Measure Your Chess Aggressiveness

From "The Gambit," the quarterly publication of the North Carolina Chess Association. From the May-June, 1990 issue. Copyright 1990 by Robert Morrell. Reprinted with permission.


We all know that chess is a war game, and while some of us go at it on the boards like cerebral Rambos (nice oxymoron, that) others play like, well, George McGoverns. Just how aggressive are you? Do you go for broke or wait for your opponent to make that big mistake? The following test is scientifically designed to rank your aggressive tendencies on the board. Total the numbers at the end of text to put yourself between Morphy and Steintz.

1) Early in the game, your opponent collapses of an apparent heart attack. His wife and children gather round, and after exchanging tearful farewells with them, he looks up, and with life fading from his eyes, asks you for a draw. In response, you:

A) Accept immediately.
B) Analyze the position on the board first.
C) Ask the TD to get a doctor to confirm that he isn't faking it.
D) Tell him that you wouldn't give a draw to your dying mother, whom you love.
E) Try to push him over the edge by announcing mate in three.

2) When psyching yourself up for a game, you visualize yourself:

A) Crushing your opponent's pieces with a hammer.
B) Rolling hand grenades into your opponent's kingside.
C) Strangling your opponent with your bare hands.
D) Ransacking his village and carrying off his women.

3) You view your opponent's pawns as:

A) Potential Queens.
B) The shape of his position.
C) Juicy morsels to be gobbled up.
D) Speed bumps.

4) You view your own pawns as:

A) Potential Queens.
B) An integral part of your strategy.
C) Expendables in your kingside attacks.
D) Howitzer shells.

5) You will consider a pawn rush only:

A) When you have safely castled on the opposite wing.
B) When playing a lower rated player.
C) When you have more than a piece advantage.
D) When it's your turn.

6) Endgames are:

A) When the queens are off the board.
B) Sometime unavoidable.
C) When your opponent won't resign.
D) For weenies who can't finish off their opponents in the middlegame.

7) You are playing an eight year old, who leaves his queen hanging in a complex position. He begins to cry. Your response is:

A) Offer to stop the clock while he regains his composure.
B) Capture the Queen without comment.
C) Pick up the queen with a chuckle and remark "Won't be long now!"
D) Call the child's mother and tell her to take her baby home, because he's not ready to be a chess player.

8) After leaving your own Queen hanging against an eight year old your would:

A) Resign gracefully and offer congratulations for a great win.
B) Smile knowingly to bluff him into not capturing her.
C) Announce mate in nine.
D) Tell him of an obscure rule about taking back moves that he's too young to know about.

9) You will sacrifice your Queen only:

A) When you see a force mate.
B) As a last attempt in a losing game.
C) For an overwhelming positional advantage.
D) When ever she hasn't been active enough (use it or lose it baby!)

10) For an open file on your opponent's kingside you would sacrifice:

A) A pawn.
B) A minor piece.
C) A major piece.
D) Your soul.

11) You might consider Alekhine's defense when:

A) Playing against e4.
B) Playing against someone you knew was unbooked.
C) Playing a non-tournament game.
D) You've had a mind-crippling stroke

12) When you fist spot a winning combination, you:

A) Look for way's your opponent can get out of it.
B) Look at your clock to see how much time you can spend checking it out.
C) Giggle uncontrollably.
D) Drool.

 RATINGS

Scoring:

1: A=0,B=1,C=2,D=4,E=7
2: A=2,B=3,C=4,D=5,E=0
3: A=0,B=1,C=3,D=6
4: A=0,B=1,C=2,D=5
5: A=0,B=2,C=3,D=5
6: A=0,B=3,C=4,D=6
7: A=0,B=1,C=4,D=5
8: A=0,B=1,C=3,D=4
9: A=0,B=1,C=3,D=5
10: A=0,B=1,C=3,D=5
11: A=0,B=1,C=2,D=4
12: A=0,B=1,C=3,D=5

0 to 10 Conscientious objector. You are a pacifist in the war game of chess. Negotiating a draw is your biggest thrill. Should you accidentally win, you feel obligated to buy them lunch or give some other form of foreign aid.

11 to 30 Innocent bystander. You'll pick up wins if they fall in your lap (and happen to stick). You look for traps in a mate in one.

31 to 50 Reluctant aggressor. The George Bush (post thyroid treatment) of the Royal Game. You'll do the "aggression thing" when backed into a corner, or when your wife tells you its time to leave and can you finish up your stupid game. (Yes, dear)

51 to 62 Psycho. A danger to yourself and others. You don't play defenses, just offenses minus a tempo. You like lines with name like "the can opener", "the berserker" or "the long whip variation." At home you kill small animals or unrated players for fun.

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