Different CC players play CC differently. Some of them use the latest database in the market, others, with the tools they prefer or can afford themselves , try to defeat their opponents from a position of force. Other group pay great attention to the different openings/defences so as to choose the one they considered best to make the task difficult for their opponents and their programs. All of them speak of trying to get an opening advantage, increase it and win the game. A sort of unidirectional train of thought: I try to deliver blows / he must stop them till he is unable to withstand another one. O.K. Then you start playing at the ICCF and you suddenly realize the jungle (yes, remember that post where I spoke of a jungle??) you are in… Time honoured openings give nothing, solid defences do not withstand the pressure and moreover if your opponent is stronger he seems to be a step ahead in theory or the lines you have always played lead to a sure draw, in the best of cases…
Apart of doing nothing (Zen tradition not always adequate for CC I’m afraid) you can use a bit of “lateral thinking” so beginning a dangerous trip down your own mental balance (apart from your games, you can also lose your marbles…) Yet that was what I did. The result of such heroical feat was that I realized that perhaps it was not a matter f “how I can beat my opponent”, but rather a subtler one of “how I can make him slip and stumble down”. According to this nightmare, it would be a matter of reaching positions (any normal opening/defence is liable to) with several possible “equal options”. Then the computer aided opponent will be unable to discern the very best option because there will be no “very best single option”. From my experience I know that, in these cases, the player gets somewhat “lost”, and has to play what the computer decides or risk playing against the computer option. In both cases games tend to drift in favour of the wily player who is able to pose such dilemma to his enemy. Or not. :)But I think the theory is worth a try.
(Several years ago, I think it was the English GM. J. Speelman who proposed something similar for OTB Chess: to keep the game in leveled or nearly leveled positions so as keep the opponent moving in the unclear margin of similar elections forcing him to risk in search of victory or make a slip which would turn the tables in your favour. But always remember in OTB it exists the clock factor.)
There is no money -generally speaking- in CC. So your opponents want your points. The permanent changes in opening theory mean that some lines/end positions are abandoned but many others are accepted as “playable”. If you play with aspirations to getting norms, you must keep on studying, thinking about, trying not only moves and lines, but also new approaches to the game.
Perhaps you would like to hve a look at what follows (if in the future the diagram “shrinks” as happened in other posts, simply click on it to enlarge):
Pos. in Forsyth: 5n2 / 5npR / 8 / 8 / 8 / 7N / 5K1k : Mate in 4 by Fröberg and Hultberg.
Much has been written about strategy and planning. When I started to play Chess I dreamed with the “perfect” game: I would play the opening, I would devise a single grand ( enormous, magnificent,unbeatable ) plan and I would carry it out in style. Everybody would congratulate me, asked my advice and the game would find its place in the books. -End of dream.
Of course it is nearly impossible to do that. Chess strategy has become a very subtle and refined element these days, perhaps due to the predominant rôle of opening preparation and today’s tactical approach (GMs try to finish off the game quickly and at the minimum risk of losing, if possible.)
In the world of CC, some players are trying to rethink all this matter because we have to fight against program-aided opponents. The tactical brute force of today’s engines can only be met with accurate strategical play so as to try to baffle the computer: human abstract thinking vs. engine calculation superpowers. Yet this is only in theory and (perhaps) in an ideal world… Reality is very different as CC players know. Why?.- Because in fact, I guess we all are doing the same at home…
I have already written that I grew up reading Chess literature produced in the former Soviet Union: Kotov, Karpov,Petrosian, Botvinnik, Lipsnizky,… So, I suppose I acquired a rather “academic” (right or wrong) approach: a good game had to contain good strategical plans, you cannot do without that. With the books by Pachman, Koblentz, Suetin, etc I learnt tactics and more strategy, then hundreds of Chess books began to appear on my bookshelves, mainly books published by British or American GMs. Others were Russian/East German editions that my kind opponents sent to me as a present. In one of the English editions, G. Abrahams wrote the following wise words (“The Chess Mind“): “Strategy (…) is at its best when it is least perceptible.(…) (The master) has seen the tactical lines and has valued the permanent features: but always of the specific position”
So, strategical thinking cannot be separated from tactical calculation. The key is to prevent all the opponents’ tactical counterplay and then liquidate the position. Apparently and if you have managed to expose your opponent’s weaknesses, this strategy would pay its dividends. Thus: 1) creation of weaknesses ;2) Prevention of counterplay; 3) Transformation of the position. In the process you will have to deal with threats, unexpected moves, your own mistakes and your opponent’s will to beat you . Perhaps this is the secret to success …? Of course not!! In the past I thought most of the glorious ideas I read in books were a sort of absolute truth. But then , when I try to play the game nothing of that happened/ was likely to happen, etc.
