Do you ever play weaker on purpose?

Do you ever play or have you ever played weaker than you really are on purpose?

Of course, there need to be a clarification about context, after all most players play differently in teaching games and such.

The only time I’ll deliberately hold back is teaching games where my focus is teachable moments rather than optimal play. In a ranked game my blunders are unfortunately all genuine :stuck_out_tongue:


Absolutely. Destroy everyone. Everyone is a stepping stone.

All the time, especially against the chatppl ^^

Edit: hah i misread the question xD
I don’t play weak moves on purpose, but i do give my opponents some ‘slack’ if the game is already decided and i’m certain that i’ve won. Or i might start with some non-optimal opening for the fun of it, if that counts as playing weaker on purpose.

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The only way I know how is to catch myself reading and stop myself, and I only do this when there is a very big disparity, just because I hate playing moves that I know are punishable

I’ve done some experiments playing the first move that comes up in my head, but it’s difficult not to get interested in the game and start reading.

Does drunk go count?


Surely, it must :smirk:


Only thing with drunk go is that you often think you’re playing better :sweat_smile:


I definitely play weaker on purpose in teaching games.

I think it would be a strange teaching style that did not do this.

That’s the only time though.

Normal opening was always boring to me. So I usually play crazy opening (5-5 in all 4 corners for example).
But my rank not becomes lower when I do it because opponents are confused.

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I have to admit that I’d be pretty confused by this. Especially if you got all 4 corners! :wink:


I often do this. If I feel that a win is guaranteed, based on how the game is currently laid out, I will start to make sub-optimal moves, in order to introduce difficulty back into the game. I figure if I am not learning from the experience, then it is worthless to me. Most of my enjoyment, these days at least, comes from reading practice in correspondence games :stuck_out_tongue:

This subject came up in an old thread, back in 2017, I think. I said then that among my circle of gaming friends (who played cards and old-fashioned board games–chess, checkers, Monopoly, Diplomacy, etc.) it was considered disrespectful to an opponent to “go easy,” unless the opponent was a child some years younger than us. There is a great speech in The Hustler in which Fast Eddie explains to his girlfriend that he got his hands broken because he just had to show his opponents how the game is really played. It’s one of my favorite moments in cinema.


Is it this speech?

I haven’t seen the film but after looking up clips I’m tempted to watch it.

I know a similar to the topic situation from my chess years. My acquaintance, a guy, was a serious chess player, pretty strong. And in a chess camp he played a game (not a tournament game) against female coach. And basically he wanted to have a real game to measure himself against strong opponent but she was making fun of him the whole time and when he realized it he was super pissed.

So when you go easy on people, be careful, some people don’t want to get soft treatment.


Yes, that’s the scene! Thank you! I had no idea something like this would be available online. This is high on my list of favorite movies. Highly recommended. Great story, great performances, great direction.

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Yeah - I would be irritated if I detected that my opponent was starting to slack off after reaching a winning position.

Its kind of a “psych game” - is this person trying psych me out now, playing badly all of a sudden? Were they using a bot before, and stopped now? What is going on?

We actually get reports like that “hey, this person’s play suddenly changed, are they using a bot?”

I think the ranking system also assumes we each give each game our best.

Or they’re just following the proverbs. There’s many about “greed for the win takes the win away” and the like.


So you guys feel I am doing other folks an injustice by playing sub-optimal moves during some of my games, in the hope that the game becomes interesting again? Or perhaps it might be viewed as me being selfish?

My initial reaction is that I would not like it, if I detected it happening to me.

Of course, if you can beat me, then probably you can probably also toy with me without me noticing, so maybe it is an academic question.

It’s just a “gut reaction”, not well thought through, but my feeling is I don’t like being toyed with.

Also, if you play knowingly-suboptimal until the game is “interesting”, it seems to me that “interesting” would mean “maybe you can lose now” … in which case you are actually starting to sandbag: throwing a game you were capable of winning. If you actually go on to lose by playing moves you know are wrong, then your rank goes down, and doesn’t represent your skill… sandbagging is right up there in the top of the list things that people complain about.