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“The Style is the Man Himself”.- G-L Buffon

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When one begins to play Chess, the first classification of chessplayers one hears is that of  “attacking players” or “positional players” as if they were mutually exclusive terms. At the same time, one begins to read about Chess styles more or less so: “there are three Chess styles: combinative, positional and universal”, and each one showed  several names attached. Of course, this is too rigid a definition. It is clear that every GM has a particular style, but in fact they can play any sort of game. Karpov is, primarily, a positional player. But he has played sacrificial games too. The same can be said of Petrosian, for instance. Tal was a combinative, attacking genius, but he was able to produce positional gems too. You all understand what I mean.

In general, the new gurus in the field of Chess training – Dvorestky, Zlotnik,etc- have widened this narrow landscape with their ideas. Well, I would like to mention two valuable contributions to this matter. Krogius ,quoting Torre, wrote that the latter had mentioned four periods in the evolution of the players’ style: 1) The form ; 2) The expression of the play; 3) The style  and 4) The grand style.

Y. Averbach in an interview to a Chess magazine several years ago, stated that he had divided the chessplayers into six groups:  1) The Killer ; 2) The Fighter ; 3) The Sportman ; 4) The Gambler ; 5) The Artist  and 6) The Analitic (sic) – He meant the “analyst”. He offers examples of players in each group: 1 : Fischer, Korchnoi,Botvinnik. 2) :Lasker, Kasparov. 3) : Capablanca . 4) Janovsky and Karpov. 5) Tal and Anderssen. 6): Rubinstein.

In the same way that too narrow classifications are imprecise, too wide ones may be misleading. Because there is always something indefinable in Chess. The more you want to classify things, the more overlappings or  holes you produce. In the matter of chessplayers, they are so  complicated that a “universal style” had to be invented to include the likes of Spassky, Smyslov and Keres.

I feel great respect for Averbach and understand this is his way of seeing things. As any other topic in Chess, you can understand this is debatable… Averbach has problems with the adscription of  Tal and Karpov, for instance and he even admits that some players may share characteristics in two of the groups.

Some people associate “positional”  to ” defensive”, “attacking” to  “combinative” -in the same wrong way that some people associate 1.d4/1.c4 with  “positional players” and 1. e4 with “attacking players” and there is much more than this. Perhaps all this comes from the influence of 19th century Chess. We associate 1. e4 to attack because this was the favourite opening of  romantic players like Andersson, Morphy, etc. And most of the onsidered “positional players” preferred 1. d4.  But this is not dogma (remember Kasparov smashing everybody with 1.d4 and Karpov playing positional masterpieces with 1. e4) .The evolution of Chess and the present state of Chess theory have changed all these assessments.

And this is why most -perhaps all of them- top GM/Champions of the World refuse to speak about their respective styles and some even have stated they have no style at all (implying that Chess is so complicated that you have to master all forms of playing.)

I think Capablanca,Karpov,Fischer or Botvinnik never cared about  “stylistical considerations” -they simply played Chess- while Nimzowitsch,for example,  took great pride in considering himself a great defensive player criticizing the lack of defensive technique in some of his predecessors and contemporaries.

In the past, as a boy, with my fellow-companions, we used  to have long “discussions” about “our” styles. Some wanted to play like Fischer and said they were “attacking” players. The followers of Karpov or Capablanca were proud of their “positional” styles… Perhaps that was sheer mimicry of war, like baby cats/dogs who “fight” against others like them simply to learn how to defend themselves once they grow up…

Now, I hardly ever think about style classifications : life has taught me that I can lose against attacking or defensive opponents. (But always  in style!)

And you??