So my advice is this: Never, never blindly believe what people write in books. Books must be servants, not masters. Refer everything you read to your own experience. The map is never the battleground. Even GMs may be writing by a lot of different reasons, and bear in mind NOBODY , LET ALONE PROFESSIONAL GMs .IS GOING TO REVEAL ANY SECRET. Study good books, and, above all, study good collections of games with good notes. And do your own work. Now look at the following game : it was acclaimed as a rare masterpiece containing a single grand plan which comprises the whole game !
W.: Keres (1)
B.: Euwe (0)
Match played in 1940
1. d4 Nf6/ 2. c4 e6/ 3. Nc3 Bb4/ 4. Qc2 Nc6/ 5. Nf3 0-0/ 6. Bg5 h6/ 7. Bh4 d6/ 8. e3 Qe7/ 9. Be2 e5/ 10. d5 Nb8/ 11. Nd2 (Here Keres envisages a grand plan. The idea is to play f4, force the exchange minor pieces, play e4, open the a/h files , attack c7 an g7 and play f5 This threats will provoke Black’s …g6 so weakening g7/f6 and h6. The attack will force Black to accept more weaknesses in his position. You play with threats so as to force your opponent to make defensive/weakening moves. As Nimzowitsch would say, there is the main melody and the accompanying music…):
11…, Nbd7/ 12. 0-0 a5/ 13. Rae1! Re8/ 14. f4! Bxc3/ 15. Qxc3 Ne4/ 16. Nxe4 Qxh4 17. g3 Qe7/ 18. Bg4! Nf6/ 19. Nxf6 Qxf6/ 20. Bxc8 Raxc8/ 21. Rf2 b6/ 22. Re-f1 Qg6/ 23. f5! Qf6/ 24. e4! c6/ 25. dxc6 Rxc6/ 26. a4 Kf8/ 27. Rd1 Re-c8/ 28. b3 Ke7/ 29. Qf3 ( over to the K-side), Kd7/ 30. h4 Kc7/ 31. Kf1 Kb7/ 32. Ke2 R8c7/ 33. Rh2 Qd8/ 34. g4 f6/ 35. Rg2 Rc8/ 36. Rg3 Qd7/ 37. Qd3 Qf7/ 38. Rh1 Rh8/ 39. R1-h3 R6-c8/ 40. g5! hxg5/ 41. hxg5 Qc7 (d6 must be defended) 42. Qd5 Ka7/ 43. Rd3 Rxh3?!/ 44. Rxh3 fxg5/ 45. Rh7 Qe7/ 46. Kf3! Rf8/ 47. Kg4 Rf7/ 48. b4! axb4/ 49. a5! Qb7/ 50. axb6 Kxb6/ 51. Qxd6 Ka7/ 52. Qxe5 b3/ 53. Rh3! Rf6 / 54. Qd4 Rb6 55. Rxb3 , Black resigns.
Apart from studying the planning in the game, it is very important to realize how that planning is carried out by means of threats. Chess is a game of threats.
