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Keres, Smyslov, an Obscure Game and Other Matters.

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(For more on Keres, I have published two posts in March 1012)

In 1935, the great Estonian chessplayer Paul Keres  played in several tournaments: Tallinn, Tartu,Varsovia and Helsinki.He also played two matches, vs. Friedemann and Kibbermann. Browsing my archives, I found an obscure game played at Helsinki. Some sources offer the game Stahlberg-Keres as one of them, but omit the following one, played against Thorsten Gauffin:

W.: Keres (1)

B.: Gauffin (0)

Helsinki , 1935

1.e4, c5  2. Nf3, a6  3. b4, cb 4. a3, c5  5. ed, Qxd5 6. ab, Bg4 7. Nc3, Qh5  8. Be2, e6  9. 0-0, Nf6  9. 0-0, Nf6  10. Ra5!, Nd5  11. h3!, Bxf3  12. Bxf3, Nxc3  13. dc, Qg6  14. Qd4,!, Qf6  15. Qc4, Nd7  16. Bg5, Qg6  (16…, Ne5/ 17. Rxe5, Qxe5/ 18. Qc6!!)  17. Bb7, Rb8  18. Bc6, Be7  19. Bd7, Kd7  20. Rd1  Black resigned.

Where do I get this game from?.- Well, this is a long story. During my Chess career I have had the opportunity to  meet very interesting people from different countries. One of them was a man who was living in Spain (he sadly passed away around 1996). He had one of the largest Chess collections in Spain, with thousands of books, magazines, documents, etc. You could ask him whatever you needed: he would readily type the matter in question and send them to you. He loved Chess and he loved helping people too. His name was Mr. Cecilio Hernáez, lived in Vitoria , the Spanish Basque Country,  and I feel obliged to pay this little homage to him. He invited me to help him doing translations from English to be published in Spanish-speaking magazines and I readily accepted (I can speak and translate several languages apart from English, namely French, Portuguese, Spanish,) . No matter what you asked him to find: you can be sure he would find it even if he had to spend days looking for it in his enormous collection. He was an exceptionally strong CC player too and a living encyclopaedia.

Concerning the classics, there are two schools of thought : some people consider it a loss of time, some people use it to really learn how Chess has to be understood.  

Some players advocate the study of our contemporaries: Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Shirov, Krammik, and so on. After all, theory has advanced a lot and they believe studying the classics is a waste of time: nobody can play like them because theory has changed drastically. Other people believe that by studying the classics you are not trying to study the latest cry in opening theory, but the way they think and so, how Chess should be understood. The third approach blends both points of view. 

Keres and Estonia, his native land, had bad luck (Spassky said publicly this too.) As a border-land, the Estonians were a country by themselves, were annexed by the former Soviet Union, invaded by the Nazi Germany , recovered by the Soviet Union and independent again. Keres was a Chess professional player and played in German tournaments during the Nazi atrocious regime. When WW2 finished, Estonia became a part of the Soviet Union, and he had to pay the toll of having played in Nazi territory… (see the above-mentioned posts). He began to play tournaments in the thirties (20th century), won the 1939 AVRO tournament so acquiring the right to play against Alekhine for the World Championship , something WW2 destroyed, but managed to survive the Stalinist period. In the Candidates’ matches which decided the Challenger to Petrosian´s title in the ’60s he lost to Spassky, who eventually became Champion of the World in 1969. 

A match Alekhine-Keres , like a match between Fischer and Karpov would have been two feast for millions of chessplayers throughout the world. But they never took place.

In the time when CC was played using postcards and stamps, many of my opponents in the former Soviet Union and the DDR (East Germany), sent me lots of books (in Russian, German, Estonian, Czech, Hungarian, etc.) From time to time I like leafing through these books. One of them is a Russian edition featuring photographs only (99% is devoted to Karpov. The author was the famous photographer Dmitry Donskoi).

