Handicaps or odds are utilized in chess to balance out the skill gap between two players. There are several types of handicaps that can be implemented, including material odds, extra moves, time odds, special restrictions like pion coiffé, result weighting like “draw odds” which considers a draw as a loss for the player with the handicap, differential stakes, and physical restrictions such as playing blindfolded.
Let’s focus on one of the simplest, but also most popular handicaps, called pawn and move. The player with less experience or skill usually starts with the white pieces, and one of the black pawns, typically the one on f7, is removed from the board. I will demonstrate such a game on a masterpiece by Siegbert Tarrasch, one of the strongest players and most influential theoreticians of his time.