These days everybody is writing about the Chess World Championship between Anand and Carlsen in India. I only have a passing interest. When Kasparov (yes, the guy who now wants to become President of FIDE … -This is as if Guy Fawkes would have wanted to become PM…) and Short broke with that very same FIDE splitting into two the world of Chess, I predicted that was going to be disastrous for Chess. An easy prediction. After that , things were never the same. With Kasparov retired and Kapov nearly retired too, the Chess world saw how children of lesser gods became Champions of the World to vanish into thin air forever. Even the media lost their interest, and what was worse: most sponsors began to leave Chess and devote their money to other more profitable devotions. Thank you Gary (Kasparov) for destroying a beautiful building to have a stone to sit on. Thank you Nigel (Short) for your greed and your lust for money. One of the side-effects was that if in the past even non-chessplayers knew the name of the Chess World Champion, today nobody knows and what is again even worse: nobody cares either. When you have lived with the names of Botvinnik, Tal, Spassky, Karpov, Fischer, Smyslov , Petrosian (to mention the period post WW2 only) , with those gruelling matches like those between Karpov and Korchnoi, Botvinnik and Tal , Spassky and Fischer, etc.
I agree with GM Spraggett when he says that neither Anand nor Carlsen will be like Fischer. And for my part, I don’t expect much from this match either. We are in an age of sheer and shameless pragmatism (see the first two game of this match. What would have thought Fischer, Botvinnik, Tal, etc.?). Today’s players play mainly for a) money, b) ELO points -and I don’t know in which order…- So they fear losing. They play “not to lose” instead of playing to win at all costs. They are afraid of losing ELO points like the plague while asking for good financial conditions. In the past, most of us spent our money buying the books dealing with World Championship matches because we were enthralled by the event and the charismatic players. And we used them to study the games, one time after another, TO LEARN Chess from them. Even today I spend many evenings with Fischer and Spassky in 1972, or with Tal and Botvinnink in 1960. I’m afraid I will pass NO time with Anand and Carlsen 2013… I accept that many people may consider the first two games of the match as something typical of World Championship matches . I have read somebody has calculated that every game costs around 166,000 euros… If it is so, these two guys should work a little harder. (I hope all this will change for the rest of the match…). At least the third and the fourth games have been much more interesting.
In 1971 Karpov and Korchnoi agreed to play a secret training match (this method was used in the Soviet Union. Botvinnik did it on several occasions too). In the end, the games crop up and here I have included two of them in case you prefer combine them with those played in India. I’m sure you will enjoy yourselves with them.
(You may argue Chess today is very different from Chess 30 or 40 years ago. But the attitude of the chessplayers has also changed perhaps forced by more pragmatic conditions. In any case, Chess offers plenty of occasions to create masterpieces and terrible fights one time after another. When this happens, no matter if the final result is a draw. Perhaps this is why many people keeps mentioning Fischer, Tal, Keres, Bronstein, et alii and new books about them keep being published on a regular basis? Who knows…)
W.: Karpov (1)
B.: Korchnoi (0)
Leningrad 1971 (Training Match)
1. e4 e6 / 2. d4 d5 / 3. Nd2 c5 /4. Ngf3 Nc6 / 5. ed ed / 6. Bb5 Bd6 / 7. dc Qe7/ 8. Qe2! Bxc5/ 9. Nb3 Bb6/ 10. Ne5! Kf8 !? / 11. Bf4 Qf6 / 12. Bg3 h5/ 13. h4 Nge7/ 14. 0-0-0 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qxf2 16. Bxg7 Kxg7/ 17. Qxe7 Bf5/ 18. Qe5! f6/ 19. Qxe7 Kg6/ 20. Rd2!! Be3/ 21. Rf1 Bxd2 / 22. Nxd2 Qd4!/ 23. Rxf5! Kxf5/ 24. Bd3 Kf4 / 25. Qd6 Qe5 / 26. Qb4 d4?!/ 27. Ne4! Kf5?/ 28. Qxb7 Kg4/ 29. Be2 Kxh4/ 30. g3 Kh3/ 31. Nf2 Kh2/ 32. Qh1 Kxg3/ 33. Ne4 Kf4 / 34. Qf3 mate. (Punctuation marks by Korchnoi who when annotated the game said this was the best game Karpov has played in his whole life…)
W.: Karpov (0)
B.: Korchnoi (1)
Leningrad Training Match 1971
1. e4 c5/ 2. Nf3 e6/ 3. d4 cd4/ 4. Nxd4 Nf6/ 5. Nc3 d6 / 6. Be2 Be7/ 7. Be3 a6/ 8. f4 Qc7/ 9. g4 d5/ 10. e5 Ne4/ 11. Nxe4 de/ 12. h4 0-0/ 13. g5 Rd8/ 14. c3 Nc6/ 15. Qd2 Bc5/ 16. h5 Bd7/ 17.Bg4 Be8/ 18. g6 Qa5/ 19. gf Bxf7/ 20. Nxc6 bc /21. Qf2 Bxe3/ 22.Qxe3 Rab8/ 23. b4 Qa3/ 24. Qc1 Qa4/ 25. Be2 c5/ 26. bc Bc6/ 27. Qe3 Rb2/ 28. Rg1 Bxh5 / 29. Bc4 Qa4/ 30. Bxe6 Kh8/ 31. Bg4 Bxg4/ 32. Rxg4 Rxa2/ White resigned.