Here you can see Karpov, Botvinnik, Polugaevsky, the young Kasparov, etc. There I found some snaps featuring one of the “forgotten World Champions” as I call them: Vassily Smyslov. Indeed, Smyslov beat Botvinnik in 1957 but lost the title in the 1958 return match.  He was an extremely educated man, an opera singer too. A. Saidy even wrote that his endgame skills were greater that Botvinnik’s ones. But in the end, Smyslov was a victim of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Smyslov died in 2010, in a state of sheer poverty (sharing this damned state with his loving wife) and nearly blind… Then I think about those men who devoting their entire lives to Chess died in poverty… But we have their games and their memories. I have read that nobody really dies until the last person who has known them disappears too…This is an unjust,very sad world indeed…


Written by QChess

April 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

Tigran Petrosian. In Memoriam

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This year the 30th anniversary of Tigran Petrosian untimely death will be commemorated. The 9th World Champion of Chess was born in 1929 and passed away in 1984. (For another post on him, see the one published on April the 2nd, 2012).

Petrosian’s Chess career started in 1946 and he was active nearly until the moment of his death. His World Championship Candidates series ran from 1952 till 1980. He was a Candidate in 1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1971, 1974 and 1980. In 1971 he defeated the Germa GM Hübner and the Soviet GM Korchnoi, losing in the Final to Fischer. In 1974 he defeated GM Portisch (Hungary) but lost to Korchnoi. In 1980, he lost again to Korchnoi who had become his arch-enemy (Korchnoi, who became a defector in the mid 70′s of the 20th century, accused and blamed  Petrosian (and many others too) of everything… In 1963, he became a Challenger and in the World Championship Match he defeated no other than Mijail Botvinnik. In 1966 Petrosian defended the Title successfully in a match against GM Boris Spassky but in 1969 against the same opponent he lost the match passing the honours to Spassky.

Petrosian played in 10 Chess  Olympiads with an overall impressive score of +79 -1 =50. Apart from the many international tournaments he took part in, he also played in a lot of Soviet Team events, Championships, etc. He was four times Champion of the Soviet Union  (1959, 1961, 1969 and 1975) .

Petrosian’s style was positional, strongly influenced by Nimzowitsch (he grew up studying his books). In fact, he used every Nimzowitsch’s weapon: overprotection, blockading Knight, prophylaxis, centralization, blockade, restraint, attack /play on squares of the same colour, etc., carefully blending them with the fresh new approaches of the Soviet Chess School. Petrosian was a master of manoeuvring, defence and prophylactic thinking. But he was also a superb tactician, very strong in blitz games, for instance. His games are full of hidden dynamism in Vasiliev words. He also mastered the art of sacrificing the exchange and his games were not as “dry” as many people, commentators and “experts” believe. He was able to realise advantages by means of tactical and combinative means, which mainly crop up after a careful strategical and manoeuvring play. He was able to detect and prevent the slightest of threats (some people have written that even before his opponent realized they existed ) , taking measures against them, which in some cases provoked a sudden collapse of his opponents’ positions.

Bobby  Fischer acknowledged his strength and skills and even his arch-enemy Korchnoi wrote that one had to accept Petrosian really understood Chess.

One of the hardest ever player to beat, he was more an artist and a sort of anti-hero than a fighter like a Fischer, it was said that ,in fact, he was not interested in honours and public acknowledgement. He simply loved playing Chess and spoke of his games as his “old friends”. Shortly before his death,at the beginnings of the 80′s,  he complained to Smyslov that , at least, the latter was engaged in Candidates’ matches… 

The following position, from the Black side, belongs to the game Kasparov-Petrosian, Tilburg, 1981. The young Kasparov has mounted what seems a terrible attack. It’s Black’s turn, what would you play here?


Now I am going to give the solution, but first try, at least, to choose the move you would have played as Black. Pay attention to White wonderful dominating position. Will you choose an overwhelming defensive move trying to steer the game into a draw?. Would you try to exchange pieces and hope for the better? Or perhaps you would try to hurry your King away from White’s ire looking for a safe haven on f7, for instance?.

Choose your move and go to the game continuation:

 35…, Kc6!!  (yes, even Kasparov was shocked after seeing this suicidal attempt. But there still was a pretty surprise for him in the offing…) 36. Rba3 bxc4  37. Rxa6  Bb6  38. Rxa6  Bb6  39. Bc5 Qd8  40. Qa1 Nxc5  41. dxc5  Kxc5  42. Ra4 and White resigned at the same time!