To continue unearthing maybe forgotten Chess games, here today’s ones:

W.:  L.Karlsson  (1)

B.: M. Suba  (0)

Hastings 1984

1. c4  g6  2. Nc3  Bg7  3. g3  e5  4. Bg2  Ne7  5. e3  0-0  6. h4!!?   c6  7. Qb3 Na6  8. N1e2  Nc5  9. Qc2  Ne6  10. Qb3  b6  11. h5  d5  12. hg6  Nc5  13. gh7  Kh8  14.Qd1  Nd3  15. Kf1  dc4  16. b3 f5  17. f4  e4  18. Ba3  cb3  19. ab3  c5  20.Kg1  Rf6  21. g4  Rg6  22. g5!  Rd6  23.Ra2  Be6  24. Bf1  Nc6  25. Rh2  Na5  26. Qb1  Bb3:  27. Ng3  Ba2:  28. Qa2:  Ne1  29. Nce4:  Nf3  30. Kh1  fe4  31. Bb2!  Nh2:  32. Bg7:  Kg7:  33. Nf5  Kh8  34. Qb2  Rd4  35. ed4  Kh7:  36. Kh2: Qd5? (Better seemed … Qf8)  37. g6!  Kg6:  38. Ne7  Kf7  39. Nd5:  Rh8  40. Kg1  Rg8  41. Kf2 and Black resigned 


W.: V. Korchnoi (0)

B.: U. Andersson (1)

Brussels 1988

1. c4 e6  2. Nc3  d5  3. d4  Nf6  4. Nf3  Nbd7  5. Bg5  h6  6. Bh4  Be7  7. e3  Ne4  8. Be7:  Qe7:   9. Ne4:  de4  10. Nd2  f5  11. Qh5  Qf7  12. Qf7:  Kf7:  13. c5!?  e5!  14. Bc4  Ke7  15. 0-0-0  ed4  16. ed4  Nf6  17. Rhe1  Rd8  18. d5  b5  19. Bb3  a5  20. a3  Nd7  21. c6  Nc5  22. f3  Nd3  23. Kc2  a4   24. Ba2  b4  25. Bc4  Ne1:  26. Re1:   ba3  27. ba3  Kd6  28. fe4  Re8  29. Kc3  Kc5  30. e5  Ba6  31. Ba2  Rad8  32. Nf3  Rd5:!  33. Bd5:  Kd5:  34 . h4  g6  35. Kb4  Rb8  36. Ka5  Bc4!  37. e6  Kc5  38.Re5  Bd5  39. Ka6  Kc6:  40. Ka7  Re8 / White resigned. A wonderful struggle.


Written by QChess

August 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

Two Ways of Seeing Things.

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Bobby Fischer in 1992.

Concerning Bobby Fischer, I have noticed the existence of -to put it midly- “two schools of thought”.  One of these analizes / studies his life  and Ches career mentioning all sort of facts but not taking sides, not drawing blood/ from the affairs Fischer was involved or provoked especially after 1992. The other dismisses Fischer’s whole life on account of the behaviour he showed in the last part of his life, when he railed against the Jews, severely criticized/insulted the USA even supporting what the Americans may hate most, and so on. They are not ready to save any part of Bobby’s life and what is worse: they do not understand -and in some cases severely attack- the people who keep on admiring him by his Chess.

I have read that some people (GMs included) admitted admiring Kasparov as a chessplayer but not as a man (this is simply an instance). The same happens with Karpov, Korchnoi, etc.  After 1972 Fischer vanished from the Chess scene. In 1975 he did not accept the conditions imposed by FIDE and lost the World Title without playing a single game against Anatoly Karpov. Only a few people knew of Fischer’s whereabouts. Apparently he held contacts with Karpov and other people but everything came to nothing. He seemed to be sliding down a dangerous path. Nevertheless, in 1992, he reappeared in a match vs. Boris Spassky and the world -at first- went mad with delight. But the match took part in Serbia , a country at war and with strong sanctions on the part of the USA and the international community. Fischer, defying his government went and played. Consequently, he put himself out of the law: he could never go back to the States (curiously enough, nothing happened to Boris in France…) ,was put in a list of wanted-people  : the American authorities wanted him back to take him to court, etc.  Fischer did and said many things he should not have done and said. But the problem was that he continued saying those things after  1992…

