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Paul Keres (1916-1975)

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-“How is that you never managed to become Chess World Champion?”.-

-“Because, like my country, I had bad luck” (Paul Keres)

(Curiously enough, the first time I saw this statement was in Spassky´s words. Both were friends, so …)


I hardly remember when I began to admire him. Perhaps everything began when I managed to get a copy from Anthony Saidy´s book “The Battle of Chess Ideas”(around 1980). In this book the author confess he wants to follow Reti´s path and chose ten modern super GMs, wrote a biographical summary and included games and positions. He also wrote about the history of Chess and the Chess ideas/schools. The GMs Saidy´s analized were: Botvinnik, Reshevsky,Keres, Bronstein, Smyslov,Tal, Petrosian, Larsen , Spassky and Fischer. He also regretted having to pass over names like Korchnoi, for instance.

Or , perhaps like Keres, I have never had good luck either…

Years later, one of my CC opponents from Estonia sent me, as a present, the famous book -in Estonian- “Meie Keres” by V Heuer. And I managed to get other books by Keres : “The Art of Analysis”, “Practical Chess Endings” and an invaluable one: “My Chess Style” (aka “Chess As I play It“). (By the way, Keres is perhaps the only Chess GM who appears in a banknote. He is also a Estonian hero).

(I have written about Keres previously in this blog, so you can find other posts in this site.)

I cannot explain why I am so fond of Keres… Perhaps it is because his personality, his personal history and fate ,or perhaps because I was deeply moved by the images included in that Estonian book “Meie Keres”. What follows is a personal interpretation of the topic.

Keres was born in Estonia. But his country was annexed to the Soviet Union after WW2. The territory has a complex history (it is a borderland) . An independent state, with links to Sweden,the Russian Empire, invaded by the Nazi’s during WW2,later invaded by the USSR,…and so on. Anyway, Keres managed to survive the Stalinist terror regime, played for Estonia and later for the USSR (he died in 1975 being, officially , a Soviet citizen. For more information, please find those other posts in this blog). 

In 1938 Keres won the AVRO Tournament ahead of Alekhine,Capablanca,Botvinnik Euwe, Reshevsky ,Fine and Flohr. The winner of the event would be the official challenger to play for the World Championship (in the hands of Alekhine). But the outburst of WW2 frustrated the possibility of such a match. Estonia was invaded by the Germans and Keres had to survive accepting the new rules. At the end of the war, Estonia fell in Stalin’s iron claws and he had to survive again but being under a severe stress for many years.He managed to survive and protect his family again. Being a Soviet citizen he played for the USSR for the rest of his life , taking part in seven Chess Olympiads in which the USSR Team won the gold medal one after another. Keres can be considered among the ten best ever chessplayers of his time with victories over eight out of nine World Champions and drawing in two games against Anatoly Karpov, for instance. As an anecdote, he had an excellent score against Korchnoi, and Viktor once complained that “It is always the same: I always manage to beat Tal and Keres always manage to beat me”. Keres’ last tournament was in Vancouver (Canada) in 1975. When he was going back home via Helsinki, he suddenly died in the Finnish capital. Botvinnik stated that Keres’ death had been the greatest loss for the Chess world since the death of Alekhine. And Botvinnik very well knew what he was talking about.

(White side)


This position appeared in Smyslov-Keres, USSR Chess championship 1951. Black to move. Could you find the plan/moves Keres found to beat his extremely dangerous opponent?

(White side)

ranviir-keres .

And this comes from a relatively unknown game played in 1947 between Randviir (White) and Keres.

Smyslov Keres went:

36…, Bb1! 37. a3  a5! 38. Bd1 Kg6  39. Kg2  Kf5  40. Kf3  Ke5

 41. a4  g5  42. Ke2  Bf5  43. g4  Bb1  44. Kf3  f5  45. gf5  Kxf5  46. Kf2  Be4  47. Kg3  Kg6  48. Kf2  h5  49. Kg3  h4  50. Kf2  Bf5  51. Kg2  Kf6  52. Kh2  Ke6!   /White resigned in view of 53. Kg2  Ke5  54. Kh2  Bb1  55. Kg2  Ke4  56 Kf2  Kd3 (Suetin)

Randviir-Keres : Keres to move, what would your first move be?: (Remember this is a Pawn endgame, so the basic technique is that of “opposition”)

1… Kb5!! (the only way to avoid a draw according to Keres)2. a4  Kb6  3. Kc4  a5  4. d6  Kc6  5. d7  Kxd7  6. Kxc5  Ke7  7. Kd5  Kf7  8. Ke4  Kf8!!  9. Ke3  Ke7  10. Ke4  Kd6  11. Kd4  h6!  12. Ke4  Kc5  13. Ke3  Kd5!  14. Kd3  Ke5  15. Ke3  h5  16. gh5  Kxf5  17. Kf3  Ke6  18. Kg4  Kf7  19. Kf5  Kg7 / White resigned.

