Monday, January 12, 2015


Some time ago Daniel Sadkowski asked my opinion about Negi's new book. He assumed by default that I bought the book as it largely overlaps with my repertoire. However I shocked him by replying that I don't have it. I haven't bought any openingbook anymore the last 20 years. In the post-mortem after my game in Opwijk somebody asked me how I can have often a better knowledge of openings without possessing books than my opponents have.

In my article using databases I explain how in a quick efficient way to get results. The results are more than sufficient for a player of my rating but it would be a big mistake to deduct that we always will be successful. I frequently use correspondence-games in my preparation but correspondence is very different from standard-chess. The same remark can be made for standard-chess compared with blitz. It is not because an opening is fully playable on a certain tempo that the same results will be achieved on a different tempo. An example I mentioned in my article Achilles.

We shouldn't forget that in standard-chess we don't have access to engines (if we don't cheat of course) neither have the time nor the means to inspect all the details. So the danger is real that a player at the board gets into nasty problems if you just follow without serious study a correspondence-game. Something like that happened in my game of the 3rd round Open Leuven. I had no experience with the Chinese dragon so I tried to patch this gap by memorizing some critical lines of correspondence-games. The correspondence-game which I followed, was Delizia, Costantino - Silva, Marcus Antonio Roli played in 2012.

As expected, Iuliia deviated from the game at move 17 because d5 is obviously not a standard move which a human will think about in this type of positions. Unfortunately I quickly realized that the resulting position was not simple at all to play. The position is very rich and many details influence the evaluation. Naturally inaccuracies and even blunders became quickly unavoidable. Below the game with some comments.

I was of course ironic with "some comments" as I spent a lot of time analyzing the opening. Besides I don't call this studying an opening but rather researching an opening. Obviously something you learn but eventually the return is low. In standard-chess it is not necessary to know this depth of details. Besides I believe few or no opening-books contain such detailed analyses. Vass on chesspub indicated that opening-books are written for tournament-players and little or nothing is relevant for correspondence-chess.

As non-correspondence-player why would somebody make such analysis. The answer is simple. I find it fascinating. I understand most people are indifferent by seeing details and rather prefer watching a battle on the board with mistakes but I can also enjoy a lot discovering small nuances in a certain type of position. This time I even found some ideas which probably are useful in correspondence-chess. In fairness I have to admit that with engines becoming ever stronger, it is not so unusual to find ameliorations on older correspondence-games.

Such research takes time, a lot of time. During 2 weeks each day I worked with my notebook which I only gave a break at night to cool down. This cooling is no luxury as despite I bought the new notebook only a few months ago, it produces (probably the fan) more and more noise.

In my previous article I mentioned time is scarce for me but last Christmas-holidays I had much spare time available. Just like previous year (see article the lucky one) I was again in Russia. Naturally there were the New Year festivities, visits and excursions but in the end most of the time is spent in the apartment of the parents-in-law. To entertain small children isn't always easy (especially as they don't understand sufficiently the Russian language). I had the splendid idea to bring along the first book of the the chess-steps but after 1 lesson my youngest already gave up. Boring and if you check below video then you understand that my son prefers something more active.

By the way not only children are enjoying the ice-slide but also many adults dared a ride. Big fun of course only for the parents watching attentively - ready to help when something goes wrong- it was pretty cold. No this kind of daredevilry is not for me. I rather prefer an interesting chess-opening which I can investigate quietly in a warm and cozy environment.


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