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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

No Solutions Against Computers

with 2 comments

Are you for or against “Fischerandom” Chess?. This way of playing Chess implies that a system generates one of the 960 different starting positions for the chess pieces. Black’s position mirrors that of White and the normal rules of Chess are applied, with some especial considerations for castling. You can find all the details on the Internet.

It was advocated by former World Champion the late Bobby Fischer to avoid the tons of theory normal Chess is filled with. But some considerations have to be made:

1.- When people speak of tons of theoretical lines , we must bear in mind that Chess has different levels and chessplayers have different goals. Chess has become a very specialized field. So top GMs elaborate, know and use tons of theory. The rest (average players including many average GMs , IMs, etc, don’t).

2.- No matter how much theory is produced, Chess is so vast than new moves/lines can be found even at early stages of the games.

3.- At top GM level, it is normal to pay the toll of time: nobody is the same at 20 than at 60. Perhaps some people are unable to accept it and try to adapt Chess to themselves instead to they themselves to Chess. There is a difference of  abilities too: Chess contains a creative aspect. There are better players and worse players. As in the rest of fields of our lives..

4.- Today, every Chess professional has or can have access to the same material: board+pieces+computers+programs. This mean that some of the protests seem being out of sheer impotence (if you are a strong GM and Kasparov keeps beating you one time after another some people may find it normal to ask for a cange in the rules…) Bitter complaints have common for decades if not centuries ( “alas! my opponent has more money to invest on Chess, or he can pay two or three helpers, or the Soviets are supported by the State”, and so on one year after another: many people blame his/her bad luck but nobody his/her ability.

5.- Add your own opinions here………………………………………………………………

Well, some years ago, Salov advocated Fischerandom (a case of “sour grapes” in his bitter confrontation with Kasparov???). In a recent interview (June 2012), Anand admitted that the state of Chess does not requiere such drastic measures… But I have found an interview (c.1998) in which Kasparov speaks about this matter.(He was being asked about different matters and the exchange of verbal attacks with Salov appeared too. Salov had just stated that Fischerandom Chess should be promoted). Kasparov said:

“Salov is mentally deteriorated (sic). I would win everybody in that modality –Fischerandom-. Salov says that we should play that way because I work too hard. But the case is that I do not win the majority of my games in the opening, but in the middlegame, in the field of tactics. If we played that way –Fischerandom-  I would obtain tremendous results, of a 90%, as in the mid-eighties, because that way of playing chess tends to favour the strongest player, mainly in the field of tactics. My biggest advantage over the rest, with the exception of Anand , is the field of tactics. In “random chess” there is a lot of tactics from the opening and, moreover, it is new tactics. In fact I would like to play that way.”

I am with Kasparov (for once…).

And what about CC?. Nothing. Fischerandom will not solve any problem. CC players would continue using their computers/programs in search of analytical help and the only difference is that a theory book would not be necessary… The ICCF cannot do anything against it because CC players play at home, and it is impossible to prove that a player is using a Chess program. Does it finish CC off?.- I don’t think so. What has changed is the way we play Chess. And in some respect, I think the use of programs may improve the player’s level.So in CC no matter if you play normal Chess or “Fischerandom“. I’m pretty sure Chess will survive.It is a matter of adapting oneself to this new age.

A different matter, mainly affecting OTB Chess, is that of so many early -or “GM”- draws…


W.: P. Svidler  (1)

B.: G. Kasparov (0)

Tilburg 1997

1. e4  c5  2. Nf3  d6  3. c3  Nf6  4. Be2  Nbd7  5. d3  b6  6. 0-0  Bb7  7. Nbd2  g6  8. d4!  cd4  9. cd4  Ne4:  10. Ne4:  Be4:  11. Ng5  d5  12. Bb5!  Bg7  13. f3  Bf5  14. g4!  h6  15. gf5  hg5  16. fg6  a6  17. gf7  Kf7:  18. Ba4  Rh5  19. Be3  Nf6  20. Qd2!  Qd6  21. Rf2  Rah8  22. Rg2  Rb3  23. Rf1  R8h4  24. Bc2  Nh5  25. Bf5  Nf4  26. Bh3:  Nh3:  27. Kh1  Wf6  28. Rg3  Qf5  29. Bg5:  Ng5:  30. Rg5:  Qh3  31. Rg2   Bf6  32. Qd3!  Rd4!  33. Qg6  Ke6  34. Qe8  Rc4  35. Qd8  Qf5  36. Re1  Be5  37. Qb8  and Black resigned (For example: 37…, Rc6  38. Rg7  Qf3  39. Kg1 Qh5  40. Re7  Ke7  41.Re5  Qe5  42.Qe5)

W.:  G. Kasparov  (1)

B.:  S. Palatnik (0)

Daugavpils , 1978

(Did you know this wonderful knight fantasy by the young Gary?. A beautiful masterpiece)

1.- e4  Nf6  2. e5  Nd5  3.  d4  d6  4. Nf3  g6  5. Bc4  Nb6  6. Bb3  a5  7.  a4  Bg7  8. Ng5  e6  9.  f4  de5 10. fe5  c5  11.  0-0  0-0  12. c3  Nc6  13. Ne4  Nd7  14. Be3  Ne7  15. Bg5  cd4  16. cd4  h6  17. Bh4  g5  18.  Bf2  Ng6  19. Nbc3   Qe7  20. Bc2  b6  21. Be3  Ba6  22.Rf2  Nh8  23. Bg5: hg5  24. Qh5  f5  25.  Ng5:  Rf7  26. Bf5 :  Rf5:  27.  Rf5:  ef5  28. Nd5  Qe8  29. Qh7  Kf8  30. Qf5  Kg8  31. Qh7  Kf8  32. Ra3  Rc8  33. Rf3  Nf6  34. h3  Qg6  35.  Rf6:  Bf6:  36.  Ne6  Ke8  37. Nf6: and Black resigned. 


Note:   from now on, these posts will appear on Thursdays. Thank you.


Written by QChess

July 5, 2012 at 7:07 am

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