Six games were played and the final result was two draws and two victories for each side .
CChess is a jungle. Let me explain: you like CC and perhaps you are playing in any ICCF official event. This is my case. Of late, I have realized that most of my opponents are not only armed to the teeth with databases, and the rest of CC paraphernalia: many of them seem to be connected to the webserver perpetually: I work hard on my move, find it, check and recheck it well , not always…- send it and “voilà” , I have not written it down yet and the answer flashed on the screen. Believe me: I have sent moves at the oddest and infamous hours. It doesn´t matter: there is always someone with their move or conditional move ready and deciding s/he is not going to give you any respite. And it is not a matter of different time zones… Some days ago I told an opponent -and friend of mine from Sweden- that I saw today’s CC as a jungle full of lions, panthers, tigers … and me. The problem is that I saw myself as a kitten and the rest of felines instead of considering me a fellow-feline companion considered me as their food… Then, do I lack the famous “killer instinct”?. Or perhaps am I more an artist and not a fighter and so on?. The answer to both questions is in the negative. No, I want to win all my games, to beat all my opponents, I like fighting and winning. So, I do not know why I see myself as a kitten and the rest as a wild group of big felines out for blood. -And please, do not suggest I should need a psychiatrist -
I have found the following position and notes (do not know where it appeared or wrote the accompanying legend) in my archives:
“J. Mendheim. 19th century. This 5-mover is a great example of stormy power play. The solution usually contains sparkling combinations, and positions resemble actual games”. (So mate in five moves)
How is Boris Spassky? Since he fled to Mother Russia already some time ago the only things that have come out are that he is recovering slowly from a stroke, that he made brief public appearances and that he decided to be inscribed as a Russian -instead on a French- chessplayer again. I have been unable to get in touch with him as I did before (you can read about all this in previous posts in this blog). Well, I frequently remember that July 2007 when we met in my hometown, and spent several days together… This episode was the second stroke he suffered in the space of several years. He managed to recover quite well from the first one, but experts say that a repetition is usually terrible. When I read about him and Fischer sometimes it seems as if the early seventies of the past century were placed two centuries ago, belonged to a part of my life lost in the mists of time. Curiously enough, unknown snaps featuring Bobby Fischer keep appearing: the last one (“Spraggett on Chess” Blog) depicts Fischer giving lecture at Hart House in Toronto, Canada. It is very curious but Fischer seemed to have been always doing something on my very birthday date along the years…
Those who regularly follow this blog may have realized that changes in the system have erased several images and positions. I do not know why this has happened…-the gremlings???- One of those images corresponds to a mate in three moves problem by Tavariani (level: difficult):
I think these problems are enough to make you feel the pangs of devoting your lives to playing Chess…Or not.
I have engaged myself into too many ICCF official games. These days, with most opponents armed to the teeth with programs, databases etc ,one can see that new “features” have crop up. Let’s see some of them:
In the past, when we had to use postcards and stamps, only a few diehards continued playing in clearly lost positions. Today, playing through the server, I have games where my opponents keep on playing with a lot of material down and no compensation, even whole Rooks and Queens… Why?… Because rating points have become absolutely valuable and nobody wants to lose a single one (after all, your opponent may die in the process of trying to beat you -or at least some of my opponents may believe this idea…).
