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So I am kind of new to chess and I have been playing online. I have been playing for a year and I consider myself a mediocre player, not too good and not too bad. Recently I got this invitation from someone to play a rated game. This person's rating is around 2100 so I said what the heck. Let's try it. As the game progressed, I saw that he was playing like a child. He made obvious blunders and simply offered me all of his pieces one by one. At first I thought maybe there is some deep strategy that I can't see but no. Now the game is about to end. I have a significant advantage in pieces and he will lose for sure.

My question is, has this ever happened to anyone? Or is this common in the chess community? Is this some weird strategy like how politicians try to throw elections if it is advantageous in that particular voting scheme or how players throw games if money is involved? There is no money involved, no tournament/prestige/title. If anything, he'll lose points and I'll gain them. I don't even know this person. We are just playing anonymously against each other online for the first time. Why would such a highly rated player play against a much inferior player and then lose that game...and it looks like he is deliberately losing.

Quite frankly it is boring and even a little condescending. I was expecting a much more exciting game.

So here is the game. My pieces are white.

[FEN ""]

1.e4 d5
2.exd5 e6
3.dxe6 Bxe6
4.d4 Bb4+
5.c3 Bd6
6.d5 Bf5
7.Bd3 Qe7+
8.Be3 Bg6
9.Nf3 Nf6
10.O-O Nbd7
11.Bxg6 hxg6
12.Re1 O-O-O
13.Bxa7 Ne4
14.Nbd2 f5
15.Nxe4 fxe4
16.Qa4 Nf6
17.Bd4 Qf7
18.Bxf6 gxf6
19.Qxe4 Rh5
20.Qe6+ Rd7
21.c4 Qxe6
22.Rxe6 Rf7
23.Rae1 Bxh2+
24.Nxh2 Rfh7
25.Rxf6 Rxh2
26.f4 Rh1+
27.Kf2 Rxe1

So what do you guys think of this game? Any and all comments welcome.

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Now that you've posted the game, I must say that my eyes don't see what you see. Black made a pawn gambit early on, and then made (seemingly honest) mistakes that lost another pawn (and basically put him in a tough spot where losing another couldn't really be avoided). White's play accurately punished Black for those mistakes, and we're left where you stand with a huge 3 pawn advantage. The tricky 23...Bxh2+, say, ultimately doesn't help Black's cause, but in the given situation, it was as good a shot as any. Good players lose games; to me personally, this doesn't look like a thrown game. – ETD Nov 12 '12 at 19:23
Well I guess I need to play more games to build my intuition. Just weird perception on my part I guess. I just expected killer play especially since it's a long game but ok. – Fixed Point Nov 13 '12 at 3:01
@PrinceAli - Don't let the rating fool you. Rating online can't be trusted to much and you should give yourself some more credit. – xaisoft Nov 29 '12 at 16:58
up vote 10 down vote accepted

There are some possibilities that I can think of:

  1. His 8 year old sister, dog, neighbor, etc suggested him some of these 'great moves'
  2. He was trying to handicap himself to make it more challenging
  3. He tried something new or crazy, possibly to end the game quickly (e.g killing own pieces to expose your king or free his pieces)
  4. Maybe he tried a chess gambit, first glance it appears you gain advantage, but this advantage is just an illusion. My favorite is the Danish Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 (it is hard that someone accepts it completely outside beginner level though)

Update: now that I have seen the game, I can confirm it was a mix the points 3 (the move 23...Bxh2) and 4 (but he decided to improvised one instead of using an existing one). Maybe some of the point 1 too.

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Or maybe he was drunk :)? – Akavall Nov 11 '12 at 18:55
HAHA his kid sister playing for him is the only thing which makes sense because the game has been going on for a while (meaning more than a week) and it is about to end. We are wayyyyyyyy beyond the gambit/exposing/trick or the ending quickly stage. Maybe (if I can figure it out how) I'll post the game here when it ends and see what do you guys have to say about it. Thanks. – Fixed Point Nov 11 '12 at 23:58
@ajax I agree. It looks much more like someone trying to experiment and get out of their comfort zone than an attempt to throw the game. Also, unless your 8 year old sister is a prodigy, they are going to play much more stupidly than this. – Kyle Jones Nov 12 '12 at 19:20
@KyleJones: His 23 year-old cousin who never played online could be another plausible candidate. – Nikana Reklawyks Nov 12 '12 at 19:51
Hmmmmm @Gildas, again this may be ignorance on my part but how can online game playing be so different than correspondence or even playing across the table? I mean would the performance be so different? The only thing I can think of is like having extra time to think and make a move which should only improve your play. – Fixed Point Nov 13 '12 at 3:05

Players who enter prize tournaments may purposely try to lower their rating to have a better chance at a prize in a lower section subsequently. This is known as "sandbagging" and is not condoned. Throwing a game in an online game where there are no tangible rewards wouldn't make much sense to me. But I don't agree that in the game in question your opponent was trying to throw the game. As has already been mentioned, he was playing a gambit, where you give up material for time to gain quicker development with the hope of eventually winning thereby. And as also stated, I wouldn't put too much faith in an online rating either.

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