|The vast Playing Hall at SuperNationals.|
The father of one former student emphasized the instructional value of facing equal or lower rated opponents. Do not enter a higher section before demonstrating consistency at beating those lower rated. An improving junior should not match wits with A players until he proved proficient at beating B players. You don't necessarily need a perfect score, but enough to gain rating points (e.g. 80% against those 100-200 points lower).
Indeed, the skills required to consistently win playing down differ from playing up.
- Avoid unnecessary risks and allow the opponent chances to go astray.
- Learn to identify and take advantage of mistakes big and small.
- Rely on your greater experience (e.g. in endgame) to win an objectively equal game.
- Keep fighting when in trouble, by maximizing counterplay.
- Maintain your focus and confidence throughout the game.
Postscript: At many Bay Area events, juniors must play up simply to face their rating peers. I regret this paradoxical trend. Why have an A section when most entries come from B players?