Written by QChess

April 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

Posted in CHESS, Chess History, Petrosian

Tagged with ,

Wonderful Knights, Odd Squares.

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“…for thre is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Shakespeare: “Hamlet

You are at home studying wonderful Chess games. You see how well-played they seem to have been played : an exquisite and smoot blend of strategy and tactics. You say to yourself you are going to do the same. (End of dream)

Then you go to play your own games and everything seems “rough”, full of ups and downs, with oversights on both parts if not gross mistakes. Back at home you tend to think you have been tricked by those GMs: the theory they played differs from the theory you wanted to imitate at one junction and you lost the thread of the game, and…and…and… etc.

Well, one of the many problems in Chess occurs when you have left the book and instead of a lovely attacking position with clear objectives and so on you face one of those level positions with several options but no clear plans, no threats, no weaknesses to attack, and so on. You have to play one move and after going to and fro considering one move after another without any clear idea, then you move a piece. But after seven or eight moves you realise you have committed your position to a degree that even a draw would be a miracle. 

For those positions, top GMs have developed a sort of sixth sense which allows them to intuitively “see” many hidden things: they “see” ,or rather can feel ,that which piece belongs to which square and how to re-route their pieces to keep their positions consolidated and harmonious. (Take for instance a player like Petrosian ). They feel that even apparently “ugly” moves like Nf3-h2 or e1 , Ng3-h1, etc may be the best option not because “something-has-to-be-played” , but because that is the right way to anticipate a hidden threat or re-route the piece via that odd square. (Backwards Knight moves, specially to the h1/h8 or a1/a8 squares are difficult to evaluate for the average player because of the way most of the people have been taught the rudiments of strategy in their beginnings)

But GMs have learnt (after all they are full-fledged professionals and they excel at what they do) that there is no such a thing like “pretty” or “ugly” squares/moves, but good and bad moves, good and bad plans , good and bad strategical/tactical decisions. Even Nimzowitsch was accused of playing “bizarre” moves, moves nobody understood, nobody would play because they went against the accepted truths or were labelled as “ugly”. Nevertheless, he made history, while many of his detractors, those defending “normal ideas”, those unable to accept that Chess was not a dead thing but a living, evolving one, passed unnoticed. 

So, the next time you sit at the board do not use those dangerous concepts of “prettiness/ugliness” when pondering about the movement of the pieces and the squares involved. (Or do it and then try to explain to yourself why h1/h8 is “not definitively  a square for your Knight to use…)

The following position is from Nimzowitsch-Tartakower, Carlsbad 1929:


Nimzowitsch played here…yes: 17. Nh1! and went on to win the game:

17…, f6  18. Qh2, h6 19.Ng3, Kh7 20. Be2 Rg8  21. Kf2 Rh8 22. Rh4 Qe8 23.Rg1, Bf8 24. Kg2, Nb7 25. Nh5, Qg6 26. f4, Nd8  27. Bf3, Nf7 28. Ne2,Be7 29. Kh1,Kg8 30. N2g3, Kf8 31. Nf5, Rg8 32. Qd2! Rc1 33. Rh2, Ke8  34.b3, Kd8  35. a3, Ra8 36. Qc1 Bf8? 37. Nh4,!, Qh7 38. Nxf6, Qh8 39. Nxg8, Qxg8 40. g5, exf4,  41.gxh6,Qh7  42. Qxf4, Bxh6  43. Qf6, Kc8 44. Nf5, Bxf5  45. exf5Kb7 46. Qg6, Rh8 47. Qxh7, Rxh7 48. Rg6, Kc8  49. f6, Rh8  50.Bg4, Kd8 51. Be6, Ke8  52. Bxf7, Kxf7 53. Rhxh6, 1-0

The next position is from Schlechter-Nimzowitsch, Carlsbad 1907:


Here, Nimzowitsch played... 17…Nha8!/ and went on to win the game.

