While defending the world title against Viswanathan Anand, in 1995 at New York, Garry Kasparov irritated the former with his antics (banging the clock after every move and slamming the door in the 10th game) to an extent that the Indian lost the match.
The saying that chess is all about making the right moves on the board might need to be rephrased.
It is also about distracting and engaging the opponent in mind games, leading to consolidating one's position on the board.
Though, a major chunk of players avoid indulging in such tactics, a fair share believes in winning by “unfair” means.
Ghaem Ehsan Maghami, a Grandmaster from Iran, gives it a 70-30 ratio. “I have seen so many players who try to rub me the wrong side to distract me. It may include knocking my legs under the table or staring at me consistently.
I think it's got to do more with stress,” said Maghami, who is here for the Parsvnath Chess Tournament.
Sahaj Grover, a Delhi player, says, “Sometimes, these tactics work. But, at times, the expressions give away your next move.”
According to Vishal Sareen, an International Master and coach of Tania Sachdev, these tactics don't help a player. “You may intimidate a player, but at the end of the day, it's your game that speaks.”
Grandmaster Alexander Zubarev of Ukraine too didn't approve of such ploys. “Keeping your cool after making a blunder is one thing and winking at your opponent is another. I just keep my face and eyes covered with my hands to avoid distraction. It's really bad.”