To end this post and for the lovers of  3-movers, perhaps you would like to have a try at the following mate in 3 moves “specially composed” by H. Alton:




Written by QChess

February 7, 2015 at 10:02 am

Positions to Solve

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Mate in three moves by J.W. Abbott

Some time has passed since I last wrote a post here… I have been playing CC, reading, thinking and sunk into depression,trying to survive to it, trying to find solution to problems both in Chess and in life… (these grey, rainy,cold,glum,winter days kill me one year after another…).

One of the solutions I found was to engage in more and more ICCF games. Apart from that, I proceeded to re-read Rudolf Reinhardt’s: Aron Nimzowitsch 1928-1935. A superb book of over four hundred pages with a wealth of information, annotated games, and so on. Unfortunately, its author passed away without seeing his wonderful masterwork published.

Well, many Chess writers insist on the idea that to learn Chess one must study and play. Everybody understands what “playing Chess” means. And for “studying”?. Of course you should study games, openings, interesting endgames, technique, and so on. When you are alone (I mean with no trainer) you may find it drab or boring. Anyway you should do it.

My two favourite methods are : 1) to solve mate in 3/4 move problems and 2) to choose games played by my favourite players, play the opening moves on a board (NEVER on the computer screen), cover their moves and try to find them on my own. Everybody knows these methods. It is very interesting to cross-check the move you want to play against the actual one played by the GM. And when I do not understand something, I make a tick on the move: when the process is over I replay the games and analyse the why’s and the why not’s. Incidentally, another good way to develope your analytical skills. So two birds with the same stone…  My only advice to you would be that though this method can be used with any GM, I would recommend you to use the players you feel most at home with. Not all “positional” players play the same way and not all “attacking” players play similar Chess. (among other considerations because although we use those words to classify chessplayers ,it is too broad, too vague and imprecise ,etc. The matter of the chessplayers’ styles I think it is an absolutely complex matter, with many sides, many shades, many details.)

These gloomy days I have been thinking about life (or rather my Chess life). I was taught the game in 1971: Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, Viktor Korchnoi, Anatoly Karpov,Tigran Petrosian etc. were young. Today Bobby and Tigran are dead, Korchnoi and Spassky can no longer play and what is worse: illness has confined them to wheelchairs. Only Karpov seems well though he is no longer playing Chess.


Mate in three moves by O. Wurzbrg 

The following position is from Keres-Petrov, Moscow 1940. How would you continue as White?


In this position Keres played:

19. e6! and the game continued with 19…, Nd5 / 20.exf7 , Rxf7 /21. Bc4!, c6/ 22. Rxd5 , Qxc4 / 23. Qe8 and Black resigned. 


Written by QChess

January 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

CChess is a Jungle…

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CChess is a jungle. Let me explain: you like CC and perhaps you are playing in any  ICCF official event. This is my case. Of late, I have realized that most of my opponents are not only armed to the teeth with databases, and the rest of CC paraphernalia: many of them seem to be connected to the webserver  perpetually: I work hard on my move, find it, check and recheck it well , not always…- send it and “voilà” , I have not written it down yet and   the answer flashed on the screen. Believe me: I have sent moves at the oddest and infamous hours. It doesn´t matter: there is always someone with their move or conditional move ready  and deciding s/he is not going to give you any respite. And it is not a matter of different time zones… Some days ago I told an opponent -and friend of mine from Sweden- that I saw today’s CC as a jungle full of lions, panthers, tigers … and me. The problem is that I saw myself as a kitten and the rest of felines instead of considering me a fellow-feline companion considered me as their food… Then, do I lack the famous “killer instinct”?. Or perhaps am I more an artist and not a fighter and so on?. The answer to both questions is in the negative. No, I want to win all my games, to beat all my opponents, I like fighting and winning. So, I do not know why I see myself as a kitten and the rest as a wild group of big felines out for blood. -And please, do not suggest I should need a psychiatrist 🙂 🙂 –