And the last one is from Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein, Dresden, 1926:


The game continued: 18. Nh1! (en route to g5 forever) ,… Bd7/ 19. Nf2, Rae8 / 20. Rfe1, Rxe2/ 21. Rxe2, Nd8/ 22. Nh3, Bc6 / 23. Qh5, g6/ 24. Qh4, Kg7/ 25. Qf2, Bc5/ 26. b4, Bb6/ 27.Qh4, Re8/ 28. Re5!, Nf7/ 29. Bxf7, Qxf7/ 30. Ng5, Qg8/ 31. Rxe8, Bxe8/ 32. Qe1, Qe7/ 33. Qe7, Kh8/ 34. b5, Qg7/ 35. Qxg7 ,Kxg7/ 36. bxc6,  1-0


Written by QChess

March 28, 2014 at 7:45 am

Brief Summary on “Schools of Chess”

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Sometimes we get used to employing certain terms and really we only have a sort of intuitive understanding of them. Let´s speak of  the concept “Schools of Chess”. Supposedly the idea has to be understood related to the strategical side of Chess, and it would have to do with groups of chessplayers who would share the same strategical concepts to apply in the game. Everybody have read about the “Romantic School”, the “Classical School”, the “Hypermodern School” or the “Soviet School”. In my opinion these are the main ones though other authors have mentioned the Philidor,the Modenese even the English Schools too. But I consider them the precursors of the previously mentioned ones.

The so-called “Romantic School” developed during the 19th century. Chess was in its beginnings as far as strategical and defensive ideas were concerned. The players’ opening repertoires were narrow  and the games were characterized by sacrificial attacks. Accepting gambits was a matter of honour and nobody cared about defence. People associate the period to Morphy(1837-1884) and Anderssen (1818-1879). Then W. Steinitz (1836-1900) appeared. Being a player in the Romantic tradition in his beginnings, he was destined to become perhaps the first systematic thinker in the history of Chess. Unfortunately, his ideas (some of them bizarre, others too revolutionary for the time,etc.)  were not understood by the rest of players. Evidently, he found inspiration is some of his predecessors, and in this respect there is a name I would like to mention: Howard Staunton (1810-1874). In my opinion, he was the one who started to lay the foundations for the arrival of Steinitz (but this is simply an opinion).

Steinitz began to develop defensive technique and elaborated a theory of the middle game. He also formulated the theory of accumulating small advantages as the means to obtain a decisive attack. He accepted cramped positions, defensive centres, advocated the Bishop pair, and believed that any position, provided it had no weaknesses, could be sustained. In the same way that I have mentioned Staunton previously, now I must mention L. Paulsen too. (If you are interested in this or any other aspect here treated, the Internet will help you to widen your knowledge. Please be so kind to understand I am simply offering a few hints for the interested reader , since everything in this post has been dealt with in hundreds of books and thousands of www articles.)

The man called to explain and widen Steinitz’s theories was the German Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934) He was among the best chessplayers in the world in his time and played for the World Championship (with no luck). He developed Steinitz’s theories and established his own ideas. This period falls into what is considered as the “Classical School of Chess”.

Then a reaction against all this broke up with the appearance of the three apostles of a new School of Chess: The new ideas of the “Hypermodern School of Chess” (Nimzowitsch liked the term “Neoromanticism”) , a reaction against the “rigid” concepts advocated by Tarrasch, were heralded by G.Breyer (1894-1921), R. Reti (1889-1929) and , above all, by A. Nimzowitsch ( 1886-1935). The Hypermodern ideas were exposed in three books by Nimzowitsch : “My System“, “The Praxis of My System” and “Blockade“. They are exceptional documents. 

Curiously enough Nimzowitsch also mentions Steinitz, but the interpretation he gave to his predecessor’s ideas and the new ones introduced by the Hypermodern players constitute the establishment of a fundamental milestone in the history of Chess. Even today books keep being published discussing Nimzowitsch contributions to our beloved game. A new set of openings were invented, or rediscovered and put into practice by them. Everybody plays them today. The “system” worked in its time and works ,with the necessary adjustments, today. The English Opening, the Reti, the Larsen/Nimzowitsch, the Nimzoindian, Bogoindian, Queen’s Indian, systems with 1. Nf3 and all sort of fianchetto-based openings and defences like the Pirc, the Modern, the King’s Indian, the Grünfeld, the Bogoindian, the Alekhine and so on.   

