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A Matter of Fact

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Study by A. Gurvich, 1927.White to move wins.

The modern practice of Correspondence Chess (CC) , with the extensive use of databases and computer programs has caused a change in my approach to Chess, at least if I compare it with my approach when I also played OTB Chess: it seems I remember less “book” theory but have developed my intuition as far as the openings is concerned. I suppose the explanation has to do with the fact that in OTB Chess the player must know a lot of opening variations because s/he has to play from memory, while  for CC players the method is totally different as s/he can use books,magazines and databases so having no need to memorize tons of variations. (On the other hand, studying cartloads of variations may be useful for certain levels of Chess professional levels mainly. For the rest many top chessplayers and me believe it may be more a waste of time than any other thing. A matter of taste,though…)

The theory of the Chess openings has developed in such a way that unless you are a living encyclopaedia, it is impossible to know everything. One simply can carefully choose a few pet lines and try to learn them as deeply as possible. You may say that in CC this is not the same. Well, when the number of opening variations is so big, the number of typical positions to explore grows exponentially . So…

Of course , one can make “experiments”: let’s suppose your favourite lines against 1.e4 and 1. d4 are the Caro-Kann and the Orthodox Bondarevesky/Makagonov . It seems you are a positional player. One day you are in high spirits and in an official ICCF event against an IM you decide you can play everything and if your opponent plays 1. e4 you choose the Sicilian Najdorf and if he plays 1, d4 you choose the Volga Gambit for the first time in your life… Well, I tend to believe that instead of an innocuous experiment in a 99% it will mean sheer suicide.

If you are playing in official CC / OTB Chess events no matter the level of them perhaps you should bear in mind a few ideas. For example:

1.- Chess is a difficult game. Making moves is easy. Playing Chess, and more in official events, isn’t.

2.- Mastering Chess is a whole-life job. And there are no shortcuts. You depend on certain talent + hard work.In a degree or another, we all have “talent”.3.-

3.-The way super GMs play may be deceptive: there is an immense work  behind the apparent easiness they show when playing their games.

4.- Trying to blindly imitate your favourite player may lead to nowhere. One has to learn from them, not to imitate them. Fischer admired Steinitz but in Fischer’s time he could not try to play as in Steinitz’s time. (Guess how many Sicilian Najdorf  -for instance- did Steinitz play?)

5.- During your Chess career there will be times when you feel “stuck” feeling you are not progressing anymore. The best thing to do is to realize that not all progress is “vertical”. There are “horizontal” levels to go through before mounting a new step up.

6.- In Chess there is no permanent goal/state which can be achieved forever. Everything is changing. Remember that even superGM grow, reach their personal peak and slowly begin to decline.  It is one’s ability to readapt oneself what counts.

7.- Keep an open mind, check and test facts and ideas, try to find answers to questions , avoid playing by inertia, avoid falling in destructive  states of mind caused by boredom.

You may say this is easier than done. Yes, but most of us have passed or are passing through the things exposed above. Everybody has many deserts to cross through his/her life.

Now enjoy the following outstanding positional game:

W.: B. Larsen (0)

B.: Z. Ribli (1)

Las Palmas (Itz) 1982

1. c4 , c5  2. Nf3 , Nf6  3. Nc3 , e6  4. e3 , Nc6  5. d4 , d5  6. cd5 , Nd5:  7. Bc4 , cd4 (creating an isolated QP)  8. ed4 , Be7  9. 0-0 , 0-0  10. Re1 ,  Nc3: (a well-known strategical motiff: Black makes disappear the isolani but he will never allow White to get hanging Pawns d4-c4. Now Ribli will play to prevent White from playing c4)

11. bc3 , b6  12. Qe2 , Bb7  13. Bd3 , Na5  (White’s c4 is not  allowed) 14. Ne5  , Rc8  15. Bb2 , Bd6  16. Qh5 , f5  17. Nf3 , Qe8  18. Qe8: , Rfe8:  19. Nd2 , Bd5  (again preventing c4) 20. a4  , Kf7  21. g3 , g6  22.  f4 , h6  23. Rec1 , Bc4 (again)  24. Bc2 , g5! (now Black must manoeuvre to create a second weakness -Remember the famous “Principle of the two Weaknesses?)

25. fg5  , hg5  26. Ba3 , Ba3:  27. Ra3:,  Bd5  28. Bd3 , Red8  29. Re1 , Rc7  30. Re3 , Kf6  31. Ba6 , f4  32. gf4 ,  gf4  33. Rd3 , Rh8  (a second target. Now White can play c4 but to no avail) 34. c4 , Ba8!  35. Rh3 , Rg7  36. Kf2  , Rg2  37. Ke1  , Rh2:  38. Rh8: ,  Rh8:  39. Nf3 , Rd8  40. Kf2 ,  Bf3:  41. Kf3:,  Rd4:  42. Rc3  , Nc6  43. Bb5 ,  Ne5  44. Ke2  , Kf5  45. c5 , f3  46. Ke1 , bc5  47. Rc5: ,  Kf4  48. Rc7,  Ke3  49. Re7 ,  f2  50. Kf1  , Rg4  and Larsen resigned.


Solution to study: 1. Ne4 , Nd3 2. Qf2!!  Nf2:  3. Ng3  Kg1  4. Ng5 and mate follows.



Written by QChess

October 18, 2012 at 7:07 am

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