Draw offers can sometimes be tricky. I remember one game when a far weaker opponent offered me a draw in a balanced position. I declined because of the Elo difference and started to play more aggressively than usual.
What I didn’t notice at this particular moment is that I unconsciously switched my positional intentions into more direct play. I remember I was desperately searching to end the game quickly and prove him wrong. No need to tell you I pushed too hard, made a blunder and finally lost the game.
If like me, you have suffered from this kind of misadventure, maybe this suggestion could help you avoid the next destabilizing draw trap.
Check the opponent signs
First, reading the reaction of your opponent could turn out to be a critical moment in the game. Just after the proposal, try analyzing your opponent’s behavior.
Does he feel stressed? Then maybe he could crack a few moves later so you should keep the pressure going.
Or maybe he is bored? Make sure to maintain a quiet and solid position in order to force him to take unnecessary risks. (Exactly what I did wrongly by the way)
And what if he looks tired? Then you can try to make the game last and provoke imprecisions.
Checking the signs that your opponent can show just after the draw offer could certainly help you make the right strategic decision.
Analyze your own emotions
Second, don’t forget the surprising effect of a draw proposal will create an emotional reaction to you as well.
In my example, my opponent did things properly. He played his move, offered the draw and then pressed the clock. But I imagine some of you have experienced more crappy methods. Whether your opponent has bad intentions or not, take a few moments to analyze your own feelings and accept them.
Are you angry? You can breathe or even meditate a few minutes before attempting to answer.
If you are astonished or confused, double check the position to ensure you were right to be confident.
Briefly said, be sure to be easeful before making your next move.
Take a break
Last but not least, never react promptly to a draw offer. Simply take your time and try to understand why the offer has been made by analyzing the position again. Only then can you consider the proposal.
Many players tend to play quickly to show convincingly the draw refusal. But rushing in this case is never appropriate.
If you want to reinforce your winning spirit, it is better to never consider a draw offer unless you have no other choice. There are indeed some situations when it is hard not to accept, such as winning a prize or helping the team get a positive result. In all other cases, please fight until the end.
You will learn far more from a long lost game than a rapid draw.