Games keep on being won, lost and drawn, with perhaps a growing number of drawn games and a lot of people complaining because “they are stronger and now even rivals with less ratings than them manage to make a draw”. Yeah! : in CC many people make a funny mistake taking “rating points” (a relative and changing value) for “chess strength” ( perhaps a more permanent value). I suppose their process of reasoning is: “since I have 100 more points than my rival he must lose against me, forgetting that in Chess, as in any other sport, you must beat your opponents because they will surely fight for their lives trying to spoil your fun. In any case, in today’s games you must be ready to accept they are likely to be very long…
Today everybody is very dangerous, with the changing ratings indicating nothing: in one game you beat an opponent 100 points above you and in another one, you lose to another opponent 100 points below you. Be more careful (I can tell you from sad experience… The ICCF produce rating list every three months. A bit too often??.- I don’t know.
With the wonderful invention of the webservers /play through the Internet you may -if you and your opponent follows suit exchange many moves a day. Or not. In my ICCF events, with 50 days for 10 moves and some specifications to make the players send their moves on a regular basis (the system has different controls to do so) I usually play the first ten moves relatively quickly and then I usually slow down a bit.
My last results show that I have just won a tournament, have another one in my pocket but I have sheepishly lost a game because I fell in a theoretical hole: I was following the book, but the line was wrong in the database, I did not check it out and lost. Shame on me. Another sin of mine is trying to employ openings I do not usually play “for the sake of changing”. A capital sin if you have too many games. The Grünfeld Defence was my last “Waterloo” .
I began to play CC in 1986. CC may become terrible since the games may last for many months. Everything is OK if you get hold of the “right” end of the stick… If you end up on the “wrong” end the pains and sufferings awaiting you may be unbearable.
Apart from many other considerations, I suppose people play Chess perhaps not professionally, but on a serious basis because, in the end, we tend to think that the joy provided by winning may compensates the pains of losing. And everybody believes s/he is going to win “the next game I am going to play“. The question is : is the feeling left by the victory the same as the feeling creates by the loss???. If your answer is in the affirmative, tend apply it to real life, to the good and the bad moments you have been through …: are they still the same?.- Over to you!.
Now a problem for this ugly, cold, grey November days:
E.B. Cook 1856. Mate in three moves.
(This blog is approaching the 4,000 visits. Thank you very much indeed. I don’t know how long I will be writing it, but any comment will be welcome.- It would be great if the readers decided to express their views too. )
The Soviet GM Alexander Kotov has served as inspiration to some generations of chessplayers. His three books “Think Like a Grandmaster”, “Play Like a Grandmaster“ and “Train Like a Grandmaster“ have become beacon fires for millions of chessplayers all over the world. Kotov divided the different middlegame positions into two great groups subdividing the second one:
1. Intuitive Positions
2. Resolvable Positions :
-2a) By Logical Plans -2b) Calculable positions : 2b1) Combinational 2b2) With forced variations 2b3) With alternating blows
-2c) Manoeuvring Positions. (Kotov explains this consists of shot-term plans and “tacking to and fro move by move”, insisting that this method is only valid for level positions). He criticized those especially among young players, who resort to this way of playing in nearly all sort of positions because Kotov believed it was caused by the desire to play too many tournaments having no time for home study and showing a manifest lack of creative attitude.)
In my opinion, this succinct description of the possible middlegames is outstanding, and may help the player a lot when studying chess games.
The problems everybody has to face when studying annotated games are clear: if the game is annotated by a professional player in active, do not expect great revelations… If the game is annotated by journalists everything will depend on their ability for annotating games, space provided by the editor, time little they have to devote to the matter, etc. (I have compared notes provided by world-class GMs to the same games and the result is -to say the least- worth thinking about… If the notes are written using a computer and providing variations only, they will lack any strategical or positional guideline, and so on. My advice: try to do your own notes, try to see positional plans and strategical ideas.
Concerning the above classification, the first idea is to try to attach names to the different parts, because it is not a matter to describe middlegame possibilities, the classification also identifies styles of playing Chess. It is true every top player masters the different ways of dealing with middlegame positions, but certain middlegames tend to appear out of the same type of openings, and one´s opening repertoire has a lot to do with one’s approach to Chess and ,ultimately, with one’s style. I guess many people would associate “intuitive positions” to Tal and Shirov, for example. I would put Fischer under the heading of resolvable positions (but also Tal, Spassky,…), and leave a Petrosian or a Karpov for “manoeuvring positions”. Let me insist, this is but only a bit of speculative passtime, as I have explained above: Tal played beautiful positional games and Petrosian knew how to sacrifice pieces and Pawns. And I insist once again: this classification is, primarily, a classification of middlegame positions, not of chessplayers.