I have found the following position and notes (do not know where it appeared or wrote the accompanying legend) in my archives:


“J. Mendheim. 19th century. This 5-mover is a great example of stormy power play. The solution usually contains sparkling combinations, and positions resemble actual games”. (So mate in five moves)

How is Boris Spassky? Since he fled to Mother Russia already some time ago the only things that have come out are that he is recovering slowly from a stroke, that he made brief public appearances and that he decided to be inscribed as a Russian -instead on a French- chessplayer again. I have been unable to get in touch with him as I did before (you can read about all this in previous posts in this blog). Well, I frequently remember that July 2007 when we met in my hometown, and spent several days together… This episode was the second stroke he suffered in the space of several years. He managed to recover quite well from the first one, but experts say that a repetition is usually terrible. When I read about him and Fischer sometimes it seems as if the early seventies of the past century were placed two centuries ago, belonged to a  part of my life lost in the mists of time. Curiously enough, unknown snaps featuring Bobby Fischer keep appearing: the last one (“Spraggett on Chess” Blog) depicts Fischer giving  lecture at Hart House in Toronto, Canada. It is very curious but Fischer seemed to have been always doing something on my very birthday date along the years…

Those who regularly follow this blog may have realized that changes in the system have erased several images and positions. I do not know why this has happened…-the gremlings???- One of those images corresponds to a mate in three moves problem by Tavariani  (level: difficult):


I think these problems are enough to make you feel the pangs of devoting your lives to playing Chess…Or not.


Written by QChess

November 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

War Diary

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I have engaged myself into too many ICCF official games. These days, with most opponents armed to the teeth with programs, databases etc ,one can see that new “features” have crop up. Let’s see some of them:

In the past, when we had to use postcards and stamps, only a few diehards continued playing in clearly lost positions. Today, playing through the server, I have games where my opponents keep on playing with a lot of material down and no compensation, even whole Rooks and Queens… Why?… Because rating points have become absolutely valuable and nobody wants to lose a single one (after all, your opponent may die in the process of trying to beat you -or at least some of my opponents may believe this idea…).

Games keep on being won, lost and drawn, with perhaps a growing number of drawn games and a lot of people complaining because “they are stronger and now even rivals with less ratings than them manage to make a draw”. Yeah! : in CC many people make a funny mistake taking “rating points” (a relative and changing value) for “chess strength” ( perhaps a more permanent value). I suppose their process of reasoning is: “since I have 100 more points than my rival he must  lose against me, forgetting  that in Chess, as in any other sport, you must beat your opponents because they will surely fight for their lives trying to spoil your fun. In any case, in today’s games  you must be ready to accept they are likely to be very long…

Today everybody is very dangerous, with the changing ratings indicating nothing: in one game you beat an opponent 100 points above you and in another one, you lose to another opponent 100 points below you. Be more careful (I can tell you from sad experience… The ICCF produce rating list every three months. A bit too often??.- I don’t know.

With the wonderful invention of the webservers /play through the Internet you may -if you and your opponent follows suit exchange many moves a day. Or not. In my ICCF events, with 50 days for 10 moves and some specifications to make the players send their moves on a regular basis (the system has different controls to do so) I usually play the first ten moves relatively quickly and then I usually slow down a bit.

My last results show that I have just won a tournament, have another one in my pocket but I have sheepishly lost a game because I fell in a theoretical hole: I was following the book, but the line was wrong in the database, I did not check it out and lost. Shame on me. Another sin of mine is trying to employ openings I do not usually play “for the sake of changing”. A capital sin if you have too many games. The Grünfeld Defence was my last “Waterloo” . 

I began to play CC in 1986. CC may become terrible since the games may last for many months. Everything is OK if you get hold of the “right” end of the stick… If you end up on the “wrong” end the pains and sufferings awaiting you may be unbearable.

Apart from many other considerations, I suppose people play Chess perhaps not professionally, but on a serious basis because, in the end, we tend to think that the joy provided by winning may compensates the pains of losing. And everybody believes s/he is going to win “the next game I am going to play“.  The question is : is the feeling left by the victory the same as the feeling creates by the loss???. If your answer is in the affirmative, tend apply it to real life, to the good and the bad moments you have been through …: are they still the same?.- Over to you!.