And while all this was taking place mainly in Central Europe, a parallel movement with its roots deep in the 19th century tradition began to take place in Russia/the Soviet Union. With Chigorin as one of its foundling fathers, the 30`s and 40′s of the 20th century witnessed the appearance of an enormous Chess machinery:” The Soviet School of Chess”. (See the two posts  published on the 21st and the 23rd  of March 2012 for more information).


In the development of Chess ideas there is no watertight departments. Different ideas and different approaches, once established and formulated tend to coexist. Classicist and Hypermodernists lived and played together. A Capablanca and a Nimzowitsch or a Tal and a Petrosian. The topic I have written about is immense and a lot of players could be mentioned. But remember that the aim of this blog is to encourage the reader to make his/her own findings. Thank you so much.

Apart from the names mentioned above you may be interested in looking up the names of players like the following: S. Tartakower, E. Bogoljubow, J.R.Capablanca, A. Alekhine, E. Lasker, R. Spielmann,J . Zuckertort, F. Sämisch, L.Paulsen, G. Maróczy, F.Marshall, A. Rubinstein, Ilyin-Zhenevsky, N. Riumin, H. Pillsbury, G.A. MacDonnell, F. Yates, M. Euwe …)


Mate in 3 moves.- N. Rubens, 1953.


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March 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

Are We What We Have Been Influenced By?

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Have you ever thought about the past influences you show in the way you play Chess?. Think about it for a while.

My early Chess influences were , in this order, Karpov-Petrosian-Nimzowitsch (and the Hypermodern movement)-Botvinnik-Fischer and Spassky . I have learnt many things from all of them. If I reduce the list it would read: Karpov-Nimzowitsch et alii-Fischer-Spassky. Now you may say: “So what? Different chessplayers,different styles, etc.” Well, let’s try to find the common denominator. In fact when we speak of “influences” in Chess I immediately think of  openings and   certain middlegame recurrent positions. 

1.- Openings: Karpov (from his beginnings till around 1986), Fischer, Spassky and Nimzowitsch have had 1. e4 as their main opening as White. As Black Karpov ,Fischer and Spassky have played the Sicilian (my main weapon). The four have played Hypermodern defences : the Nimzoindian, the Queen´s Indian, the Grünfeld, the King’s Indian, the Benoni. I have played all of them + the Orthodox (Spassky’s weapon for many years too). 

2.- Middlegames: I have studied many books on strategy, middlegame Pawn constellations, etc. Books written by GMs from the Soviet Chess School and other GMs. like Pachman, Soltis, Grau (Argentina),Marovic, etc. I have studied Tarrasch´s and Steinitz´s games… BUT the greatest influence of all came from around 1979-80, when I came across my first copies of Nimzowitsch’s “Chess Praxis” and “My System” (the latter is a curious extended edition including different appendix with Nimzo’s articles which do not appear in the original and editions made after it (I suppose the editor decided to include them for the sake of completeness…). Then I managed to get a copy from “Blockade” published in the United States. And afterwards , I have tried to obtain anything on Nimzowitsch. For instance I have a copy from “Aron Nimzowitsch 100 Partier Forsynet med Stormensterens egne Kommentarer Og Skakcauserier” by Bjorn Nielsen in Danish (!!). And Nimzowitsch led me to Reti, Tartakower, Breyer,…

The Hypermodern reaction to the “classicism” represented by Tarrasch is known by everybody. I began to play Hypermodern Defences and typical middlegame set-ups avoiding the invasion of the centre with Pawns but trying to control and attack it from the wings. In my early years I used the English, the Reti or the Barcza System as White. I even tried bizarre systems like 1. c4, e5 2. e4 or 1. e4, c5 or …e5 / 2. c4. Or the Dresden Variation of the English, a most cherished  set-up of Nimzowitsch’s.

