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A Summer´s Chess Tale

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What would you play here? .- The position is from Karpov – Timman, Brussels 1988.  One of the problems in Chess is that all of us have heard or read a lot of things said by “very important experts” and these things remain there, stuck in our memory forever. Then we believe those “decrees” are permanent and perennial and we tend to repeat them like a mantram to show how much we know about  Chess. Yes, I’ve done it, you’ve done it, everybody has done it… one time or another. But GM Rowson strongly recommends to avoid this sort thinking out of inertia, to avoid taking anything from granted, to try always to look at things from fresh new approaches. (Of late I have been reading a lot about  “cognitive/social biases” / “fallacies”, etc,  and perhaps one day I will write about the ones affecting Chess and Chess thinking). The one I am speaking about here may fall into different biases/tendencies, for instance the “bandwagon effect” : the tendency to do or believe things because many other people do or believe the same”,but there are other biases implied because I can see a sort of “anchoring” and an overestimation of the opinion of supposed experts who may be or may be not such “experts” (“empty suits” in the words of N. Taleb)

Well, Karpov is unjustly considered a boring positional player, and so on. I defend he has been one of the deepest thinker in the history of Chess, a player who preferred strategical play, dry manoeuvring, positional plans, zugzwang strategy and control to uncertain tactical blazes. BUT, he was a daring tactician too. In the above position he unleashes a tactical whirlwind sweeping away his opponent not in a Tal-like approach, but in a rather controlled,scientifical explosion (if such a thing does exist…) :

17. dxc6!!, Rxd1/ 18. cxb7, Kb8 /19. Rfxd1, Bc5/ 20.Bxc5, Qxc5/ 21. Rd7, f5/ 22. Rad1, Nc6/ 23. Na4, Qb5/ 24. Rdc1! (exchanging pieces does not diminish the strength of the attack, and this is one of the most difficult things to realize in advance)  24… , Qxa4/ 25. Rxc6, Qxa5/ 26. Rxe6, Ka7/ 27. g3, g5/ 28. Rxh7!! , Rb8 (the point is that if now 28…, Rxh7, then 29. b8Q!!, Kxb8/ 30. Re8, Ke7/ 31. Ra8, Kb6/ 32. Rb8, Ka7 33. Rb7! winning)  29. h3, g4/ 30. hxg4, fxg4/ 31. Bg2, Qa1/ 32. Kh2, Qxb2/ 33. Rh-h6, Qa2/ 34. Re-f6, c5/ 35. Rf4, Qd2/ 36. Bf1, Rxb7/ 37. Rxa6, Kb8/ 38, Rf8, Kc7/ 39. Bg2, Qd7/ 40. Rh8, c4/ 41. Be4, Black resigned. 

(Perhaps many of you are on holidays , basking by the seaside, perhaps in the golden California, Italy, Greece, Spain… Well, it is winter time in the southern hemisphere too and there perhaps you are imagining your next holiday but with time to devote to Chess…  For all of you, here is a problem to test your tactical ability:


White to move, Mate in four moves. Shinkman 1872.)



Written by QChess

August 16, 2013 at 7:01 am

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