Now a problem for this ugly, cold, grey November days:

mate in 3

E.B. Cook 1856. Mate in three moves.

(This blog is approaching the 4,000 visits. Thank you very much indeed. I don’t know how long I will be writing it, but any comment will be welcome.- It would be great if the readers decided to express their views too. )


Written by QChess

November 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Fear of Losing

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I have met all sort of players. Some of them are eager to play and eager to beat you. The idea of being defeated by you is alien to them. They think they are the best and “you” (whoever s/he is) are worse than him. (I suppose they never fear losing) . Others, are “neutral” : they never speak about his/her feelings. (I suppose , to them, losing is only a possibility) And the third type I call them “philosophical”. They are always considering psychological matters, philosophical nuances, are affected by his/her daily feelings . They fear losing like the plague!. (Of course this cannot be applied to professional Chess, I think…but am not sure…)

Nevertheless, losing is one of the possibilities when you play Chess. At professional or super-professional levels , apart from the psychological blow involved, it may also imply losing a tournament, losing money or both. At non-professional and CC (remember CC = Correspondence Chess)  levels the psychological blow may be devastating or not, it depends!.

When you are a CC player and have also played OTB Chess, you began to feel that the same things are not always “the same” things… I am going to mention only two of them:

1.- Wrong Opening Choice.

2.- Defending bad (even very,very bad ) positions.

Before a game, haven’t you ever let your imagination fly and instead of your customary opening/defence you have played “something different” because you were in good spirits?. And perhaps most of us CC players have done the same… And after that “merry moment” you came back to this world and contemplated a terrible situation on the board: in fact your opponent knew the line better than you ,because  you have even  forgotten even the main line continuation or if in CC the position looks horrid… The long, drab, nearly humiliating task of defending the mess is in front of you.

Well, here appears the difference between OTB and CC. In OTB Chess, your misery will last from some minutes to some hours. At the end of the day you will have to go home with a draw or with a painful defeat and the as of calling yourself an ass while licking your wounds.

But in CC, your miserable state may last for weeks or months, who knows if a whole year or more… Week after week you have to analyse that wreckage created by your stupid flight of the imagination, day in day out you swear to yourself never to play such stupid line again; day after day the game and the position nearly wake you up, sweating cold,  in the middle of the night; day after day you wish to receive the proper smack in the face as your opponent’s greeting message, always thinking about resigning with every move you send… Yes! This is a horrible self-inflicted torture!.

(And in CC unbelievable as it may seem, there is a nother source of defeat: you are playing twenty-thirty games. You have the moves and the positions in the webserver and , moreover, you have written down the moves in a notebook. All in all, you set up the wrong position , choose your move,and  now comes the worst : you send it  only realizing your mistake when you receive the answer…!. Yes, this happens…)

So, my dear CC colleagues, the next time you decide “to make a little experiment”, think twice or re-read this post, because you could be on the brink of turning yourself into your worst, most harmful enemy.

(End of post. Try to solve the problems no matter the time you need.)

(Solutions to problems:

(1)  1. Bg2! (the only square that works) Now mate in 3 follows 1…, Bh3 /2. Bxh3 ba6 3. Bg2 // 1. Bg2  , B-moves 2. c8=Q Bxc8  3. Nc7 mate. Please note that g2 is the only valid square to avoid the Black Bishop checking with …Bh3- …Bg2+  spoiling the task.

(2) A lovely position in which every Rook,King Knight or Pawn move allows the Black King to escape or be stalemated. After seeing another problem I realised there is a move I never had never considered though perfectly legal if not stipulated again. I had a look at the position and so the pieces duly placed for…:   1. 0-0-0!! (Wonderful)  If  1…, Kxa2 / 2. Kc2 , Ka3 3. Ra1 mate!  If 1…Kxc3 2. Ra4  Kg3 3. Re3 mate. I got an immense delight solving this problem after so many months. It´s so easy when you see it…


Written by QChess

October 4, 2012 at 5:55 am

Chess for Thought

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In 1931 Nimzowistch said -of the following game- that it was “A good game which shows just how difficult it is to win at the present high level of Chess.”:

W.: Spielmann(0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

Bled, 1931

1. e4  c6  2. Nf3  d5  3. Nc3  de4  4. Ne4: Nf6  5. Nb3  c5 6. Bc4  a6  7. a4  Nc6  8. d3  g6  9. Be3  Bg7  10. 0-0  b6  11. c3  0-0  12. h3  Bb7  13. Qe2  Na5  14. Ba2  Bd5  15. Nd2  Ba2:  16. Ra2:  Nd5  17. Nc4  Nc6  18. a5!  b5  19. Nb6!  Nb6:  20. ab6  Qb6:  21. Ne4  Qc7  22. Nc5:  a5  23. d4  Rfb8 (planning a minority attack)  24. f4? (24. Qf3!) ,… e6  25. Ra-a1  Ne7  26. g4  Nd5  27. Rf3  a4  28. Bd2  Qc6  29. Ne4  b4  30. f5?!  ef5  31. gf5  a3!  32. ba3  bc3  33. f6  cd2!  34. fg7  Re8!  35. Qd3  Re4:  36. Qe4:  Re8  37. Qh4  Nc3  38. R3-f1  Qd5  39. White resigns.

Belfort 1988, Karpov and Kasparov plays the 129th (!)  game between themselves. After a fantastic struggle, many  people , several  GMs included , declared that both were above the rest and that games like this one could only be understood by the two “K’s”:

W.: Karpov (1)

B.: Kasparov (0)

Belfort, 1988

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nc3  d5   4. cd5  Nd5:  5. e4  Nc3: 6.  bc3  Bg7  7. Bc4  c5  8. Ne2  Nc6  9. Be3  0-0  10. 0-0  Bg4  11. f3  Na5  12. Bf7:  Rf7:  13. fg4  Rf1:  14. Kf1: Qd6  15. e5  Qd5  16. Bf2   Rd8  17. Qa4   b6  18. Qc2  Rf8  19. Kg1  Qc4  20. Qd2  Qe6  21. h3  Nc4  22. Qg5   h6  23. Qc1  Qf7  24. Bg3  g5   25. Qc2  Qd5  26. Bf2 (Please note how all Karpov’s moves have a goal: to pose small threats so as to force Kasparov to weaken his position. Try to see the threats posed by the White Queen going to and fro, here and there.)

26. …, b5 27. Ng3  Rf7  28. Re1  b4  29. Qg6  Kf8  30. Ne4  Rf2:  31. Kf2:  bc3  32. Qf5 Kg8  33. Qc8  Kh7  34. Qc5:  Qf7  35. Kg1  c2  36. Ng3  Bf8  37. Nf5  Kg8  38. Rc1  and Kasparov resigned. A strategical masterpiece with the White Queen assuming a decisive role.

The next game belongs to the match in which World Champion Kasparov smashed GM A. Miles. The outcome of the match made Miles exclaim that Kasparov was “a monster with a thousand eyes”. High class Chess:

W.: Kasparov (1)

B.: A. Miles (0)

Basel (Match) 1986

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  c5  3. d5  e5  4. Nc3  d6  5. e4  Be7  6. Nf3  0-0  7. h3  Nbd7  8. g4  Ne8  9. Bd3  a6  10. a4  Rb8  11. Rg1  Nc7  12. b3  Re8  13. h4 b5  14. g5  Nf8  15. h5  Bd7  16. Nh2  bc4  17. Bc4: f5  18. ef5  Bf5:  19. Nf1  Qd7  20. Ne3  e4  21. Bb2 Bd8  22. Ne2  Qf7  23. Nf4  Bc8  24. Rg4  Qe7  25. Rg3  Qf7  26. Nfg2  Na8  27. a5  Nc7  28. Nh4  Nb5  29. g6  hg6  30. Ng6:  Bf6  31. Bb5:  Rb5:  32. Qc2  Bb2  33. Qb2:  Ng6:  34. Rg6:  Re5  35. 0-0-0  Rh5:  36. Rdg1  Rh7  37. Nc4  38. Kb1  Rb7  39. Nd6:  Bf5  40. Rf6  Qh2  41. Rg3  Qh1  42. Ka2  and Black resigned.