I confess myself a Fischer Chess  admirer in the same way I find it totally unacceptable what he said to journalists and radio stations (mainly in the Philippines and Argentina)/mass media in general  after 1992. He had reached a no-return point -personally and mentally-  and was convinced that what he was doing was in self-defence. After many problems -including that of being jailed in Japan and being aware that if he had been deported to the USA things would have been even worse, he managed to reach Iceland where he died in 2008. This story is well-known. (As it is that he had been arrested,abused and mistreated in Pasadena, that some people simply made disappear many of his things he kept in a store, and many other facts concerning his life after 1972)

But Fischer’s case was not the first one. Remember what happened to  European players who played in Germany during the Nazi period… A case in point is Alekhine (others had troubles, but managed to overcome them :Bogoljubow, Keres, etc.). The problem of Alekhine was that apart from playing in Nazi Germany, hate the Soviets, etc., he was accused of writing some anti-Jew pamphlets. This story is far from clear: many people claim that he was the author. Others claim he was not. I am not going to labour upon this point. In that troubled post WW2 world, Alekhine found himself accused, blamed for and, finally, guilty of  collusion with the Nazi regime. Different people in different countries attacked him mercilessly. He managed to reach Spain where he  was supported by some Spanish players (a Spain in sheer poverty after its Civil War, by the way), and then he went to Portugal where he died (more or less mysteriously…). In his native country things towards him had started to change thanks to , among others ,  Botvinnik but it was too late.

In both cases the truth has two sides: the people who ferociously attacked Alekhine and the US authorities in Fischer’s case could have been a little more understanding and flexible, and in both Alekhine’s  and Fischer’s cases, they could have avoided doing what they did . But Bobby was at war against his country.

But when passion rages, it is very dificult to think  in a cold way… Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you take this or that path without knowing why… In the case of public figures this can be absolutely destructive. In life, like in Chess, we are responsible for the moves we make. Some of them may be corrected later, but others are serious mistakes. And if we persist, the game is lost…

I am sure most of you already knew these stories. And know it is up to you -if you had not thought much about it- to decide what your position is.

We can admire the artist and hate/not admire the person behind.  Or we can hate the artist because we hate/cannot accept the person behind.

I suppose that the people who defend the second option will not admire painters, music composers/conductors , writers  etc. with “doubtful” personal stories either -for the sake of being consequent with their thoughts-…

But  I think  that  what we should not do, is to try to impose our vision/opinion on other people, in case we , at last, end up falling in the same error we so readily criticise on others…


Now here are some positions from Fischer’s games for you to solve and the solutions.  (In all positions it is Fischer’s turn):

1.–  Bisguier-Fischer, US Chess Championship 1966.

2.–  Fischer-Mednis US. Chess Championship 1957-58

3.-  Fischer-Dely, Skopje 1967

4.-  Fischer-Bisguier, US. Chess Championship 1959


1.: 38. …, g4! 39.Qg4: (39. Rf5 Rh1: 40. Kh1: Rc1 41. Kh2 hg  x) 39…, Qg4: 40. hg Kg7! (the idea is …hg/ 42. Ng3 Rh8)  41. Rf5 Rh1:  /0-1 (If 42. Kh1: Rc1 43. Kh2 hg  44. Kh3 Rh1  x)

2.: 32. Re6:!! Ba3 (32…, Ke6:  33. Qg4 Kf7  34. e6! Kf8  35.Qg6 +-) 33. Na3: Ke6: 34. Qg4 Ke7  35. Rf2 Re8 36. Qg5 Kd7 37. Rf7 Kc8 38. Qf5 Kb8 39. Qd7  1-0

3.:  1. Be6: fe6: 2. Rf8: Qf8: 3. Qa4  1-0 (If 3… b5  -3…Kd8/4.Bb6- then 4. Qe4: Rd8  5. Qc6 Rd7 6. Rd1 Qe7 7. Rd3 and now 8. Bg5 +-)

4.: 1. Qa3! Kd3  2. Kb3 Kd2 3. Ka4 Kc2  4. b4  1-0




Written by QChess

May 12, 2012 at 6:35 am

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