Until this morning I had always thought that "pre-move" was only ever used in the context of online chess, particularly in bullet (1 minute per player). I have won and lost many games using the method. The best part is occasionally turning the tables on these pre-movers. One of my favourite tricks is using the "Nadanian Variation" against the Gruenfeld. It goes:
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 And now, with his cursor hovering above the knight and the left button on his mouse firmly clicked, the black player is well and truly expecting the "normal" 5. e4. But I hit him with 5. Na4 and the hapless opponent automatically plays 5...Nc3. You can guess what happens next.
Anyway, in today's Sun Herald - GM Ian Rogers writes of what he calls a "pre-move" strategy that was devised, apparently, by IM Gary Lane. Perhaps Gary has written about in a book or in one of his columns for Chess Cafe, but I'd not heard of it. I don't recall reading about it anyway.
The strategy "involves working out your opponent's intended next move and setting a trap if they follow through with their idea".
As an example, Rogers gives the round 8 match between Aronian and Topalov in Linares, specifically citing the following position:
Topalov now plays 36...f5 to which Aronian replied with 37. Bc1. Now if black takes on d4, the queen will be trapped! So Topalov, instead, played 37...f4 - exactly what Aronian was hoping for. The rest wasn't too hard for Arianne's beau.
38. Rxe7+!! (a "devastating shot" according to Rogers) Bxe7 39. Bxf4 Qxg2+ 40. Kxg2 Rd7 41. Nxc6 Kg7 42. d5 a6 43. Kf3 Bf6 44. Ke4 Re7+ 45. Kd3 Rd7 46. d6 Re8 47. Nd4 Kf7 48. Nf3 a5 49. Rc5 axb4 50. axb4 Rb7 51. Nd2 Ra8 52. Ne4 Bd8 53. Rd5 Ra3+ 54. Kd4 Rb3 55. Kc5 Ke6 56. Rd2 Rb1 57. Re2 Kd7 58. Kd5 Rd1+ 59. Rd2 Rxd2+ 60. Bxd2 Ke8 61. Ke6 Rb6 62. Bg5 Rc6 63. Bxd8 Kxd8 64. Ng5 Ke8 65. Nf7 1-0