Our next game was a sensation at the time it was played. Bobby Fischer playing the great Soviet GM Leonid Stein at Sousse Interzonal (yes, the one Bobby abandoned after  a few rounds after a lot of  comings and goings, discusions, threats and the like, so spoiling the chance of playing Petrosian in 1969 (had he managed to  qualify and win the Candidates’ Matches…)

W.: Fischer (1)

B.. Stein (0)

Sousse (Itz) 1967

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. 0-0  Be7  6. Re1  b5  7.  Bb3  d6  8. c3  0-0  9. h3  Bb7  10. d4  Na5  11. Bc2  Nc4  12.  b3  Nb6  13. Nbd2  Nbd7  14.  b4  ed4  15.  cd4  a5  16. ba5  c5  17. e5  de5  18. de5  Nd5  19. Ne4  Nb4  20. Bb1  Ra5  21. Qe2  Nb6  22. Nfg5  Be4  23. Qe4  g6  24. Qh4  h5  25.  Qg3  Nc4  26.  Nf3  Kg7  27. Qf4  Rh8  28. e6  f5  29. Bf5  Qf8  30. Be4  Qf4  31. Bf4  Re8  32.  Rad1  Ra6  33. Rd7  Re6  34. Ng5  Rf6  35.  Bf3  Rf4  36. Ne6  Kf6  37. Nf4  Ne5  38.Rb7  Bd6  39. Kf1  Nc2  40.  Re4  Nd4  41. Rb6  Rd8  42. Nd5  Kf5  43. Ne3  Ke6  44. Be2  Kd7  45. Bb5  Nb5  46. Rb5  Kc6  47. a4  Bc7  48.Ke2  g5  49. g3  Ra8  50. Rb2  Rf8  51. f4  gf4  52. gf4  Nf7  53. Re6  Nd6  54. f5  Ra8  55. Rd2  Ra4  56. f6  and Black resigned.

Starting around 1980 I began to fill up notebooks with notes to games. As I said before, I devoted those never-ending years to Botvinnik, Karpov, Spassky and Fischer. Now, from time to time , I like playing through those games trying to compare those notes with the ideas I now see in the same  games . I suppose that by doing so one can see if his approach to Chess has changed and if his/her knowledge of the game has improved. In Chess, you have to do your own work. Unless you find collection of games very deeply analysed, most  of the games in most of the books and newspapers are only very superficially annotated. Today’s players pay too much attention to the opening stage. This is not bad. But one should investigate the middlegame and the engame. The Soviet chessplayers became what they became because they were forced to study Chess as a whole. Once you have reached  a certain level, you may devote most of the time to the opening. Chess is more than hundreds of memorised opening variations. Every minute you spend studying Chess is useful . The main problem comes when, in spite of years of studying, you lose… I have no a recipe for this and everyone must learn to cope with that odd feeling. In any case, keep on studying and thinking about Chess. And keep on playing too.


Written by QChess

September 25, 2012 at 6:44 am

Should We Forget The Classics?: I don’t think so .

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Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch ( 1862 – 1934)

“History cannot be a mere justification. But it can be an excellent explanation. We all learn from our predecessors and this knowledge helps some people to innovate , so making all of us to keep on advancing and progressing.” Questchess.


(You will find two new 3-movers for you to solve at the end of this post. Good luck!)


In 1992, the Dutch GM Loek Van Wely, in an interview published by “New in Chess” , stated : “I have practically no examples from the past. A player like Fischer, that was before my generation” , acknowledging he did not care for his predecessors’ games, history, and so on.

Is it necessary for a chessplayer to study the classics? The answwer is :”No”. A super-pragmatist would add that to achieve success in Chess you only need to play very well and defeat your opponents (instead of losing to them). You study openings,middlegame plans and endgame technique, and it doesn’t matter if Alekhine, Tarrasch, or Steinitz did “this” or “that” in their games. You are playing “your” own games. Not “theirs”.  That’s all right though I agree to differ. I even can accept that one can live in this world without knowing anything about literature, history, philosophy, etc. However, everybody understands what the terms “culture”, cultivated man/woman”, “expert”, “learned” etc. mean…

Unlike Mr. Van Welik, I am not a professional chessplayer, only a correspondence chess one. I would have liked to be a strong -top- professional GM, but  fate decided otherwise.  I think that Chess has developed itself through a process of evolution (not revolution). The history of  the Chess ideas is the history of the men who devoted their lives to play, write about and study Chess. The strategy we study is the labour of  Steinitz + Tarrasch + Nimzowitsch + the Soviet School + some individuals and knowing that history you will be better armed to understand the present essence of the game. You learn combinations because you can study the different themes in the games of Anderssen, Morphy, Alekhine and many others. You learn strategy in the games of leading positional chessplayers, you learn endgames by studying the great examples produced by Capablanca, Botvinnik, Karpov, Rubinstein, etc.

