Tuesday, September 8, 2015

G4 in the Najdorf

The internet is an enormous source of information which I daily consult. However we can't just trust everything as much is just rubbish. The American blogwriter Dana Mackenzie wrote a couple of months ago a funny post: " I love the past. Everyone in it is so stupid." with examples of written nonsense which later were refuted by the reality.

Correcting errors is something not always welcomed which unfortunately I many times already experienced. Because of those negative reactions I prefer to wait for others first to react. Only when I see no such thing happens then often I can't stand ignoring further and stick out my neck.

Some mistakes are real myths which you can't eradicate despite countless reactions. One of those myths is that former-worldchampions like Lasker, Capablanca, Aljechin, Fischer,... would easily dispatch our current top-players. Those champions were miles ahead of their contemporaries at there peak. Today we don't encounter anymore such extreme differences of level at the top. This created the perception that those players had something extra. I mean an unique talent which you only encounter a few times in a century and which no current top-player possess.

In my article elo inflation I already demonstrated that there is no proof on any inflation linked to playing-strength. This means the playing strength of our current top-players is higher than their predecessors validating their higher rating. In other words the quality of play of the former world-champions was rather weaker which shines a completely different light on their so called unparalleled talent.

On the other hand I fully agree that it is nonsense to make serious comparisons between players of different eras. The tools and knowledge grow continuously especially the last 2 decades due to the introduction of the computer. In this article I want to show how much the computer has influenced attacking chess at the highest level. As example I use the Najdorf in which white apparently  deploys a quiet setup. I start with a game from my own practice of which the concept was discovered in 1972.

So it took 14 years to discover g4 is interesting and another couple of years to shut down blacks setup for example by the knew world-champion Anatoly Karpov.

Before I start to compare with some recent standard games in the Najdorf, let us first have a look to a crazy idea from a computer-game played last year. G4 is also in this game played but in a postion in which white already castled short which makes a huge difference.

An engine of + 3000 elo doesn't manage to refute the concept. Top-players use daily these engines and are naturally influenced as we can see for example in the next pretty attacking game played at the Ukrainian championship of 2014.

An absolute height of modern attacking chess is achieved without doubt in the new evergreen Navara - Wojtaszek.

The difference with the first g4 game is enormous. Some decades ago a move like g4 was only played after years of contemplation. Such aggressive move was linked to a healthy development (castling long) + control of the center. Modern attacking chess goes much further and is very often based on some concrete lines which were analyzed in detail at home. By the way David Navara admitted after the game that he had looked at the position of move 25 still in his preparations.

This modern evolution isn't only seen in the Najdorf. Last month the American grandmaster Grigory Serper wrote a similar article about the Bogo-Indian: "How to attack in modern chess?". The Bogo-Indian has a reputation of a quiet positional opening but none of that remains if you look to some of the current high class games.

However I don't agree with the advise of the grandmaster. He recommends players to attack from the very first moves even if it is a positional opening. He ignores that all the successful attacks in the examples were played by + 2700 players which have an extraordinary base of skills and knowledge. I expect most players will simply lose a lot of points if they try to copy this behavior.


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