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I unexpectedly found myself giving a tiny simul recently. I won all the games, but it left me wondering if there is any published advice on how to handle simuls as the single player. (There is plenty of advice on how to try to beat the single player, but that's a different story!)

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There are several techniques that a lot of masters commonly use in simuls.

(1) Know the players. Lower rated players can be confused easily with unsound play/attacks, leading to quick wins. You will also know which players to watch out for and spend more time on. Kasparov was very ardent on this point, and was very upset that a 2200 player posed as a 1600 once to get into his simul.

(2) Avoid heavy tactical complications against the stronger players. Simul players use intuition heavily to find good moves quickly. This is not possible in complicated positions, where a lot of time needs to be taken to calculate many lines. This is where the simul master has the most trouble. Generally, steer the game to quieter play, or make sure to only enter complications that clearly favor you. As a corollary of (1) and (2), you should try to defeat the weaker players quickly.

(3) Offer a few early draws. In games where you might not want to play on (games that are more tactical, against stronger players, worse position, etc.) you can offer a draw to reduce the games you play, and focus on doing better on the other games.

These are a few standard tactics that many simul masters use.

  • I can see why the master might want to offer some early draws, but I can't see why anyone who paid to play would accept an early draw. In practice, do lots of players accept draw offers when they have the better position or an unclear tactical situation? I can see myself doing that in a tournament where I have a chance to win a prize, but not in an exhibition where I'm just there for the experience of playing against a master. – bof May 20 '16 at 6:26
  • Yes. Many players won't accept the draw, but some will. Boris Spassky, who was paid to play in many simuls, often criticized players who accepted his early draw offers, saying that they were wasting the opportunity to play a world champion. But offering draws won't hurt much. – Harambe17 May 20 '16 at 10:32

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