In Chess we could distinguish several periods (Chess writers call them “Schools”): Morphy, Anderssen et alii belonged to the Romantic School. Then came the Classical School with Tarrasch and contemporaries. One step forward and we have the Hypermodern School (curiously both Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch claimed they were trying to explain Steinitz’s ideas … to reach conclusions poles apart…). Afterwards, the Soviet Chess School, comprising everything, re-formulating many concepts,discovering new ones, etc. Today’s chessplayers follow an eclectic path (I guess). In a period of ultra-dynamism you can still find positional masterpieces in a classical or a hypermodern style be those what they may. I have written that certain school of thought has proclaimed that there is no strategy these days because the opening stage has been so extended that modern “tabiyas” may place the game between the 20th and the 30th move. (You can notice it at top-level Chess and in CC). But nearly everybody has a favourite idol : you may like Capablanca’s classical approach or Tal’s romantic one. Etc.

Perhaps knowing about all this may help us to improve because by insisting upon those features we have subconsciously acquired since our beginnings we may play within” our true style” or at least avoid repeating past mistakes, when perhaps we mixed things… (after all , one cannot play the Alekhine (1. e4, Nf6/ with the idea of invading the whole board with our Pawns… Get it?)

(In a different post I will write about Richard Reti (1889-1929) but I would like to include one of his compositions -No, it is not the famous  King/Pawn-race one…): 


This study was published by Reti and Mandler in 1924. White to move wins.  Instructions:

1.- This is not a mate problem.

2.- Study the position and try to imagine how White can proceed and how Black can defend his position.

3.- You can do it without moving the pieces. Then, try to find a solution by moving the pieces if necessary.

4.- You can cover the solution and try to find the first move and so on checking your election against the solution as if it were a game. White must play for the win, Black will try to , at least, get a draw. This is an exercise of threats/defences ,threats/counterthreats.

Remember that ,  in Chess, all the work you do always pays off, always reward.

1.- Ng1, Kd2! / 2. Nf3+ , Kd3! /3. Ke1, Ke3 / 4. Ne5, Ke4 /5. Nc4, Kd3 6. Nd2, Ke3/ 7. Nf3, Kd3 /8. Kf1! Ke3 / 9. Ne1, Kd2/ 10. Nc2!, Kd1 / 11. Nb4, Kd2 / 12. Nd5 winning.


Written by QChess

March 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm


with 2 comments

You play Chess,you read Chess books about tactics, about how to calculate variations, about how to take decisions, about how to make plans, about dynamic strategy, and so on. Then you have to play in an OTB tournament or a CC one. So you prepare your first move as White. Then you decide what to play against your opponent’s 1. e4 and 1. d4. (You do not care about 1. c4 or 1. Nf3 because you can use the same defences as versus 1. d4. Or perhaps not. If my opponent plays 1. Nf3 I will play 1. Nf6 and if s/he plays 2. g3, then I will play  2. …, b5/- and then you imagine your opponent’s face…). In an OTB game this may constitute a big surprise forcing him or her to use his/her own head to continue the game. In a CC game the surprise factor disappears: your opponent will use an engine with updated opening information  and everything will be as aseptic as ever. Damn it.

It is clear that positions that can be won and lost in OTB may have a different outcome in CC.You know why. OTB purists despise CC , and many CC players consider OTB Chess s a “game of chance”. But we all continue playing Chess.

(I am re-reading the book “Bobby Fischer Goes to War“, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Perhaps my next re-reading will be “Endgame”, by Frank Brady. Someone said that till the age of forty you read books, and afterwards you start to re-read them… My Zen-monk inner self tells me that anything can be true and untrue at the same time.)

When preparing for a tournament I always spend some time with musings of the type: “Well, I have two options: a) to play my all-chess-life opening repertoire , or b) to forget about well-trodden paths and play something new in all the games. Spassky used to change openings during the last part of his Chess career, as both White and Black. There was a time when he used 1…b6 in answer to 1. e4, for instance. Even Karpov has used the Scandinavian (!!!) in his last appearances . Yes, most of those games were fast-chess events with different time-formats but he scored well against world-class opponents. (And Karpov is one of those top-class players who has never played certain openings).

The opening is a sensible part of the game. Many players panic before the idea of leaving the path they have been following during all their Chess lives. Others tend to think that -in OTB- nearly everything can be playable because it is a matter of good moves not of good and bad opening systems. In the past, you could see players labelled as classical ones using hypermodern openings (like the Alekhine, the Nimzoindian, the Grünfeld, etc.), and players labelled as hypermodernists playing classical set-ups (like the Orthodox or the Tarrasch)  And let me insist: the problem comes when it is CC. Correspondence Chess players know what I am referring to. In OTB Chess you depend on your memory (opening lines, home-made analysis, etc. You may forget some move, a line, the moves behind an analysis, etc and this may decide the outcome of the game ). In CC you have  weapons other than your memory, get it?.

