Crossing

Crossing (meaning attacking the other opponent who is far away from you) is one of my personal favorite aspects of fast four way due to its double edged nature. Helping your partner can be rewarding, but it can also leave you vulnerable if you neglect your own position.

White's rook and pawn have ventured all the way into black's territory, known as "Crossing". In addition to the black bishop hanging, a team combo is possible here. However, notice that it's going to be too difficult to carry out as red is correctly making threats against white while he's crossing.

For beginner and intermediate players, I don't usually recommend crossing. It's far too difficult for most players to play on 2 sides of the board at once. If you're opponent is smart and knows to attack you, the pieces (or king) you lose on your side will far outweigh what damage you're able to do helping your partner. Focus on holding your own position and once you are consistently staying alive vs good players, then you can begin experimenting with crossing.

If you're playing against an opponent who is busy sending multiple pieces to the other side of the board, you should try to break into your opponent's position somehow. Look for hanging pieces. You will have a greater number of pieces than him in the area. It will be difficult for him to defend while he is crossing full-force, and you'll likely pick up some free pieces if played well.

Knowing yourself

If you want to win more games, you have to play to your strengths. If you're not very fast, going for the toughest 3 or 4 move combos possible probably isn't a good idea - you'll likely misclick it. A long time ago, when I was red I was playing someone who didn't seem to be very difficult at first glance. "How is this guy black? He's so slow!", I thought. But as we played more games, I realized he was covering up his weakness of being slow by playing to his strengths. He would convert every advantage against me slowly but surely, and give me little counterplay. His game mechanics and especially his endgame were top notch, and it became really frustrating to play (and lose) against him when I knew I was much faster than him. You'll see many players who aren't so fast reach brown+ level just by biding their time because they know that's what they do best.

Adjusting to table dynamics

Some people play the same way every game for thousands of games. However, this can only take you so far. If you are having a bad stretch or games, change it up a bit! Don't be afraid to lose some games experimenting. It's important to be able to play different styles, especially as an advanced player. I have a ton of different styles and regularly change my game based on the players I am playing with.

Here are a few of the questions you should be asking yourself while playing.

Who am I against?

Adjusting to your opponent

Let's say I am having a good day and I start off playing very agressively. If I am winning a lot of games, I'll continue playing that way until he gives me a reason not to.

Once my opponent shows he can consistently hold vs me, it's time to switch it up. He's countered my strategy, and playing too recklessly will not do me any good anymore. Time to put down the hammer, as there are other ways to win the game. Either I should begin camping, crossing, or going for slower attacks.

Is he playing poorly vs a specific opening? Does his opening allow you to get away with an early sweep on him? Is he trying to make bad trades against me? Does he react well in the face of aggression? With each game you should get a better feel for how your opponent is playing and what you can do against him.

Who is my partner?

You can also change your style to complement your partner. Here are a couple of examples.

Case A. I have a hyper-aggressive partner who is excellent at quick attacks, but his endgame is weak. Crossing early and often to aid his attacks is the best option.

Case B. If my partner is a camper and strong in the endgame, it's most likely best to play a slower game and test our luck in the later stages of the game.

I've had matches that started out bad but turned around completely once my partner and I started to better complement each other's play. If aren't doing well with someone, don't give up hope. It may not be that they are a bad player but you are not playing a style that does well with them. Playing in a better style to suit your partner's skillset can make a huge difference.

Be tricky!

As I've mentioned throughout this guide, one of ways you can make it easy for your opponent is be predictable.

If your opponent knows exactly what you're going to do, you might as well resign. He can time you perfectly and land more sweeps. So change it up every once in awhile!

Here white is threatening a double rook combo on black's king. You may think it's logical to just push one of his pawns to defend, which is a fine idea. Instead, black plays a tricky move to defend and baits white into his combo, who doesn't see the idea coming. (again, cooldowns are not shown here).

White carries through with his plan... but

White didn't see black's rook hidden behind his pawn! It comes to the rescue and the result is White has lost two rooks!


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