Friday, November 20, 2015

Tactics part 2

When we check our games with a computer then very often we are frightened by the number of missed tactics. For some people this spoils the fun. They prefer not to look anymore at the lines spitted out by the tactical monster. I am on the other hand a real masochist as I would even skip sleep just to get an old fashioned beating (see my article interferences).

Of course I am just joking. In the first place it is my unrestrained curiosity which needs to be temporarily tempered by a quick qualitative analysis. I expect 99% of the chessplayers would be satisfied with these analysis. I on the other hand am only fully content after having evaluated each played move at least 1 minute by my 2 strongest engines, see details in my article analyze with a computer. It partly explains why my games are sometimes only months later published here on the blog. Qualitative analysis needs time especially if chess isn't your profession.

Except pleasure you could ask yourself why to make such thorough analysis of the games. Sure I have a blog and you don't want to appear completely foolish with some sloppy analysis on the internet but what if there would be no blog? Everybody understands the value of analyzing openings as the chance is real to use them in practice but how often the same tactical trick in a middle game will reoccur in practice? If I am objectively looking at my games then I have to admit similar combinations in the middle or end-game are very rare. On the other hand we learn most from our mistakes and we still remember them many years later.

I once missed in 2002 a not very difficult tactical combination. After the game I was especially upset not having won the game.

However this summer I got to my great joy a chance to play a similar motive in the last round of Open Gent. Not only I found the combination this time but I had seen it already a few moves earlier.

It really becomes weird when you find out that a similar tactical curiosity happens for a second time in the same game. Last season I missed to my surprise in the final round of the clubchampionship of Deurne a pretty easy win of the queen. Fortunately my chosen move was also winning swiftly as otherwise I would be very ashamed.

Exactly the same motive but in a much more beautiful composition occurred in my game against Ted. Not only it costed me just a few seconds to find the right moves but I also saw the combination already before white captured the pawn on b7 !

It takes more than one swallow to make a summer so these examples don't prove that spending many hours analyzing our games will bring a good return. Personally I think a good book about tactics or one of the many sites on which you can solve tactics (some were mentioned in my article invisible moves) will be more efficient. Solving some puzzles can be fun but doing every day your homework as some (Belgian) topplayers do, must be a monotonous hard labor for which I can't push myself as amateur.

Brabo

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wandering kings

The strong Georgian grandmaster Jobava Baadur confirmed once more in a recently published two-piece interview on Chessbase that knowing the games of our great ancestors is crucial for the development of any young player. It is a pity that I get this info 20 years too late as back then there was no internet or other source giving me such advice. Only in 1998 via my job I got my first restricted access to the internet.

The last 5 years I try to slowly close this gap. Often I don't manage to read more than 15 minutes a day but in the meanwhile I do get the feeling to know already something about our rich history of chess. I also do learn something technically but I don't expect any gain of rating as too many other components are at least as important.

Maybe the most attractive aspect of studying our classics is discovering connections between today and our past. Recognizing certain recurring themes allows to better understand and appreciate a game. Example there is the theme of the wandering king. The king walks over the board with the objective not to interfere an attack. The insane kings-walk of Navara which was shown in my article g4 in the najdorf is not a good example of this theme.

If we review our classics then it is not a surprise that former worldchampion Tigran Petrosian used this theme several times. His most famous game is probably the one against the German grandmaster Wolfgang Unzicker.

Another impressive example is surely his game against the Spanish grandmaster Jesus Diez del Corral.

Other games of Petrosian with this theme can be found in this collection. Petrosian had an enormous influence on chess with his remarkable style. I already discussed this in my article about prophylaxis but this is also valid for this theme. Very recently we saw a wandering king in the tiebrake of the semi-final of the worldcup by the Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler in his game against the Chinese child-prodigy Wei Yi.

These top players know of course their classics but also closer to home we can detect that our Belgian leading players have spent time on studying them. Some months ago Bart Michiels demonstrated a wandering king in our most recent encounter.

I can well imagine that some players can devise a wandering king themselves without knowing previous examples. However the precious time needed to make such plans isn't always available with the ever faster becoming timecontrols. I often read the old masters thought 40 minutes or more over 1 move but we don't have such luxury anymore.

Brabo