This is a special post, dedicated to a special reader, who requested two specific posts from me, so here is one of them. Here is the request I received: "I would like to see some discussion of chess strategies and ways to size up your opponent's mental hardiness." A fascinating request, I'm sure you will agree. Well, I must say that first of all, one of the best chess strategies is distraction. When playing chess IRL, you can use all sorts of methods to achieve distraction. I like to point at a spot behind my opponent and cry alarmingly, "look at that!" This is, incidentally, a great way to size up your opponent's mental hardiness--surely, they won't be stupid enough to look? But I am a good actor...Now, in online chess, the great way to distract your opponent is to use the chat function. You can try to psych them out by bullying: "you suck!" or behaving like an automaton: "good luck!" (this is what the computer tells you if you are playing it). You can add "you're going to need it" to the end of the "good luck!" comment to combine strategies. Discussing complicated intellectual matters while playing is a good way to distract and size up your opponent, although this is understandably harder online. Of course, I have myriad strategies, and most of them I will be happy to share. In the future. Let's make this a series. I will be back soon with another installment.