Wait, is antichess even a word? Nope. Well, kind of, but you will not have heard it unless you are a nerd like me. Antichess is actually a strategy used in bullet (1-minute) games, and usually by patzers in the 1500-1600 range – at least in the opening stages. But, what is it, exactly?
Antichess literally means playing horrible or extremely questionable moves in a bullet game, hoping your opponent pre-moves something else or doesn’t notice your move, allowing you a cheap-shot win.
For instance, moving a bishop to threaten your opponent’s queen when the bishop is completely unguarded. It can just be taken. However, because your opponent is either pre-moving the opening, or maybe he/she is really low on time, they have another move in mind and make it immediately. You then take the queen, sometimes for free, and their blood pressure spikes. It really is maddening, unless you are the one playing antichess.
I see a lot of this in the opening. For instance, some mook will fianchetto a bishop on g6, and then crash it into your pawn on b2 for no reason. Because we did not expect such a funky move, we ignore it and play something else, usually a developing move, immediately, and lose a rook clean. Welcome to antichess.
Another good antichess strategy are unexpected and dubious checks. If your opponent has one second or less left on his clock and you have more, simply crash the queen or another piece into whatever you can, causing check. Sometimes, knights are good for this because the escape route isn’t always so clear when a player is all keyed up. Your opponent will not have expected such a move, and will have pre-moved something else, which causes his flag to fall while he desperately tries to figure out why his move didn’t work. It’s because he’s in check. It works like a charm, even on high-rated players.
I mentioned earlier that (mostly) only patzers play this stuff, at least in the opening. Why is it only 1500-1600 players who attempt this junk? Two reasons: One, because they have absolutely no clue how to properly formulate a plan in chess, and so they go for the cheapos to win. Two, you simply cannot advance much past the 1600s using only antichess strategies in the opening. A player may fall for that crap a couple few times, but once they get your number, you’ll lose every single game.
Even GMs and other titled players play a bit of antichess when low on time, but they cannot get away with that crud in the opening or middle game, because their titled opponents will simply crush them like a flies. But, we are all human, and when we have less than a second on the clock, things get dicey. That’s when I recommend throwing your checks, pushing your pawns, sacrificing pieces without reason. Antichess works, if you do it right.