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The Opening, Once Again…

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If you are a CC player, the following may sound familiar. You start a tournament and , in general, only a few perfunctory words with the first move and that is all. Supposedly, “Amici Sumus” and so on, but the real scenery is that of a crude battle to beat you while you try not to be beaten and to beat them . From time to time one of your opponents respond continue sending messages and sometimes a good friendship starts. I have been discussing the matter of the odds White pieces/Black pieces and one thing is the (false) impression one gets and a different one the real fact. In my humble opinion the odds White/Black is 50/50. I would even concede a 52/48 to those who so strongly advocate the White side. This would lead us to a wider discussion under the heading “Why We Lose at Chess”. (By the way, one of the best explanations on this is in Abraham’s book ” The Chess Mind”). Many people prefer the white pieces -I don’t clearly know why, they will know…) perhaps because they can set the pace of the game by playing their favourite first move?. In my case, and perhaps due a strong influence on Nimzowitsch’s part, I consider the black pieces as strong as their white counterparts: my opponents may be glad to play 1. e4.Then I find it fascinating to play my Sicilian or some other defence I like. They may plan a closed game with 1.d4, but then I enjoy myself looking for new subvariations in the Nimzoindian, the Benoni the Orthodox or the Grünfeld. And if they play the English I find a lot of delight keeping them guessing after 1…Nf6 (Will I play a defence like the above mentioned making them play a Queen’s Gambit or will I torture them with 1…c5 and the myriad of symmetrical possibilities?)

So it is not a matter of being white or black but a matter of choosing the right opening, the right subvariation and analyse the lots of end-positions those subvariations lead to. Here is where we lose!: I am convinced that most losses are because we blindly follow theory and what is worse, statistical assessments given by chess programs. Then we see that a variation is assessed as advantageous to Black and we play it without analysing the end-position. Statistics are not the truth but a comparative truth : games are not won by themselves: you have to play moves, accept risks and take decisions, and it is in this process that your games are won and lost .If the opening line lead to a dead  position or what is worse, to a position in which only your opponent can improve the it, then you are lost. No matter what statistics say. Moreover, bear in mind that a 99% of the lines included in databases appeared in OTB games,not in CC ones. Apply final-result statistics (without any analysis) to CC may be devastating. And yes, everybody does it, and I do it too… 

Fischer became a deadly chessplayer when he realized the potentiality of the Black pieces (of course among other factors), and Tal said that when theory said Black was equal, that meant Black was already better. So I advocate a change in our mental state too: stop thinking that “with black you have to defend and stop white’s attack first” and that kind of rubbish: prepare your openings, play well and white will not have any attack except that coming from the black side.

Yes, I know some player may be considered a sort of “white-piece player” and you have heard that over-repeated statement of “win as white and draw as black” etc. But  we are talking of super-professional chessplayers playing in superprofessional round-robin events. They know that winning with White + drawing with Black with some victory -as black -too was enough to win a 99% of the events they had to play in. OTB Chess ideas do not work in today’s CC official tournaments (today all CC official events show a high number of draws due to the way of playing by using chess programs). In today’s CC events you cannot say “I’m going to win all my games as white and draw all my games as black”. Why?.- Because we are not playing OTB Chess, things do not work that way and this is 21st century CC…

Take for instance KARPOV: in Chess many things are written, many people read ithem , many people believe them and many people start repeating them becoming a sort of clichè statement repeated and repeated as if it were an absolute truth… But are they true by merely repeating them “ad nauseam“?. No. Karpov have won hundreds of games as Black. You can see how he won with the Sicilian -Paulsen/Taimanov, the Spanish as Black, the Caro-Kann, etc. But many people associate him with the “win-as white-draw-as-black-approach”. This is not true. Don’t believe everything you read. Find the facts, analyse them and make your own opinion, but always based upon facts.

Now perhaps you would like to find a mate in three in the following composition by Zigman (if it shrinks, click to enlarge. Position in Forsyth notation too.)


(8 – 6P – 8 – 1K6 – 1P6 – kN6 – prp5 – 2B5 )



Written by QChess

December 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

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