I must confess I like reading about the history of Chess. And I admire people like Mr. E. Winter, who has devoted himself to this task. He has found that many aparently “novelties” in modern games, were already played in the 19th century… Simply, nobody cares about Schlechter, Janowsky, Burn, Zuckertort, Gunsberg, Pillsbury, Marshall, Steinitz, Neumann, Rosenthal, Paulsen, Blackburne…

Yet nearly all the great modern chesslayers, studied and were influenced by their predecessors :

Karpov by Capablanca and Rubinstein.

Spassky by Alekhine.

Botvinnik by Chigorin , Alekhine and Capablanca.

Fischer by Morphy, Capablanca and Steinitz.

Petrosian by Nimzowitsch.

Kasparov by Alekhine.

Korchnoi by Lasker.

And so on.

All this is written in their biographies. (People very close to Fischer said he knew everything about 19th century players and their games , for instance.)

We all are free to choose the way we want to progress in Chess. In my case, I prefer study the games played by Steinitz, Nimzowistch , Alekhine or Fischer  than most of the games played today… This approach has showed me a lot of interesting facts because behind the chessplayer, there is always a man. Sometimes  with a personal tragedy…And this has helped me not only to understand Chess better, but to gain a deep insight into the human condition of those who devoted their lives to Chess even though it meant to live close to sheer poverty and die alone. Those tragedies could happen to us too.

W.: Breyer (0)

B.: Tarrasch (1)

Göteborg, 1920

1. d4 d5  2.e3 Nf6  3. Nf3 e6  4. Nbd2 Bd6  5. c4 b6  6. Qc2 Bb7  7. c5 bc5  8. dc5 Be7  9. b4 00  10. Bb2 a5  11. b5 c6  12. a4 Nbd7  13. Bd4 Re8  14. Rc1 Nf8  15. Qb2 Ng4  16. h3 Nh6  17. Nb3 f6  18. Qa3 e5  19. Bc3 Qc7  20. Bb2 Rec8  21. Qa2 Qd8  22. b6 Be7  23. Qb1 Qf8  24. Qc2 Nf7  25. h4 Nd8  26. g6 Ne6  27. Bh3 Nec5  28. Nc5: Nc5: 29. Ba2 Nd3  30. Qd3: Ba3:  31. Bc8: Rc8:  32. Ra1 Bb4  33. Nd2 e4  34. Qb3 c5  35. Kd1 e4  36. Qa2 Qd6  37. Ke2 Ba6  38. b7 Rb8  39. Kd1 Rb7: 40. f3 Kh8  41. fe4 de4  42. Kc1 Qg3:  43. Nf1 Qe1  44. Kc2 Qc3  45. Kd1 Qd3  46. Kc1 Rd7  and White resigned. A superb game worth a deep study.

W.:  Staunton (1)

B.: Horwitz  (0)

London 1851

1. c4 e6   2.Nc3 f5  3. g3 Nf6  4. Bg2 c6  5. d3 Na6  6. a3 Be7  7. e3 0-0  8. N1e2 Nc7  9. 0-0 d5  10. b3 Qe8   11. Bb2 Qf7  12. Rc1 Bd7  13. e4  fe4  14. de4 Rad8  15. e5 Nfe8  16. f4 dc4  17. bc4 Bc5  18. Kh1 Be3  19. Rb1 g6  20. Qb3 Bc8  21. Ne4 Bb6  22. Rbd1 Na6  23. Qc3 Rd1:  24. Rd1: Nc5  25. Nd6 Qc7  26. Qc2 Ng7  27. g4 Qe7  28. Bd4 Qc7  29.a4 Na6  30. c5 Ba5  31. Qb3 b6  32. Ne4 bc5  33. Nf6 Kh8  34. Qh3 Ne8  35. Ba1 Nf6  36. ef6 Kg8  37. Be5 Qb7  38. Be4 Qf7  39. Ng1 Bd8  40. g5 Bb7  41. Nf3 Re8   42. Bd6 Bf6  43. gf6 Qf6  44. Ng5  Qg7  45. Be5  Qe7  46. Bg6  and Black resigned.



Written by QChess

May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

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