Monday, July 27, 2015

Devilish originality

Resting and relaxing are at least as important than preparing in a tournament of multiple days. This can be difficult especially when you don't have a good answer to a nasty variation. However it surely is a doubtful strategy to prepare each day till midnight and the full morning which I guess Tanguy Ringoir will likely confirm after the past Belgium championship. No I am more sympathizing with the approach of the players from Zottegem. They prepare a few hours for each game but make sure sufficient time is left for having fun together. On the chessforum of Zottegem you can read about their most recent adventures in Dortmund where Glen De Schampheleire managed to stunt by winning the tournament: see final standings SCM (a pity that Schaakfabriek gets no support to write a report about this achievement).

So it is better not to study a (new) opening thoroughly during a tournament. Besides the allotted time is often insufficient in a game-preparation. I spent almost 2 weeks at my analysis of the Fraser-defense which I summarized in the previous article (I anyway had no other games to analyze anymore). Although I worked on a moderate tempo, still I don't believe somebody can execute this work in a half day (10 hours).

Another example of such analysis I made last year about a specific but important line in the Najdorf. I not only reviewed hundreds of otb- and correspondence games but I also verified the different critical lines by my engines. The very short summary can be viewed below.

Indeed this was based on my game against Marc Stuer played in Open Gent 2014. Because of that I decided to wait with the publication after the Open Gent which just finished see results 2015. I don't want to give my potential opponents too easily my conclusions of the many often boring hours of analysis.

Anyway hiding your analysis does not mean that you are protected from surprises even after such extensive research. As end of last year the Georgian grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze introduced a shocking novelty.

The game was quickly spread via the media see e.g. Chessbase. Playing a new piece-sacrifice in a position known from more than 300 games and tested by the likes of Anand, Svidler, Gelfand and Mamedyarov looks like pure speculation. However winning with it against a strong grandmaster like Yuriy Kuzubov is another cup of tea.

No it is not another example of a deep home-analysis as the winner later explained to the author of the Chessbase-article. Besides my engines consider the sacrifice only as the 21st best move in the position as shown in the screeshot below:
13...Nxe4 only 21st choice by Stockfish 6
Extremely original, isn't it? Well it becomes devilish original if we know that the creative winner was caught cheating only 3 months ago. The news of the reigning champion from Georgia using a smartphone on the toilet gave an enormous shock in the chessworld via the media as can be seen e.g. on

It just proofs how easily any automatic system of detecting cheating can be sidestepped. You play a number of original moves but still you consult a few times a computer. The uncertainty clearly adds a lot to the fact that many players have become paranoia. Players are rightly or wrongly accused as was recently the case with the Romanian WGM Mihaela Sandu. 2 camps diametrically opposed to each other which is shown in the article and reactions on

Even in the past Open Gent I heard a player loudly requesting for extra control (frisking) and restrictions. Well it is not illogical if a player like the French grandmaster Sebastien Feller again participates after his expulsion of 2 years. On the other hand such measures don't fit at all in the atmosphere of the festivities. We have to wait to see how standard chess will survive. Next month Mihaele Sandu will play at Open Brasschaat. I am curious to find out what will happen but naturally I hope everything will run smoothly.


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