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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 ,

2 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Chess Musings and commented:
    Interesting thoughts on the opening phase of chess in over-the-board encounters and correspondence chess.


    March 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    • Dear Chessmusings,

      Thank you very much for the interest in the blog. I’m writing a new post to be published as soon as possible.


      March 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

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