I have seen a few players going to the opponent's side of the board and then observing the position from that view. They usually do it when it is the opponent's move.
Does it really help in understanding threats or traps better?
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I have practiced this technique since I was 10 years old. My very first chess coach emphasized the importance of analyzing the chess position from different angles - it doesn't necessarily help me understand threats or traps, but rather assists me in understanding the game from my opponent's perspective. My opponent will be considering the position and potential plans, and it's usually easier to realize a valid plan for the other side when viewing the board from that side.
Furthermore, this behavior does tap into the psychological aspect of chess. If your opponent is unaware of this tactic, he or she may be uncomfortable that you are standing behind them as they are unused to such actions. This can play to your advantage as you can break their train of thought. Of course, you shouldn't try to distract them - it's simply an unusual act that may warrant a second glance.
It helps me. I've never done it in person but on a certain chess website where I play via mobile device, I can flip the board, and in most cases gain a defensive perspective, meaning I can see what my opponents strongest next move might be, and in some cases I'll see my weaknesses in my opponents camp.
The more I do this, the more I'm able to see from my side of the board without flipping, so it's a continual process of getting better. If I work hard at it, eventually I'm sure I'll be able to flip the board in my head, which would help my in person games, because standing over my opponents shoulder is probably bad etiquette, and is definitely awkward.
Yes. This tactic works. It doesn't allow you to see traps better but what it does tend to do is unsettle the most calm and collected opponent that should be largely uncomfortable when you invade their space. I find that if you accompany this tactic with the words " ah ha" and " really and then giggle " it works to a tee.