Friday, September 25, 2015

The wrong example

In quite a lot of Belgian chessclubs you can find teachers able to explain a number of steps of the steps method. Unfortunately it doesn't go beyond that. A more advanced coaching is only accessible for a handful of players, e.g. those getting a special invitation to join the project go for grandmaster. The majority and particularly adults are completely left alone after the steps method. 

Naturally top-players fulfill for those less fortune ones an unsolicited exemplary function. In my article fashion I already showed how a particular opening suddenly becomes very popular after a top-player started to insert it in his repertoire. If an opening holds against players of +2700 elo than it will certainly be against a much more modest level. That sounds pretty logical but it is too simplistic to believe that this will guarantee success. Every opening has its own characteristics and we don't have all the same style of playing chess.

So the danger exists that we play an opening for which we neither have the knowledge nor the skills. This aspect we also see in the middlegame. A top-player plays a risky concept but apparently wins with ease.

Subsequently the temptation increases to try also such kind of moves like g5 which are anti-positional. If a world-champion doesn't succeed to counter the aggression then somebody with much less talent will neither be able to do. Practice however shows often a very different picture.

Blacks position was already awkward so there were mitigating factors to go all in. Often the best move only delays defeat with a number of moves and there are no points to win with the number of moves. An objectively inferior move can sometimes create sufficient complications in such situations to change the course of the game. Here it failed and only a desperate endgame remains.

I often experienced to my shame that anti-positional moves like g5 are very risky. I still remember very well how I self-destructed a complex position against Geert Vanderstricht by playing twice on a row the extremely stupid g5.

G5 is a standard-move in the Dutch stonewall to initiate a kings-attack but in above example this was of course extremely optimistic. I can even add based on my decades of experience with the Dutch that g5 is always something delicate contrary to example the Kings Indian.

Replaying contemporary games of topplayers is definitely not the way to learn the basics of chess. In the article Knights On the Rim Are Amazing the Amercian grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky warns the reader that successfully breaking the rules fully depends on the strength of a player. Therefore it is surely not redundant to first understand and implement the basic principles. This can be much easier learned by grabbing a book which annotates the games of old masters like Capablanca, Rubinstein,....


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