So, it is not the same to play (as Black) 1. d4, b5 in OTB Chess than the same sequence in CC. In OTB Chess your opponent may try to reach familiar middlegame positions while in CC it doesn’t matter: your opponent has many  options to try without making mistakes…

(Perhaps you will have noticed that, from time to time, I stop writing regularly. The explanation is that I try to put a great effort in what I write. When I am tired or find it difficult to find the best way to express my thoghts, I simply stop writing.I could fill this blog of garbage on a daily basis. But I don’t feel like.  Please let me beg your understanding)

Now : 


This is from an obscure game Boucchechter-Spassky played in Tel-Aviv in 1964 (position from Black’s side). Can you spot the way Spassky finishes the game off?


And this is a mate in 4 by Agapov.


26…, Rxe3 27. Nxe3, Rxf2 28.Rxd3, Rxg2 29. Kxg2, Qg6/  0-1

1. Qh6!! Nh5/ 2.Ke7, Nf6 /3.Qxg7, Kxg7 /4. f8Q mate 


Written by QChess

March 9, 2014 at 7:45 am

Posted in CHESS, Personal opinion

Tagged with ,

A Matter of Opinion

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The discussion about OTB Chess and CC is alive and there and will continue forever due to the possibility of using engines in CC . During  my own CC games I have the opportunity to exchange ideas with some of my opponents. In general there are several  , say, “schools of thought” :

1.- Those who play CC or CC and OTB and don’t care about the matter.

2.-Those who play CC and OTB and have strong opinions about the matter.

3.- Those who only play CC and are somewhat “angry” at how it is played these days (with the use of engines and databases for instance…)

4.- And so on…

First of all,  I base my ideas upon what I consider a fundamental fact: 

Today’s CC and OTB  are totally different ways of playing Chess.

Let’s see some of the differences:

1.- In OTB Chess the players cannot use written notes, books, databases, etc during games. In CC they can. (Some sites explicitly insist in forbidden the use of computers/databases, but…

2.- In OTB Chess the clock has a significant if not decisive role. It is not so in CC. Though in CC you can lose on time it is not the urgency the matter may reach  in OTB Chess.

3.- In CC you can lose games by sending the wrong move through a server ( in its classical form with written postcards you could write down the wrong move too). In OTB Chess you cannot. 

4.- In OTB Chess, normal tournament games last a few hours. In CC the games last days,weeks and months. Then in CC you have much more time to study the positions between moves. 

5.- With the use of excellent Chess servers the possibility of arguments between CC opponents due to bad behaviour, not accomplishing with the  rules, etc are practically nonexistent. In OTB Chess there are much more problems and the task of the controllers sometimes is an uphill task (to say the least).

Now, some players complain because the way CC is played now has turned our beloved game in a sort of  absolutely accurate process requiring of lots of time to compare possible game continuations, mostly in balanced positions with several possible moves . Why?.- Because in CC computers can be used “defensively” (simply checking your move in search of immediate mistakes, or “aggressively”, using the computer as an aid to find,check and compare all sort of lines…And yes, it is very difficult to win games, the number of drawn games may be high, etc. But it is certain that games continue being won and lost, norms and titles continue being achieved, so,  normal life.

In this matter I try to be as pragmatic as possible: progress is progress and what I try to do is to get adapted to the new advances as they appear and always within my possibilities.. You may say engines have taken the fun out of CC. I love Chess so much that I don’t mind. Moreover, there are no CC professional players, so I prefer thinking that when my fellow comrades begin to fume and rail against everything that moves is because they are very competitive ,like winning and  cannot stand losing . (Well, to say the least again …)


This is a mate in 3 by Wurzburg for you to solve. (If there is any problem, click to enlarge, you know)


Written by QChess

February 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Posted in CHESS, Personal opinion

Tagged with , News

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