Monday, September 16, 2013

Chessintuition part 2

In the 3rd round of Open Gent I suffered a strange and unexpected defeat against a 200 points lower rated player, Gilles Regniers. Now I immediately have to add that Gilles is likely underrated as he won very recently the Open Flemish championship despite the fact that several higher rated players were participating, see final positions. So strange and unexpected has to be linked with the course of the game rather than the ratingdifference.

Already in the opening I made a remarkable mistake. During the game I wasn't able to remember the openingstheory. I have that more often when it concerns a variation which I did study but didn't pop up earlier in my practice. During the prizegivings Thibaut Maenhout told me that I am not the only one suffering with this kind of problem. The key to solve this problem is of course a lot of rehearsals till it is branded in the memory but my motivation and priorities ignore this solution. Now forgetting the theory doesn't mean an insurmountable problem if you play the white pieces as long you choose to play pragmatically a solid continuation (14.g3) instead of the most critical one. However I am not a pragmatic player as shown in my blogarticle the scientific approach . So I chose for the risky idea with the exchangesacrifice which I noticed in a similar position, see game below.

Also in my game against Gilles you will notice that I first play a4 to continue afterwards with Ncb4 and cxb4. I was aware of the differences with the Anand-Van Wely game but didn't see a direct refutation of the idea when I executed it. Only a few moves later I already regretted my decision when I discovered that the apparently innocent differences do have a crucial impact on the evaluation of the position.

Black has lost the big advantage and in the final position I can now make an easy draw with exchanging the queens. Engines have still problems today to notice that white has a fortress in this type of positions. However I wasn't satisfied with the draw and I assumed playing risk-less for a win, was still possible. Afterwards my opponent was surprised to hear that from me but I had some good arguments. First I possessed the advantage of Capablanca. He claimed in 1932 that the tandem queen+knight was stronger than queen+bishop, see the historical article from Edward Winter. Hereby I immediately have to add that the correctness of this claim is being disputed today, see e.g. this article. More important is that white controls the key-square d5 to place a dominant knight which can't be exchanged. The strength of such trump can be seen well in the correspondence game below which I won.

Finally I knew from a previously on this blog discussed Svechnikovvariant that white in similar pawnstructures can keep on playing for a win with (temporarily) a pawn down. A recent example from correspondence in which white had success, can be replayed below.

Adding up everything, made me very optimistic about my chances which explains why I avoided several easy drawingvariations later during the course of the game. Initially it looked all very nice till I pushed too far and lost my way in the complications. Even then a draw was still possible but switching to defense with little time remaining didn't work anymore.

This game clearly shows that trusting different patterns, themes,... is no guarantee for success. In an earlier blogarticle about chessintuition somebody made the remark that intuition is just applying learned knowledge. Often it isn't that simple. Except in particular openings, no position is exactly the same as another one. So each position has its own characteristics which means you can't blindly apply some knowledge. Applying the right knowledge at the right moment is also intuition. This you can't just learn from a book. Obviously experience helps to better evaluate. A similar sound can be heard by the present worldchampion in this youtubemovie.


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