Alexander Alexandrovich KOTOV was born in 1913 and died in 1981. He became a GM in 1950. Let me recommend you the three books mentioned above. He also wrote several other books, magazine articles and compiled the life and games of his hero Alexander Alekhine. He also wrote a book with Yudovich about the history of the Soviet Chess School, with very interesting historical facts. He was considered an attacking chessplayer and was known as a” giant killer” because he defeated the cream of the cream of his fellow GM companions.
When I managed to get his book “Think Like a Grandmaster” it was like “seeing the light” or having found a secret knowledge.. I cannot remember how many times I read the book and worked following the pieces of advice it contains.
W.: Kotov (1)
B.: Barcza (0)
1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4,g6/ 3. Nc3, Bg7/ 4. e4, d6/ 5. g3, 0-0/ 6. Bg2, e5/ 7. Nge2, exd4/ 8. Nxd4, Nc6/ 9. Nc2, Be6/ 10. b3, Qd7/ 11. 0-0, Bh3/ 12. f3, Bxg2/ 13. Kxg2, a6/ 14. Bb2, Na7/ 15. Qd2, b5/ 16. Ne3, c6/ 17. Rad1, Rad8/ 18. Ne2!, Qc7/ 19. Bc3, Qe2/ 20. Nd4, Ne8/ 21. Ndf5!, gxf5/ 22. Nxf5, Qc7/ 23. Nxg7, Nxg7/ 24, Bf6!! , Kh8 (Kotov said that if 24…, Ne6/ 25. f4!,Rfe8/ 26. f5,Rd7/ 27. Rf4, h6/ 28. Rg4, Kh7/ 29. Qxh6, Kxh6/ 30. Rh4 .- if 24…, Ne6/ 25. f4, h6/ 26. f5, Ng5/ 27.Bxf5, hg5/ 28. Qxg5)
25. Qg5, Rg8/ 26. h4, Rde8/ 27. h5, Re5/ 28. Bxe5, dxe5/ 29. Qf6!, Nc8/ 30. h6, Ne7/ 31. Rd2 Black resigns. If 31…, bc4/ 32. Rfd1, cb3/ 33. hg7, Rxg7/ 34.Rd8, Ng8/ 35. Rxg8, Kxg8/ 36. Rd8, Qxd8/ 37. Qxd8 -Kotov-)
W.: Botvinnik (0)
B.: Kotov (1)
USSR Chess Championship 1944
1. d4, Nf6/ 2, c4, e6/ 3, Nc3, Bb4/ 4. a3, Bxc3/ 5. bc, d5/ 6. cd, ed/ 7. Bg5, c5/ 8. f3, h6/ 9. Bxf6, Qxf6/ 10. e3, 0-0 / 11. Ne2, Re8/ 12. Kf2, Qe7/ 13. Qd2, Nd7/ 14. Nf4, Nf6/ 15. Bd3, Bd7/ 16. h3, Qd6/ 17. Rhb1, b6/ 18. Bf1, Re7/ 19. a4, Rae8/ 20. Re1, c4!/ 21. g4, g5!/ 22. Ne2, Rxe3!/ 23. Ng3, Qxg3!/ 24. Kxg3, Ne4/ White resigned.
Today’s position to solve: Mate in 3 moves.
Today, a position for a game played in Moscow in 1961. White (Muchnik) to move.The Black side was played by Estrin. Sharpen your combinative skills. Solution after text.
Basically, there are many types of correspondence chess (CC) players. We have those who prefer concentrate upon a few games, those who prefer having many games in progress, those who keep a balanced profile concerning the matter, those who prefer unrated friendly games, those who play for rating and norms, etc. And concerning the opening we try to play always the same openings or those who like testing new openings, trying new possibilities, and so on. If you like playing many games sometimes you may find it boring to have twenty-five 1. e4 -games or twenty Sicilians/ QGD, for example. So you decide to play 1. d4 in a bunch of games and the Grünfeld or the QID in another bunch of them. I have always thought this is very good: you have to study new openings, you find different fresh positions, you are widening your Chess knowledge.
