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Of Model Chessplayers

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What chessplayer do you want to imitate?. Do you follow  Fischer, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Tal, Korchnoi, Lasker, Capablanca,Nimzowitsch, Steinitz,…?. Then, you are studying these players’ games , play their openings, and so on. BUT one of he striking facts -which is more conspicuous in CC – is that many of the opening variations these gentlemen played are now outdated. In CC you try to play the Sozin against some Sicilian lines like Fischer did only to see that, as White, you have ended up on the receiving end…

During my Chess career I have found  many people who admired Lasker (to mention one of them). But, in Lasker’s days, the Sicilian was nearly unexplored. Or the King’s Indian, the Grünfeld, etc. So you are nearly reduced to very 0ld Ruy López variations and the French.  So, what to do?. 

Well, you may keep on studying all those GMs from the past to learn strategy,planning , endgame technique and combinations, But you should forget about playing their opening variations unless you find a forgotten move in one of the old lines they played. And you should not forget that OTB Chess has nothing to do with CC. (Several years ago I tried to play Korchnoi’s lines in my CC games ending up in sheer disaster. So never more!. In OTB Chess there is the factor of time (the clock!) and the fallibility of the human being. In today’s CC time is irrelevant and nobody is going to miscalculate because our Chess programs will immediately detect the slightest of errors.

I still remember the 80`s (20th century) when we played without programs, with postcards and stamps… Then you could employ Karpov’s or Kasparov´s latest innovation (if you managed to get it in those old printed magazines) and be happy…. I waited well over a decade to use the following line used by Karpov in Baguio: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5, a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5 . 0-0 Nxe4 6.d4  b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. de5 Be6 9. Nbd2 Nc5  10. c3 d4 11. Ng5 !!?. And when I employed it against a Dutch opponent I found myself struggling for a draw which I finally managed to achieve… On those days I had no a computer. I never knew if my opponent was using one (a pre-historic one anyway!). Karpov used to say that in the good old days you could find a TN and employ it a couple of times -or even more- before all your opponents knew it and found countermeasures, while today every TN can be used only once. In the past every chessplayer had to get as many Chess magazines as possible to keep abreast of the latest innovations. Today you may get it at home simply switching on your computer. One of the most important lessons to be learnt today is that in CC it is better not to speculate. Sacrifice a Pawn (or what be even worse: a piece!) for a nebulous attack and your opponent will take it and beat you in a consistent way. Remember: there is no zeitnot in CC, computer programs do not feel nervous or feel anxious. Forget about playing like Tal because he played OTB Chess, not CC.

I do not know why, but when I was a boy and was starting studying Chess seriously, I used to say  “I like this or that player. I want to play like him.” and so on. Now over thirty-eight years have elapsed and I find I can only speak of “influences”. Of course ,some of them are much stronger than others and it is very curious to see how one tends to go back to the very first one of them.

I must say that if you are an OTB chessplayer you would learn a lot by engaging in serious CC games. CC will teach you how to be practical without being speculative, how to be a rounded chessplayer instead of a gambler (or a “coffee-house” one) , how to look for the best and strongest move in every position without speculating with the clock. But remember that CC is a very serious matter: people here are out for blood and rating points (not for money). So, if you are not going to take it seriously, it would be better for you (and your ego) not to put your head into the lion’s mouth. It may hurt a lot…

(For those who admire Karpov and like learning endgame technique from complete games I would recommend the following book:  Karolyi’s & Aplin’s : “Endgame Virtuoso Anatoly Karpov”)

Now, here is something for you to train:


Mate in 3 moves Dobriski/Shinkman 1883.


Agapov. Mate in 4 moves.



Written by QChess

December 20, 2015 at 7:15 am

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