carefully and if I deduce there’s no risk to lose I continue playing on for a couple of more moves.  With higher rated I ask myself – If the opponent was in my position would he s/he accept the Draw offer?  Most of the time the answer is ‘No.’  


However, these feelings of pride and instant gratification should not be treated flippantly.  They entice use to push on with lower-rated players, and accept a Draw with higher-rated players.  This “lower-rated and higher-rated psychology” should disappear from our heads for it can lead to imprudent decisions and seriously affect the outcome of the game and tournament thus compromising the  desired result.  Wow long sentence huh :).  In essence, We should make decisions Based On the Position, NOT THE PLAYER.  We have to deliberately train our emotions, to do our best.


Well that’s all there is on my mind today, and sorry for a bit of  lengthy musing :).  Hope I didn’t bore u guys!  Adieu for now and till the next blog!

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