The problem begins when in serious games you do the same and one day you realize that if the first move sets up the pace of the game ,the second move -mainly as Black- may be a source of doubts! :
“My opponent has played 1. e4. I will play my Sicilian: 1. e4 , c5/ 2.Nf3 :to your desperation your doubts start: 2. …d6, 2…e6 or 2…Nc6? .The type of game these three moves may lead to you are absolutely different! Suddenly you remember you have lost your last three Najdorfs, so 2…, e6 -but do I want to play a Paulsen???. And if 2…Nc6 I may land in a Paulsen, a Taimanov, a Scheveningen or a Sveshnikov …
My opponent has played 1. d4. OK. If I play 1…d5 it is clear my idea is far from trying Indian systems. If I play 1…Nf6/ and he plays 1.c4 I can play : Indian systems, QGA, QGD, even irregular set-ups.. So: 1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4 and by the time this move reach you you-have-doubts-because-you-have-won-or-lost-with-this-or that-defence-so-you-.idea-was-to-test-a-Grünfeld-but-perhaps-it-is-better-that-Orthodox-you-have-played-so-many-times-and so on. So you don’t know what to play whether 2…,e6 or 2…g6 , you leave this game for the week-end but what usually happen is that in the week-end you still don’t know what to do because you are trying to convince yourself -with rational arguments- of what may be a matter of taste… In friendly games this is not a problem: you try new openings and that’s all. But in ICCF games with ratings at stake…beware: a CC game may last many months (not an afternoon and tomorrow I will play a different opponent, etc). If you choose “the wrong option”, you may be compelled to play positions you do not like for many months, and eventually you may lose that game. And during those months, every time you set up the damned position to choose your move, an odd feeling of stupidity may be hovering over your head…
In Chess every move matters: the first, the second, even the third move (yes, the third one too: 1. d4, Nf6/2.c4, e6/3.Nf3 and now you have a lot of options again leading to completely different types of game: from a Bogoindian to a Benoni or a wild Volga Gambit ), may decide the fate of the game not because they are bad, but because a wrong decision may keep you feeling uneasy with the game for months.
W.: Tal (1)
B.: Pasman (0)
1. e4, c5 /2. Nf3, d6/ 3. d4, cxd4/ 4. Nxd4, Nf6/ 5. Nc3, a6/ 6. f4, e5/ 7. Nf3, Nbd7/ 8. Bd3, Bd7/ 9. 0-0, 0-0 / 10. Kh1, b5/ 11. a3, Qc7 / 12. fxe5, dxe5/ 13. Nh4, Nc5/ 14. Bg5, Qd8/ 15. Nf5, Bxf5/ 16. Rxf5, Nfd7/ 17. Bxe7, Qxe7/ 18. Nd5, Qd6/ 19. Qg4, g6/ 20. Raf1, g6/ 21. h4!, Kh8/ 22. R5f3, f5/ 23. exf5!?, Qxd5/ 24. fxg6, Rxf3/ 25. g7, Kg8/ 26. Bxh7, Kxh7/ 27. Rxf3,Ne4!/ 28. h5, N7f6/ 29. Qg6, Kg8/ 30. h6 Ra7?! (30…, Nh7-Koblentz)/ 31. Kh2!, Re7/ 32. Rh3!, Nh7/ 33. Rd3, Qa8/ 34. Qxe4!, Qxe4/ 35. Rd8, Kf7/ 36. g8Q, Kf6/ 37. Rd6, Kf5/ 38. Qg6, Kf4/ 39. g3, Ke3/ 40. Rd3, Qxd3/41. Qxd3 Black resigned.
The solution to the above position is: 1. Rb3, Qa1/ 2 f6, Bxf6/ 3. Bxg7!, Bxg7/ 4. Bh7, Kh8/ 5. Rxa1, Bxa1/ 6. Be4!, Bg7/ 7. Rh3 winning