What is being talked about are called Odds Games, which are indeed handicaps. It is not a common practice these days.
Here’s a quote from chessvariants.com that gives the right idea.
“During the 18th & 19th centuries, it was common to give odds in chess games, which means the practice of giving some advantage to the player with lesser skill. Odds giving ...
Has chess improved that much since Morphy that the odds would not be feasible to give to anyone other than absolute beginners?
This is certainly not the case. Kasparov played a master-level player in 2001 giving move and two pawn odds, and won 2.5-1.5.
In 2008, Larry Kaufman wrote:
...the Elo equivalent of a given handicap degrades as you go down the ...
Are there any sort of equations for how much of a handicap one should
receive to make a game between two players with differing Elo ratings
as balanced as possible?
The short answer is "No", there is no scientific equation, but it doesn't stop people from trying.
For instance, our club runs an annual handicap tournament in which it tries to produce a ...
It depends on how we measure the effectiveness of a handicap. Here's what I mean by that:
If we are trying to increase the likelihood that the weaker player wins, queen-side odds are more effective than the strong king, because the weaker player has so much offensive potential in queen-side odds (and the stronger player doesn't have much defense).
If we ...
You can go for the King's Indian kind of lines, such as:
g6 stops Queens from sneaking in the Qh5+ check, and also prepares for fianchetto-ing bishops.
The general positions will end up a bit cramp for Black, but Black will have a Modern-esque plan of d6-c5 or d6-e5, whichever you prefer. Play can continue with
I do feel that in case of this 'game format' the best is probably playing 1.e4, d4 as first two moves. This way white open both diagonals for bishops and form a formidable stronghold in the center (yet unanswered threats due to the fact that you can make a move only later with black). White can 'pack a punch' much faster in this case, also they will need to ...